After listening to one of my favorite podcasts called So Money, where Farnoosh Torabi (a top financial journalist) interviews some genius business minds like Tony Robbins and Tim Ferris, as well as many others that are displaying some sort of awesomeness in their lives, I noticed a trend.
In this podcast, she picks her guest’s brains on how they deal with money. One of the questions she asks her guests is what their guilty pleasures with money are, and more times than not….the answer is food.
Food? Really? Less shocking answers could be cars, jewelry, or clothes, but food?
While this wasn’t shocking to me, it did really spark something in me to write about this topic.
We LOVE food and we have a tendency to think with our stomachs and not our wallets at times.
I have seen this with friends, clients, family, strangers, and myself. What most people don’t realize is that they don’t have to be coupons queens and kings to save money on groceries. It is EASY to save money on groceries if you follow some simple philosophies below.
-Set a grocery budget and stick to it. Write down all of the food you need in a month and calculate how much it would cost to only get those items. Add a little cushion in there for price increases and stick to this number. Remember to only put your needs.
-Do not go grocery shopping on an empty stomach. This doesn’t sound like a real tip, but it is extremely important to go shopping with a calm and collected mind. Your mind is not calm when all you can think about is eating. When you go to the store hungry, you end up buying things that you typically wouldn’t buy because you are craving everything. This is when you are most likely to break the budget.
-Avoid packaged and/or already cut food. An example of this would be pieces of watermelon that have already been cut and are packaged in a plastic container. There is absolutely no reason for you to spend six dollars on one serving while you can buy a whole watermelon for the same price or cheaper. Veggie plates are the worst as they can run up to thirty dollars or more for maybe five dollars worth of vegetables.
-Don’t shop like your parents. Just because your parents shop at Whole Foods doesn’t mean you have to shop at Whole Foods as well. If your argument is that you like to purchase high quality, organic products, you can find these things at many grocery stores. Try an alternative like Trader Joe’s or Kroger. If you feel like you can’t live without Whole Foods in your life, at least buy their 365 brand of products which are cheaper than the other brands.
-Make a list. After you have done inventory of the foods you have left at home, make a list. You may not need some of the same things that you bought last week or you may not want to buy some of the things that you didn’t eat from the previous weeks. Making a list will help you save time and stick with your budget.
-You probably shouldn’t be buying in bulk. Buying in bulk usually works out better for families as there are more mouths to feed. It isn’t always the cheapest route and you have to make a “commitment” to the food you buy.
-Look at alternatives. Depending on where you live, work, and your time commitments, it may be more cost efficient for you to get your groceries delivered or shop online. If you’re making $100/hr. on a side business and you don’t have time, you might be better off using a service like this. There are several great local grocery delivery startups that can save you time and money. This would also prevent you from over shopping or getting sucked in from all of the marketing in stores.
Lastly, remember to give yourself a splurge budget where you can buy the random things you enjoy like Clearly Kombucha from Whole Foods or my favorite, Kize bars! There is nothing wrong with treating yourself with things you enjoy as long as they are planned and budgeted.