March 29, 2010

The Grocery Budget Rework - A Tale of Enlightment and Woe

(I know, you see this picture a lot. Sorry. It just works for so many things!)

Over the last couple of days I've done a lot of pondering about groceries and decided to change things around. I realized that things like diapers and toothpaste, although can be bought at a grocery store, shouldn't count. Toilet paper doesn't get eaten (except by super models, apparently). I also realized that I wasn't counting things like our Arrowhead delivery (which I'm hoping we can get rid of soon) and whatever miscellaneous food we might get while we're out. While I counted large fast food purchases for the whole family, I wasn't counting the little things like snacks from 7-11.

So, "Groceries" to me will now include any edible solid or liquid that is consumed. And it won't include zip bags, trash bags, Clorox wipes, toilet paper, paper plates, paper towels, toothpaste, diapers... etc. These are now being tossed into the "Household" category. I think this will give me a better budget to spend on just food, and help keep us in check as far as the "extras" we get somewhere other than the grocery store without thinking about it.

So by reworking the last few months (taking out household, and adding in extra stuff) here's what we've done on groceries (brace yourselves).

November: $510.83 ouch! To be fair, this was the first month we decided to keep track of things and change our routine.
December: $442.60
January: $396.28 close, but this was the month I wanted to eat from the pantry/freezer.
February: $441.40
March: $436.50
Wow. We're really not doing as well as I thought we were. Kind of depressing really. But now that I've got a better handle on it, we can do better. Now I'll remember to count the little things and add it to the tally. 

We still have 3 days left in March, but I think we're pretty much done. So I sat down and put everything into my sexy spread sheet and I see that Meats, Junk (crap that really has no nutritional value, and fast food), and Drinks (not including soda, they have their own category) are our highest expenses this month. I even added some fancy data charts so I can see at a glance what highest ones were for each month. 

So that put's us at an average of $446 over the last 5 months. A far cry from my noble $300 a month budget. Guess I better roll up my sleeves and get to work.


Farm Girl said...

Wow, that is a tall order to fill but I think it can be done. I like that you broke out the non-consumables. I think that is the only way to save money is using less, I was thinking that what kills my grocery bill is all of the yuppy food we eat.
Oh well, Have a great Monday!

Meg said...

Haha I love how you call it "Yuppy food". That's the funniest thing ever.

We're probably going to get a filter like you guys did so we can get arrowhead. We figure by cutting out the monthly payment the filter will pay for itself in 6 months.

So now I just gotta get rid of the other 120 we spend. =\

NetRaptor said...

I shudder to think how much we spend on groceries and "junk". This last month I took out our grocery budget in cash, and only let myself spend each week's allotment on each grocery run. Or if I made a few smaller grocery runs, I only took the money allotted for that week.

I need to keep better track, though. Like, on paper. I'm glad you write your financial columns and have such good links to other financial blogs, because once we have an income again, I can be Budget Gestapo. :)

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