I do a grocery audit and set a new grocery budget every January. I’m a grocery geek in that I absolutely love crunching the numbers and seeing how low I can get our budget. I am also a grocery geek in that I actually enjoy grocery shopping and I love finding the best deals!
I know many of you do too, because I get more comments on my grocery posts than any other ones I share. I think these posts are popular because we all want to save money on groceries we have to buy every week.
Here’s an example of one shopping trip for me – from Kroger trip on April 18 where I spent $50. I love reminding others it is possible to buy a full counter of groceries for less money than you think.
It’s not always easy and it often involves shopping at more than one store, but for me? It is totally worth the time spent for the money I save.
Since it is a new year, it is time to total things up. It’s time for my annual grocery audit. Are you ready to see how I did with my grocery budget this year?
Now, here is my grocery audit for 2019.
Here’s what I spent on groceries in 2019.
In 2019, I set a monthly budget of $400 for our family in 5. This was the first year I had worked with $400, which seemed like a big jump, but it turned out to be a good number for us.
My grocery budget does include food, toiletries, paper products and yes, diapers. Since I buy most of these at the grocery store, it makes sense for me to include these in my total. That is a personal judgment call and you may decide to do something different. Do what works for you!
I track my weekly shopping trips by recording the totals in a note app on my phone. I write the totals down as soon as I get home and keep a running total for the month. This keeps me accountable to my total budget. I still shop with a credit card but have learned to be responsible with my totals. Any extra money saved from the month simply stays in our checking account to cover other areas. I’ve debated moving my savings elsewhere but it always balances out at the end so I just leave it.
I also share most of my shopping trips on Instagram and Facebook, if you want to see those as they happen. Every month or two, I try to do a more in-depth round up on the blog. I know many people love seeing what I spend on groceries but the weekly blog posts were simply getting too time consuming, so this seems to be what works for me currently.
Here are my final monthly totals for 2019.
- January $476.97 (First ever Whole 30!)
- February $404.97
- March $398.26
- April $357.61
- May $395.56
- June $393.11
- July $379.33
- August $399.62
- September $380.05
- October $401.59
- November $396.24
- December $449.58 (Hosting Christmas parties)
This brings my yearly total to $4,832.89 or an average of $402.74 a month. I went over budget 4 of the 12 months and stayed under the rest of the time. I’m honestly not surprised that January and December were my highest months. I am surprised at how well it averaged out. Seeing this, I’m going to keep our family at a $400 budget for 2020.
I need to keep shopping the sales and shopping at multiple stores. Now that I have learned Walmart (in our area) is the cheapest grocery store, I shop there more than Aldi. This simple switch has saved me quite a bit of money already. I will continue shopping at multiple stores to get the best deals I can. I am going to try to limit my shopping to one or two trips a week. However, my kids like grocery shopping and sometimes, it is just a good outing for us!
I also need to really work on stockpiling diapers again. I have less than 3 months until baby number 4 is born, so I’m going to be watching diaper sales very closely and stocking up again. I firmly believe this is a very practical way every family with babies can save money and I talk more about how to build a diaper stockpile here.
So there you have it. I averaged $402 a month in 2019, so I am going to continue with our $400 budget in 2020.
A couple other grocery budget notes…
Your grocery budget doesn’t have to be my grocery budget. In fact, it probably shouldn’t! You know where you live and your family and what you eat. This is exactly why you do a grocery audit – to help yourself set an honest budget. Need more convincing? Read why we need to stop comparing grocery budgets to save money.
A stockpile will save you substantial amounts of money. The more items in your pantry you can avoid paying full price for, the more your budget will thank you! Here is everything you need to know about stockpiling.
Give yourself time and grace to adjust your grocery budget. It won’t happen overnight and it does take a bit of work – but I truly believe it is time well spent. Start by tracking exactly what you spend and gradually adjust your total budget by $5 a week (or so). Give yourself time to see the results of your hard work paying off!
Now (whenever you are reading this) is the perfect time to start working on your grocery budget! You don’t have to set a new budget only in January. You can set it whenever life changes or you have moved or absolutely whenever.
These are some of my best grocery budget tips – and I’d love to hear yours! Have a question about my grocery budget? Feel free to ask because I’m an open book when it comes to our grocery bill!