$500 Grocery Budget
Grocery Shopping Week One
We've had a crazy week! A school interview, an overnight trip, and two sets of out of town family company have made this an anything but ordinary week.
Over the weekend, as I was looking ahead I knew that my shopping and meal planning needed to be done ahead of time and that I needed a lot of flexibility.
This is how it's shaping up so far....
Monday - vegetable soup (link is similar to the recipe I used, but I omitted beef and used all frozen vegetables, pimento cheese and crackers
Tuesday - out of town and on the road, drove through Wendy's (just adults, kids were with my mother in law)
Wednesday - shepherd's pie
I will be taking some major shortcuts with this recipe, no pureed
carrots. I plan to just do a layer of cooked frozen ones. Ain't nobody
got time for that.
Thursday-my parents in town for the weekend
Friday- eat with family
Saturday-eat with family
Sunday- eggs, grits, toast or leftovers
Over this past weekend, I made blueberry muffins and chocolate chip banana bread for quick, easy breakfasts and snacks. Per usual, I made all of our sandwiches for the week on Sunday night. I also browned the ground beef ahead time for the shepherd's pie so that I would have one step less to worry about as I prepare for dinner tonight! Whoop whoop.
I bought some chicken salad at Costco thinking it would be nice to have one more already-made food on hand. But I don't like it and I'm taking it back. Costco has a no questions asked return policy. So that will be $10 back in my pocket.
As far as grocery shopping and budgeting is going, I'm still on track!
The first week of February I spent
Publix 14.62* (2 half gallons ice cream, sugar cones, paper plates, bananas)
This second (crazy week) I've spent
Costco 46.50. This total includes 2 gallons milk, one large bag sweet onions, pre-made chicken salad, bananas, large bag frozen vegetables, bread, egss, shredded cheese
Publix 25.56 This total includes 2 cans diced tomatoes, tomato juice, 3 bags frozen vegetables, jar of pimentos, crackers, sour cream, starch for ironing, and 1 bag Starbucks coffee on sale. I originally planned to only buy coffee online and not include it in our food budget, but it still has not arrived and we were out, so of course, I had to buy some.
Gas station 2.00 bottled waters
Wendy's 12.14 This total includes two separate stops at Wendy's - ha. The first stop I ordered a cup of chili and a coke for a hearty snack. The second stop Stephen and I both had dinner. We got burgers and one small Frosty, waters, and no fries.
This week's total is 86.20 (so far)
My goal has been to only spend $100/week so that I will have a remaining $100 at the end of the month to stock pile, buy meat, and take advantage of sales. One trick I'm using is to only get $100 in cash at the ATM for groceries each week, and I'm only taking that amount in the store. Because I don't physically have the extra money on me, I can't overspend without going back to the car or house to get my debit card.
I have not had to buy any meat yet because I have so much in my freezer. As I'm using it up, I'm rationing it carefully and portioning a little less that I normally would. Also, I discovered a bag of slightly freezer burned blue berries and strawberries so I'm using those up in smoothies and muffins.
And sure, I'm catching a break because my parents are coming to town this
weekend and they usually treat us to several meals while they are here.
Only two weeks in, and I'm already amazed at this experiment. I haven't done so well with my grocery budget in years. It is forcing me to plan better and flex my frugality muscles. The skills I'm learning are taking effort now, but I anticipate they will become second nature in the future. I'm learning so much about the way I typically shop/plan. The things that are making it work are public accountability (this blog), planning well, and a willingness to eat what we have. My tendency is to overspend, and this exercise is really reining in my shopping/meal planning skills. But the challenge is not over. I have two weeks to go.
Hang with me.
Better a small serving of vegetables with love than a fattened calf with hatred. Proverbs 15:17 (NIV)