Food is one of those things that falls into the category of needs and not wants. Yet, I’ve found that a lot of us have a negative relationship with it in respect to how much it should cost to acquire good food that is good FOR us. When we purchase food that is good for us it changes many things in our lives for the positive. The big but in this case is that good food that is good for you can get pretty expensive and most of us just don’t have the disposable income to make that work. Or do we?
Many moons ago I ran across this wonderful advocate for getting out of debt by using cash for everything. If you haven’t heard of this ideology prior to then you should definitely check out Dave Ramsey. I could write an entire article on his strategies, and may just do that for a future post.
For the sake of this article, however, I am sticking to the envelope strategy that my boyfriend and I use to help reign in the costs of food for the 7 of us. Yes, I said 7 of us! I have 2 children and he has 3 of which both of our oldest happen to be 11 year old boys that are basically human vacuum cleaners.
The envelope strategy is a very simple concept but can have a slight adjustment period in the beginning. What we do is we decide how much of our budget should go to food and we put that amount of cash into an envelope and I label it “groceries.” That is the total amount of cash that we have for the month to spend on groceries, including alcohol, spices, etc.
The Ibotta app is one that I have not been using for a long period of time but it has quickly became one of my best friends. I have passed along this little nugget to many of my friends and family since my initial find and they are in love too. Not everything is brand specific either, which I love, because I can purchase my organic milk, organic fruits and veggies, gluten free bread, etc. Just remember to read the fine print for each item.
What this app does is it gives you cash back for things that you already purchase. You can then get the cash deposited into your Paypal account or use it for gift cards. I opt for the former option at the end of the month because I then take that cash and add it to our “groceries” envelope.
By doing this, I am able to give us a bit more cash as a cushion in the grocery budget. So far it has worked beautifully! Last month I made $47.75, transferred it to my Paypal, put it directly into my checking account, withdrew money and added it to the envelope. So far this month, I have made $15.50.
They also have bonuses for referrals and teamwork. Whenever I refer somebody and they use the app for their first rebate, I get $5 in my account and they get $10 in theirs. Teamwork is an automatic boost where they group your friends on Facebook, who also have the app, or your referrals. These types of bonuses really help boost the amount you can get back every month.
Depending on which part of the country you live in, you may have this grocery store as an option. Here in North Carolina, Kroger is one of my regular go to stores, along with Trader Joe’s. I supplement with a few select items from Whole Foods and Earth Fare. I like Kroger because they have a fairly decent natural foods section and they can even have a pretty good organic produce selection on occasion. They also have good prices regularly as well as constant sales and weekly ads.
One of the newest things they have been doing is Free Friday, in which they send out an email to those who have a rewards card every Friday morning with a free item that you can get. Once you download the app, you can add this Free Friday item to your list and it will remain in there for 2 weeks, so you don’t necessarily have to go to the store immediately if it doesn’t fit into your schedule.
Every Friday I take a look at the weekly ad and put items into my “list” that I think we may purchase. I then look at the coupons and add those potential purchases to my “list” as well. Once I have done all of that, I open my Ibotta app and see if there is any overlap between items, and there always is some.
I make my list for the bulk of our groceries by using the aforementioned process of looking through the Kroger weekly ads, then the coupons and then pairing it with the cash rebates from Ibotta. After I have that base list down, I make my list for Trader Joe’s, but they don’t take any coupons because their prices are so low to begin with.
Whole Foods and Earth Fare do have coupons and the latter has a weekly ad for specials too. I check those to see if there is anything that I can’t get at Kroger or Trader Joe’s to add to my list. Primarily, I purchase my vegetarian meat, some of my gluten free products and my gluten free beer from these stores because they have a better selection.
So far this month, for the 7 of us, we still have $263.77 left of our initial grocery budget of $447.75. I am pretty darn happy with that seeing as we are halfway through the month!
What are some of the ways that you save money regularly on good food that is good for you?
I’ve Been Cable Free for 5 Years and Still Watch TV
While in debt, I cut cable and haven’t looked back. It’s easier than you think especially with new services out on the market. One of my favorites is Sling TV, which allows you to watch live TV on the internet. It’s awesome. Check out my Sling TV review.