smart spending

Limit trips to grocery store to save money

Newlyweds seem to know all kinds of ways to save money. As they say, necessity is the mother of invention. This month's highest-rated Frugal $ense tip is a case in point. Frugal $ense winner Regan Settles and her husband wanted to make sure the money they spent on groceries didn't go to waste. Their saving plan is fairly basic, but sometimes the simplest concepts are the most profound. Learn how they began this strategy and how they stick to it.

December's Frugal $ense winner: Regan Settles
Regan SettlesRegan Settles won $100 for submitting the following tip:

Grocery shop in your cabinets
"Once every two months, my husband and I make it a challenge to not go to the grocery and eat only the food that we have in our pantry for a week. This saves a full weeks' worth of grocery money, keeps us from wasting food, and helps us see what things tend to always be left over so we don't waste money on them in the future. If you really want to save, you can make it a challenge to see how long you can make it without a trip." -- Regan Settles, of Lexington, Ky.

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Bankrate.com: How long have you been doing this?

Regan Settles: We've been doing this since we've been married -- so for about a year and a half.

Bankrate.com: Was this something you consciously thought about, or did it just kind of happen?

Regan Settles: This was something we consciously did. We were trying to save money in any way we could. We noticed that we would have stuff we weren't eating. So we'd make ourselves eat it and save the money for a little bit.

Bankrate.com: Is it a challenge to stick to it?

Regan Settles: I think so, because you get home and there's something that you're really craving but you have to go eat the macaroni and cheese that's in the pantry. But it pays off, so it's worth it. Once it becomes a habit and you just kind of know that's what you're doing, it's not as hard.

Bankrate.com: What are you usually left with?

Regan Settles: Usually things in the freezer, like frozen fish (and) pizza; also pastas and different things like that.

Bankrate.com: Do you ever make anything really weird with what you have left?

Regan Settles: Usually we have stuff that's a full meal. We bought it thinking, "Oh, we'll eat that one night when we're busy" and we never do eat it. We'll have eggs so we can make up an omelet or whatever.

Bankrate.com: Is there anything else that you guys do to be frugal or save money?

Regan Settles: We do a lot of things. We keep the thermostat lower than we would like it. We've gone to slower Internet. We have rules about buying things. If we don't consistently want something for a week or so, then we don't let ourselves get it. We don't let ourselves buy things right away. We use Restaurant.com. That saves a ton of money (on going out to eat).

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