From our experience, expenses on groceries can very fast become way too high, but is also one of the places that are very easy to cut down on, without feeling it too much. That is why we have decided to put an effort into this area particularly.
In our kitchen I have an envelope with 500 NIS (USD 125). That is the amount that we can spend for groceries, food, cleaning and hygienic products every week. Oh, and food for the cat, because after almost 15 years in this house, Dear Husband claims that she is a member of the family as well 😉
I am both for and against managing financially in cash, but in this case we have decided that it makes the most sense. By having a set sum in cash in an envelope, it makes it more concrete that that is the amount that we are allowed to use. If there isn’t any money left in the envelope, we don’t buy anymore. If there are, we can transfer it to next week. Don’t worry, we have never gone to bed hungry!
Yes, it can be a bit scary in the beginning to go to the cash register, thinking and hoping that I have enough to cover the bill. What if I don’t? What if I have to put something back? With time I learned to figure it out, and otherwise, there is always math!
We have been doing this on and off for the last couple of years and although it is not always easy, but yes, it is doable (and will save you money)! Here are some of the things that helps:
Planning, planning and more planning. As boring as it might sound, it does help. When I know what I am going to cook, I know what I am going to buy!
Go less. It is almost like a kind of magic, but really, the less we go to the shop, the less we buy.
Go basic. I try to avoid processed food and stick to the basics; lots of fruit and vegetables, milk products, corns, pasta, rice, some meat and fish. It is cheaper this way and gives us way more options of what to cook.
Be creative. Did you know how much popcorn you can make from a 5 NIS (USD 1.25) bag of pop-it-yourself corn kernels?
Your tricks, ideas or experiences? I would love to hear them.