Mom’s grocery budgeting hacks help cut down $93K in debt

This mom of three got intentional about her spending at the grocery store.

Mom’s grocery budgeting hacks help cut down $93K in debt
ABC News
Video byElisa Tang and Amanda Su
June 25, 2023, 4:05 AM

When Kim Anderson of Charlotte, North Carolina, and her husband Cressel Anderson bought their first home, the milestone was exciting, but their goal of being debt free was seemingly out of reach with a $93,000 mortgage.

But then the pair discovered cash budgeting. Each month, Kim would allocate a specific amount to each expense from groceries to kids' activities to clothing. And any leftovers would go straight to paying down that mortgage.

"I couldn't just swipe and swipe and swipe [my credit card]," Kim told "Good Morning America." "For me, switching to using tangible cash, by putting that in a grocery envelope, by putting it in a clothing envelope, all those things gave me this -- very tangible way of saying like, 'How much am I spending?'"

Kim said surplus cash like tax refunds or bonus money also went toward paying down the principle. And within just two years, Kim and her family were debt free.

"It was like $25 here, $50 here, but over time it just -- it just kept shortening that time frame," Kim said.

Kim, who now runs a blog called Thrifty Little Mom, discovered while budgeting that some of her biggest savings came from groceries.

"I got very intentional about making a shopping list and forcing myself to stick with that list," Kim said. "There were times I was in the grocery store and I would want to get something else and add it to the cart … but I would say, 'No, that's not in alignment with what's on the list.'"

To cut costs at the grocery store too, consider some of Kim's tips below with advice on more ways to save from Tiffany Aliche, "The Budgetnista" and author of "Get Good with Money: 10 Simple Steps to Becoming Financially Whole."

Avoid impulse purchases

Kim said she got intentional about making a shopping list and forcing herself to stick with that list.

For Aliche, one way to avoid impulse purchases is to buy things in bulk. Some things that can be bought in bulk include paper goods, pasta and meat.

Food shop online

Online shopping these days isn't just for clothes, but also a good place to purchase food. Kim said online shopping helped her save.

"Instead of having three kids in the grocery store like begging every aisle, we're able to just go in and put in what we actually feed our family on a regular basis," Kim said.

Once you're done shopping online for your food, Aliche suggests using apps like Supercook, Allrecipes and Cookpad, which can help put recipes together with the ingredients that you have.

Take stock of your fridge

One way to avoid overspending at the store is to know what you have in your fridge or pantry.

"If you're going to the store and you buy duplicates, you're gonna spend more money that you really need to," Kim said.

Editor's note: This was originally published on Oct. 15, 2021.

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