Monthly Money Reports, Saving Money

* MISSION ACCOMPLISHED * June 2018 Grocery Budget

* MISSION ACCOMPLISHED * ! That’s right, we I did it! I finally reached my goal to reduce our grocery spending by 30%. Actually, we exceeded the goal, but I don’t want to brag too much, it may not last! If we keep it up, we will save $5,200/year on groceries.

If You Are New Here!

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.

The 2018 Challenge:

My 2018 grocery spending challenge was to reduce our spending by 30% to $200 per week. We started back in September with an average $280 per week.

While reducing our cost, I also focus on:

  • Reducing waste as much as possible
  • Eating well and maintaining a healthy and balance diet
  • Not spending hours planning or shopping!

$200/week seems reasonable to me for a family of five. Nothing extreme but a number I am comfortable with. Obviously if money was an issue, we could definitely do better.

Related Post: Monthly Grocery Spending Report – The Beginning

June 2018 Grocery Budget:

We finally did it!

Our June spending was 35% lower than last September! We will save $5,200 per year if we keep it up. Money we could add to our savings or plan a nice cruise in the fall (or whatever our little hearts desire)!

Our average per week this month was $181 for ALL groceries and $163 for food only ($706 per month for our family of five).  My goal was $200/week! * Mission Accomplished * (At one point my goal was $180 but I didn’t think it was realistic so I changed it, was I ever wrong!)

$5,200 is the equivalent of

  • As per this article, the average salary for a Canadian employee is $986/week. So what is $5,200 worth for an average Canadian employee (we will ignore taxes for now)?

5 weeks’ worth of work!

$130,000 less you need to save for retirement!

Just by being more careful with your grocery spending!

Detailed June 2018 Grocery Budget

Here is the detailed grocery spending for June (4 weeks – June 2 to 29):

June Highlights:

  • Vegetables: A temporary spike in June. The farmer’s markets are all open around town. I usually enjoy going on Saturday mornings (and spending) while my partner is playing golf. I don’t plan to go EVERY Saturday!
  • Meat/Fish: We still had meat left from May (remember my partner did the shopping alone!) so we bought a little less than usual this month. I did buy fresh salmon, roast beef, chicken breasts and took advantage of a great sale on chicken drumsticks.
  • Snack & crackers: Another low month for snack & crackers. Kids were still eating the ones we had bought on sale. I don’t put all the boxes in the pantry at once otherwise my “growing” son eat them all!
  • Frozen Food: We bought frozen hamburgers. turkey sausages and a box of seasoned chicken breasts for emergencies (meaning: for when I really don’t feel like doing anything when I get home!)
  • Household goods: Fabric softener and dishwasher detergent were on sale, so we bought a few of each.
  • Pets: We still had enough food for the dog and the cats but we will need to restock in July.
  • Personal Care: None this month which mean we may have more next month!

How Did We Do It?

Slowly! I started the challenge back in September and only reached our goal now, 10 months later.  I also changed my target amount a few times! From my original list, this is what worked best for us me.

  • Make a list. Think of meals you may want to cook for your list, my kids like variety so I try not to make the same meals every week. I check what’s on sale and adapt as needed. I don’t actually make a meal plan (I am not that organized) but I make sure I have food to cook at least 6 dinners (one is usually left overs). At any given point, we always have eggs, pasta, rice, potatoes, tofu, lettuce and some frozen meat.
  • Use Flipp. I made my master grocery list on Flipp and go thru it every week to check what we actually need. Then I click the main items to see where we can find them on sale, and check the rest of the flyer(s) quickly for any great deals. Most times it’s between Food Basics and Walmart , so depending on what we need the most, I pick the best store to shop at for that particular week. I don’t want to start spending hours driving around. Walmart will price match as needed to. Some stores are sometimes cheaper but you also have to like their quality and cleanliness. There are a few I won’t go to after I tried them once. Sometimes if a deal is REALLY good , I may do a special trip and stock up.
  • Limit grocery trips. We stopped going to Costco every week, we go every two weeks, mainly for meat and household goods. My partner thinks the quality of the meat is better there and their price is competitive enough. Our ultimate goal, as we get more organized, is to go once a month. For the rest of the groceries, we do one trip per week. If we miss something, we get creative and do without it. The stops at the grocery store, on the way home from work, were very bad for our budget!
  • Stick to the list. I constantly remind myself this while shopping. There are always so many temptations. I sometimes put items in my cart, that are not on my list, but end up taking them out by the time we get to the cash (most of the time). Do we need it? Only buy what is on your list unless it’s an amazing sale you didn’t know about.
  • Check what is in your fridge/pantry before you leave! We used to waste so much food and money because I didn’t always take the 5-10 minutes it takes to check what we had in the fridge/pantry before going grocery shopping.  This one step alone has saved us a lot of money.
  • Stay away from junk food, it adds up quickly.
  • Don’t buy more than you need (perishable) even if it’s a great deal. We were buying way too much at Costco when products were on sale and ended up wasting a lot.
  • Freeze everything you don’t use before it goes bad! We don’t eat bread very quickly and we used to waste most of the loaf. Now I freeze it right away and we only take out what we need, same with bagels and English muffins. If some of the fruits start to get too ripe, I wash them and freeze them too. We can use them for baking or in a smoothie. You can freeze so many things! We waste a lot less and save money at the same time.
  • Maintain a grocery spending spreadsheet weekly and share it. It makes you feel so much more accountable. Even sharing the numbers with your spouse and letting them know what your goal is may give you extra motivation. Start planning what you will do with the money saved as an additional incentive.
  • You can use coupons or apps for additional savings. I use Checkout 51 but so far I only have $15 in the account. I don’t think it is worth it for me, but I still check it once in a while.

Check out all my other tips for saving on groceries: How I Plan to Save $60 a Week on Groceries (it was $60, then $100 then $80!)

Wrapping Up

* Mission Accomplished! * Does this mean I am done keeping track of my grocery spending? Wishful thinking? Not quite yet. I will keep it up for a little longer to make sure the expenses don’t creep up on us again! Or start a new challenge with a lower amount!

How about you, how well did you do this month? Are you ready to save $5,200/year too? How would you spend it?

You can find all my previous monthly grocery reports here.

June 2018 Grocery Budget


20 thoughts on “* MISSION ACCOMPLISHED * June 2018 Grocery Budget

  1. Great work Caroline! What are you doing with all you new found my money? Vacations, dividend stocks, FIRE fund or something more exotic? Tom

  2. Wow, that is really impressive! Our kids are 22 and 16, and our 22 year old is pescetarian (although she just moved out so we don’t feed her anymore!), so yes I understand how expensive it would be to feed your family.

    We eat out more often then we’d like because of our busy lives, so that artificially lowers the grocery bill, it increases the overall food bill. How often do you eat out and how do you track that spending?

    Congrats on your impressive savings!

    1. Hi Scott, a few years ago, I went thru a phase were we bought take-out a lot! Not even the expensive kind but it still added up. These days,if I really don’t know what to cook or am too lazy/busy, I will make pasta! If they don’t like it, they can eat more the next day:)
      We don’t eat out much at all. If we do, it is included in my monthly expense report.

  3. Thanks for sharing your grocery budget success, Caroline! At first I saw $181 for June and was in awe because I thought you kept it that low all month with a family. But $706 per month for a family of 5 is seriously impressive! Congrats. I need to step up my game which groceries so I appreciate the reminder.

    1. $180 per month! I would be the extreme Frugal guru:)
      I think we can cut back a little more but I don’t want to push it too much either, I may get a rebellion!
      I hope you do look at your grocery shopping, it is one of the largest household expenses after house and car.

  4. Great job Caroline!! I think the key is to stick to you grocery list. It’s real easy to get distracted by other items you see at the grocery store and get persuaded to buy them. It messes up your list and budget. Whenever we create a list of grocery, I stick to it and focus on the items that is on the list. That’s really easy for me to do when I’m shopping by myself but when I’m with the family it’s a different story, haha!!

  5. Hi Caroline, congratulations! Great job! Look at the trend of your numbers since last Sept, it’s going down dramatically. Yeah, having a shopping list helps a lot. It’s also quicker to get out of the store if I have a list.

  6. my biggest takeaway from this is that big sunday dinner every week. the whole family will appreciate that well into old age. i miss that kind of thing from my youth now that everybody is spread across the country. well done on that spending.

  7. Yayyyyy!! You did it! So impressive!!

    I stopped checking because it was getting depressing or too hard to cut down on groceries. Or then I cheat and use my PC mastercard for points (like yesterday we paid $3 for $63 worth of groceries) haha.

    I have gotten $40+ from Checkout 51 so far, but I think mainly from diapers. There’s a lot of the same stuff week after week on there.

    Great tip about using a master list and using Flipp. I should look into that function in Flipp. I just search on Flipp for what I need or go to one grocery store and get what’s on sale.

    Yes, agree about junk food adding up! For a while there we were just getting popcorn since it is cheaper (a la Mr. Tako Escapes). But there was a sale for two Kettle Chips for $4 so had to stock up! 🙂

    1. Hi GYM, I noticed many great coupons for diapers on Checkout 51 but everything else is very repetitive and not much of what I use. I did watch their video for a couple of weeks (and got paid!) but I don’t see them anymore.
      The master list has been great. I check and uncheck every week as needed, it has everything we would normally buy. It makes it so much easier not to forget items. And so easy to see what’s on sale from the list! You need to try it.
      We still buy junk food but not at the same rate we used to!
      Wow $3 for $63 worth of groceries? I need to check my PC points, maybe for once I will use them for groceries instead of face creams!

  8. Also, PS

    I thought of you today as I am preparing to feed 12 people (making salmon- salmon cost us $70!!), chopping corn up to smaller pieces, chopping mushrooms. I don’t know how you do it every Sunday!!! So much work!! Lol!!

    1. Lol, I feel for you! But in our case it’s family and it’s every week so the pressure is not the same as if we were invited friends.
      We are getting better at it and can make it quite simple some Sundays.
      $70 for salmon? Did you check Costco? You can usually get a big fresh one for $35-38.
      Hope it went well?

  9. Congrats on this achievement!! I’d love to have our grocery bill that low!!
    We’re a family of 5 adults (our 3 adult sons still live with us) + 1 cat and we live in South Australia. We have 4 of us who are gluten free & dairy free + me & my middle son have MCS (multiple chemical sensitivities) which means avoiding all chemicals. So, we have extra costs for some items, but it’s cheaper for cleaning products as we only use vinegar & bicarb soda to clean. My aim has been to keep our budget to $230/week for all groceries, including household goods and toiletries. We’ve been on that budget for a few years now. The challenge is not to exceed that when price rises seem to happen here around April and October each year. We have 2-3 meatless meals per week and buy bulk rice, beans, lentils, buckwheat etc that helps keep the costs down. About one week every month we have a no spend week to use up what’s in the pantry, which allows me to buy the specials in bulk on the other weeks & not worry if I’m slightly over budget. I record all food costs carefully, as our 3 sons contribute $45 each per week to the grocery shopping. Hubby & I contribute $95/week between us, as I have some extra costs with my dietary needs. When we’re doing well with our finances we purchase some fresh Atlantic Salmon as a treat! YUM!
    I’ll be interested to read more posts about reducing grocery costs!

    1. Hi Kerryn, first I want to apologize for not responding to your comment but it was stuck in spam land! It looks like you are doing amazing for a family of five adults with all your dietary restrictions:) In the last two months, we actually managed to bring our cost down to $170/week:) Not sure if we can keep it up! Pretty impressive that you can do a one week no spend every month, you must be very well organized. I will keep posting regular grocery tips but I may need to learn a few things from you too. Cheers

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