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 July & August?
Our grocery spending crept up to about $500 a month during the summer. My budget is $450. I planned my menus, but I took my eye off the dollar amount and ended up needing to shift some money from other categories to pay for groceries. We have some upcoming expenses that will be taking a bite out of our savings accounts this fall, so I will be more committed with our grocery budget. The lesson learned is that I can’t take my eye off the ball when it comes to staying within budget.
The summer’s assignment was to take advantage of the summer produce prices and stock up. I’ve been busy making and freezing my Roasted Vegetable Sauce with our garden and CSA harvest. I also like to freeze any extra vegetables and herbs.
Action Step 1: Plan your grocery budget for September. Schedules start to get dicey in the fall with school and sports, so be sure to look at your calendar. Also, take into account any special occasions, such as birthdays, anniversaries, pot lucks, etc.
Action Step 2: Continue to plan your meals and grocery list. For my system, read 11 Simple Meal Planning Tips.
Action Step 3: Maintain organization in your kitchen, it will make meal planning easier. For my system, read 5 Steps to an Organized Pantry.
Action Step 4: Compare store brands and name brands and purchase the best price per unit. I buy the store brand version of just about everything that goes into my cart, because the price is better compared to the name brand version. There are a few foods where the name brand will only do at my house, such as our favorite ketchup and peanut butter, but generally store brands taste just as good as the name brand version and cost significantly less.
Action Step 5: Meet back here on Tuesday, September 30, ready to discuss your successes and challenges for the month.
How did you do in July and August? Did you plan your meals regularly? Did you come in right on budget or did you go over or under budget? Did you take advantage of in season produce prices? Please share in the comments.
Also, if you’re blogging about the Grocery Budget Challenge, feel free to leave the link in the comments.
Visit the previous Grocery Budget Challenge Meetings: