Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Overspending and my grocery budget

Our family has gone through one of the hardest losses we could have imagined these past few months so I must be honest in admitting that keeping on budget was not in the forefront of my thinking. It's not an excuse, it's just the facts.
Actually, when I went back and averaged my grocery budget over the past year I discovered that I've been spending an average of $130 extra each month instead of the allotted $200.  Yikes! I'm so thankful for my Quick Books program that helps me track expenses.


My habit has been to set aside the grocery money in envelopes. Sometimes I'll put enough grocery money in my wallet for 2 weeks. Other times, I pull it out of the envelopes when I run to the store. I think I'm getting myself into trouble when I make an unplanned stop with no money in my wallet. Instead of cash I use my debit card.

 Right now I have the extra money to cover a larger food budget but when/if we buy our own home I can't fall back on that extra buffer. So, I'm going to try and pull in the reins and see if I can realistically live on $200 a month by keeping track of my receipts. If not, then I'll have to do some shuffling in other areas so I can bump up my monthly grocery allowance. Food prices are rising. Maybe it's unrealistic to think that my husband and I can live on $200 a month. I buy very few 'extras' but my 2 freezers are full so that's an inclination that I'm buying more than we need each month.

So as always, in this game of budgeting,  I'll be praying for God's wisdom and guidance, evaluating my habits (and lack of self-control) and seeking new ways to be a faithful steward of the money God has entrusted me.

How do you handle this problem? I'd love to hear from you!

8 comments:

  1. I'm sorry for your family's loss. I like your idea of cash envelopes ...I'd think that would help a lot. I also eat out/clean out the freezer and pantry every so often, and you could save the grocery money for restocking after you move. But I feel like I'm speaking "to the choir" here. You know all this!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The 'choir' needs constant reminders. I fail continually! Thanks for the reminder of eating from the freezer. That was my plan, too. I'll work on making a menu from what I have on hand tomorrow so I'll be ready for my shopping trip next week.

      Delete
  2. I raised my food budget to $225. That way I know I have $50 a week and the extra $25 covers that extra half week in the month. I know if I spend more than $50 that week I have to spend less the next week. Cash doesn't work for me, but I take those receits home and keep track at home. I also look at them to see what were the high price items that I could have done better on. That said I went over this month because of experimental cooking. It is hard to be so disciplined, but it is necessary. Food can eat up a lot of money very quickly. I'm sorry for whatever was your challenge hope all will be well soon. Linda

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I like your idea of adding $25 for the last week of the month. I just may do that! :-)

      Delete
  3. I'm sorry to hear that your going through some financial issues. Yes, groceries are going up and will continue to rise for sometime. My suggestion, work on using what you have in your freezer(since you will be moving). Start with taking an inventory of what you have. Then sit down and plan a menu of meals for a 1 to 2 week period. If you need to go to the store, do so but with a list. May I also suggest possibly using coupons (newspaper or print off the computer)to help cut your cost. Some stores will allow you to use a manufactures coupon with a store coupon. Or you may have a grocery store that doubles coupons. I also find it handy to use websites for coupons, free items, discounted items and suggestions relating to food, hobbies, crafts. Some of the sites I use regularly are:(http://http://fabulesslyfrugal.com/moneysavingqueen.com/;http://www.frugalcouponliving.com/). If your interested in more, please get a hold of me.
    I hope I was able to help. Take care,
    Sandy, Oklahomatransient.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  4. We had a set amount for groceries each month. That cash goes into an envelope. We can buy anything we want. But when that money is gone, it is gone until next pay period. No cheating. We do a lot of self-suficient activities at our house including raising a medium sized garden. The food is much better than any grocery.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I am trying to get back to normal. I find whenever something happens (My mom had taken a fall and needed round the clock care from me) All of my careful planning and habits go out the window. I simply had no time for coupons and shopping sales. now that things are starting to get to normal I will yet again try to keep on course. Great post!
    Blessings, Joanne

    ReplyDelete
  6. I set my budget each month and track each dollar spent. If one month is overspent I take it off the next month. This way my budget is kept in check. I have gotten it the lowest I think it can go although frankly I am sure I could get it even lower but we enjoy cooking and eat at home most of the time.

    ReplyDelete