The Trick to Keep Grocery Spending Under Control
(And it has nothing to do with my budget!)
Have you ever come home from grocery shopping, and realized that you didn’t get what you were there to get? Instead, you got a bunch of junk food.
As you’re sitting there contemplating how to make dinner out of Funyuns, M&Ms, and frozen bagels, you might be thinking to yourself but I JUST went grocery shopping! Where did the food go?!
If you’re looking to keep grocery spending under control, maybe you’re like me, and you realized that your brain wasn’t the one making the buying decisions… it was your stomach!
I was at the grocery store with my husband the other day. We were strolling up and down the aisles looking for the items that we’d need for the week. We were talking, I was asking him to grab things off of the top shelves, we were trying to keep our 5-year-old out of the middle of the aisles, when I began to notice something.
My grocery cart was twice as full as it usually was. When I was looking for the best deals, my husband had been sneaking more and more into the cart. Before I knew it, my cart that is usually full of essentials was now full of junk food, chips, drinks, and other things that we just don’t need.
“Asher! What’s all this?!”
“But, honey, we NEED the family size bag of Doritos!”
In what known universe do you need junk food in your diet? More importantly, why should I buy Doritos for $4, when that same $4 can get me 16 cups of yogurt!
I realized a fundamental issue here. I brought along my husband, but I didn’t take into account that he was also very hungry! A hungry hubby means a full cart of food that isn’t on the grocery list.
There’s a cardinal rule about food shopping: don’t go to the grocery store hungry!
I did an experiment with my always-hungry hubby (aka – the unknowing subject in a human testing experiment). I brought him grocery shopping for a month. Twice, I made sure that he ate before we left, and the other two times, I hurried him out the door without a snack.
Related Post: 8 Ways to Stop Spending Money
Our grocery bill was $10 and $12 more on the “hungry trips.” But more importantly, on the two “hungry trips,” we wound up with twice the amount of junk food and half the amount of essentials.
If you really want to save money, make sure to stop going to the store hungry! If you can’t always eat a full meal before going to the store (I get it, mom-ing doesn’t always allow for eating!), keep some snacks in your purse.
My personal favorite snacks: nuts and seeds. They’re high in protein and you can really meet the salty and sweet cravings with some salted or chocolate covered nuts.
Without changing your budget, you can save money, keep grocery spending under control, get more of what you really need, and get out of the grocery store quickly.
If you haven’t already, you should get your budget in check (even if you can’t budget). As a general rule of thumb, your monthly grocery budget should be $100 per person in your house. For example, a family of 4 should have a budget of $400 a month (don’t hate me for saying that number! That’s apparently the average that it should be, I swear I didn’t make that up).
By making sure that you’re not shopping hungry, you can keep grocery spending under control. If my always-hungry husband can control himself after he’s eaten, anyone can!
What do you do to make sure that you don’t shop hungry?
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