Tuesday, April 22, 2008

WFMW: Upping My Grocery Budget to Save Money

When we first began our adventure into once a month grocery shopping, I took so much delight in seeing just how low I could get that total to be each month. Then I would proudly pat myself on the back for feeding our family of 6 for $130/month. Except the funny thing is, it never really worked out like that. We'd run out of coffee in 4 days, then potatoes 2 days later, butter, eggs, crackers, oatmeal and flour 5 days after that. I had all of our dinners planned out before shopping, so I typically didn't run out of that stuff. But for some reason, my family likes to eat 3 times a day, with a snack thrown in here and there for good measure.

When Eric finally questioned me about why he was always having to stop at the store on his way home, I really took a look at things with a new perspective. As good as it sounded, I was not even near to spending only $130/month. When each little trip was added to that grand total, the total more than tripled! By attempting to spend so little that first trip I was actually spending way more than I wanted to throughout the month. I knew we needed to come up with a new plan.

Since then, I've found that upping my monthly grocery budget to save money really works for me. When I approach the shopping with the thought that I need to buy enough to last us through the month, and that I can spend up $250 on that trip, I don't run out of anything except dairy and produce items. And those are already planned into the budget at another $50/month, bringing our total to $300. We have yet to go over that amount for a month, whereas before we would have been hovering around $350-375 for the month.

To check out other Works for Me Wednesday posts, head over to Shannon's blog.


Amy @ Experience Imagination 1:51 AM  

Yup. We've had similar problems here. Especially when those on-the-way stops are not at the inexpensive grocery store!

Kisha 2:44 AM  

I've started to keep track of this. I'm hoping that I can keep our bills down and stick to our plans. And yes it's always the dairy and bread first.

ttelroc 4:39 AM  

I think my heart just skipped a beat - once a month? I shop almost daily! It is my social activity I think. lol Here is my WFMW post on how I shop...


It is just my husband and I, so I tend to just run over to the store - which is literally outside my window. I can go to the store and back in 15 minutes.

However, I can see how upping the budget can really serve the bottom line for the month.

Have a great day!

Christy 8:08 AM  

Thanks for posting your experience with this!! I've tried O-A-Month shopping and have spent more than normal...for the same reason you explained. Plus, it was hard for me to figure out how much to buy to last the month. I need to try it again, using your method!!

alicia 8:13 AM  

Great post! I went through the same thing about two months ago. I never did once a month shopping, but I tried to see how low I could get the total, but then ended up going back again and again. My husband finally said, "who do you think you are kidding?" Busted! So - I seriously upped our budget too. I found too, that we eat out a lot less often.

I am on my way to the gym, but I will stop by later to look at your blog more - we share some same interests and family size (4 - 3 girls, 1 boy!)


Happy Mommy 10:08 AM  

Wow! I really need to know how, really how! We are a family of 5 and I am having a hard time staying at 550$ a month... what kind of meals do you eat.

FrazzMom 11:15 AM  

Thanks for the reminder and kudos to you for managing to shop once a month! I feel good if I can keep it down to twice a week- once a week would be my goal. I definitely find that I spend more when I stop in to 'just buy one or two things'... All those little trips add up!

Marie 3:33 PM  

Upping my budget meant more bulk shopping. It can be such a huge savings in both time and money. I didn't want to do it before because I didn't wnat to spend $9 on a case of Spaghettios, but that's a lot cheaper than paying $1.18 per can. And we go through a lot of Spaghettios!

The Happy Housewife 8:29 PM  

Great post. I think $300 is very low for a family of six. I can't remember, are your kids little?
I don't have much experience with once a month shopping, I go once a week and pull out the budgeted money before I enter the store. Cash helps me stay on track. I budgeted $575 this month (family of 8) but I think I will go over if we want to eat next week! My husband making little trips is what killed us this month!

Lori - Queen of Dirty Laundry 12:35 PM  

I love this post!

We haven't tried OAM shopping, but even with every week or two weeks, if I'll just stop being so cheap and buy what we really need, I won't have to go back!

My problem is that when I make a quick trip, Target's closest and it's physically impossible for me to leave the store without checking all the clearance areas.

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