Gabriel and I were talking about our spending habits earlier today. How much we’re spending, what we’re spending on, and how it compares to our spending habits from earlier in our marriage.
Out of curiosity, I pulled out the receipt envelope from our first year, and as I started looking through all those grocery receipts, I grew more and more embarrassed.
I can’t believe what a terrible shopper I was! I’ve improved a lot over the last few years though, and I pray that I will continue to improve.
Gabriel was really patient with my shopping novice, for which I’m very thankful, but I think he’s also really glad that we’ve been able to cut our spending significantly since that first year.
I wish I had known that I didn’t need to spend so much on all this stuff.
- Hot chocolate/chocolate milk mix. Really? What was I thinking? Over, and over on those receipts hot chocolate mix kept reappearing. High calorie, not to mention unhealthy and expensive. If I really want a glass of chocolate milk, it’s easy enough – and much cheaper – to mix my own sugar and cocoa.
- Tortilla chips. For some reason when we first got married, I felt like I always had to have at least three bags of chips in the pantry. I love nachos, I really do, but a $2 bag of tortilla chips doesn’t go very far, not to mention, the expense of the toppings that go on them.
- Process cheese. $4.50 for a little loaf of that stuff?! Again, what was I thinking? We’ve completely cut Velveeta type cheeses from our die,t although I admit that Velveeta is hard to match in casseroles and such – I recently pinned a homemade version that I’m really looking forward to trying… One of these days.
- Canned Parmesan cheese. While we’re bashing cheeses, I saw several purchases of Parmesan cheese on those receipts at roughly $3.50/can. Ouch! After getting it on amazon.com for $1.70/can a while back, I think I’ll just keep a watch for another price dip like that, and do without in the meantime.
- Fresh veggies. I didn’t realize – never even considered really – that frozen vegetables might be not only cheaper, but actually more healthy than their “fresh” counterparts. Then too there was the problem that I really liked broccoli and cauliflower, which we hadn’t grown that year, better than the butternut squash and okra which we had. I’ve since learned the value of eating the things we grow, and it’s surprising the things I’ve learned to like.
- Canned beans. Refried beans, chili beans, baked beans, there’s no doubt that they taste good, and are easy to heat and serve, but they’re neither as healthy or inexpensive as the homemade alternative. Switching over to dry beans has saved us a ton.
- Cold cereal. Early in our marriage, I was the cold cereal queen. Most of it, fortunately, was homemade granola, which is cheaper by far than boxed cereal, but that savings is quickly negated when you’re purchasing cartons of vanilla yogurt to go with it. (I didn’t do that. Noooo, not me.)
- Juice. I was surprised, just as I always am on those now rare occasions when I buy it, by how expensive juice is. Sure it tastes good, and it goes down easy, but when you drink juice you’re consuming all of the sugar, and none of the fiber that’s meant to go along with it. Our pocketbook thanks me for giving up this relatively bad habit.
All of these things added tremendously to our grocery spending. Sure, we’ve had to change the way we prepare food and eat a little bit, but it’s been well worth the saving, not to mention the benefit to our health (less preservatives), and less junk food calories.
Get The $20 Meal Plan Printable!
Want the printable version of this $20 plan? Sign up to get it WITH a complete shopping list, and meal prep instructions!