Clean the toilet or grocery shop?
There are few things in life that I really hate doing. Cleaning the toilet is right up there near the top. But, what I hate even more than cleaning the toilet is going grocery shopping. Yes, that’s right, I said it. I’d rather clean the toilet than go to the store to buy food. Don’t judge, there are some of you out there who feel my pain. Sometimes, I think that I might be coming down with a bug only to open the fridge, hear my voice echo from the barren space, and find out that those heart palpitations and stomach pains are nothing more than a bad case of the grocery gut. And then I psyche myself up for that dreaded weekly voyage to the land of banging carts, long checkout lines and a clerk that I’m convinced is actually The Sheriff of Nottingham in disguise, there to take my money, smiling at me while I hand over all my hard earned cash. And so I leave and drown my buyer’s remorse in a cup of java (homemade though, because I’m out of Starbucks gift cards). Sigh…….
In an effort to cure my grocery shopping malady, I do what all people do when we need to find answers: go to social media. Enter Pinterest and Twitter. I found a lot of tips for ways to save money on groceries. Turns out I didn’t need a doctor to find out that my grocery gut wasn’t from the food – or the shopping itself – it was from all the money I was spending. And so, I started to plan my meals for the week with fast, easy and healthy meal ideas (follow me on Pinterest to see them) so all I was buying at the store were the items that I needed. Nothing more. Then I would seek out coupons for those items and look at my store’s specials. Once I got the hang of it, I went from spending an hour or more every week looking for coupons and meal ideas to about 30 minutes right before I leave for the store. My grocery bills are decreasing and my grocery gut is slowly subsiding.
So, here is this week’s financial fun fact(s): coupons are your friend. So are store apps and other free apps for groceries like Ibotta, Shopkick, Coupons.com and GroceryiQ. Planning meals on the front end will save needless purchases on the back end (and less waste too). And stick to the list. ALWAYS stick to the list. Yes, it takes a little time to find the coupons, and yes, it takes a little time to plan out meals for the week and make your list, but you’ll eventually find your groove. After all, as the old saying goes, “time is money”. So, if you want more money in your pocket, take a little time to plan.
To illustrate how effective this is, here’s my pre-Project Money grocery receipt from about a year ago:
71 items, $2 in coupons and a total bill of $239.17
And here’s my Project Money grocery receipt from a few weeks ago:
71 items, $6.85 in coupons, in store sales, planned weekly meals, and a total bill of $183.05
Cue mic drop.