Tuesday, February 4, 2014

A Grocery Budget Challenge

A blog that I've recently started reading called Don't Waste the Crumbs has inspired and challenged me to get my grocery budget severely back under control.  Sure, gone are the days of the $50.00 grocery trip for the week but I don't think I need to be spending $800.00 a month on groceries/toiletries either.  Geesh.  I'm the first to admit that we I buy a lot of "fun" stuff at the store and we do enjoy food :-)  Yes, I know I over spend and we sometimes are wasteful but, I've been working on changing that - I made better choices in January, used coupons and online store savings but I can still do more.  Obviously.  The author of the blog mentioned above has a grocery budget of $330.00 a month.  Now, truth be told, my grocery budget is "only" $500.00 a month (which is still huge) but we spend well over that thanks to the mid-week, sometimes every day runs to the store to get just "one" thing.  That one thing turns into a $60.00 trip (trust me, I did that on Sunday when I went for Milk and Ice.) Back to the blog author, that budget is for a family of 4 and includes paper products and toiletries.  So, what is my grocery budget goal for this month? (Drum roll please) My goal is $400.00 this month.  Sure, I'd love to do $330.00 but I think starting out by cutting it in half is a good start.  This months project is two fold.  1) To try and knock down the grocery spending but also 2)To follow the concept of keeping track of all of the grocery spending and breaking down it all down at the end of the month to see what I'm really spending on.  Then I can make a more realistic budget and maybe even save more money.  I think that in order to do this, I also need to create our monthly meal plan so that I can watch for clearance items (like my husbands favorite juice that is normally $4.00 but was "clearanced" for $1.50 a jug) and also buy items when they are on sale and match up with the digital coupons.

I will say right now, and I've said it before, we are heavy drinkers HA  - Milk, Juice, Water, Soda, coffee k-cups . . .A HUGE part of my grocery budget usually goes to drinks.  I've got to figure that out! My plan is to give you a weekly update (thrilled, aren't you) on the grocery trip, which usually occurs on Thursday evening (so look for it on Saturday!).  I am probably going to have to shop multiple stores to get the best deals - Meijer, Wal-Mart, and a local store, McCords but we'll see!  I really don't like going to multiple stores but when I know I can get a BIG box of pop-tarts for less money at Walmart and my husband and boys LIVE on those, well I need to do it!

Anyway, I plan on sharing my spending/savings on Saturdays with you (aren't you all thrilled).  I love what my husband said when I told him this.  He said, "But you still need to buy what we need so don't freak out if you can't stay under that budget."  He so gets me!

This week I'm going to work on some planning for the month and come up with some menus.  My husband told me that our local market has chicken leg quarters on sale for $0.57 a pound so I know I want to pick up some of those to use in soup and some of our favorite chicken thigh recipes.   I also plan on going through the pantry, freezers and cupboards and cleaning stuff out plus making a list of everything I have on hand so I can use what we have and work towards buying stuff on sale.