We had so many changes happened within a short timeframe. Before the move, our grocery budget was $400. Few days before the move, our parents landed. And few weeks after we moved to the new place in a new city, our refrigerator died.
With all the changes, I had no idea how much to budget for grocery shopping. To give a little perspective, we buy good quality ingredients/organic products and eat at home majority of the time. Even though we enjoy eating out, we eat at home for health reasons more than saving money. However, spending $1000 a month on groceries are not ok with me.
To recreate a budget to accommodate the changes in our life, one of the steps I took is to go all cash-in for grocery shopping. We use credit cards for all our shopping (FYI – we pay the credit card bill at the end of the months before it’s due).
Paying Cash To Grocery Shopping:
The concept is, you pay cash for all your grocery shopping rather than using credit/debit cards. Before February started, I withdrew $500 cash from the ATM, carried it in an envelope and paid only from that amount for all my February grocery shopping.
Until the last week of February, I spend around $419 (here is mid-month update). so, I had $81 left when the last week of Feb started. Since I started work during the last week of February, we did some major shopping at the Indian grocery store (the one closer to us is 15 minutes away. So, we stock up the grocery and only visit there once a month).
In that trip, I spent $144.87 for Indian groceries. So, the total spending for the month of February was, $564. My budget was $500 + $50 flex budget.
$564 is for 4 adults and 1 toddler. Even if we consider just the adults, that’s like $5 per adult per day. Even though, I went over the set budget, I’m happy.
My Opinion About the Concept:
It’s quite a different experience than swiping the card. To be honest, I could have reduced the bulk purchase and stayed within the budget. After all, I had $81 left for Indian grocery shopping. With me going back to work, we didn’t want to take a chance as we know time is more precious at this phase of our life.
If you’re struggling to stay within the budget or if you’re someone who wants to put together a grocery budget, I strongly suggest you try this method at least for a month.
When I started this challenge, I thought I’ll be spending too much time counting $$ at the checkout counter. To my surprise, it’s not the case. I probably spent few more seconds than before.
My New Grocery Budget:
This past month, I didn’t splurge much and I was doing more couponing than before. Even then I spent $564 on groceries. Groceries include food, toiletries, diapers etc. This clearly shows, we need at least $564 per month. So, I’m increasing the budget to $600 per month.
Continuing Paying Cash to Grocery Shopping:
The primary intention of this challenge was finding out grocery budget for our family. Now that I know our set budget, I’m going to go back to using credit cards. Why leave the rewards points that we get from credit cards.
But I’m definitely open to trying to challenge more often. After my parents leave, I’ll try this concept again for our family of 2 adults + 2 kids (toddler + newborn).
I’d suggest you give it a try at least once. You’ll be surprised how it affects your shopping mindset.