Every week, when I go shopping, I share pictures of what I buy. The picture above was taken at Kroger and shows one of my typical shopping trips. Shopping in pictures is one of my favorite regular features of the week because it really holds me accountable. It allows me to see what I’m getting for our money. I also hope it encourages you to see that I buy regular items on a budget. This year, I am going to try to share more of my meal planning so you can see what we’re eating from the groceries that I buy. Would that be helpful to you?
For 2012, I set our grocery budget at $160 every week. Please note, it is only my husband and me at this point. This amount was to cover our food groceries, many of our toiletries (the rest of which I get for free at CVS), our paper products and cleaning supplies (laundry, kitchen and household). Yes, that’s a lot, and as prices rise, it has become harder to do so.
Take a look at how I did this year. Here is what I spent each month in 2012.
January – $144.75
February – $163.41
March – $142.16
April – $159.30
May – $158.47
June – $159.47
July – $231.91
August – $167.74
September – $156.41
October – $179.10
November – $158.79
December – $164.04
Now, let’s analyze these totals, shall we? I had 7 months where I was under budget, and 5 months where I was over budget. Most of the months when I was over budget, I was pretty close – except for July when we were doing lots of entertaining for company.
Over the course of the year, I spent $1985.55. That seems like a lot but when you consider what I’m spending this amount on, I know it isn’t. This total averages out to $165.46 a month, which was over my set budget of $160.
I had decided a couple months ago that I was going to raise my budget this year. I just didn’t know how much I was going to raise it. I really considered $200 a month (which adds $10 a week to my budget). Still, I debated because my grocery budget is one of the easiest areas for me to see the difference in my penny pinching. For that reason, I decided to go in between and settled on raising our budget to $180 this year. That is an addition of $5 a week, or $20 a month.
This amount is still intended to cover our groceries, paper products, toiletries, and cleaning supplies. This does take into consideration the fact that Kroger no longer triples coupons. I also want to buy more basics and do more cooking from scratch at home this year. The days get busy so it means I need to be better at planning and prep. I can do that – especially if it will save me money.
So, there you have it! That is my how I did this past year as well as what I plan to do this next year. I will continue to share my shopping trips on Friday with you. I encourage you all to set a grocery budget, too – one that works for you. Every one’s amount is different. My challenge? Attempt to cut $5 or $10 a month, if possible, but do what is realistic. With grocery prices on the rise, be aware of that fact and plan accordingly. Save money where you can and shop frugally! I hope my shopping in pictures will encourage you.