Grocery Shopping with Cash: I FINALLY Did It!!

by Marcy on October 9, 2008 · 0 comments

One of my financial goals for October is to shop with cash only at the grocery store. For one entire month. I have started using cash only for other things (mostly extras like eating out and getting my hair done), but I really want to try to use cash on groceries this month in an effort to stick to our grocery budget.

Thursday is pay day in our house, so I ran to the bank this morning and took out enough cash for groceries and for our weekly “allowance” (used for coffee, eating out, saving for “extras” etc…). I came back and planned out my shopping list, using my Giant Eagle and Kroger posts, and my list of things we are currently out of as my guide.

One thing that I try to do when writing out my grocery list is to write the estimated cost of each item in the margin. I then total up my estimated amount spent, and adjust it according to what I have available to spend on groceries for the week. This saves me tons of time in the store, and I don’t have to be quite as diligent about adding things up in my head as I shop because it is right there on my list. I usually just have to keep track of the variances (for example: bananas cost $0.50 less than I planned, tea $1 more etc…).

After determining what is on sale, what I need, and what I am going to buy at each store, I pull my coupons out of my binder and place them in separate envelopes for each store. Because I pay my bills online, I use the envelopes that I would normally mail a check in. I read this tip on another blog a few months ago and this has helped save money on envelopes.

Then I pack up my 2 year old and head to the store. And yes, I am one of THOSE moms that bribes her child with a lollipop (bought on sale after Valentines Day, of course! :-) so that I can actually think while I am shopping. This keeps me from spending too much.

I typically put my blinders on and stick to my list. My problem with going over budget each month has nothing to do with me making unplanned purchases by the way…my issue has been feeling like I *had* to buy something because it was on sale. Meaning every time I spent more than my weekly budget I knew I was going to do it before I actually did it. I’m working on that…

So anyway…back to today. I had a budget of $50 at Kroger and $30 at Giant Eagle based on sales/coupons and my needs. I ended up spending $53.20 at Kroger and $28.96 at Giant Eagle. Fortunately I had a few extra dollars in my wallet to cover the slight overage. I will detail a few of my deals this weekend for Super Savings Saturday.

I must say that using cash is such a freeing experience!! I don’t have to wait for my transactions to clear, I won’t get any surprises in my credit card bill at the end of the month…nothing. I’m done! I’m looking forward to next week, to see if I am up to the challenge again. :-)

What about you? Do you shop with cash? If not, is this something that you have considered trying in an effort to curb credit card spending and/or going over budget? I would love to hear your thoughts!

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