My inner economist

The Cut back

I recently realized that it's time (again) for me to take a good look at my financial status. Right now I've got a very good reason to do some cutbacks.
So I took my copy of 'America's Cheapest Family' from Steve and Annette Economides (what's in a name?) and decided that I shall do a blog series about cutting back. And I will share my experiences with you chapter by chapter.

Starting with the very life basics: Groceries

According to ACF cutting back on your grocery bill is the easiest and fastest way to start saving. An average American household spends about S177,- dollars per month on groceries. The hubby and I spend about E 200,- euros a month together. So about E 100,- euros per person. 
ACF has one great strategy when it comes to grocery shopping: They only shop once a month. What?! What a big shopping trip that must be. And where do they put all their food and keep it fresh?
We don't own a freezer and I'm not planing to invest in one any time soon. So I don't think grocery shopping once a month is an option. Right now we shop once a week. But perhaps a strategy for us can be, shopping every two weeks. 
This means actually writing a grocery list, checking out sale items and coming up with a meal plan. A meal plan helps you to not waste money on forgotten fridge items. It also helps you save time because you don't have to think about the life long question: 'What shall we eat today'?.
Of course I need to talk this over with the hubs. 
Cutting back is something you do together. 

Small steps

So today we did our weekly shopping at our local supermarket. Which is about 5 minutes by bike and sells A-brands. It's convenient cause it's so close to our house and they have a huge variety in products. There is another supermarket about, well 10 minutes away by car. It's what they call a supermarket for 'poor' people. Everything is in boxes on pallets and they don't have some of the products I usually buy. But the cashiers are fast as a bullet. And I mean REALLY fast. They scan so quickly that I feel stressed out when I pack my items in my shopping bags. But when I have to pay I usually save E 10,- tot E 20,- euros.

So for next week I'll try to convince my hubby to shop ahead for 2 weeks, or maybe 1,5 week to start. And next week I'll be able to drive the good old Peugeot again so now excuses for the supermarket further away.

What are your tips on saving when it comes to grocery shopping?


  1. I understand your post! I agree. What is your priority? Futher away by car, to a less expensive supermarket or by bike to a little more expensive supermarket. To look it of the positive sight by going by bike: you save fuel, better for the nature and your wallet. But that is not helping your issue.

    For myself; I do my groceries at several places. Every sunday I always check the sale items. I only buy meat (most of the time more expensive) when it is on sale. That is the same with vegetables. The good part of the vegetables is that the season vegetables are always cheaper when it is their season and that it is also good for your health to eat them in the right season. The varity is huge. It is easy to say for me, I have several supermarkets on my way. So I buy this and that (on sale) in supermarket A and this and that in supermarket B.

    I usually shop at Albert Heijn. Offcourse it is a A supermarket with high end products. That doesn't mean I am always buying the high end products. I usually go for the cheaper products of there own cheaper brand (Euroshopper). But the nice thing of the Albert Heijn is that they have the abbility to save money with 'Koopzegels'. So when I have paid the groceries, let's say: €33,54 I have the opportunity to buy 33 'Koopzegels'. The will cost me €0,10 each. So my exact costs will be: €33,54 + €3,30 = €36,84. It is helping me saving in a way that it doesn't hurt. When you have a full card (490 koopzegels) they will not give you €49, but €52. Okay, what is €3? I think it is a nice gesture.

    1. I almost finished my second card. So that is €104. I have them in my house. I'll keep it there. When I have several, I will turn them in.

      Another tip: discountcards. Almost every shop has them. Offcourse, you have to remember it and your purse is getting bigger. But I am saving with my groceries with Kruidvat. I also have Airmiles. It doesn't cost me everything. And I don't look very often. I think I have saved 3000 points with Airmiles. When you look at the website of it, you can see at there shop you can save for very nice things. Things you would have paid for otherwise. It is now in my system. It doesn't cost me money and/or effort. It helps me saving. Never think it is saving for the short term, but always for the long term. So one a year I check it and decide is there anything I need: no? Lets save some more.

      Another tip: I usually use my 'pinpas' for groceries, or anything else. It is faster and easy. But therefor spending is easier and that is killing. When you get the paper money from the bank it is concrete. You will notice you will spend it otherwise. Because one paper of €50 seems to be a lot. On your bankaccount it is easily gone. When it is in your wallet, you think twice by spending it. It is something psychological, but research has showed it works. I have an other agreement with my self. Every coin (doesn't matter what ammount) goes in the saving pig. I never look in it. I only pay with paper money. Offcourse somethimes I will pay with the coins. But I will give you an example.

    2. When I am on a budget of €30, I will get that at the bank. I try to buy my groceries for €25 or less. Because if I can do it for less (without starving offcourse) it is always better. What is left of the €30 I put in the saving Pig. I never look at that as well. Somethimes. I a while it is still money.

      Bying fuel for the car. When it is not possible I will go to a more expensive tankstation. But that only happens onces a year. I always prepaire and plan everything so I can tank at Tango. It is the cheapest in NL. Some people say it is less goof fuel. True, but if it wouldn't be alright, they wouldn't sell it. It is fine. They have every thursday a discount day. Therefor it is always cheaper than it already was. I try to fill my tank on a thursday. When it doesn't work out, that I have to fill my tank on a wednesday I am not sad. I always go out of the price on a normal day and when I am Lucky (most of the time) it will work out on a thursday and I am happy for it.

      It does take some effort in the beginning. But when it is in your system it becomes a second nature. It is not deciding my life, but I do know where what is the cheapest.

      Last tip. Maybe it is possible to get a pass from the Makro or an other supplier for compagnies. I use the one of my father. I take a look every week. Most of the time it is not cheaper, but when it is on sale I will get it. Because you have big stash and go for a little while. For example. My boyfriend smokes tabbac. In beginning he smoked siggarettes. Now he is using tabbac, beacuse it is cheaper. In all supermarkets the cheapest one is, let's say: €5,50. I buy at the Makro 10 for €4,40 = €44 instead of €55. Hahahaha I hide them in the house. If he would now there is more in house, he would smoke a lot more. This is with tabac, but I do it as well with other products. But than again, you have to have a look at the sale items they send you verry often.

      I hope this will help you!

      XX Gwen

    3. Hi Gwen,

      Thank you for your amazing comments with a lot of useful tips!
      For our next grocery trip I will got to the cheap supermarket by car. And go to the more convenient supermarket by bike. So I will compensate the two trips. At our last grocery trip I only had cash. I had exactly E 50,- euros. When the cashier had finished scanning the amount was E 51,- euros. I asked here to remove on item from my groceries. I was only E 1,- euro but it helped me stay within my budget and I set a psychological boundary for myself.

      I think there is a gas station with 'Happy hours' on the way to the city where most of my family lives. I can drive my car again as of now so it won't hurt to check out that gas station.

      Thanks again, and I hopen you stay tuned and share your tips!



  2. Hi Mandy,

    Thnx for your reply :)! I think your blog is an amazing thing! If we can help eachother with tips, why not?! A psychological boundary is good! I will use your tip as well ;-)!



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