October is over, so I guess it’s time to share how I did on my self-inflicted grocery budget challenge! Mike and I had fallen off the budget train while back and we wanted a fresh start so kicked it off with a budget challenge to make sure we were paying close attention to what and where we were spending. I have seen a YouTuber that love mention the $100/person per month challenge for budgeting, which for us was $1000. I began by trying to stick to $200 per week so that I would have a margin. I shopped both online (2 out of the weeks) and in store (the 2 remaining weeks) and there are pros and cons to both which I will cover in another post.
Normally our grocery budget is between $1200-$1500/month depending on if we have special events or not or if we do a large Sam’s (bulk) haul to stock up on things.
Keep in mind there are a lot of variables that go into a grocery budget for each family. For instance, I DO include all our consumables in that total as well. Things like toilet paper, paper towel, make up and diapers/wipes (we use disposables at night and on trips). The size of your family and the ages of your kids play into this as well. Also, the region you live in and the price of milk, produce, and meat fluctuate the most. Luckily, I live in the heart of the USA and our prices are pretty low for farmed products. Actually, our milk is the lowest it has been since I can remember at under $1.00 a gallon! #what? Also, we don’t have any food sensitives or allergies and I don’t hyperventilate over every detail of organic/GMO/processed. I do my best to feed my kids healthy food without being the crazed mom at the party that’s snatching the cupcake out of her kid’s hands and replacing it with a cardboard replica. That’s just not me! In my mind there is a fine line between healthy and health-crazy and I am doing my best to walk it with as much grace as this mom can. And while we are here please recognize we all have different opinions on the best ways to feed our families and can we at the very least RESPECTLY agree that we are all just moms trying to do the best we can and we *might* hold different standards And. That’s. OKAY. Like, really, it is. We each just need to be the mom that the Lord called us to be and thankfully we are varied and beautifully diverse in every aspect. Stepping off my soapbox now…
I did alter our food consumption and what I bought a little, but I wanted to see how close I could get without changing things too much. The biggest things that changed were the fact that I couldn’t stock up on certain items and I consciously left out more expensive meals certain types of fresh produce to stretch the budget a bit.
One thing I noticed was that we made a lot of smaller (in between) grocery trips that added up quickly! Was this because I was leaving stuff out trying to stick to a budget or because I just didn’t have my crap together in October? I don’t know… More than likely a combination of both.
Was it doable? Absolutely! I actually think in times of necessity I could cut that number down quite a bit lower by adjusting our meals even more and omitting non-essentials. Would I want to continue? Probably not. I am in a season where I’d like to save the mental energy required to check prices on Every. Single. Item. It is not exactly worthwhile at this point in my life. While I am frugal, I do NOT have the time to coupon, go to 5 different stores, make a whole bunch of separate trips (although I felt we did a lot of that this month…) or fix meals that I don’t want to eat just because they are cheaper. It’s a tradeoff and I am in the season of life where the reward just isn’t worth the effort.
Here’s the breakdown of our monthly grocery trips:
Our main weekly grocery trips:
Walmart (pick up) $196.85
Walmart (pick up) $188.82
Our main grocery trips totaled to $886.89
Our smaller in between grocery trips totaled to $169.50
Grand Total for the month was $1052.79 which put us $52.79 over my target. This works out to $105/person per month.
What is your monthly budget and the size of your family?