Cutting my grocery bill

In January I posted a weekly journal of all the meals I created using only (mostly) ingredients I already had in my pantry, refrigerator, deep freezer, etc. In week one I shared all the food I had, which turned out to be a lot! In week two I admitted that I was still going to the grocery store for certain things such as eggs and milk, and basically anything I really needed (ok wanted) to make a specific recipe.

My top views/posts in week 1 & 2 were:

DESSERT NIGHT

QUICK, HEALTHY BREAKFAST IDEAS

Then in week three I cut my grocery budget in half, and by week four I realized that I still had enough food to keep going for another month. The only problem with that is somewhere along the way I purchased a few more packages of meat (chicken breasts and ground turkey to be exact.)

Most popular recipes in weeks 3 & 4 were:

BAKED CHIMICHANGAS

TURKEY SALISBURY STEAKS 

Apparently I’m not very good at the pantry challenge because the thought of preparing and eating meals of only 1 or 2 types of meats didn’t inspire me at all. I didn’t have any problem with the vegetarian meals, but I like a variety and assume my family does as well. In fact, there were food items on the list that I never used at all. Hence, the reason I could go on another month at least.

But in truth I did not spend so very much on extra groceries and necessities anyway. I did (and still do) buy a veggie box twice a month ($40 each) that is not figured into my weekly food budget. After saving my receipts and adding them up, I saw that I spent $274.20 for the whole month to feed a family of four, a dog and a cat. (Actually I didn’t buy any dog food this month because I bought a huge thing at Sams Club in December.) That total divided by four weeks comes out to $68.55 a week.

Now, my goal is to seriously keep my budget right at, if not lower than, $60 a week for the next 22 weeks. That’s until late June. We’ll see.

There’s a way you can do this if you have not been able to, or have not tried and don’t know how to start. One way I “started” was by checking out The Grocery Game. I found this to be rather difficult to do while attempting The Pantry Challenge at the same time, so I stopped. BUT it is a very helpful tool and definitely worth the free 4-week trial. In fact I will probably give it another go at some point in the Spring when I am finally done with this pantry challenge.

I started keeping track of all my grocery receipts in September, just to see how much on average I was spending, and how little I could spend. I shopped typically on Tuesdays, kept each week’s receipt, wrote the month and which week it was (#1, #2, etc) and then stapled all of them together at the end of the month.

September: $256.91.  I thought I was off to a pretty good start, but to be fair I had a very well-stocked pantry and freezer at this time. $64.23 per person/week.

October: $402.03. Not so great compared, but for 4.5 weeks (5 trips this month) = $100.51 per person/week.

November: $306.99. That’s still more than I thought it would have been for us being out-of-town for 10 days that month. $76.75 per person/week.

December: $607.48. Yeah, that’s right. It kinda makes up for any money I saved in previous months, but I actually budgeted for this. My trip to Sams Club alone was $426.14 and I bought a lot more stuff than just groceries. In fact almost a hundred $$ of it went to Christmas presents, not to mention food and non-food items that were purchased specifically for Christmas (parties). I allowed myself $400 for that trip and went over by $26 and some change.

January: $274.20 Divide that by 4 people and I’ve spent $68.55 per person for the whole month. Sure it seems possible to do while participating in the pantry challenge, but will I be able to continue on this budget once the foodstores are depleted?

We’ll see….stay tuned 🙂 And if you missed any of those great recipes just click on the title to link over. Have a blessed day!

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