My grocery budget – year in review

December 18, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Coupons, Grocery 

budgetFor all of 2013 I’ve been keeping a close eye on our grocery budget and publishing the results every month here on Green Bay Consumer.  My goal when I started the year was to see if I was still spending around $450/month in groceries as I had been prior to having two more kids, a slowed economy, inflation, etc.

With December only being half over, I simply took my current spending total and doubled it.

Here’s how it all looks.

For the year, I spent $4670.53 on groceries.  Dividing that by 12 months, my total came to $389.21 in monthly spending, well under the $450 budget I made for our family.  As I’ve mentioned previously, our family has made the move to more natural/organic items and have avoided the processed-yet-cheap convenience foods like Hamburger Helper so I’m very pleased with our numbers.

Besides avoiding pre-processed foods, I simply shopped the lowest-priced grocery stores, shopped the sales and combined coupons whenever possible, canned/froze my own food and more.  I avoided impulse items and thought twice about adding some items to the cart when I knew I was getting close to my budget for the month.

Will I try to go lower in 2014?  I see no reason to change our $45o/month budget.  That gives me a cushion of spending for those months where stocking up on an item can push the spending higher.

I hope this exercise has encouraged you to take a closer look at your spending on variable items like groceries.  By simply monitoring my family’s spending this way, I became more aware and also made smarter choices in the grocery store.

My November grocery budget

December 1, 2013 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Grocery 

budgetDo you keep a strict record of your grocery spending? I’ve got to admit, I hadn’t kept really strict records of it in about 5 years!  I’ve always done it mentally.

This year I decided to keep track again.

Last month, I spent $342.15 on groceries for our family of six.

For November 2013, I spent $263.  

My goal is to spend no more than $450/month over the course of the year.

How did you do last month?

My October grocery budget

November 1, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Grocery 

budgetDo you keep a strict record of your grocery spending? I’ve got to admit, I hadn’t kept really strict records of it in about 5 years!  I’ve always done it mentally.

This year I decided to keep track again.

Last month, I spent $423 on groceries for our family of six.

For October 2013, I spent $342.15.  That includes two trips to Costco, too! I obviously did not go overboard when shopping there. 😉

My goal is to spend no more than $450/month over the course of the year.

How did you do last month?

How Aldi made Kristin a Better Shopper

October 31, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Grocery 

aldiAbout six months ago, I made my first trip to Aldi.  Since then, I have become an Aldi fanatic!  I love Aldi and I love telling everyone how much I love Aldi.  I love that their store is small, so I can get in and out quickly, I love that I don’t have to worry about using coupons or price-matching, and I love their low prices.  But the other day I realized that shopping at Aldi hasn’t just saved me money, it’s made me a better shopper (and person) in other ways, too.

I try new foods.  I would love to have the time to wander around a big grocery store and look for new foods to try.  At Aldi, there is no choice but to go past every item in the store, so it’s easier to find new things.  The prices are so reasonable, that I can usually justify trying a new food, even if I am not sure my family will like it.  The whole wheat gnocchi I got a few weeks ago did not go over so well, but the pumpkin flax granola is terrific!

I buy more organic items.  I wish I could feed my family nothing but locally grown and organic foods.  Not only is that tricky to do in Wisconsin, but it can also be very expensive.  Aldi has been introducing some organic items into their stores.  I have bought them when they are available, because the price difference between organic and non-organic was so minimal.  I bought some organic chicken stock and it only cost 50 cents more than the non-organic, which still made it cheaper than a non-organic chicken stock at any other store!  And just today, I read some great news: it looks like the Aldi organic line is going to be a permanent fixture in their stores!

I (almost always) have a fully stocked pantry.  This used to happen to me a lot: “I want to make such-and-such recipe – but I am out of canned tomatoes!”  Chasing sales at other grocery stores meant that I didn’t always buy enough food for a stocked pantry, just enough for that week’s meals.  I use Aldi as my “stock-up” store and since I know their prices are as low as can be, I can buy as much as I need.  I love being able to pull together a meal from food I have on hand.

Aldi did not pay me to write this.  I wanted to show that saving money at the grocery store can benefit you and your family in other ways.  I’m sure these same lessons could be applied to shopping at Woodman’s or Walmart.  How has your favorite grocery store made you a better shopper?

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