We budget $350 each month. This includes all groceries, paper products, cleaning supplies, toiletries, medicines/herbals, and hygiene items (razors, deodorant, etc). Included from now on in our grocery budget will be newspapers.
In January we spent $328.93—We were $21.07 under budget. There is $43.38 which we haven’t actually spent in the $336.43 amount. We ordered a case of Sweetwater Valley Farm cheese with a friend and will purchase half of that case. Since we ordered it before the end of the month, I’m using that amount for the cheese. With that money we bought $623.20 worth of items. If I’m doing my math correctly, we had a savings of 52.78%. (This percentage isn’t as good as I normally do, but I was also much more focused on planning for the coupon fair rather than working the moneymaker deals like I normally would have been).
What did we buy with that money?
I purchased 7 newspapers.
Free items—3 ecotrin, 2 quench ($12 MIR) lotions, puffs tissues, 5 free electrosol, 11 free oikos organic yogurts,5 boxes Marcal tissues, thermacare, toothpaste, 2 Gatorade, frozen blueberries, 7 rotel, 4 salsas, and 2 pert plus for men
Bartered for two dozen eggs from a friend of mine who owns chickens
Some of the items listed above and below were donated to our church food pantry/outreach programs.
What did we stock up on?
- The main item that we stocked up on was cheese, and because we ordered mid month, we still haven’t received that order.
- We needed rice, and I bought 9 lbs of white rice and 2 lbs of brown.
- $14.50 for locally grown using organic measures pastured milk.
- At Kroger—bread, 2 mega rolls of charmin, black eyed peas, chips, organic carrots, organic ff milk, vegetable oil, 10 lbs of bread flour (I was going to make sourdough bread, but I let the starter die when we went on a trip. I’ll use this on other breads instead.), potato flakes, sour cream, parmesan cheese, marshmallows, frozen spinach, eggs, bananas, organic beef, organic salad, dawn dishwashing detergent, cucumbers, sodas, poptarts, cheese, ranch dressing, 4 cornbread mixes, organic apples, crackers, Kashi cereal, 2 bratwurst, hot dogs, 2 mustards
- At Walgreens—I bought 2 of the coffee creamers anticipating the coffee service at the coupon fair, 2 gatorades, honey, cascade, swiffer dusters, Kraft singles, Oscar Mayer lunchmeat, 2 sugar free candies (for my dad), 4 (24 pack) aquafina water for our water storage, bacon, kotex, kleenex, bread, animal crackers
- Ingles—organic apples, organic potatoes, whole wheat hot dog buns, and 2 liter sodas (I never made it to the triple coupon week because of the snow. Oh well!)
- At Three Rivers Market— organic spinach salad, organic carrots, organic onions, 6 organic lemons
- From Frontier co-op—Stash earl grey tea, Stash orange spice tea, Emergen-c, Tom's of Maine silly strawberry toothpaste, 3 vitamin bottles for our daughter, 3 organic ranch dip mixes Simply Organic brand
- Earth Fare—1 organic mango (needed a purchase to get the free blueberries) We so enjoyed this mango!
So, what could you glean from this post to help with your budget and shopping?
- Last month, I analyzed our spending and realized we had not bought as many organic items as we normally would have. Therefore this month, I tried to pick up a few more of those items. Keeping a list of what we buy and how much we purchase helps for an analysis of trends.
- Having home canned and preserved items in the freezer helps to keep our costs down in the winter. We’ve been enjoying canned peaches and pears, homemade strawberry jam and pickles, and frozen blueberries and strawberries.
- The onions, herbs, and few other things in the garden have kept our costs down. I used the last of the storage onions for Christmas dinner so I was pleased to see the sale on the organic version at Three Rivers Market this month. Knowing how much we preserved and how soon we ran out of the items helps me to plan for this next season’s garden.
- When you get busy, you might not coupon as much. When you aren’t couponing, you can still use money saving strategies to help with the budget. Looking for loss leaders and mark downs, comparing prices, watching for sales, barter when you can, go in on bulk purchases with friends—all of those tools will help keep your spending down.
I hope this post helps some of you in your grocery shopping, budgeting and meal planning.