A few months ago, I decided to seriously start working on my grocery budget, we were spending an average of $280/week and that just seemed way too much. Being mortgage and car loan free, groceries is now our 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 September and October updates. Here is my November 2017 grocery budget:
I feed a family of five. We rarely eat out. One of my daughters is celiac so we buy gluten-free products (flour, pasta and bread mainly) which are more expensive than regular products. And we have a family dinner every Sunday with between 10 and 14 people.
November was different because my partner and I were away for 2 weeks out of 4 so technically only feeding three grown children for the last 2 weeks. But because I bought more expensive products this time since we were going to be away (i.e.: frozen meals, more snacks…), I thinks it works out to be the same as if we had been there , or close to it anyway. We did save on one Sunday family dinner!
How are we doing?
In two and a half months, I managed to bring our grocery bill down by $48/week and we are still eating really well. It is the equivalent of $2,500/year in savings or 18% . All I had to do is spend a little more time planning our meals and the grocery trip.
Our average per week is now $231 for all groceries and $185 for food only ($801 per month). I can’t believe how much money we are saving by just being more careful. Check out my tips in this post on how I planned to save money on groceries. I know December will probably be a tougher month to save because of the holidays (family holiday meals and lots of baking!) but I am going to keep working on that budget. Final goal remains at $180/week.
Here is the detailed grocery spending for November (4 weeks):
And my progress chart to date:
- Vegetables & Fruits: Since I switched to Food Basics (or wherever the better sales but good quality products are), we are doing great in that area.
- Meat/Fish: High again this month. I bought fresh salmon for a change. It is a little pricey but so good and I love left over Maple Salmon. I am going to work on this meat/fish category more aggressively; there is no reason for it to be so high.
- Dairy/cheese & eggs: Back to a more reasonable amount.
- Pets: Cats were running out of food and liter. We also bought treats for the cats and the dog. Pets can get expensive when you love them!
- Personal Care: We loaded up on a few products this month.
- Snacks & Crackers: Felt guilty to leave the kids for two weeks (while I was enjoying the warm weather in Hawaii) so bought more snacks for them.
- Beverages: We had to refill on coffee again! Apparently both my daughters needed extra caffeine because of exams. I am going to try the reusable K-cups as it will probably be cheaper but I don’t think everybody else in the house will be up to it. It involves cleaning the cup!
- Frozen food: A trip to M&M to buy some ready meals for the kids while away can add up quickly. Not planning to do that again anytime soon. They didn’t even eat most of it, probably because we never eat that stuff.
- Household: We needed freezer bags and sandwich bags; we usually buy in larger quantities.
- Oils and condiments: We bought a large container of olive oil, should last us for a while.
- Maintained my receipt schedule; Keyed them in once a week (usually Monday morning so I remember what we bought in case the receipt is not very clear).
- Kept planning dinner’s ahead (rough idea).
- Checked Flipp before going to the store.
- Haven’t gone back to the store and just worked with what we had.
- Trip to M&M to get frozen meals for the kids in case they didn’t feel like cooking or went thru what I had prepared for them too quickly. That stuff is expensive! Plus I can only get gluten-free meals so I was limited in my choices.
- Bought a lot more snacks than usual for the kids (guilt of going away I think).
- My partner bought himself a lot of snacks, not sure what his excuse was! (probably worried about what my kids would do while we were away!)
And the Ugly:
- Sunday dinner is a killer! I need to find a way to make a nice Sunday dinner for everybody without spending a fortune.
- Bought a large fresh salmon…just because it is so good:)
- Use Flipp and stick to the two stores with the best deals.
- Keep master grocery list on my phone, Flipp is working out really well.
- Make dinner plan for the week based on the sales as much as possible.
- Be more mindful with meat purchase
- Stick to the list
- Stay away from snacks , it is expensive and unhealthy
- Maintain the spending spreadsheet weekly. It is helping with future purchases as it makes me more aware of where our money is going and how much we already spent the week before.
I still can’t believe we are making so much progress and still eating really well. There is so much more room for improvement but it is very motivating to see the spending slowly going down and my savings going up. I don’t know how much longer I will keep track of my grocery spending to that level but at least until I reach my goal.
A few recent and relevant posts below you may want to check out. I know none of them promote Costco but I still think the quality of the meat at my Costco is worth the slight difference in price , same with the avocados.
- Does Costco cost more? Grocery shopping price comparison
- Costco costs more: a cautionary tale of bulk buying gone wrong
- Does Costco Cost More? Costco Vs. Cash and Carry
How about you, how much did you spend on groceries this month? Are you trying to reduce your spending?