211. The My Grocery Spending is Insane & Must Be Brought Under Control Budget Challenge

I’ve been making a lot of efforts to save money lately.  I switched my car insurance to save about $20 a month.  I switched my homeowners insurance and will save around $100 a year (and I got higher limits so it’s an even bigger savings really!)  I cancelled my gym membership because I wasn’t using it and don’t REALLY need it; that will save me another $33.50 a month.  I also started logging into mint.com regularly so I can categorize and track my spending and really take a look at where my money is going.

Last week was open enrollment at work, and I’m now facing the cost of my health insurance doubling each month.  I’m not even going to get into how enraging this discovery was, but it has caused me to look at my finances even more closely.  I’m already on a fairly tight budget so unless the increase in my health care costs comes with an increase in my pay things are going to be getting even tighter around here.

One of the areas I really seems to struggle to control my spending is food.  My grocery budget is kind of out of control – especially in November.  I spent almost $350 on food this past month.  As far as cutting spending goes, I feel like food/ groceries are the place to start.

So here is it the My Grocery Spending is Insane and Must Be Brought Under Control Challenge

So here is my challenge for myself.  For the month of December I will spend $250 or less on food and groceries.  My goal is to make this my monthly food/ grocery budget.   This gives me just over $60 a week for groceries.  For the most part, I feed just myself* so $60 a week should be totally reasonable. 

I’m going to be on vacation for the last week of the year so ideally I’d like to spend less than $200 for the month of December.  However, with holiday baking, parties, etc. I figured I’d allow myself the full $250 to account for the additional groceries/ supplies I’ll likely be buying.

And the plan of attack is…

  • Thorough meal planning.  I generally plan dinners but not breakfast and lunch.  I’m going to plan at least lunches as well.  (Breakfast is usually oatmeal or eggs both of which I always have on hand)
  • Grocery shop weekly
  • Only one breakfast or lunch* out per week.
  • Coupons – I hate coupons.  I have no problem using them, but I’m not very good at collecting them.  Any coupon gurus out there please share your secrets!
  • Save all receipts, price compare, and try to determine the best place for buying staples.
  • Report back weekly with my spending

Ultimately my goal is to save money without having to sacrifice the things that are important to me such as buying more ethically produced eggs and meat, organic produce, and Greek yogurt.

I welcome you to join me in my challenge!

*The boy and I have an arrangement where he pays for dinners out and I pay for groceries when I cook us dinner.  Generally we have dinner out once or twice a week, and I cook for the two of us three or four times a week.
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4 thoughts on “211. The My Grocery Spending is Insane & Must Be Brought Under Control Budget Challenge

  1. Okay here are my tips and techniques.

    I meal plan (obviously since I talk about this all the time) every week. While meal planning I take into account all the food I have in my house. I also look up the sales at my local farmers market (it’s really like a less awesome traders joes) and plan around their sales, specifically their meat and produce sales. I also browse my cookbooks and bookmarked recipes at this time and see what matches the sales and ingredients I have on hand, or my cravings.

    I make a list of only the things I’m going to use that week, or any staples that I’m out of. The staples (salsa, breadcrumbs, mustard, chx stock, all my bulk items and canned tomatoes for example) I always keep one in the pantry so when I run out I have one extra. This keeps me from buying “two or three” in case I need them when I go to the store. I also check my fridge staples like cheese, bread/tortillas, jelly, eggs and milk and write those down if I need them. Then I go to the farmers market and buy all (or most) the meat and produce. I go to wal-mart after that for the staples. I usually buy the great value brand or what is the cheapest. I find these items are always cheaper at wal-mart than other places. I do this every Monday.

    I also go to aldi or costco once a month to stock up on those items that are cheap there.

    I buy everything I can in bulk including all my grains, oats, flour, etc. I check these to see which ones need to be replenished each week too!

    Also I buy myself one treat a week that isn’t on my list to satisfy whatever craving I have at the store!

    • I meant to say I spend about $100 a week on groceries for me, matt and the dogs vegetables. This is all of our breakfasts and snacks and most of our lunches and dinners. We eat out only a few times a week, so we keep our grocery bill pretty low!

    • I have yet to find a store in my area with a really great bulk section. Whole Foods has one, but it’s 30 minutes away and, well, it’s Whole Foods.

      Aside from being kinda scary, the WalMarts in the area don’t have grocery stores.

      I’m going to try Aldi at some point this month. I’ve got this thing where if I perceive a grocery store as not clean enough I won’t shop there; it skeeves me out. The Aldi by my house used to be really icky, but I hear it’s nicer now.

      I think I’m going to try creating a staples list that I can use to help in shopping for that stuff.

  2. Pingback: 212. Grocery Challenge Week 1 « Girl Can…

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