Thursday, November 6, 2008

Grocery Challenge

I am looking at lots of different ways to save money. One way I thought of is setting a limit on what I can spend on groceries. I usually don't have a real budget or anything, I just buy whatever is on my list. This month I am going to try and spend only $210.00 on groceries. My pantry was fairly empty, so I am pretty much starting from scratch.

I knew this would be hard, so I consulted an expert, my friend Barb. Well, she's not technically an expert, but she feeds her family of 5 for $150 a month, so I knew she could help me out. Before you say I could just buy what she buys and I would be under budget, well it wouldn't work. She doesn't have to buy much milk like I do because she doesn't have a little one. Her family also has some food stored up from their garden, so they don't have to buy some things. Don't worry, I plan on having a garden next year.

Anyway, she made me do something, I'd never done before. She made me make a pantry list. I think she got a little upset with me when she asked how much of this or that I used in a month, and I had no clue. Since I didn't really know how much I would need of each item, I just made an educated guess. Barb also made me make a menu for the whole month! Can you believe she would do that to me? I'm a free spirit, I can't be tied down with lists and menus!

I thought if I only shopped once, I would spend less. So, I made my grocery list for the whole month and went shopping. I went to Walmart, Piggly Wiggly, and a neighborhood grocery store that had meat on sale. I ended up spending $161.05. That was a lot of shopping for one day! I still have $48.95 left for the rest of the month for things like milk and bread, and there's probably something I left off my list that I'll have to get. These lists are new to me, but I'll try to learn!

If anyone else has any tips to help me, please let me know!


Farmhouse Blessings said...

This is a big area of concern for our family as well. While I've been making minor adjustments to try and lower our monthly bill, I believe I need to use the approach that you are using and make a monthly plan. It sounds a bit overwhelming at first but it really makes sense.

Look forward to hear more about what you're doing. I may try to get my list together this week as well.

Thanks for sharing.

Lea said...

We know how difficult it is to stay in a budget! We try to cut back, too. I fix meals with less meat and with lots of beans and grains. We can and freeze the vegetables from our garden, too.

Well done!


Amanda said...

definitely a great challenge. we were shooting for $40 per week...i draw cash and use an envelope. i find we do that well...but cheat sometimes and buy ahead when meat is on sale and freeze it, etc. it is definitely working for us though! :) good luck!

Anonymous said...

Instead of planning your meals and then shopping, try planning your meals on what is one sale. Make a price book and learn to stock up when things are on sale so that you save money and build up your pantry at the same time (which will also save you extra trips to the store).

I do this; you can see four months of meals on my site:

Anonymous said...

Nancy, I agree with prudenthomemaker. I have a pantry list, and I shop to replenish the pantry, according to what's on sale that week.

You can find more info on my blog, in my Frugal Pantry post. It's linked in the left sidebar.

Good for you for budgeting and making an effort to save. It can be tough when you first get started, but you're on the right track!

The Happy Housewife said...

I will be interested in seeing how this turns out for you. We cut way back on our groceries last year when we were getting out of debt. I always enjoy watching others challenge themselves in this area.

Paula said...

Sounds like Barb runs a pretty tight ship!! LOL
Although I don't make out a pantry list, I keep a small dry eraser board up in my pantry, and when I see I'm running low (or out) of something, I write it down. Since Hubby gets paid every other week, I plan two weeks worth of meals, and make one trip to the grocery store plus usually one more trip the next week for milk and bread. I don't know that I could budget for a whole month's worth!