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$337.59. It’s the last number I see as I inspect the grocery category of my budget. My breath slides into a sigh, while my emotions drift into disappointment.
I missed my goal, to spend under $300 a month on groceries.
I try to console my loss by making an internal resolution to try again. I’ll train better for the next grocery plight. I know that if I keep up my money-saving routines like making a list, using my apps, shopping once a week, I’ll be able to chalk up a win for my finances.
That is the fight I want to win, to save money so I can truly be free of the last debt – a mortgage.
Before I step out into a grocery store, I make sure I have a checklist. This is a master list of everything that is missing from the fridge and cupboards, which I take an inventory of before I go.
Occasionally, I will need specific ingredients for a unique dish but I am a creature of habit.
I love quick, easy dishes at the ready. Typically I buy the same items week after week because of how universal they are. In my kitchen, that is the name of the game. I don’t want special ingredients that I use once and then they rot away.
I prefer vegetables like onions, peppers, salad, and mushrooms that I can use in every meal, from scrambled eggs for breakfast, salad for lunch, and burritos for dinner. Just like any cooking routine worth its salt, simple dishes with healthy ingredients.
As long as I stick to that list and don’t get swayed by the other options, I can cash in a win for financial savings and meal planning. Win, win!
From loyalty apps down to reward apps, the digital age has increased my savings.
In my corner of Montana, I have four stores but I only use two because the other two are across town. What can I say, convenience is king!
Typically, it’s a duel between Albertson or Walmart. I have a preference for Albertsons because their store is cleaner, they seem to treat their employees better, and it’s closer to home.
I use the Albertson’s loyalty app routinely. As I am grocery shopping, I select the items that have discounts right before I put the item in my cart. I am that millennial who is off to the side, scrolling on her phone – looking for coupons people! Don’t judge!
By now, the app has figured out my typical purchases because all my preferences are at the top which is great and a little creepy.
This app gives me discounts on what I buy and I build points. I cash out these points for a dollar or, preferably, ten dollars off my grocery bill. All depending on how many rewards I can collect in a month.
The win is even bigger, if I use it in combination with my passive income app. Winning feels so good! Yay, endorphins!
As with any successful fighter, my wins are found in the routine. I train once a week.
My resources are limited. Which is why I only grocery shop once a week. Plus, I am not a fan of shopping. Mostly, the part where I have to use a lot of self-control.
To limit the damage, I only visit the store once a week. This saves my limited resources and prevents temptation
like buying pizza this week, which was not on the list!
Saving on groceries feels like winning but it’s so hard! All the training, focus, and effort.
But it’s the little wins that keep me going; seeing that I saved 30% on my grocery bill, noting all the itemized discounts, and being able to take little chunks of savings and throw it at the mortgage principal. I look forward to the day when I am completely free from the chains of a mortgage.
It’s a dream worth fighting for.