5 Steps to Get Your Grocery Budget Under Control

  • Shop with only cash in hand. I mentioned in my last column that my parents did this and, lo and behold, Brandon and Stacey do too. “We carry an envelope stocked with our budgeted dollar amount in cash when we grocery shop,” said Brandon. “We found that when we shopped with our debit card, we had no boundaries with those extra items that weren't on our list.” It’s an oldie but a goodie. If you only have $75 on you, you will only spend $75. What a concept!
  • I often say that groceries are the gateway to even bigger, better savings. If you can save a little money on your groceries, you can then use that money to do things like put extra money toward your mortgage principal, which can save you tens of thousands over the life of the loan, thanks to reverse compounding.

    Summit Credit Union’s Project Money is proof that learning how to save has a snowball effect. In five years, the credit union has helped contestants save more than $150,000 and decrease their debts by more than $220,000. “Project Money was developed as a way to … [inspire] thousands of others to follow along and make changes in their own lives,” said Kim Sponem, CEO of Summit Credit Union. “This high-impact public learning opportunity provides real-life tips for people and is at the heart of what we do every day.” You can learn more “Project Money” tips and tricks here.

    Any opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author.

    Elisabeth Leamy is a 20-year consumer advocate for programs including "Good Morning America" and "The Dr. Oz Show." She is the author of Save BIG and The Savvy Consumer. Elisabeth is also a professional speaker, delivering talks nationwide on saving money, media relations, and career success. Elisabeth receives her best story tips from readers, so please connect with her via Facebook, Twitter or her website, to share your ideas.

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