The Goal of the Grocery Budget Challenge is to be creative with our meal planning and grocery shopping so that we do not over-spend. We don’t want to make our families miserable with bland meals, boring snacks, and not enough food in the house, but we must stay on budget. Lately when I see my bill at the check out, I’m shocked at how few groceries are actually going home with me. This will be a challenge where we’ll need discipline, support, and planning.
On the 30th of each month, between January and November in 2014, we will meet here to discuss our challenges and successes for the month with our grocery budget. Every month, there will also be action steps due by the next meeting.
How did we do in February?
February’s homework was to clean out and organize the refrigerator, freezer, and kitchen pantry. I tackled those projects early in the month and wrote about them: 5 Easy Steps to an Organized Pantry and Clean Your Refrigerator. Maintaining order in the kitchen definitely makes meal planning easier and I feel more in control when everything is organized.
My successes: My February grocery budget was $450 and I am happy to say that I stayed within our budget. I did something different this month and used cash instead of my debit card. I found it easier to keep a tab on my grocery spending and I’m going to continue to use cash. I like the feeling of handing over cash and I don’t have to remember to enter the transaction in Quicken. Also my debit card got caught up in the Target breach of security. Thankfully, nothing happened to my account, but my bank issued us new cards anyway. With cash, there’s no chance of credit card tampering.
My challenges: Some of my standby recipes are getting old and my family is a bit sick of them, so I need to find some new recipe ideas that are delicious, but not boring, bland, full of bad carbohydrates, and expensive to prepare.
Action Step 1: Plan your grocery budget for March. Take into account any special occasions, such as the St. Patrick’s Day festivities, birthdays, anniversaries, dinner parties, pot lucks, etc.
Action Step 2: Continue to plan your meals and grocery list. For my system, read my 11 Simple Meal Planning Tips.
Action Step 3: In February, we cleaned and organized our refrigerator, freezer, and kitchen pantry. Every month going forward, we need to maintain our kitchen organization that we worked so hard on so that menu planning is easier,
Action Step 4: Create 2-3 emergency back up meal ideas that store well in the freezer or pantry. When life gets hectic, sometimes our best meal planning intentions just don’t work out and we need to be prepared. Otherwise, someone might make an unplanned trip to the grocery store or hit the drive-thru line for that night’s dinner. Plans change, work runs late, game’s go into overtime or chicken doesn’t get thawed–whatever the reason, we need to have a back up plan for quick meal ideas where no one goes hungry and budgets don’t get busted.
Action Step 5: Meet back here on Friday, March 30, ready to discuss your successes and challenges for the month.
How did you do in February? Did you plan your meals regularly? Did you come in right on budget or did you go over or under budget? Did you organize your refrigerator and pantry? Please share in the comments. Also, if you’re blogging about the Grocery Budget Challenge, feel free to leave the link in the comments.
This post is linked to Follow Our Thrift.
Grocery Budget Challenge: