Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Foodstuffs Challenge

A friend posted on her blog recently that she's dismayed that she and her husband spend $120 per month on groceries.  This figure absolutely blew me away and all I could respond with was something along the lines of "I wish we only spend $120 a month!" Prior to the implementation of the shared household credit card, I had budgeted for $200 a month for food.  That did include eating out, but as I rarely do that, it wasn't much of a factor.  Now that we have the shared card, I've noticed that we're consistently going up to and sometimes over (though a lot of that had to do with replacing a fridge worth of food) that $300 a month.  It seems completely bonkers that we're spending that much, but the credit card statement doesn't lie--I checked.

Since losing all our dry goods to the pantry moths and all our fridge and freezer goods to Tropical Storm Irene, I feel like I've really reigned in the grocery shopping.  We don't have a huge backstock of items, the freezer is emptier than ever before and the fridge is mostly full of good, home-made leftovers--so where the hell is all my money going?

I use coupons for the items I purchase frequently--yogurt, some frozen pizza; I buy store brands far more frequently than name brands and I don't buy soda (except bf has a ginger ale habit), and I spend a fair amount of time at the discount/remaindered stores i.e. Big Lots and Ocean State Job Lot (where I just got a great deal on almonds!).  For the month of November, I'm going to pay closer attention to where exactly the money is going.  I'm going to scrutinize the receipts, and try to trim the fat, so to speak.  According to my records, I went to the grocery October 6 and October 21 and spent ~$120 each time plus there was a $63 trip to Trader Joe's that was mostly coffee.  Maybe this month is an anomaly?  I certainly don't buy coffee every month and I'm set for the next three, so maybe November will not be so bad.

Either way, I'm not getting down to $120 any time soon, but if I really analyze my bills, maybe I can figure out a  way to save on the items that are putting me over the edge.  Should be fun, right?


  1. I actually hear that a lot, about the $120 (but mostly from my aunts who have a million kids each). I give my parents major credit for that though. Like I said, my dad sends us back home with fish every time I see him, and we have many jars of applesauce and salsa, also made by my parents! It helps that we are surrounded by farms too, and can get amazingly fresh and affordable produce. Meat is not in our budget either, which keeps it low too. :)

  2. Yeah, since I do most of the shopping, BF doesn't get much meat, but when he does get some, I'm shocked how expensive it is. I can't imagine the people that eat meat with every meal, and now it makes total sense why my mom would buy a freezer full of beef from a local farmer twice a year.

  3. Wow I wish we only spent $120. Right now my goal on groceries is around $250.

  4. I spend around $40-$50 a week just for me. I use coupons and watch sales, but every week the bill seems to hover around the same amount. That number does include almost all my toiletries, but I still consider it high.

    I think the real problem lies not in what your buying, but in how much it costs. Food prices have skyrocketed in the past year. I mostly track diary prices and I've seen a dollar increase in milk and sour cream (which hurts because it used to 99 cents) and 50 cents or more on butter. Eggs have also increased, but not quite as much. I imagine produce is higher too.

    So despite your receipt watching (which I highly recommend), you may or may not see places you can cut. It's just a sign of the times. :(

    Can't wait until next spring/summer when local produce becomes to expensive to purchase because Alabama chased out it's entire agricultural workforce.