Thursday, November 06, 2008

The Great Grocery Experiment

For the past 4 years, ever since Farmer Jack closed up shop (anybody remember those?), I have been a fiercely loyal Kroger shopper. I love our Kroger. I know it in and out. I know the sales cycles and I've pretty much memorized all of the regular prices on items we buy all the time. Plus, I've noticed from the few times that I've shopped at other places that they tend to have the lowest prices on our household staples.

But, in the interest of frugality and in an attempt to offset the ever-rising food prices, I decided to try a little experiment this month.

Usually we buy the majority of our groceries for the month in one trip. This month, however, we split the monthly shopping up between two stores and I went to the store twice.

After the first trip, I was feeling a little frustrated. I didn't plan as well as I should have and didn't get as much as I had wanted. I was more focused on purchasing sales items than on the full plan for the month, which usually ends up costing way more than our normal $300-350 food budget. We spent $102. I wasn't feeling too positive about this whole experience.

On Tuesday, I started planning for the next grocery trip and actually completed my monthly menu planning. I was surprised to realize how much we really did get on that first trip. My list for the second trip wasn't as big as I thought it would be. I ended up spending only $121.

Right now, that puts us at only $223 for the month. Our pantry, fridge and freezer are well-stocked and the monthly freezer cooking has begun. We'll still have to make weekly stops for produce and dairy items, but overall we should have everything we'll need. I should also mention that we'll be out of town at my parents for 5 days, so that does kind of skew the budget a bit.

This experiment that I was ready to write off as a flop has instead resulted in some of the best grocery totals in months. I'm excited to see what happens by the end of November. I may just have to reconsider my one monthly trip plan.

I've realized that sometimes frugality means stepping outside of my comfort zone. While I am not at all willing to compromise on the quality or healthfulness of the foods we eat and serve our kids, I am willing to compromise on my normal routine.

Visit Biblical Womanhood for more Frugal Friday.

Also, if you have never stopped by, I highly recommend a visit. Lisa from Crazy Adventures in Parenting has a series over there entitled "Big Families Budget Challenge." Her first post in the series had some great tips on grocery budgets.


Sonshine 7:37 AM  

I am glad to hear that changing things might be working for you. It is hard to get out of our comfort zone and try something different!

The only thing I have gotten this week is a gallon of milk! Because I am really trying not to shop every week but every payday(which is twice a month). It has helped me this week that the sales are not the greatest so the urge just isn't there to go. :)

Great job! :)

I look forward to seeing if it does work for you! :)

Nancy 11:03 AM  

Sounds like this is a good thing thus far. Hope that in weeks 3 or 4 you find that to still be the case. I spent way more than usual on my last shopping trip but now I'm thinking that rather than lasting us just 2 weeks its going to be at least 3 weeks. I hope so because otherwise, I busted the grocery budget this month! And with needing to move ahead full force with Christmas shopping, I don't have much wiggle room in the budget.

Sherry 11:35 AM  

Woohoo! How exciting! Hope it works out for this month.

Gina @ Six in the Country 11:38 AM  

I love Kroger, too. I shop wierd, sometimes shopping every day for a week, then not shopping for more than perishables for 3 months. I have learned to go with the (sales) flow.

Anonymous,  12:00 PM  

Good for you!

Shynea @ Penny Pinching Diva 6:20 PM  

I think I am going to have to take a tip from you and switch up my grocery shopping plan a little bit this month. I have a tendency to stick to one store, therefor missing savings at another. I find it much easier to stick to one store because that means I only have to take the kids in and out of the store one time. I think I am going to throw in another grocery store and see how I do.

Thanks for the post.

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