Grocery spending: Cash vs Card

On June 1/2017 I have published on my Instagram a note about my Food project. If you want to know the results of the project read on 🙂

Today I am going to write a very short article. Let’s start with note I published 7 months ago, then a little bit of data and my finally conclusion. Without any more ado enjoy reading.  🙂

“I always thought I don’t spend a lot of money on groceries. I am trying to plan my food expenses and don’t waste any food. But for some time I stared considering words of @daveramsey about using cash.

Every fan of Dave Ramsey knows, he encourages to use cash in those categories of home budget were overspending is common. He supports this thesis with research results showing that we spend about 12%-18% less when paying cash instead of using plastic.

Since most of my expenses are fixed and food and other groceries expenses are not, I decided to run an experiment.

Here is the plan:  

Starting 1 June I will pay for all my groceries cash. Since one month may not produce reliable results I decided this experiment until the end of the year. I wonder about outcome?

Is it true that I am going to spend less money and if so, what % less. Will be easy because I keep records of my shopping for several months when I used plastic.

Keep your fingers crossed, I will keep you informed   :)”


For 7 months I tried to manage my grocery spending as good as I can. I set a budget to spend every month and I was tracking all spending. Below I have attached data: my budget, spending and of course difference between these two as well as exact distribution of costs per categories.

As you can see, during 2 months I went over my budget, but at the end of the day I spent less than I have planned.  I actually have spent 94.09% of my budget, which means I have spent 5.91% less than planned.


5.91% for many people may be disappointing, because according to the research, it should be at least 12%. However, I will tell you why I am happy with the result. It shows me that I was able to plan in advance quite well. I was able to do it, because I kept a very accurate record of my spending in the previous months. That gave me the solid base to estimate further spending and to stick to the plan.  That’s why running your own home budget is so important!

This project shows me that it doesn’t matter at all if you pay by card or cash. As long as you have good plan and you stick to it you will reach your goal.

My advice for you is:

  • Estimate you grocery spending for the whole year, including holidays, parties like birthdays, anniversary etc.
  • Make a list of items you need every time you go shopping and you will limit overspending to minimum.
  • Read my previous articles to get more inspirations on how to manage you food spending

How to eat well and save money

Don’t over-serve food

Are you organizing part? Check how to estimate party portions to avoid throwing money into trash!

Calendar of seasonal fruit and vegetables

Strawberry fields forever or how to make your own jam

If you want to help me promote this blog please recommend it to your friends and like it on Facebook.

Cheers and see you with a next article,

your Kinga

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