Sallie & Perkins: Smart Shopping



A LOT of you Sallie & Perkins fans talk about shopping. And spending. And saving. And how you just can't find that balance when you're out and about, when you grocery shop, when you buy gifts, etc. I'm here to share a few extra tips that help us cut our grocery spending and maybe it can help you too.
If your house runs like this….. read on!
Food. It's a BIG cost, there's no way around that. Obviously Jared ehh, Perkins and I just have the two of us to feed, so if you've got kids or a bigger household you'll have to adjust accordingly- but these are still tips you can use and apply. 

Cut down on convenience foods. When Sallie & Perkins shop, there are VERY few items they buy that are pre-packaged/convenience foods. A few cans of soup and a couple frozen Lean Cuisines will be about it in a month's time. Companies jack up the prices because they know people will pay for the ease of popping something in the microwave or the "packability" of those individual size bags of baby carrots. When you avoid these types of foods, you will be saving some serious dollars on your grocery bill. Our small amount of convenience items are "emergency" foods for when we're down to our last bite and/or our work schedules require we pack something convenient.

Use cash!
This is one that took us quite some time to get used to and get on board with. Sallie & Perkins were kinda' anti the "you must use cash" thing that Dave Ramsey preaches. They thought they could make their budget, they could easily stick to it and that using their debit cards wouldn't be tempting or difficult at all. But one month? They tried the cash system and they were forever believers after it.
Cash is SO much more personal than swiping a debit card. When you have those dollar bills in your wallet, I promise you that you'll be less likely to spend them. And when you do spend them? It will be a well-thought out decision about how much you're spending and what you're actually getting for that dollar amount you're handing over. 
It was a tough habit to break- the convenience of the debit card is just too easy. But once Perkins and I started shopping for our groceries with cash only, we actually stretched our money QUITE a bit. We were those dorky, slow shoppers calculating every single thing that went in our basket. Literally... we had a calculator and we added things up as we went. I would challenge you to try a cash system for groceries this month and see how eye-opening it might be. Be prepared for your first couple of grocery trips to take longer than they usually do, but that extra cash saved is well worth the longer visit.
What is your household spending on groceries in a month's time? We are spending about $150 a month (or less when we're really rocking!) and eating JUST fine. That covers 90% of ALL meals for 2 of us for the month. I promise you don't need those chips, that 12-pack of soda pop or even that freezer stocked full of frozen dinners. You CAN make the choices right now that will save you money month after month after month.

40 comments

  1. Oh man I'll have to try the cash system! I hardly ever have cash on hand and I think it's because that debit card is just so easy to use! Thanks again sallie and Perkins :)

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  2. I have asked Joe to do the cash thing but he just is against it for some reason. I might need to send him to Perkins' boot camp.

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  3. REALLY need to do this! We spend wayyy too much on food. Thanks for the tips :-)

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  4. All so true! I haven't made it to cash yet...but I lost my job a week ago and that changed my perspective completely. Generous friends got us a grocery gift card to help and on our first trip, we only spent a third of it - and it is enough to last us at least for the week!

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  5. Girl I needed to see this after spend 500.00 buck at Sams Club and coming home and being like what did I buy?
    These pics are cracking me up.
    I am up for the challenge I am doing meal plans and sticking to the plan

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  6. I need to start meal planning, I'm sure that would help with savings and eliminate the small amount of food that does waste

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  7. Caleb and I have gotten as low as spending $110 but it was SO freaking hard...we were practically starving... LOL. Not going to go that low again ;) YAY for frugal tips, love them!!

    Cash totally helps!!

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  8. I love this post so much! We don't use the cash system (and I'll be honest, have never tried, so I can't speak for it) but we like using our CC just because we get rewards points. We do treat it like cash and do the "if the money isn't in the checking account to pay right away, don't buy it!" thing, but I am trying to do more cash for my own personal shopping and see how it goes!

    Food is SUCH a huge and necessary expense for all of us, that I really believe it's one of the first big budgeting steps to take control over. You go, Salt & Peppa!!!

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  9. I am trying to transition to the cash system.

    We spend about $200-220, and I'm contantly trying to wheedle it down. I am still overstocking things.

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  10. I meal plan and do not go to the store without a list. Now sometimes I have to go off that list because I forgot to write down something for the recipe but very often do I do that. We also do our best to eat everything in our house before going shopping. For instance, since we traveled most of July into August, we only shopped for necessities and I'm currently on our last week of using things up before going to the store. Sometimes this makes Keith frustrated but then he sees why I'm doing it because I don't want to buy stuff and it never get used and then he thinks it was his idea :)

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  11. Man do I love Sallie and Perkins! Like I told you during our budget advice g-chat session we have a red card and save 5% on groceries, so I want to keep using it, but I am going to challenge myself to stick to a certain number the next time a grocery shop! You better believe I'll have my calculator out! :)

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  12. I remember as a kid (before debit cards), my mom had an envelope with her grocery money for the month. I so rarely have cash but may have to experiment. As always, love the photos!

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  13. I feel like I should use the cash rule when grocery shopping! I find myself throwing things in the cart that I don't necessarily need! With cash I probably wouldn't do that!

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  14. You budget tips are always great but so are your Sally and Perkins pictures!

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  15. I really need to start separating out the baby stuff (diapers & wipes mostly) to see how much we actually spend on food. I should also try out the cash method, I keep saying I will but I really need to.

    Also, I think Sallie and Perkins are ADORABLE.

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  16. Love the Sallie & Perkins posts :) I haven't made the switch to cash yet (my bank is located all the way across town), but I did start using my debit card for everything instead of my credit card! Now I can only spend what I actually have in the bank :) I was taking advantage of 0% on my CC and great rewards at the time, now that that is over I am done with it as well :)

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  17. love your tips! and i always try to stock up on the items we use (especially frozen or non perishables) when they are on sale so that we don't have to buy them when we need them and they are more expensive.

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  18. When I was a server I only used cash. Now I have to get back in the habit of taking cash out for purchases, which TOTALLY makes all the difference. Plus B and I just found this sweeeeet area of farmers markets and shops to really seal the deal for cheap, organic food!

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  19. I do pretty well with grocery expense. But I never thought to use cash for it. That may actually help even more. Good points! The pictures in this post made my friggin day. Hahaha. Love these! =D

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  20. Erin! I find this to be so weird. I was just talking to my fiance yesterday about how we spend so much money on food. I don't know if it's because we live in a tourist location, but I spend at LEAST $300 a WEEK on food averaging $1200 a month. I don't know where all of our money is going but we mostly buy produce, and I know that can get expensive because local farmers are growing it,etc. We're also just beginning to buy our spices and all of that which can rack up the bill, but spices last forever so once we get those out of the way I feel that our grocery bill will drop (I'M HOPING!)

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  21. I LOVE this "edition"!!!! Rob and I spend STRICTLY $150 on groceries a month and we DO NOT eat out at all. I am extremely meticulous about what I buy-- one HUGE piece of advice I have is to ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS make a grocery list and only get what's on the list. We never go to the store without one and never get anything that's not on the list (although Rob always sneaks in a candy bar and I've given up fighting it). Oh and Mix and Match Mama does the same (the website I gave you). I preplan meals that I can do something for a second night with, a totally different meal too-- I even scouted out certain stores in the town that have the best prices on meat, which days they have their sales, dairy and so on and so forth. I thought about doing a post about it but you have it covered here!

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  22. Oh my word. 150 a month!? You're a rock star. I got groceries for the next week and half for around $50 and I was SO proud of myself. I even resisted that ice cream. HUGE deal for this preggo! :)

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  23. Holy cow! $150/month is impressive! Where do you do your shopping? I seriously need some tips from you on how to achieve this! There are just two of us as well and we meal plan for the week, pack lunches and use some coupons here and there. But we are still averaging about $80-90 a week! Yikes!

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  24. Good for you! Our monthly food budget for the four of us runs about $400 (that's food, paper products, bathroom items, the whole works). We could probably scale back more too. I take lunch everyday and we don't eat out as much as we used to.
    Sallie & Perkins - you are inspirations!!!! Keep up the good work.

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  25. $150 a month????? OMG.....for just me and CV we spend about $600 a month on groceries....and probably another $400 on eating out. But CV is a huge food snob....he doesnt like generic foods, like "kroger brand"...and doesnt even like Kraft and things like that. he likes the EXPENSIVE cheese...etc! And Im guilty myself...I will only drink out of bottled water, and I'm a bottled water snob...it has to be a certain kind or I think it taste funny. (Obviously I need to start couponing again!!)

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  26. Oh man! I've tried to convince Jake to do the whole cash thing, but we're terrified. Can Sally and Perkins just come to Minnesota and train us in person? :)

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  27. yes to this!! we just started using a cash system and it is working out pretty well. We spend about $150 on groceries a month as well (not including beer & wine). And then we treat ourselves to a (cheap) meal out one a week. So we average around $200-225 on food a month now, which is a LOT lower then when we were using our debit cards.

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  28. $150 A MONTH??!!! Whhhaatttt??? We spend that much, okay a little less in a week. But in our defense that includes toiletry items as well as we do 95% of our shopping at Walmart. Teach me your ways!!!

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  29. We do the cash thing! We do this! ha. It works. Cards = bad. The end!

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  30. Erin, this was exactly the post I needed to read today! We have been trying to figure out how to cut grocery costs and have had a hard time balancing the costs of eating well, but it sounds like you and Jared/Perkins have a good system in place! We will have to give the cash idea a go. Thanks for the tip! :)

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  31. $150 a month is great! I spend about twice that month, plus some during the week when I eat out. I recently started the "eat out only on Fridays rule" which helps a lot, because $10 a day really adds up. I just can't seem to get Derek on bored with not eating out, but since we aren't married it's his money and until we are combined I'm not going to tell him what to do with it! I've never used cash, but I always try to give myself a budged, and I have definitely walked around using a calculator!

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  32. We tried the cash system for a while too and I used cash for everything except gas (because let's face it, I'm lazy and don't want to go into the gas station, haha). We need to get back into our routine. Great tips (see you still have them!)

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  33. I think it is time for a Sallie and Perkins tab at the top. :) These are great! I'm curious as to what y'all eat. Keep the tips coming!!!

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  34. We try to stay around $250 for the month. That includes eating out for lunch during the week. Jordan eats out once a week, and I do a few times a month. Our grocery budget used to be $350, so we've cut out about $100. It probably would be lower, but Jordan works a job that requires a lot of manual labor, so he's hungry ALL the time. And since I run a lot, I'm hungry all the time too, so I'm okay with getting a bit more food ;) But we NEVER buy processed microwave crap. That stuff is nasty.

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  35. We spend a ridiculous amount of money on groceries every month. The sad thing is, we usually eat it all and that's way more food than we need! We're headed back to the "real world" of having to buy our own groceries again after living at home all Summer. This is definitely something I'm going to try!

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  36. YES TO CASH! I'm learning that recently ;) I'm kinda liking the feel of a "heavy" wallet, hahaha.

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  37. hahaha when he's rocking the orange card he SO looks like ryan reynolds!

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  38. First of all I love the photos on this post.

    Second of all, hubby and I have recently gone to the all-cash system and it is a STRUGGLE with groceries! We have a Sam's membership and I still cannot spend less than like $400 on groceries plus cat food plus household cleaning supplies. I cook every night but he just eats SO MUCH FOOD...he packs 2 lunches a day plus I pack my lunch, PLUS I have to cook dinner and breakfast. HOW DO YOU DO IT!??!!

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    online grocery delivery

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