Starting in February, I've been keeping track of how much money we are spending per month on groceries. There is an interesting little chart here that shows how much the average us resident spends on food at home. For a family of two, the frugal plan is $346, so my ideal budget per month right now is right around that mark (this is also including toiletries, cleaning supplies, etc.).
For March, we spent a total of $396.89 on groceries etc. This is definitely above my budget, however a few points to make...
1) For that amount, we purchased a total of $720.87 worth of groceries and stuff!!!!! WHAT? that is insane to me. So we saved 45%!!!!
2) I'm expecting that amount to drop a TON. This month we had the added expense of my birthday party (that shopping trip was the only one over a hundred dollars...the only one over 75 actually!) that ate up a lot of our budget (luckily now our bar is getting very well stocked!). I've also been working a lot of STOCKPILING. I've learned this is basically the key to saving money. Basically when something is on sale really cheap, and there are coupons for it, you buy as many as you can! FOR INSTANCE: right now in our freezers we have a total of 14 boxes of green giant frozen vegetables, probably about 20 frozen dinners, and I think we have about 10 boxeas of hamburger helper. A little outrageous for 2 people, however these are things I will NEVER have to buy NOT on sale! We just recently purchased some great storage shelving for the basement and got that all set up and organized with all our extra purchases (pasta, soup, paper towels, juice, etc.) I'm starting to get to the point now where I go out to get groceries and I'm only spending about $30-$40 a trip because I am only buying what's on sale, and nothing else.
3) Our meat supply is completely out of control, haha. After setting up our storage shelves, I took an inventory of the downstairs fridge freezer as well as our chest freezer. Needless to say we could probably go about 3 months without buying ANY meat at all!! The grocery store by my mom has crazy sales on meat every month or two and we've been stocking up, so we won't need to be doing that for a LONG time.
4) Summer is on the way, and that means yummy, delicious produce!! I have plans to have a smallish garden this year to grow stuff we use quite often (I'm thinking tomatoes and green onion for sure..possibly broccoli, zucchini, cauliflower...we'll see what else!) so that will help. Not that we spend a lot on produce anyways. Last fall I discovered the amazingness that is Horrock's Farm Market and it is extremely rare that I buy produce anywhere else (unless I need like ONE thing and i'm already at another grocery store!). For example, on one shopping trip in early March I bought the following: a bunch of broccoli, a pound of red grapes, a 2 lbs. of mini carrots, 8 oz. of mushrooms, a bunch of cilantro, 5 avocados, 1 lemon, a red pepper, 3 onions, 4 apples, 4 tomatoes, and 3 limes for a total of $22. Seriously? That is crazy to me. Their prices are totally unbeatable. If you don't live in the Lansing area (or Battle Creek), I would definitely check out your local farmer's market. They will have the best quality and prices guaranteed!
5) We made a list of about 15 or so meals (this is about the average we'll eat in a month, since I close at least 2 nights a week and we eat out about once every 2 weeks) and I made a huge list of ingredients for all those meals. I'm stocking up on these things when they are on sale so I'll have lots of options for dinners, and will be much less tempted to eat out!
So this month, I'm aiming for $300. It will be tough, especially since we are CRACKING DOWN on eating out (ok we failed tonight...but we have both been VERY good about packing lunches so that is good!). But I think it's possible. I don't plan on buying things I don't need, and don't plan on buying much without coupons or anything thats not on sale(ugh we were out of yogurt and nothing was on sale at Meijer, but at least I had a coupon). We don't really have any big events or parties going on this month too, so that's good. All I know is it's awesome to actually be using name brand products and eating good brands of foods and paying WAY less than buying the store brands!
How much do you spend a month on groceries?