$500 Grocery Budget
Grocery Shopping Week One
Grocery Shopping Week Two
This week I find myself with so much food in my house. My parents were here over the weekend, and they left nothing short of a small feast in my fridge and pantry.
1/2 box cheerios
1 gallon of milk
some leftover beef tenderloin
a whole ham
1 box lettuce
some cheese grits
a ba-jillion potatoes
I'd be a fool not to make the most of it.
In addition to the food they left me, I have in my freezer one turkey meatloaf, two packages of chicken thighs, and a spaghetti pie (made from leftover spaghetti on week one). In my pantry I have various canned goods, pasta, and plenty of red sauce. I also have enough frozen vegetables to make vegetable soup and all the ingredients to make another round of pimento cheese.
Truly I did not need to buy many groceries this week. But I was our of trash bags and shredded Mozzarella cheese for our homemade pizzas - both big ticket items I like to buy from Costco.
When I set out to grocery shop at the beginning of the week I had $32.23 roll over from the previous two weeks. To that amount I added $100. My goal has been to spend $100 or less each week. If I stick to this plan, which I have so far! then I will have minimum $100 remaining out of my $500 monthly budget to stock up on goods for the month of March.
Tuesday I went Costco with $132.23 in my envelope. I spent $78.57. I also received a $10.99 refund for some chicken salad I returned because we did not like it, and Costco has an amazing no questions asked return policy.
Here's what I bought...
trash bags 14.99
huge bag of Mozzarella cheese 14.59
frozen broccoli 6.49
cheese slices 8.99
orange slices 7.59
goldfish crackers 8.19
total with tax = 78.50
Because this experiment is going so well and I'm ending up with such a surplus of funds here at the end of the month, I decided to waver on a couple of my original stipulations and I bought Laurie's classroom snacks with the family grocery budget money instead of paying for them out of a different fund. She had the snack bucket and typically I like to pay for things like this out of a different budget category.
Also, I paid it forward and bought a $30 Publix gift card for a family in our community. I hesitate to share this here. It's so not Matthew 6:3. But you need to know where I spent that random $30. Also, one of the many gifts of being a good steward is having the freedom to give. What a joy!
My total spending so far this week comes to $108. 50. Plus, the $10.99 refund.
That leaves me with $34.72 to roll over into next week.
My meal plan this week has been very relaxed.
Monday: leftover beef tenderloin, salad, potatoes
Tuesday: church event
Wednesday: chicken (from freezer) and broccoli
Thursday: more leftovers or something from freezer
Friday: homemade pizza
Saturday: probably will grill out and make a quick trip to the store or get take out
Sunday: eggs, grits, toast or leftovers
The two biggest lesson I've learned so far are
1- Make good use of the food you already have. Don't waste a thing.
2- Map out a spending plan for the whole month. Pace yourself.
The reason I started this challenge in the first place is I
always start off strong at the beginning of the month, keeping our grocery budget on track and organized. But by the end I (almost) always overspend. I get tired
and I lose my resolve to finish strong. Everything competes for my
grocery cash. $5 here for a pizza party at school. $2 for that drive
through coffee. $10 I owe a friend. I have so much trouble behaving
and using my grocery cash for groceries.
I'm gaining from this experiment exactly what I'd hoped - more deliberate, calculated, and controlled spending habits. I can't wait to carry over these lessons next month!
Stay tuned, one more week to go!