This is a conversation about grocery shopping and spending habits that is sponsored by Tend.
Do you have a process to your grocery shopping? Maybe you write a list, or have your spouse text you what is needed. Do you have a grocery budget, or do you just get what looks good and go with it? Maybe you have a lot on your plate right now financially, and you’re only able to scrape by with meager means? Whatever your situation, I want to chat for a bit. I have my own story when it comes to finances, family, food and budgeting, and it’s actually what brought me to this point in the first place.
Just a little over 4 years ago I started this little space on the web. I remember I was so very nervous, and excited, to have a designated place that was all my own where I could share recipes, photos, and stories revolving around nourishing my family. I’ve spoken here and there about what led up to that point, but I really wanted to share my journey with you a little more in depth.
When I had started this space, my husband and I had gotten through a pretty rough financial patch with our family. Just three weeks after we were married I was laid off from work, and just a few weeks after that we discovered we were expecting our first child together. A few months into my pregnancy I was put on strict bedrest, which meant my job search would be halted. A few weeks after our baby boy was born, my husband was also laid off. This was all in 2008-2009, in the midst of the economic crisis, and we were in the heart of it here in Northern California. We definitely struggled. Somehow we managed to stay afloat with family and good friends, and eventually we did make it through. However we went through that time with a family of five growing to six.
Shortly before getting married, Mr. Harris and I both worked full time jobs and our older kids were in sports and activities. We literally had most of our meals on the go, buying lunches, buying dinners, and the occasional meal together at home. Going from that to a single income, and then no income for a while was tremendously difficult. Obviously our shopping and eating habits changed along with those financial changes, and that’s when I discovered my knack for cooking. My mother and in-laws would offer us groceries when they could and we were also on WIC, which is a program for families with children under the age of five. It helped immensely, but I went from only cooking on weekends to cooking every day out of necessity, and this developed my passion for flavorful easy meals with simple ingredients.
During the seven years since that period I’ve been a stay at home mom and our family grew again in 2011. Over time “stay at home mom” evolved into “work at home mom” while I developed this space into something substantial. My husband ended up going back to the contractual union work he’d done before we met, which means a lot of fluctuation with work and money. Some months he works 70+ hours a week, and some months he’ll be off for weeks at a time. This can make our grocery budget fluctuate quite a bit, and I’ve had to learn some tricks to shopping that really helps stretch our grocery budget to suit our needs and our family. Thankfully we’re able to stock up on meats, spices and other items when our budget is more flexible so that when our budget tightens up we still have food available to use. However, it’s taken years of patience and practice to get to this point!
Prior to meeting my husband I was a single mom, and I struggled back then too. For many years I was just working hard trying to pay bills and keep a roof over our heads that grocery shopping wasn’t really a priority. Sadly, most of my older kids’ younger years are marked with drive through’s and eating out. We would cook over the weekend or on special occasions, but home cooked meals were far and few between. When I struggled to make ends meet as a single mom, I’d try to apply for programs to help, but I often made too much to qualify, but still not quite enough to pay the bills. That’s a tough situation to be in, and when I already lived in an affordable apartment, paid minimal bills, and had no credit card debt, the only other thing I could do was get a second job – which would’ve meant less time to spend with my children and any money I’d make working the second job would go to childcare in order to work. Instead I would pick and choose which bills to pay and something would always have to be put on the back-burner. I always felt like we were barely floating by, but the situation was a cycle that I couldn’t get out of.
To say that I understand how life circumstances and financial distress can affect grocery budgeting and spending is an understatement. So when the creators of Tend, an up and coming mobile app that will assist with grocery budgeting approached me for insights, I was excited! They’re focusing on key issues on how families like mine approach grocery shopping and the thought process that goes into their grocery budget planning. They’re looking to develop something to help the process, but need insights into what goes into the planning and the process. Are you willing to share some information?
As a thank you for your time, once you finish the questionnaire and give your email information, you will be entered into a giveaway for a $25 gift code to Amazon.com. All qualifying email addresses will be put into the drawaing and drawn at random through random.org.
Here’s how to enter:
Prize: One (1) $25 gift card for Amazon.com.
Giveaway runs through the evening of August 9th.
Eligibility: Winners are limited to the continental United States and must be 18 years of age or older. You will be notified via the email you used in the survey below if you win, and you will have 48 hours to respond, or a new winner will be chosen.
Enter using the embedded survey below. If for some reason it isn’t working, you can click this link and be taken to the survey in a separate window.
Create your own user feedback survey
Thank you and good luck!
Once you complete the survey, think about what type of features you would like in a grocery budget app. Tend is currently working on a few solutions, and if one excites you more than the other, feel free to click the corresponding link (or both!) to sign up as a Beta tester.
The first solution is to help you stay under budget, every time. This would be an app that assists you on keeping your budget under whatever you maximum budget is.
Click here to get notified with more info.
The second solution would be if your income varies and fluctuates. You can create a sort of grocery bank to have groceries on-hand for when you need them.
Click here to get notified with more details.