Back in September last year, I decided to seriously start working on reducing our grocery budget, We were spending an average of $280/week and that seemed HUGE. Being mortgage and car loan free, groceries is our single biggest household expense and I am on a mission to reduce that spending. You can see where it all started, how I planned to do it and my last update. I was all pumped after my November big WIN but December wasn’t so good and this month is not that great again. We spent less than what we used to but not by much. My partner is pushing back a little, he was happy I was trying to reduce the waste and save money, but he also doesn’t want to be told what he can or can’t buy (Like I would tell him he can’t buy something….oops, I did!). Like I said before, it’s not like we can’t afford to spend money. Or maybe I am not so frugal after all! Here is my latest grocery budget for January 2018:
We are a household of five (three grown children). We don’t eat out very often. One of my daughters is celiac so we buy gluten-free products (flour, pasta and bread mainly) which are more expensive than regular products. We have one small dog and two cats. And we host a family dinner every Sunday with 10-14 people depending on the week.
How Are We Doing?
We are managing but nothing stellar! My lowest month, so far, was in November otherwise we seem to be stuck in the $220 zone.
Our average per week this month was $261 for ALL groceries and $226 for food only ($979 per month). I was feeling a little off at the end of the month and bought stuff we wouldn’t usually buy. It happens! And that is when you shouldn’t go grocery shopping! Final goal remains at $200/week (updated from $180 because we just can’t do it ! ).
Here is the detailed grocery spending for January (5 weeks):
And because I love Excel and charts, here is a colorful chart of my progress (December is not included because I didn’t breakdown my grocery bill- too much going on!). Look at that spike in meat/fish?
- Vegetables & Fruits: We started doing better in this area as soon as I stopped buying everything at Costco. We get more of a variety now, less waste and we save money.
- Meat/Fish: We are limited in our choices because my partner can’t eat pork anymore, which is usually cheaper. I am still puzzled by the increase. But we did buy a full salmon and back ribs for 10 people! (What can I say? Not so frugal!)
- Pets: Food for the dog and the cats. Pets are great but they do cost money.
- Frozen food: We bought frozen vegetables for a change but we don’t like it as much. Also bought several bags of frozen fruits for my kids so they can make their healthy smoothies! And finally tried a variety of other frozen products (perogies was one of them but it’s not gluten free!).
- Household: A few good sales for laundry detergent, toilet paper and paper towel. We also run out of sponges, garbage bags, freezer bags & sandwich bags!. Lots in one month, but with five of us, everything gets used much faster.
- Oils and condiments: We stocked up on gluten-free soya sauce, mustard, pickles, mayonnaise and olive oil AGAIN. I swear we must drink that stuff!
Summary For January
- Not much good this month, the motivation wasn’t there. I tried to mentally prepare our meals for the week but I was too sidetracked with other things.
- Didn’t feel like saying “no” to anybody (kids and partner) so bough stuff we don’t usually buy. It does add up at the end of the month!.
And The Ugly:
- I didn’t keep up with my spreadsheet weekly so it was a pain to do it at the end of the month and almost gave up! Then I realized we weren’t making too much progress so I am
sort ofmotivated again!
- I had craving for many things this month and didn’t stop myself! Did you know the cost of a baguette at Walmart (Canada) is $0.87 and at Costco it’s 4.89 for two? Almost three times the price at Costco! And the Walmart one is just as good (but slightly smaller).
Going Forward Best Tips:
- Go shopping by myself, bringing the kids or my partner ends up costing a lot more! Plus I hate saying NO all the time:)
- Make dinner plan for the week based on the sales as much as possible.
- Stick to the list
- Maintain the spending spreadsheet weekly. It helps with future purchases because it gives me a better picture of where our money is going weekly.
I have to admit, keeping track of grocery spending is very tedious! And it’s not like I need a new hobby. But I do like to know where my money is going and we do spend way too much for what we get. I made a commitment to keep track of my grocery spending until I reach my goal and I plan to follow through with it, but I do hope it happens soon!
How about you, how much did you spend on groceries this month? Do you find it helpful when bloggers share how much and where they spend on groceries?
If you like to read about bloggers’ monthly expenses or food budget, here are a few to get you started: