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Posts tagged with: grocery budget

Grocery Shopping Update

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Remember how I went way over budget last month with grocery shopping? One of the worst parts was that I really had nothing to show for the huge overage (no stockpile of meat, canned foods, pasta, etc.). I literally had no idea where all the money (and food) went, but I knew it was gone.

But this month I was bound and determined to get back on track. Here’s what I’ve done differently this month to get my grocery spending under control:

  1. Meticulous meal planning. I always know that I save money when I stick to a meal plan instead of doing the whole “what should we eat?” (asked at 5pm) thing. That lack of planning had lead to many last minute trips to the grocery store to pick up “one or two” things for a given dinner (which, inevitably, always turned into 10-12 things by the time I was leaving). None of that this month! Not only have I stuck to my meal plan, but I’ve also purposely planned meals around items we’ve already had on hand and/or items that I could rollover into a second (or third) meal easily.
  2. Limited grocery shopping. One of my issues last month is that I was going to the grocery store a LOT. Like….5-6 times a week! How is that possible? I don’t even know. This month I refused to go grocery shopping at all during the first week of the month. Thereafter I’ve limited myself to a maximum of 2 trips per week (generally 1 larger trip at the beginning of the week, and a second much smaller trip to the farmer’s market for produce mid-week).
  3. Keep your eye on the prize. One thing that has helped with trying to really be mindful about my grocery spending is that I’ve been so focused on my debt-reduction mission this month. I’m trying to make some extra debt payments this month (above and beyond what I reported in my debt update last week), but the last extra payment is contingent upon my grocery spending. If I go over, then I have nothing extra to put toward debt. I’m SO, SO focused on knocking out some debts SOON that I am trying to squeeze every extra dollar I can find from my budget. It only makes sense to try to get some of that money from my grocery budget, particularly in light of having gone so far over in that budget category last month.
  4. Doesn’t hurt that it’s February. Can’t really claim any pre-planning on this one, but it sure helped that this was a shorter month than most. Whereas most months I’m left with more month than money, I still have money to spare in my grocery budget this month, even as the end of the month is fast approaching.

And although we still have a few more days left in February, so far the prognosis for my grocery spending is good. I did my last “big” grocery trip on Saturday and will probably need to go again mid-week (Wednesday-ish) for fresh fruits and veggies, but that is always a much lower-cost trip (maybe about $20ish). If that’s the case, then I should still have close to $60 leftover from my grocery budget. Combine that with little bits leftover from here and there and I should be able to scrape up about an extra $100 toward debt before the month ends. Fingers crossed! I know $100 doesn’t seem like much, but every extra dollar counts; every extra dollar is one dollar closer to paying off a lingering debt. Plus I’m getting so, so close to paying some debts off in full! I cannot wait until March because I’m really, really hoping I’ll be able to report a couple of newly cleared debts!!

How’ve you done on your spending and budgeting this month?


Monthly Item Updates

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My numbers for April will go up this afternoon.  In the meantime, I thought I would just give some quick updates on other things that happened during my first month here on BAD:

  1. New Job – I’m on week three of my new part time job and it looks like I’ll average about 11 hours a week.  I haven’t received a paycheck yet but have set the direct deposit up to feed 50% into a new emergency fund and 50% into a checking account to go toward debt.  Needless to say, it will not be a lot, but every penny counts and I’m really enjoying this new schedule.
  2. No More Allowance – The kids have acclimated quickly to no longer getting a weekly allowance and almost daily ask for paid jobs.  I’ve been writing them on a big whiteboard we use for school stuff a couple of times a week and refusing to pay for poorly done jobs.  It’s a hit! (And right now, I’m paying out far less than previous allowance amounts and getting things done that would have otherwise languished or had to have been done by me.)
  3. No More Coke – I went cold turkey a little over a month ago and have not had a single sip of soda since.  The temptation has been strong but I’ve held out and am really proud of myself.
  4. Groceries, groceries, groceries – The kids continue to do our weekly shopping, feeding 5 for seven days on $100.  It’s still a struggle, but I see improvement on the quality of our food.  We still squeak to the end of the week with little that they want to eat, but that’s part of the lesson, I suppose.  In an effort to help with the “healthiness” of our meals, I have joined Relay Foods for weekly deliveries of fresh, locally grown produce. This will not only make sure we get some fresh veggies in our diet, but forces us to try new things, which we all need. *Note: the Relay Foods link is an affiliate link which if used, will give us credit toward some food.
  5. Dogs – We found a local teacher in training who is graciously house/dog sitting for us while we travel beginning at the end of next week. A big load off both my mind and my budget!
  6. Birthday Party – I have decided that we will not be having a birthday party this year.  I haven’t told the kids this yet, and the cost will not be wholly eliminated as I’m going to find something small but special to do for them.  In the end, I have decided that I just don’t have the mental/physical fortitude to take on a birthday party on a stringent budget this year.
  7. Emergency Fund – I will begin funding an emergency fund this month. I cannot bring myself to stop my debt payoff in its entirety to do this, however, I will be siphoning off some income to be put away.  Still working on the details, but the account is set up and ready.

Our summer travels begin this month which will bring on a whole new set of circumstances so stay tuned to hear more about that later this month.  And as mentioned at the beginning of this post, my April numbers will go up this afternoon.