Sunday, March 17, 2013

Fine Tuning the Grocery Budget

I'm finally seeing the value of the PRICE BOOK I've been working on for months. I haven't been as consistent as I'd like to but I've recorded enough data from my receipts to make it useful.

I'm still haven't been able to stick to my budget of $260 for 2 people. This includes toiletries and pet food, too. I began to wonder if I'm being unrealistic and maybe I am. (I would love to hear from you! What do you spend on groceries for a family of 2?). So, this weekend I made it my goal to go over my receipts and find out if there is anything I can cut.



Thankfully I had saved all my receipts this past month. I went through each receipt and circled anything that was not essential. Guess what I discovered? I spent $65 on snacks alone. This was close to the amount that I had gone over my budget. The snacks included such things as sunflower seeds, almonds, SF cake mixes, Goldfish and other snacks for the grandchildren.

The next thing I did was to make up a monthly menu including all three meals along with a corresponding shopping list. I then used my handy dandy price book and put prices next to each item on my grocery list.  I then added up. I was way over my budget. So, I went back and cut as many items as I could until I could get it down lower. If I leave it the way it is now I will only have $30 leftover for eggs and veggies to last the rest of the month. I don't think that will be enough but I'm not sure what else to cut. At least it's a start.I'm hoping I'll find sale items on some of the items.

I know I could get the total down if we could eat more carbs but our health would suffer. My blood sugar was creeping up to the dangerous point and by cutting back on our carbs it has started to come down.  I'll continue to pray and ask that the Lord will help me find a way to eat low carb on the money He has provided.

I'm excited that I have a new plan and I have hope that I'm getting closer to living within our means.

How much do you spend on groceries per person? Are you budgeting while trying to eat healthier? I love learning from your comments!


22 comments:

  1. We eat low-grain/carb and spend $300- 350 for a family of two adults. We eat a lot more meat now than when we ate a cheaper diet with way more breads and grains. This amount includes food, household products, personal care items but not dog food, vitamins/supplements and meds.

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    1. Mary Ann.. that helps so much. That is what I am spending now which also includes my dog food and supplements. I believe that is probably a good amount. I really do not want to go back to food pantries. I believe I can make this work if I can keep working at it. Right now we're okay because I work 6 hours a week outside my home. I'm just practicing like crazy now for the time when I no longer work.

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  2. The price book is an excellent tool. I've been using mine for years. I feel like I'm gambling in Vegas when I try to buy something whose price I haven't memorized and I don't have it with me. :) I have no advice for slashing your grocery budget - you are so conscientious as it is. My only idea is the one my own family uses. Grow whatever you can that you would otherwise buy. Tending my garden also gives me great exercise, fresh air, soul therapy and supplements my vitamin D. Benefits beyond the obvious.

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    1. Thank you Kristine. Our hope is to grow enough vegetables eventually to feed us year round. My only concern is my water bill. I have budgeted for a certain amount and when I started using a grow light over the seedlings my bill went up about $30 a month. I know it's only temporary since I'm down to 1 light now at nights only and will be turning that off within the month. I plan on saving an extra money from the next few months when we have no need of air or heat to use on those higher months. I'm thinking how I might bring the seedlings indoors next year.

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  3. We live on a budget of $425 for two Canadian but in Canada groceries are about 30% higher than the USA. That includes all over the counter medications (which are 50% higher than the USA) of which about $100 of that budget goes every month (2 medical conditions). It also includes all soaps/cleaners/paper products. We have no pets. You might want to increase your budget just a tiny bit - maybe $20 to start? Nuts are so expensive. We have cut out most unless on sale. We scratch cook most of the time now and are lessening our meat intake although we will always eat meat. I try and make all our snacks now - muffins and popcorn being the cheapest option. I have a pricebook too that helps keep me on track although it is still very hard to stay within budget.

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    1. I had heard that things were higher in Canada but seeing the percentage in writing is an eye opener. I'm curious to know how the salaries in Canada compare to the US. You're right concerning the nuts. I'll cut down on those. Thanks for the advice.

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  4. I made a price book (got the idea in the tightwad gazette) and it has helped me greatly!

    This week we spent 70 dollars on groceries and last week only 50. We try and keep it as low as we possibly can which is usually around 60.

    So funny because I've been meaning to blog about my price book too! ;)

    Thanks for the comment about swag bucks. If you don't mind me asking, how long does it take you to be able to have 25 bucks?

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    1. I love the Tightwad Gazette. I try to pick it up and read through it yearly. Regarding Swagbucks.. I cashed out this last Christmas and had a little left. It looks like I'll have enough for a $25 gift certificate by Christmas. I also do My Points (read their emails) and Pinecone Research.

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  5. Geogene,
    We budget $100.00 a week for groceries
    I used to do it by the month but that
    got me in trouble. I eat gluten free
    so it is more exspensive. You just can not compromise on your health. We
    got that community garden plot we were
    praying for.That should help with veggies. Mavis 100 dollars a month
    picks up produce for free from a small veggie stand for her chickens
    and they are able to glean from that
    Some people pick up free bread for
    their animals from the bread outlet.
    I believe God will supply all your
    needs as you ask and pray. We thought we might get to move out
    of the condo this year but instead
    God gave us a community garden for
    70.00 dollars for 9 months that includes water. Maybe you can barter
    with some friends and church members. We used to do a clothing or food swap at our church. We brought what
    we no longer needed and traded.
    Have a blessed week.
    Patti from precious people
    you could do th

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    1. You garden plot sounds like a wonderful idea. I also like the idea about the swap. We are in a new church so I don't know many people. I too believe God will supply. He always has! :-)

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  6. Sorry about the ending on my comment
    I am still new at leaving comments.
    The $70.00 dollars is for the whole
    time we have the garden not per month.
    Blessings,
    Patti

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  7. we budget 250.00 a month for 3 people, but I need to say this is just for groceries, no household goods included, and I also want to include that we eat out at least once a week, sometimes twice. (usually on wed and Sundays) We have a discount grocery store that I shop at that has excellent prices and they also double coupons.

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    1. Cindy.. have you posted on your blog how you keep your budget so low?

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  8. Hi Georgene, I'd like to also suggest that you grow as much of your own food as you can. Consider getting perennial foods, too, like asparagus, berry bushes, and fruit trees. The upkeep on them is much less than starting seeds and transplanting them every year. If your space is limited, grow the more expensive veggies instead of the cheaper ones. For instance, potatoes are so cheap to buy, I've decided not to grow them any more. But I will continue to grow broccoli and peppers, as they are much more expensive in the store.

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    1. Great suggestion on the potatoes! We don't eat many but hubby has wondered if I should grow some. You made an excellent point!

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  9. I'm not really as limited on budget-- we are running two households currently and thankfully can afford it for now. He stocks up his freezer with lean cuisine up in NC and when he comes home usually we will eat out once and I will cook the rest. I save by shopping at Aldi--which also saves me physical energy as it is a small store and I need to conserve energy or I run out. :) I am also shopping at a health food store for gluten free things, as I am hoping that a GF diet may help alleviate some physical issues. One way I save is make snacks. And make simple soups. Soy sauce with chicken broth and then just add some little julienned veggies & leftover meats.. always good. I use a GF low sodium soy & chicken broth. A good way to save on nuts is pay attention to when the nuts that grow in your area are harvested and start looking for stands or on craigs list. I have bought big bags of pecans here for $3.00 a pound. We have to shell them, but that keeps your hands busier and you don't eat as many. GF is hard to save $ on, so I look for sales and buy more if it is on sale. I have to drive a ways, to the health store too, so try to run errands at the same time and aiming to only make the trip 2x a month.. although that is not working yet. I'm glad at this time in life when I am adjusting to so much we have more income than we did a while ago. But I am also conscious of the fact that it is very likely to be temporary, and so I still look for ways to cut costs.

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    1. I delight in the fact that God has brought you to a more comfortable place Mary. You lived through some difficult yaers. I made a chicken soup with soy sauce yesterday for lunch. :-) We were also given free pecans and walnuts this year. What a treat!

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  10. Never comment but read your blog all the time. Aggie at Shoestring Manor (who links to you) nominated me for a Liebster Award and I in turn am nominating you. It's sort of silly but sometimes silliness is good.

    You can read more about it here if you are interested: http://bigfoodetc.blogspot.com/2013/03/its-honor-to-be-nominated.html#more

    As to the grocery budget... We spend anywhere between $80-150 per week for three but that includes food, non-grocery items, etc. The biggest portion of a high-end week is meat to stock up in the deep freezer. If we've had an unexpected expense, we'll just spend the 80 and thaw something!

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  11. Maria.. thank you so much for your kind nomination. That was so nice of you!

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  12. Hi Georgene! I've been following your blog for a long time and just LOVE it. You are such an inspiration.
    I'm also following you on Pinterest, keep up the good work..or should I say pins...:)

    God be with you,
    Jodi

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  13. Hi Georgene, just now seeing this post. I've tried subscribing to receive emails but for some reason it's not working. Anyway, for a family of 3 plus several daycare children & my homeschooled son who eat 2 meals and 2 snacks per day here during the week we spend around 475 to 500 per month. That includes lunches that hubby takes to work daily & toiletries & paper items, as well as taking meals to my grandmother once in a while, and any food items that we would take to a covered dish meal at church or other function. I don't buy much in the way of convenience foods. I've found that we have saved a large amount by shopping at Aldi for most things. In fact, the savings have been so great at Aldi that I stopped working on my price book. I also keep a running list of toiletry items that I am getting low on and check drugstore.com. sometimes I can come out better by purchasing there and taking advantage of their sales and coupons, especially when I consider that I am not having to drive 20 mins one way to get to walmart! They have free shipping over $25. Oh, and while we do have some carbs in our meals they are fairly limited.

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  14. I think you are better off if you really have to spend the money in eating better. The price of having diabetes is enormous between medical services, medicines, future operations for losing organs and extremities, gas, car maintenance to go to doctors and hospitals, eating out at those times etc etc. Cutting out any unhealthy snacks that cost of course saves money and excess weight too. Better to spend a little more on a low carb way of life than to suffer the expense of bad health. Sometimes we dont have much choice and some choices are better than their consequences. This is why poor folks often have bad health too, they dont have the option to really eat healthier most times.

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