Going into this challenge I really wanted to cut our grocery expenses in half for the month. Half way through I realized that would not be happening. I was trying to be extra mindful of my purchases, though perhaps unsuccessfully. On the upside, the kitchen has been deep-cleaned. You know the organize the pantry, clean the oven, pull out the oven and wash off all the crumbs on the side and the floor below it, pull out the fridge and vacuum the coils, scrub the greasy dust off the tops of your cabinets, scrub the inside of the fridge, "where did my whole day go?" kind of cleaning?! I'm glad that's behind me for a few more months.
Purchases for the second half of January:
Target - two trips totaling $78.41 (purchased with gift card so nothing out of pocket)
12 2-pks baby food, facial scrub, shampoo, pizza sauce, jelly beans, croutons, 1 lb. sausage, 10 lbs. potatoes, marshmallows, ice cream cones/cherries/hot fudge/caramel (for a little party w/ice cream), soy sauce, pepperoni, ham, brown sugar, apple juice concentrate, sandwich bags, 6 pk. beer, 3 peppermint chocolate baking bars, small bottle baby oil, 2 bottles of my favorite dish soap and mustard
More than 1/2 of these things were purchased while my parents were here visiting. I hadn't planned meals really well and also didn't want to skimp on tasty things while they were here, so there were certainly impulse purchases.
Sam's Club - $15
2 large jars salsa, big bag of lettuce, Olive Garden dressing
With my parents here, I was able to go with my mom.
Dad & Mom - Free
20-25 lbs. of pork
Thanks, Mom & Dad!
Costco - $17.50 (there for a great buy on a car seat that our girl will be needing soon)
2 gallons milk, 3 large bags Tostitos ($2.19/bag), 18 ct. eggs, sea salt
King Soopers - $65.82
20 boxes Mom's Best cereal, 20 pkgs. pasta, 14 cans diced tomatoes, 8 cans Rotel, 3 boxes Kleenex, 20 ct. dishwasher tabs, 3 bags pretzel Goldfish, 1 tube toothpaste (free), 2 bottles Dr. Pepper, 1 gallon milk, 3 Pringles, 3 4-pks yogurt, 2 pkgs. hygiene items, 11 cans of beans, 3 pkgs.pepperoni/cheese combos and 1 small pkg of M&Ms
I kind of cringe when I read this list, but know that this is not the bulk of our diet. The cereal, pasta & tomatoes were at my stock-up price so I didn't want to miss this sale.
Costco - $9.38 (there for a prescription)
1.5 lbs. hard salami (for Friday pizza night), 3 lbs. Craisins
Total: $107.70 out of pocket
+ $290.60 from earlier in January = $398.30
I just checked the USDA Cost of Food chart for the 2012 average cost on the Thrifty Plan and I was surprised at how high it was. For our family on the thrifty plan we would be spending:
$627.90 (family of 4 including our 2 oldest children) + $133.90 (our 3rd child) + 100.90 (our 4th child) = $862.70
When I look at those numbers and consider that most of our meals are at home, I include paper and personal care goods in our total, we still have 2 little ones in diapers and they don't give a figure for children under age 1 in the calculations, I am encouraged. Not that we have $863 per month to spend on groceries, but this is helpful as I try to keep our budget in perspective.
Even with a month of some extra buying restraint behind us, we still have lots of food in our freezers and pantry so I am hopeful that February will be a good month for the grocery budget, too.