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Financial Literacy Month blog

We hope you enjoy reading some of our thoughts as we join you on the path to financial wellness and we encourage you to yours. If you would like to follow our path on a more micro-level, we will be using twitter to chronicle our days.

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Going for groceries without going broke

Posted by Kim McGrigg on 4/23/2008

I have to admit that before FinancialLiteracyMonth.com, I had no idea that my organization offered free menu planners and grocery lists. I really, really need these tools because I am probably the worst grocery shopper on the planet.

Take last night for example. I ran to the grocery store at 6:00 pm because I suddenly wanted a hamburger (in my defense, it was a very nice night for grilling!) While at the store, I picked up: ground beef, buns, bananas, soup, multi vitamins, dishwasher soap, pretzels, butter, sugar snap peas, and a tall decaf coffee from Starbucks. The bill was something like $32 (That is with my 5 cent discount for bringing my own bags!) I repeat a version of this madness every single day of the week. $32 x 7 times per week x 52 weeks = $11,648 per year on unplanned, chaotic grocery shopping trips.

In addition to the 100 hours or so I spend on these grocery trips per year, I am spending way too much gas and money. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the average American family of four spends $8,513 per year on groceries (could this possibly include stuff like dishwasher soap and vitamins??)

Here’s what the experts at Kiplinger’s have to say about my grocery shopping style:

“Making bigger shopping trips less often will cut down on your impulse buys
. In fact, almost half of all shoppers go to the store three or four times per week. Shoppers making a "quick trip" to the store usually purchase 54% more than they planned, according to a study published by the Marketing Science Institute.

If you go to the store three times a week and spend $10 on impulse buys each trip, that adds up to $120 extra per month. But if you go only once a week, you'll spend $40 per month on impulse buys. That saves you $80 per month, or $960 per year.”

I know that this is one area where I can make some immediate, noticeable improvements to our financial situation. I am so committed to making a positive change in this area that I am going to make and print a goal certificate about it and tape it onto my car’s dashboard.

I’d love to hear about some of your goals.
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