* 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!
- Or using the 4% withdrawal rule, it’s
$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):
- 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
- 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!)
* 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.