Feb 18, 2010
My grocery budget is out of control - AGAIN
I am feeling the economic pinch lately. I went over my finances this morning, and found my monthly budget almost gone, despite only spending $7 total on myself this month. The rest goes for gas, food, prescriptions, and one trip to WalMart where I purchased Spring/Fall jackets and clothing on sale (for Mr. B.). But food. Ugh. My food budget is just out of control yet again. This morning my original grocery list was a combination of snack foods, items on sale at Krogers, items I have coupons for, and a few miscellaneous "need" items. Then I took a look at my checking account, and knew I needed to get my act together - and quickly - or I'd be going into my overdraft account, which I hate to do now that they charge me $3 initially, plus daily interest until I pay it off. That's just throwing money out the window, so I need to avoid dipping into my overdraft. I pulled up the Kroger ad on the computer, got out my coupons and my grocery list, and made the "do I really need it?" or "is it something I use on a regular basis that's on sale?" choices. I quickly whittled my list down. My goal was to spend no more than $60.00 vs. the $120 to $140 a week I have been spending. Junk food - I wish they'd outlaw the darn stuff. We've been going through more than we normally eat because both Jeff and I quit smoking two months ago. I will add that I've lost 14 lbs since we quit smoking - so you know who is eating all the junk food! He'll eat chips, candy, ice cream - anything at all. I replaced all these with a bunch of bananas and a bag of apples. I have ingredients on hand already to bake a cake during the week to appease his sweet tooth and for his lunch for work. Normally I'd buy 2 bags of chips, a bag of candy, 2 bags of cookies, and some kind of granola/snack bar. That's about $20 - $22 for snack foods each week. A bag of apples and bunch of bananas was about $4.50. For meats, I purchased 2 lbs of ground turkey on sale at $2.49 lbs. and 4 lbs. of chicken thighs on sale at $.99 lb. I'll make a turkey meatloaf that will last two dinners and 2 lunches, and I will get three meals from the chicken thighs (baked one night, in tortillas one night, included in spaghetti sauce with pasta one night). I have hot dogs and boneless pork chops in the freezer, plus I can make a homemade pizza one night with the frozen sausage I bought on sale. I also have two to three meals of some nice frozen cod that I picked up on sale last week. Beautiful fish. We'll have fish & chips one night and a nice fish chowder another night, which should also provide at least one additional lunch. I sat down and planned out meals for the next twelve days, and you'd never know by looking at it that I had to cut back on groceries this week! 1. Oven-baked Fish and chips, salad 2. Turkey meatloaf (2 meals) 3. Hot dogs, mac & cheese 4. Baked skinless chicken thighs, rice, veg 5. Spaghetti w/sausage 6. Pasta w/chicken and broccoli 7. Homemade pizza (sausage) 8. Fish Chowder (2 meals) 9. Boneless pork chops, rice, veg 10. Chicken "enchiladas" w/ leftover chicken thighs, tortillas, salsa My resolution regarding grocery shopping: 1. Use coupons on items I buy regularly 2. Take advantage of sales, but only on items I normally buy 3. Plan meals 4. Use leftovers for 2nd round dinners and lunches 5. Cut back on junk food 6. Bake cake or cookies from scratch once a week 7. Make own bread and pizza dough My groceries came to $54.00, but after using coupons and getting the $3 Kroger instant refund, I spent a total of $42.00 on groceries. Ahhh.. that feels much better than $120! I splurged and bought myself a new little 5 x 7 notebook. I haven't had one for several months and I've really been missing it. A little notebook by my side is my anchor. I jot down everything from what I need at the store to web sites I see on TV to upcoming birthdays or simply phone calls I need to make. Without my To Do list and some kind of notebook, I'm lost. So many things don't get done because I simply forget about them. So I invested a whopping $2.99 in a notebook, then glued a folded envelope to the inside back cover for my grocery coupons, and one to the front inside cover for receipts. I feel so much better already! Lastly, I made a long overdue trip to a local department store to bring back two items I should have returned weeks ago - and put $45 back into my checking account. Groceries for next week!