From starting a container tomato garden on the balcony to couponing your way to free toothpaste for years, getting groceries for fewer than $100 a month may be easier than you think!
For thrifty mom and wife Mavis Butterfield, cutting her grocery bill down from $814 a month to $100 per month has been a lifestyle choice she’s been able to sustain with the help of coupons, gardening, and bartering. This meager maven now runs her own blog called onehundreddollarsamonth.com where she gives insights into her penny-wise ways.
“When I first started blogging, my intention was to plant a garden and keep an online journal of my progress,” Butterfield shares. “In 2009 I planted a large garden in the backyard and was able to grow more than 1,000 pounds of fruits and vegetables at a cost of about $.33 a pound. We wanted to travel and I decided cutting back on our grocery budget would be a great way to start saving for a trip to Europe.”
Butterfield believes anyone can reduce the amount of money spent on groceries. Here are her tips for stretching grocery budgets to the limit, while having a little fun along the way!
- Get organized. Butterfield recommends lining up cans and boxes “OCD style” to make it easier to see what you have and when it expires.
- Eat at home. “Stop buying convenience foods and wasting money on take-out meals,” Butterfield advises. “Cook meals at home instead.”
- Start a garden. Whether it’s on your patio or in your backyard, this is a great way to spend pennies and get pounds of fantastically fresh produce. “I started a large garden, learned to can our own food and froze our extra produce,” Butterfield says, on one of her biggest money savers.
- Get creative with coupons! “By watching grocery store ads and matching coupons with items on sale, you can save big bucks on everyday items,” she says. “I have not had to pay for toothpaste for about two years now.”
- Be patient. You can do it! When it comes to shopping, pass on the cookies until they’re on sale. “Don’t worry, they will still be there next week,” Butterfield laughs. “Knowing you’ll be paying a fraction of what you used to pay for them, will make the cookies taste all the better. I promise.”
- Don’t go cold turkey. “Saving money on groceries and learning self control takes a little getting used to at first,” she says. “If you try and slash your budget overnight like a ninja you will fail. Start by telling yourself you are going to shave 10 percent off your budget the first month, and then go from there. Have an end goal in mind but don’t beat yourself up about it if you don’t succeed at first. You’ll get the hang of it if you just stick with it.”
Butterfield’s $100 a month grocery bill is a completely attainable goal for any family; and this discount diva even has two teenagers to feed with that budget! “My teenagers contribute by eating everything in sight that is not nailed down,” she jokes. “Bottom line: They are kids. As long as there is an occasional box of cookies, or pack of gum in the goody drawer, that’s all that matters. Anyone can do this. You don’t need a degree in rocket science. All you need is a little will power.”