There are a lot of reasons people find themselves in financial distress: loss of income, divorce, taxes, etc.
When they come to credit.org for help, we often find that overspending is a problem. And even when it’s not the main issue, getting a handle on spending can help ease the financial burdens that come from unrelated issues.
When budgeting, our clients find that food and grocery spending is the most inconsistent and hard to plan. To help you create a workable grocery spending budget, here are six steps to avoid overspending:
- Eat before you go shopping. Mom’s advice is still true; if you go shopping hungry, you’ll spend a lot more.
- Make a list. Sit down to make a shopping list on the day that coupons appear (usually Wednesdays and Sundays). Make the list comprehensive enough to include everything you need, then stick to it! There’s no point in planning your shopping if you’re going to add impulse items to your shopping cart when you get to the store.
- Do not take your children or your spouse. If you have kids, this one should be self-explanatory. It’s difficult to stick to a shopping list when you have other people throwing things into the cart.
- Take a calculator. Be prepared to put things back on the shelf if the numbers don’t add up. Get in the habit of including prices on your shopping list, and set priorities so you’ll know what not to buy if the prices aren’t right.
- Take coupons and your list when you go shopping. Don’t forget to bring your list! The same goes for coupons. What may seem like small savings today can really add up if you make it a regular practice. If you use coupons wisely, then get organized; put the items on the counter in the order you have the coupons arranged so checkout won’t take forever.
- Take cash only. If you set realistic food budget and only take that much cash to the store, then there’s NO WAY you can overspend! Leave the checkbook and the ATM card at home, and you’ll have no choice but to stick to your budget.
Keep these six steps in mind as you visit the grocery store, and you’ll get a big part of your spending under control immediately. That’ll make it a lot easier to cope with the other issues that are causing your financial distress.