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Save Grocery Money in a "Five Dollar Cup"

For several years I have been keeping what I call a "Five Dollar Cup". It seemed that the best grocery buys always occurred when I was low on funds or I had a lot to buy that week. I started faithfully putting five dollars in a cup each week, even if it meant I had to knock an item off of the grocery list. When I had a week that I didn't need to buy as much I would throw the extra money in the cup as well.


I didn't bother too much about items that were 10 or 20 cents cheaper, but rather focused on higher priced products that were two for one or half price. I use a lot of mushroom soup in cooking so when it is on for 49 cents, I will buy 20 cans. When coffee is $2.99 instead of $5.49, I will buy 8 or 10 jars.

I always get items such as toilet tissue, coffee, laundry products, sugar, meats, soft drinks, condiments, tinfoil, saran wraps, dog food, etc. at a much better cost. The Christmas and Thanksgiving turkey are always bought for a much cheaper price. My husband and I take a daily children's aspirin and right now I have a year's supply put away that was purchased at half price.

Eventually it worked out so that I didn't have to include a lot of items in my weekly shopping list as I had enough stocked up so that I could wait until the next time they were on at a "too good to resist" price, and then I could stock up with the money in the "five dollar cup". I started keeping track of how often the different items went on sale and now I can predict fairly closely how often the "good buys" would occur so that I would have an idea of how many to purchase to last until the next sale.


Not having to buy these things weekly meant that I frequently had money left to put in the cup and thus keep the wheel turning for savings. Even though the price of groceries has gone up in the last couple of years I'm not paying any more.

By Mother of 5 from Nova Scotia

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August 11, 20090 found this helpful

This is a great idea. I save loose change and that really helps to buy extras as well when items are on special.

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August 12, 20090 found this helpful

I live all alone with my two dogs on a fixed income that never goes up so this idea will certainly help me. The only difference is that I will need to put twenty away each month.

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August 12, 20090 found this helpful

That's such a wise way to portion out your money. I too always buy at bargain prices as much as I can afford.


I have space to store stuff that will keep such as loo rolls and paper towels. It make sense to buy when the prices are low. Our freezer is great for keeping the cheaper meat packs in

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August 12, 20090 found this helpful

I found a site called shortcuts.com You can register your supermarket discount cards and then click on coupons you are likely to use. When you go shopping and your card is scanned the cents off are deducted automatically

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August 12, 20090 found this helpful

I have always shopped like this because this is how my mom shopped. I feed 3 adults off of 200 a month and we eat pretty good. I also shop at the bargain grocery somethings are okay even when slightly expired. We only buy bread from the bakery outlet. We get good quality bread for about 1/4 the price.

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August 12, 20090 found this helpful

Hi All,

This is really a good idea. As the mother of 4 and their growing-up years having been some of the leanest in my


life, I learned a few tricks about keeping everyone happy
too. If the children helped me clip coupons, I'd give
them half the amount of the face value of the coupon when
we used it...providing they would eat or use whatever it was we bought. It taught them to eat some vegetables
that they would never touch before and saved me a lot in
allowances. They really had to work for their allowances,
and helping with grocery costs was one way they earned
whatever they got. Chores factored into allowances as well. I've watched my now-grown children doing the same
things with their own children. It's amazing how much
they learn doing these types of things. Just keeping
track of their own coupons taught them a lot of math, and
a lot about certain foods that were not allowed in our home. There are many ways of teaching good spending habits
and good money management.
I love your idea of the Five Dollar Cup. I will be passing it on. Thank You.

Julia in Coconut Creek, FL

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August 12, 20090 found this helpful

Thank you. I went shopping today and though I didn't buy many non-essentials, the bill was 20$ over my budget...and I try really hard to stay under. I'm starting this right away. Thanks again. P.S. The non-essentials were on-sale veggies and fruit.

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August 10, 20150 found this helpful

Great idea. Right now my monthly income does not cover my expenses so I am ultra careful on how I spend my money.

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