Friday, August 30, 2013

Money, She Wrote.

Can I ask you a personal question?

How much money do you spend on groceries for your family?

We spend thee motherload.

See, one day, as I was jogging around the hood, I said to myself,

"Self, after 9 months of "THE SPENDING CLEANSE",  we should be seeing more savings then we are.  Somewhere, somehow, we're still spending too much."

And that's when I decided that I had no choice but to get down to the nitty gritty of where our money goes.

"I don't know where all my money goes. . . dime here. . . fifteen cents there. . . " (name that movie.)

You know, it doesn't feel very good to write down each and every expense.  You feel stripped down.  Nude, if you will.

And of course I wrote it all down in my journal--




I'd like to take this opportunity to say that I write everything in my journal, and if I ever lose my journal, heaven forbid, my life will be over. I will deny all knowledge.  I'll have gone dark.

 Who is this "Mandi Tremayne"?  Never heard of her, but she sounds kinda screwed up.

Anyhow, it brought me to the dry heaves to add up what I spend on groceries.  And the sad thing is, I realized I had left a few "little" trips to the grocery store out of that list up there.  So how much are we talking 'bout here?  How much does it cost to feed the Tremaynes for just one month?

Oh, just a measly

$1,000.  Or so.

So again, if you don't mind my asking:  how much is your grocery bill?  Similar?  Waaaay less?

I swear we're not having filet mignon for dinner and caviar for after school snack.  I swear I don't even really buy that much meat for crying out loud-- and I have no problem whatsoever with generic food, using coupons, and buying almost expired "manager's specials". . .and yet. . .

$1,000.

Every time I see one of those "How we spend only $200 on food every month!" articles circulating pinterest, I read 'em.  The only thing I can come up with is--

I go to the store for one little item for dinner.  Say it's a carton of sour cream.  That's it.  Just one carton.  And somehow I come out with $30 of groceries.  It's those small trips to the store that are killing me.

"Ooh a loaf of french bread to go with this meal?  Ooh and some juice?  Why not.  This is a 'special' meal.  Carton of ice cream. . . fresh berries. . . snacks to feed a small country. . . "

Bam.  $30 (or more) down.

You know they say the trick is to plan out your meals and stick to them.  Go to the store as little as possible.

I thought I'd hate planning out an entire month's worth of meals,
 
(every meal, including after school snacks are scheduled on here)



But I find it oddly soothing to my "organize everything" tendencies.  And perhaps half of what I hate about dinner is figuring out what the crap to cook.

So will this help??  Can I stick to 2, maaaaybe 3 trips to the grocery store for an entire month?  Will we starve to death?  I'll let you know.

29 comments:

The Clegg Family said...

I plan out my meals every two weeks, seems easier to manage especially with produce & dairy. For my family of 5, I budget out $125 for those two weeks..which works great for us. It allows me to buy what I need for our meals & stock up on items that happen to be on sale. Granted, my kids are 8 & younger...I foresee our budget increasing somewhat in the coming years (especially with 2 boys). Decide how much you should spend per person & definitely plan out meals & stick to a consistent grocery shopping day...hope this helps :)

Jackie said...

I (my hubbies debit card as he usually does to grocery shopping, but I helped him out for this week since I was off, and of course used his card instead of mine) spent $120 for a family of four with pets. We tend to spend around $100 in our weekly trip to the store. He will sometimes stop for little trips in between the big shopping trips on the way home from work. So, we probably average $400-500 a month on groceries.

Samantha said...

I plan my meals for a month leaving about 3 or 4 'free' evenings a month so we can still have something we fancy even if it's not scheduled in for another 3 weeks.

Then once a week I have my groceries delivered. I order them online based on the meals we have coming up that week and then checkout and have it delivered once a week. My supermarket has an app that I have on my phone so as we run out of things I can just add them to the shopping list so then I'm only buying things I know we need and meal ingredients rather than, ooh, I fancy that's.

We spend £160 a month on food, cleaning stuff etc (all from the same supermarket) but there's only two of us.

I find we spend a lot less if we plan because I can plan similar meals near each other rather than having something with salad one week, then it going off while we have other different meals. I can also cook a batch of meals at the start of the month and freeze them down to save some time during the week. Wow, I sound super organised. If it helps I couldn't be bothered to cook tonight so we went to the fish and chip shop for our dinner..there we go, the balance is righted again :)

Samantha said...

(had it with tomato sauce which is a vegetable though, right?)

Mallory said...

Grease is my favorite movie!

Mallory said...

I probably spend about $400-500 a month to feed 3 grown adults. That includes trips to the farmer's market, Aldi, and the "regular" grocery store. I always spend the most at the grocery store. We don't eat many processed foods, but I do spend a lot of money on meat, as my husband insists on having it at every meal.

Grocery shopping is the one time where I don't make myself watch what I spend, so I can go a little overboard sometimes.

Sherron said...

For my family of 6 (with 2 teenage boys) I spend between $800-1000 each month. That includes all of our groceries, food storage, out to eat meals and household items like soaps/detergents, toilet paper, etc.

cathgrace said...

We spend more now we live in South Korea than we used to living in the US (and we get crappier food for our money so that's AWESOME.) but we spend about $700-$900 a month on food depending on if there are any big fancy dinners (like Christmas or Thanksgiving) and how much we eat out. (my husband has a lot of work related dinners, and we travel a lot.) We eat mostly organic meat and dairy, which costs a little more (but we are determined to keep growth hormones and antibiotics out of our diets as much as possible)and it costs A LOT more to do no processed foods, no corn syrup, and lots of fresh produce, than it costs to buy bags of chips, and soda, (which I find very frustrating.) I try to shop sales, coupon, and do my best to get good deals without sacrificing food quality, I figure there's not much out there that is more important for our health, than making sure we eat good quality food, so I have a very hard time cutting that budget.

Hayley said...

I am very curious to see how this goes because I am with you on the grocery money spending thing. We spend A TON. I don't want to figure it out because I'm too scared. So please let us know how it all works out!

Rach said...

Now I have to check our spending on food and see what the damage is...something I haven't done this year. : /
-
Yiye! We are at $1,000 also, and we have three young kids (8 and under) and two adults. Fam of 5.
My food & toiletry when we ate crap was about $300.00. Since switching to mostly whole food stuff...oh boy.
So. Please let us know how it goes. I'm going to have to re-think my spending here. Yiye!
And good luck!


Setjay said...

Planning is awesome ! When you stick to it... I did a few months ago, but then my man comes up, decides to cook, and not only he ruins my planning but also he takes a LOT of meal (double meat, etc) and all my work is done for nothing grrr !
Also, i try to restrict juice, yogurts, breads (well snacks) because the more we have, the more he grabs... It's difficult to keep food here.
We are 5 (with 3 little of 3, 2 and 1yo) and i spend 500/600€ (650 to 800$) per month in France, where food is more expensive than in US (we don't have sale).
I already cry for those times when my sons will be teenagers !

Karen said...

I spend $400 a month on groceries and toiletries. I have a huge dog and his $40 a month food bill is also in there. I don't buy premade, I shop the sales, and we have an Amish bulk store nearby where I get alot. (50lbs of sugar is $20.00) We very rarely eat out. I work at home which makes it easier. We also do not have meat with every meal but are big on fresh fruits and veggies. I am pretty stingy with snacks. They are only allowed two a day. I just don't want them falling into that habit. This is for a family of four.

Cherish said...

We budget about $800 for a family of 6 (four boys)plus our pets. Ive also been writing down how much we actually spend and its more like $900. I shop almost completely based on sales and go to 3-4 stores/week to make sure Im getting the best deal. Food is just expensive. Those people that spend tiny amounts usually live in areas where groceries are just less expensive.

Jaime said...

I tell everyone e-meals.com is the ticket. I have a family of three but also a daycare to feed and we spend $500 a month at the grocery store, one trip a week. Although the hardest part has been cutting out most snacks they weren't needed and cost most of the money.

Anne said...

We're a family of four with 2 boys. I think the gender of one's children needs to be factored into the equation. I don't know of any girls who can go through a gallon of milk in 1.5 days, although I'm sure there are exceptions out there. My boys are 12 and 8 and can each pack away 3/4 of a frozen pizza EACH. Skinny as rails, too. It's annoying. :)

Anyway, I go to the store 1x a week for a big trip, with a possible second, smaller trip thrown in 4 days later. We average about $800 a month. Could we spend less? Absolutely. But we're foodies and generally coupons are for items we never buy (I even belonged to a coupon club website and tried this route ... my husband hated what we were eating). We eat A LOT of fresh fruit, veggies and organic meat. And dairy products. I can accept the expense of our groceries if I'm happy with the quality of what we're eating and our budget isn't suffering. I save on paper products by using coupons, make my own cleaning supplies and we eat out only 1x a week, if at all. But I've just accepted the fact that to eat the way we want to eat and make what we want to make, we're not going to be one of those frugal families eeking by on $200 a month or whatever.

I plan out our meals before each shopping trip and stick to the list. I am prone to impulsive purchases of Oreo cookies. They are my weakness.

Mary said...

Family of 3 here, 2 adults and 1 toddler. We spend around $400 when we're not stocking up on food storage or making bulk toiletry purchases. When I plan out meals I can generally get it under $300. I read those stupid pins "Feed your family of 12 for only $200 a month!" In the end it comes down to only purchase some thing that has a coupon and is on sale at the same time. And only buy really cheap, gross processed food. I just can't handle it.

I'm not anti-coupons or anything, but has anyone else noticed they tend to be geared towards unhealthy foods I normally wouldn't purchase anyway? I'll use coupons, but as a whole they don't save me that much money. And of course there is never any coupons for fresh produce, which is where I find most of my grocery bill goes. I need a garden more than I need coupons.

Ashlee @ I'm Topsy Turvy said...

Family of 7 and not even teenagers yet, easily $1,000 a month. I go through more flour in a month than some people go through in a year. I make almost everything from scratch, and yet... now I DON'T coupon (like I have the time) but I just don't tend to buy the foods they have on coupons, boxed meals and stuff. Fresh veggies are super expensive too, but worth it. I do believe in whole milk, heavy whipping cream and other rich food items to cook with.

Leslie Woolf said...

"snacks to feed a small country. . . " is the phrase that got me this time. HILARIOUS...love you, girl. And I'm not disclosing what I spend on groceries because my husband might read this blog, and as a dear scrapbooking friend said about a decade ago, "I spend grocery money on scrapping supplies...that $40 cashback at the end is my dirty little secret. ;)"

Natalie Wright said...

Family of six with two teens. We use to spend $600 a month, but lately it's been closer to $800. If I take out all social weekend dinners with friends, and date nights to restaurants with my hubs, I can hit $600. But that sucks. So it's usually $800 or more.

Trina said...

Seven of us, two teenage girls, and we usually spend about $600. It's the $30 trips for sour cream that kill us too.

julie - eab designs said...

In the same boat here. We spend over $1,000 a month and that amount can go up if we're entertaining.

Juli said...

Family of 4, we spend about $4-500 a month, including gluten free which are pricey. Meal planning is ABSOLUTELY the way to go just be sure to include a dinner out once a month otherwise it gets old really quick. :)

Kimbo West said...

i refuse to answer that question. cause then i would have to take a hard look at my spending and that basically means i would lose some oreos. and my drumsticks. and basically the entire cupboard in the kitchen

Sue V. said...

Husband and I just had this conversation yesterday while grocery shopping. I used to spend about $400 a month for our family of 6 (4 kids ages, 7,9,11,13)In the last year our groceries have been killing our budget. We now spend close $700+ a month. I am blaming it partly on my lack of planning, but more so on the price of groceries. Everything has gone up. We used to be able to get peanut butter on sale for 99 cents, now it is on sale for $1.60. I was so proud of myself when I could get cereal for $1.25, now I get excited when it is less than $2.00. Prices are taking a toll.

Marilyn Schanaman said...

We spend 360 per month. Period. Nothing extra. That's because we use a cash envelope system, that includes our eating out, for a family of 5. I'd LOVE to spend more, but we don't have more, so you make do. The cash system really saved us because we were starting to drown in debts. I don't buy anything that can be consumed in one day if I can help it (bag of chips, or oreos) but things that take longer to eat (bag of carrots, bag of potatoes). That attitude has helped too. It was an irritating switch to go from no budget to a tight budget, but it's possible, especially if you use cash, and run out. Running out of money helps you solve your problems.

Susan - Uniquely Yours or Mine said...

Ok, so this may or may not help but I use a menu service "The Scramble", I pay a yearly fee but I love it. First of all it's all fresh and healthy, gives you calories etc counts and a grocery list. I cannot say for sure it saves me money but I do eat out less because I don't have to "plan" what's for dinner. I think you can get a free trial... Good luck with saving!

Heather said...

We are a family of six and we spend around $800-$900 a month, although my husband is in denial and thinks we could do it for $400. I think he's nuts. I am completely addicted to Costco, so that is probably a huge part of the problem. On months we have to stock up on snacks, our food bill is quite a bit higher. We eat a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables, as opposed to canned or boxed stuff. Our bill would be considerably less if we went for more processed foods. Isn't it sad that bad foods are so cheap?? I have no problem spending extra to make sure my family eats healthy...

Debbie Gisle said...

I will say with eating out we are pretty close. However I'm pretty sure we lived off Twinkies, gogurts and crackers for atleast one week out of the month. So yeeeeaaahhh the budget could get better. But then I'd have to meal plan for a month like you....or burn my eyeballs with a zippo which I'd much rather do. I do use emeals but the meal choices are hit and miss with the family aaaaaaannnnnd there is nothing I love more than making a dinner no one eats. Yeehaw. Good luck.

Lisa @ Shine Your Light said...

I am mightily impressed with your meal planning all the way down to the after school snacks. I go through phases of planning but usually I'm running into the market to grab something ($30 later…) a few nights a week…..not to mention the eating out…or ordering out…..I love when you write about the spending cleanse topic because it gets me fired up again to cut back. My future vacationing self thanks you :)