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It’s embarrassing to admit, but I used to shop for groceries the way I shopped at Target.
At Target, there wasn’t an item or product that didn’t excite me when I went in. In fact, I loved shopping at Target so much that when I decided to pay off over $60,000 of debt a few years ago, one of the most difficult decisions I made was to break up with Target. However, my grocery shopping habits were just as bad, and I was spending my way broke one grocery visit at a time.
There are people who eat to live — I’m one of those people who live to eat. I love watching cooking shows and trying out recipes, roaming my favorite farmers markets and grocery stores to see what they have. In fact, I love food so much that I spent a hilarious amount of time shopping, cooking, and thinking about it. However, I soon discovered that my grocery spending was hurting my wallet.
Each week I would pop in to see what the store had. I would pick up truffle salt for around $20, or a high-end chocolate bar for $5, a half-pound of chanterelle mushrooms for $10, and the occasional lobster tail. As a single woman, I was spending over $400 a month on groceries, or $4,800 a year on food, not including picking up my favorite coffee ($4) at my local coffee shop.
My grocery spending had gotten out of control. Multiple weekly trips spending well over $100 for the week was the norm. Then, I found myself losing money as I dealt with food waste, not always using the products that I’d purchased in my enthusiasm to try the newest thing. There was more month than money, so something had to give.
I went through my expenses again and again and each time, it became clear that maybe, just maybe, I was spending too much on groceries. In fact, according to the United States Department of Agriculture, a woman between the ages of 19 and 50 should spend on average between $172 and $342 a month. I was spending hundreds of dollars over that range.
As I focused more on my debt repayment, I began rethinking my relationship with food and how I purchased my groceries. I ended up cutting my grocery bill in half and continue to keep my bills low even during this crazy time. Here’s how I did it.
I tried the pantry challenge
I deliberately ate through my pantry and refrigerator for as long as I possibly could. By doing that, I discovered how much food I already had on hand. I also embraced cooking creatively and I finally ate my way through all of the frozen fruits and vegetables that I always had on hand.
By doing this challenge a couple of times a year, I broke my grocery shopping habit and became more aware of …read more
Source:: Business Insider