Money, Monthly Money Reports, Saving Money

ALMOST THERE! March 2018 Grocery Budget

It feels good to save money with very minimum effort! I am happy to report our March Grocery Spending was pretty decent. Full disclosure: we are not aiming for extreme frugality (but we could if we had to) so no extreme numbers to look at (just in case you are new to the blog!). So how did we do this month? We are ALMOST THERE!

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 is 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

The goal is not Extreme Frugality unless we HAVE to. Lucky us, we don’t ! I can sense a new challenge coming up once I reach this goal!!!

Related Post: Monthly Grocery Spending Report – The Beginning

March 2018 Grocery Budget:

Our March spending was 10% lower than last month! Crazy to think $24/week savings is the equivalent of 10% of last month’s average spending! We basically saved $1,248 per year.

Assuming you make minimum wage (in Ontario it’s $14/hr) with a low tax rate of 18%,

$1,248 is the equivalent of 108 hours of work! 

Or 3 weeks!!! Based on a 35 hours work week.

Pretty awesome gig if you ask me. You get extra time and money with very minimum effort. You should try it!

Our average per week this month was $225 for ALL groceries and $207 for food only ($897 per month for our family of five).  My goal remains at $200/week, subject to change of course! Since my partner and kids are not always on board with this challenge, I think  I am we are doing AWESOME! You go girl!

Here is the detailed grocery spending for March (4 weeks – March 3 to 30):

Groceries March 2018

And my charts (the love of Excel at work!)Chart groceries march 2018

Groceries by month

March Highlights:

  • Meat/Fish: We did really well this month and still enjoyed fresh salmon and roast beef. So what did we change? Sunday dinner menus ! I am looking at cheaper alternatives and it seems to work. I mean we do feed up to 14 people on Sundays! (Even if two of them are really small). For example, we had chicken thighs once instead of chicken breasts, much cheaper and still really good on the BBQ.
  • Bread & Bakery: My partner loves his Costco bagels but they are so much more expensive. Unfortunately, not much I can do there, as he always reminds me, he doesn’t mind being frugal when it comes to groceries but if he really wants something he will buy it! And HE does.
  • Snack & crackers: We didn’t need to buy much this month since we bought extra in February, on sale. We still have one more box.
  • Oil & Condiments: It was time to stock up, we were low on everything! I make my own vinaigrette with oil and red wine vinegar and my kids love it, so we usually run out pretty quickly. I need to look into buying bulk. We buy the Olive Oil bulk but I use vegetable oil often too.

Change This Month:

In addition to:

  • Planning meals as much as possible.
  • Checking Flipp.
  • Sticking to the list
  • Maintaining the spending spreadsheet weekly. It is a habit now, what will I do once I reach my goal???

Check out all my other tips for saving on groceries: How I Plan to Save $60 a Week on Groceries

We NOW only go to Costco every two weeks! What? You went every week? Well, with the big family dinner on Sunday and the five of us, it made sense to us. But in March we decided to get some of our week-ends back and plan better. We buy our meat for the following two weeks and everything else we feel is cheaper there (cereal, coffee, HIS bagels, household products…). So far I think it also contributed to our additional savings, less temptation! But best of all, we get that one hour back on our week-end! Our next goal is to try to go every three weeks and then eventually once a month.We just need to plan better.

Wrapping Up

I am happy with our progress this month and can’t wait to see our numbers for April. Keeping track of our grocery spending, by category, has been very helpful and I love making the charts. I am such an Excel geek! Also, because we all like to reach our goals, I am considering not feeding my kids in the last week of April if I need to, in order to reach MY goal!!! Extreme?

Desperate times call for desperate measures:)

How about you, how well did you do this month? How many hours are you ready to get back by saving on groceries?

GYM didn’t do too well! Go check out her post An Analysis of Our Grocery Spending: This is an Intervention. And don’t forget to check out Kris’ March update over at Chronicles of a Father with Cents .

You can find all my previous monthly grocery reports here.

24 thoughts on “ALMOST THERE! March 2018 Grocery Budget

  1. I like your excel charts and analysis Caroline. I could never do this. Beverages ( the adult variety) would be a large slice of our pie chart. I wouldn’t want Mrs. DD to see it. She doesn’t drink, but I do. If she really existed, I would probably get in big trouble. 🙂 Tom

    1. Maybe one day there will be a real Mrs. DD, there is hope Tom! But she may have to drink (if you expect her to shovel the driveway among other things) lol

  2. Hi Caroline,
    Nice grocery pie chart, it looks very healthy and balanced. Fruits and vegetables are my favorites, and I can’t live a single day without them. Good job in keeping the grocery expenses low. Have a great April!

  3. Thanks for the shout out Caroline!!
    Gotta love the Excel pie charts, they come in real handy especially for your grocery breakdown. Hopefully with your plan to cut down your visits to Costco, it will help cut your grocery expenses and achieve your goal of averaging $200 a week.

  4. Hi Caroline
    I didn’t realize not feeding the kids was an option ? Great job in keeping the grocery expenses low.

  5. Good job Caroline!!! I am taking notes 😉 I wasted at least $25 on buying some roasts in my update last month and screwed them up in the oven. They didn’t turn out ver well.
    Roast beef and salmon are so expensive. What do you and your kids usually eat for breakfast? I am finding that boxed cereals are expensive, and I make my own granola but that tends to be expensive.

    1. I hate it when you buy good stuff and you mess it up! We love fresh salmon, I buy the big one at Costco and have leftovers for lunch (with maple syrup it is so good).
      My kids eat oatmeal, smoothies, eggs or boxed cereal. We buy the large box of individual flavored oatmeal packages and cereal at Costco, it’s cheaper. I just eat fruits in the morning:)

  6. Good job – you are getting there! I generally do the groceries and find that when we combine our shopping lists and visit the grocery store less often, we manage to reduce our overall/impulse spending…or maybe just have less opportunities to indulge.

  7. We did well on our grocery spending again in March also, but I would not call it easy! I’m hoping at some point we fall into a rhythm of spending less, but for now, it’s something I have to be mindful about every single freaking day.

    1. Lol, some days it feels harder than others, I agree! I think we are starting to get into a rhythm:) The non stopping at the store during the week is tough sometimes!
      Glad you guys did great too:)

  8. OH MAN. Totally geeking out over your charts and data. Who knew analyzing grocery money could be so fun?! I might start doing this to get me motivated to save money on food.
    Also, you’re amazing at staying on budget! Mad props!

    1. Thanks Steph! I know how can it be so fun??? lol
      It has been very enlightening for sure and I am glad I did the breakdown, we were wasting money!
      Food is our number one expense in our house since we don’t have a mortgage or car payments so it seemed like the right thing to do:)

  9. Great analysis with your grocery breakdown – I’ve always just looked at this category as a single expense, never dived into the detail, but was literally planning to do this next month as I was reviewing our financials this morning!

    I don’t think a day goes past when I don’t stop by the supermarket, but I kind of enjoy it – must be a hunter-gatherer thing…

    1. I only started recently to track my groceries by category, before it was just one BIG number! I honestly wished I did it earlier, I would be a smarter grocery shopper.
      I also enjoyed the regular stop on the way home but once you start adding up how much it cost, you may revisit your habit! Keep us posted on your progress:)

  10. that’s not a bad number for 5 adults. i find canada expensive for food and drink in general. you ever make adobo? it’s a filipino dish of stewed chunks of chicken or pork (cheap cuts) in vinegar and soy. we’re always looking for ways to make food interesting around the house. you’re in ontario? we live in buffalo and have just dealt with the extended winter like y’all.

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