What a summer it has been in our household! I was amazed when I counted up the days from our various trips and realized we traveled 27 days out of the 61 in June and July. Needless to say, our family had a busy – and memorable – summer.
It started when Andy and I took a cruise for our 10th anniversary to Alaska. For the first time ever, we took a trip without our kids! We had been saving since our wedding for a someday cruise to Alaska, and Andy convinced me that this was the year to do it. This allowed him to check off his 50th state – in his 40th year! We left the 3 kids with Andy’s parents and they graciously watched them for the 9 days we were gone. The kids had as much fun as we did, but we were all glad to be together again.
I have a couple more posts with Alaska details coming but I’ll say this now. If you haven’t been on a cruise to Alaska, it is definitely worth making a bucket list item someday! We loved seeing beautiful Alaska, learning more about the Gold Rush history, and simply relaxing on a cruise together. The glaciers were amazing, and we loved reading on the deck, watching the scenery (and whales!) pass by.
We were home for a grand total of three days with the kids before we turned around to drive to Kansas for a get together with my family. Yay for cousins who get married and give us a reason for a family reunion! We were only together 3 days but the kids made the most of the time with their 8 first cousins, and lots of second cousins.
Andy suggested (right before we left) that since we were half way to Kansas, we really should keep going and drive to Texas to see my parents. It was a good suggestion, so we kept driving after Kansas, enjoying 2 days with friends in Austin and 5 days with my parents in San Antonio. We kept busy with splash pads, the Alamo and even a trip to Sea World. It was a great time of creating more memories with my parents! Lily can say “Grandpa” and “Grandma” quite clearly now – to all of her grandparents delight!
We took the scenic Natchez Trace Trail home to Indiana which took a full 2 days drive. We thought about stretching it into three but Lily (and the rest of us!) were ready to be out of the car by this point! Driving over 3000 miles in 2 weeks will do that to you! Thankfully, once again, our kids proved to be amazing travelers. We were home for a week and a half before we hit the road again for our final vacation of the summer.
Every summer, we get together with a group of 4 other guys and their families. These guys were all on Andy’s floor when he was an RA and even as our family numbers continue to grow, we still get together. This year, we rented a cabin together in Branson and enjoyed the chance to swim again in Table Rock Lake. (We actually were there almost a year ago to the date with my family.) It was a busy 4 days, especially since we had 11 kids – ages 6 and under.
We returned home last Friday and it was time to switch over to “Back to School” mode. Andy has been putting in long days at school, working on athletic schedules (he’s the AD in addition to teaching) and getting his room set up. At home, the kids and I are staying busy, while I work at shopping for uniforms for Nathan. He had his Kindergarten home visit on Monday and he is so excited! Thankfully, we don’t start school until August 15, so we are determined to make the most of our remaining weeks of summer.
Summer is always busy in our household, but I admit that this summer was even busier than most. Our grocery shopping changes in the summer quite a bit. I’m usually not shopping when we are on vacation but then I always stock up when we come home. In an effort to show you how our summer grocery budget looks, I still tracked all the grocery shopping I did this summer.
June was different because I didn’t shop while we are on our cruise (obviously) but we did get Andy’s parents a $25 gift card to Meijer, along with assorted groceries while we were gone. We also gave them some fun gift cards so they could go out to Steak ‘n Shake and order Papa Johns while we were gone. Everyone enjoyed that – but that money didn’t come out of our grocery budget. We did a big stock up trip to Sam’s for a couple things (water, french toast sticks, lysol wipes, paper plates and pizza) one day together. I also shopped at Walmart a couple times this month as I compared prices. I’m learning to tolerate Walmart for their low prices! My full price comparison is almost finished for me to share here.
As you can see below, I spent almost all of my $400 monthly budget in June, even though we were gone to Alaska for a week.
- 6/2 Kroger $53.09
- 6/3 Bulk Food Store $14.35
- 6/5 Walmart $18.34
- 6/7 Kroger $80.29
- 6/10 Meijer Scrip $25
- 6/13 Meijer $36.21
- 6/13 Aldi $5.95
- 6/24 Meijer $29.23
- 6/24 Sam’s Club $78.23
- 6/24 Walmart $52.42
- June Total = $393.11
We were gone the first week of July but my mother-in-law welcomed us home with milk, eggs and yogurt so I didn’t venture out to the store right away. When we were in Branson, I scheduled a Walmart pick up for groceries, since we all take turns cooking. That was amazing to pull in and grab all the perishables we needed for our meal without wandering around the store. I spent $64 on that trip and then did have to run into Country Mart next door for 2 containers of lemonade concentrate.
I did a bit of shopping when we got home, and was happy to stock up on produce again at Aldi. It’s time to start cooking again and eating healthier. I finished a bit more under budget which is always good!
- 7/12 Kroger $88.81
- 7/12 Aldi $17.06
- 7/15 Meijer $94.10
- 7/14 Sam’s Club $16.92
- 7/22 Walmart $64.15
- 7/22 Country Mart $4.20
- 7/28 Kroger $40.03
- 7/29 Aldi $39.82
- 7/31 Walmart $14.24
- July Total = $379.33
I actually used more of our budget than I thought I would this summer – especially with all the time we were gone. I think it’s because I knew there was room in the budget so I stocked up when I was home – and spent a bit more on some vacation splurges. The last Walmart trip of June was all my husband, picking up the car snacks he wanted and some drinks for our get together with friends.
Now that August is here, I’m ready to settle into a new month and the new routines of school (soon) and refocus on my shopping efforts. We had some great discussion on the Joyfully Thriving Facebook this page about what our monthly grocery budgets are currently. It really does vary for all of us! Sharing my totals keeps me accountable.
If you don’t really know what your grocery budget is, start tracking your shopping trips right now. Just start a list on your phone or in a notebook. Track it for a month – or even better, until the end of the year – and you’ll have a good idea of what you are really spending. Knowing your grocery numbers is the first step in figuring out how to save.
How has your summer been? Any fun summer travels for your family? How does your grocery shopping change in the summer?