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Trying to Save Some Money on Groceries

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We probably spend over $50/month on soft drinks. Both my husband and I drink a lot of pop. In the past, I have quit drinking pop in an effort to save some money. But I always seem to start drinking it again.

My husband recently gave it up, though. It’s the first time he’s done it and he likes living caffeine-free. Now it’s my turn to do it again. Probably within the next few weeks when things quiet down I will join him. That will save us over $50/month and we’ll both be healthier for it.

When I look at our grocery spending as a whole, a lot of it is due to the “extras” like soft drinks and treats. With food prices going up across the board (and boy, have they been increasing lately!!), it’s time to cut those extras and go back to basics. Summer is the perfect time since there are fresh fruits and vegetables available. My garden ended up being really pathetic this year (I think I got some bad seeds) but we do have a local organic farm that we like to buy from. There are also plenty of public places where we can pick berries and apples for free when they are in season. We just have to get there before they are already all picked 😉

If we can commit to using a little more of our time when it comes to cooking/gathering food, we can save quite a bit on our groceries. I think our wallet and our bodies will thank us for it.


21 Comments

  • Reply Gay |

    Good for you on giving up pop! I quit drinking pop when I was 16 and don’t miss it at all. Now, we I taste it, I can’t believe how sweet and sugary it all is. Giving up the caffeine is a nice thing, but it is also good to give up the sugar and artifical sweeteners. I think those are worse for you than the caffeine.

    I have just recently started reading your blog and wish you the best of luck. Being frugal is sometimes is very hard thing, but will get easier and I am positive you will succeed!

  • Reply Jim ~ mydebtblog.com |

    You must go through a lot of pop to drop $50 per month on it. I like pop though and would have a hard time giving it up. We stocked up on pop at Jewel recently, got a good 5/$10 deal multiple times. I have about 20 cases (12 pack) or so that should last us quite some time. It’s all diet too so the calorie count on every can is ZERO.

    Hopefully you will be able to go cold turkey on pop and change up the grocery budget. Snacks are not food so they always come last. I never pass up free stuff either so it’s fun to go shopping on Saturday when I can get lunch for free trying the samples of everything. Buying bulk has larger up front cost but better long term value.

  • Reply Kim L. |

    I haven’t totally given up soda but I don’t drink it nearly as often anymore. I was able to tell the difference even though I was only really drinking one Diet Coke a day. I still have it occasionally but my health and wallet love the change! You can definitely do it again. Just remind yourself how committed you are to this money thing and there is no way you could not do just as well with the soda thing!

  • Reply arduous |

    I used to drink a ton of Diet Coke, and have quit for multiple reasons including that I don’t think that artificial sweetener is good for you, and also because of the environmental impact of Coke. Anyway, my new rule is, I’m allowed to drink soda, but only soda which 1) doesn’t come in plastic and 2) contains sugar and not artificial sweetener or HFCS.

    Because those natural sodas are not that easy to find, I usually drink a soda once every couple of weeks instead of a couple a day like I used to. It works well, because I don’t feel entirely deprived as I still do drink a soda a couple times a month, but on the other hand, I also know that I’m being healthier.

    Anyway, congratulations on giving up the soda. If you feel like a cold drink that isn’t water, I highly recommend making some nice ice-tea. It really is the perfect summer drink. And some tea bags are much cheaper than soda!!

  • Reply Adrian |

    Tricia,

    I know exactly how you feel in this post! For the past 3 months I’ve been soda/caffine free and I can really feel the difference in my physical AND financial health! Now I drink only water, juices and brewed teas (i still add a little sugar), but it saves me about $10 per check ($40/month)and even helps me cut back on eating fast food cause now I dont want to pay for the ‘value meal’ and not drink a soda with it.

    Our grocery spending had gotten WAY out of control which led me to post about it last month.

    Please take a look:

    http://atriskliving.blogspot.com/2008/06/june-is-last-month-we-spend-500-on-food_25.html

    I tell ya, the smallest changes are the ones that make all the difference!

    I love your blog,

    Adrian

    http://atriskliving.blogspot.com

  • Reply Rob in Madrid |

    try fizzy water, I got into it living in Germany and it’s a great substitute for pop. Put it in the fridge and voila calorie and chemical free drink. I do tend to drink a bit more during the heat of the summer as I cut back on coffee. m

  • Reply Chris |

    My wife and I are the same way with Soda. The longest that I went without soda was probably for a month. I lost about 10 pounds doing it too. Now I tend to drink it more than water which is really bad. We probably spend closer to $100 on soda/drinks easily in a month. It ads up quick on a hot day. I can probably work on cutting back to save money, but it is too hard for me to quit all together. I don’t drink coffee so soda is my only “extra” boost during the day.

  • Reply Dasha |

    Ack! That’s a ton of soda! My rule has always been – no soda in the house. If I eat out, I can have a soda and if one comes free with my takeout, I do as well. So I have maybe 1 a week at most. I always knew I was saving money, but can’t believe it’s so expensive!

  • Reply jaye |

    Recently, I decided not to eat sugar, fake sugar and white flour for awhile. Kind of a do-it-yourself diet. In the past, I have tried to cut out sugar, but really just upped my fake sugar. One day, I overheard my (ridiculously fit, mountain-climbing) 80 year old dad say, “Diet Coke makes you fat.” Okay, we all know that sugar soda makes you fat, but what he said definitely made me wonder. The more I thought about it, the more I noticed that the more sugary (or sweet-tasting) drinks I drank, the more I ate. I’ve now stopped even putting sugar in my coffee. The funny thing is, I really don’t have sugar cravings any more. That’s pretty amazing for me. And it really only took a week. Perhaps taking soda out of your diet will save you more than money!

  • Reply Joy Smith |

    We consider soda pop a treat in our home. We get it when we go out to eat or on special occasions. If we don’t we have little ones that get too easily addicted to the stuff and want it 24/7. I don’t drink the stuff at all. I never really cared for the carbonation and syrup stuff in it. Nasty stuff to me.lol

  • Reply Alysia |

    I have been reading your post for several months now. And for some reason this post was the one I just had to comment on.
    I am going through the same debt related issues and this is what I do to save money on groceries.

    1. Cut coupons (Of course this one is easy!)

    2. Get internet coupons from coupons.com and check the web sites of the products you use the most. They have great deals too.

    3. Shop at Ralph’s or Vons because they have double coupon offers. (Most places are doing this now too.)

    4. Get the rewards card and use it. (There are great member savings)

    5. Take your own bags. (Most grocery stores give you 5 cents off per bag you bring.)

    6. Use Costco for all your paper goods. The saving is really great and if you are buying the Costco brand you can’t lose. (And for the things you use everyday.)

    I did these steps and saved 47.93 on a shopping trip that totaled 120.33. I was so happy to see the total savings at the bottom of the receipt that I have turned into a shopping diva.

    I love this stuff now.

  • Reply danielle |

    What I’ve done is cut my portions almost in half at meal times. It’s enough to cut hunger, and I wrap the rest up for the next meal, to nuke. I’ve saved money and lost about 8 pounds in a couple of weeks.

  • Reply Jenna |

    Best of luck on the quest to quit caffeine…

    You are exactly right about the time vs. cost issue.The more time you are willing to spend growing / preparing your own food, the cheaper it is in the long run.

    I have a black thumb unfortunately, so I am struggling to garden, but we have eliminated most of the processed foods we used to eat, and we are feeling better than ever.

  • Reply LoriLynn |

    The best part of this blog is that I don’t feel alone..I do get depressed and overwhelmed by the 30,000 loans/Credit card type debt plus mortgage plus student loans that I am in but if makes it a little better to see others in the same boat!! I am really trying hard to cut back, stop the use of credit cards, do not run up more debt but it is hard and seeing your posts makes me feel better that hey, it can be done!

  • Reply Elizabeth |

    I love reading your site and found that I just had to comment on this post. I’ve never been a huge pop drinker, but I’ve had friends that were as addicted to it as I was to cigs. Recently I read a great book about health and diet, which I ended up following for “just four month” which ended up to be 8 months and counting. They really sent a message about processed foods, and especially sodas: they called it liquid satan! Because of them I cut out my own personal caffeine habit: coffee. It took a few days of headaches (that’s when I really understood I was addicted to the stuff)but I ended up having more long-lasting energy and a better mood throughout the day. I think part of it for me was the ritual of the coffee in the morning. But, changing to herbal tea or for you fizzy water or juice may be just the thing. I also advocate for eliminating as much fake “food” as possible from your diet, especially for your son. You want to model good eating habits as early as possible not just for the financial benefits but for good health!

  • Reply Todd the Bod |

    Give up the pop! My wife and I did it January 1st and don’t really miss it. It’ll save you a LOT of money, especially when eating out.

  • Reply David |

    most dark sodas have phosphoric acid. This chemical can bind up calcium in your gut. That means that a large amount of Diet Coke, Pepsi or Dr.Pepper might cause osteoposis. Ouch! Google ‘osteoporosis’ and ‘diet coke’ and see how many hits you get. Now regular Coke and Pepsi do the same thing, but people usually choose diet soda for health benefits, so I highlight them.

  • Reply "PHIL" =OHIO |

    HELLO,
    Years ago, I did some research on side effects of carbonated beverages, and found out that one 12 oz. can/bottle depleets %15 of your (NATURAL) vitamins! This beside the scenerio, of the peeks and valleys the sugar and caffeen create. It’s no wonder people feel so (out of energy ) with their low blood sugar by the end of the day, to say nothing of the examlpe we set/allowed for our children ! These effects snowball from day to day, and create inefficient imune systems, leaving you wide open for any viruses, cold & flu.
    Truly Yours, “PHIL” =”OHIO”

  • Reply Teri |

    What is Pop? Just kidding, down here in the South we call all carbonated beverages “coke” and also the real coke we call coke.

    I had given up coke thinking it was saving a few pennies, but mainly to lose weight. It has been about a year and a half since I have purchased any coke in the grocery store.

    I started drinking coke again and was amazed at just how expensive it has become. And thanks to recycling I can now “see” just how much I am drinking by looking at the used bottles…well I looked at my grocery bill and it was costing me about 8$ a week in cola coke costs.

    $416 a year in coke cost, not including the McD’s coke with a burger costs.

    Wow! Opened my eyes NO more Coke for me. I would rather have the money.

So, what do you think ?