Have you paid attention to the cost of your groceries lately?
Package sizes are shrinking and prices are going up at lightening speed. It’s scary to think that if you make $10.00 an hour at your job, you’ll need to work roughly 60 hours a month just to cover your grocery bill!
Let’s just take a look at your standard weekly staples -
Bread (1 loaf) – $3.49
Milk (1 gallon) – $3.89
Eggs (1 dozen) – $3.49
Butter (1 lb.) – $3.99
Total Price – $14.86
(This list is based on recent retail prices in Upstate NY – 2013)
Going back to the $10.00/hr. job for a second…you would have to work almost an hour and a half just to buy those 4 items…sad, isn’t it?
I’ve had enough of the cost. Groceries are eating up my food budget every month to the point that, I feel guilty for taking the kids out to lunch…we might need that money for milk or bread or eggs before the month is out, right?
After going grocery shopping the other day and once again blowing my grocery budget, I decided that enough is enough. It’s getting out of control. I have to do something to bring down the cost of our food each month. I’ve never spent so much on regular groceries and I use coupons and shop the sales every single week.
After whining to my husband about the increased cost, I realized the only person that could change what we spend on groceries, is me. My husband is wonderful at many things, but budgeting for groceries…yea, not one of them. And he doesn’t often do the shopping, anyway. I do.
So, I made a plan of attack.
I’m taking inventory and boycotting grocery shopping for a month…with one exception –
I have allotted $20.00 per week to purchase any staples (ex. milk, bread, eggs) or emergency items (ex. sunscreen, bug repellant, etc.) we might need.
Here’s my plan -
Goal # 1 – Take inventory of all the food we currently have in the house.
Be sure to write down every single item you have including small packets like dry Italian dressing mix or onion soup mix and write down how many you have of each.
I delegated part of this job to my oldest daughter. (Great “Practical Arts” lesson for homeschooling :)) She took inventory of the food in the pantry and the refrigerator/freezer in the kitchen, while I took note of what was in the larger freezer and stockpile shelves in the basement.
Goal # 2 – Choose 30 recipes based on your inventory.
Be sure to choose recipes for each meal of the day (breakfast, lunch, dinner) and include snacks, drinks and desserts that are not already prepared.
Goal # 3 – Create a menu plan for 30 days.
Organize your menu based on your schedule. Choose easy recipes for the days when you are busy and save the more complicated meals for when you have extra time.
Goal # 4 – Start a cash envelope for budgeting groceries.
Use a regular envelope and write your information on the front or choose an envelope designed for budgeting. Add your allotted budget to the money envelope each week, over the next 4 weeks.
Printable Cash Envelope with Transaction Chart – Available in the shop for $4.00.
I created this gorgeous envelope to help myself get started. It includes space to write in the budget category (in this case groceries), the envelope start date and the beginning balance at the top. Plus, a simple chart to record each transaction as money is added or subtracted from the envelope.
Learn more about envelope budgeting from Dave Ramsey here.
Goal # 5 – Repeat steps 1 – 5 every month.
Take inventory of the food you have leftover from last month. Select recipes and create a new menu including your leftover food. Write a new grocery list with only the items you need to complete your new menu.
Goal # 6 – Shop for the items on your grocery list, using only what is budgeted in the cash envelope.
Goal # 7 – Repeat Step 4 every month.
This isn’t going to be an easy task for me. I’m a sale shopper and I love to stock up when things are at their lowest price. But, the cost is getting to be too much and there are just too many other things we’d love to do with our money.
I’m making a vow, right now, to complete these goals and to do it with money leftover in the envelope each month…even if it’s pennies.
I’ll keep you posted.
How are you handling the increased cost of groceries?