One month ago I decided to make a few changes in my grocery shopping routine. My mains goals were to spend less and eat at home more. I tried meal planning, meatless meals, and using coupons.
I did NOT do so well with the budget of $100 a week. I went over three weeks out of four. Boo. My husband suggested that maybe that was too small a budget for us which I am kind of on the fence about. On one hand it makes sense because even though I followed my lists almost exactly and tried using coupons, I still went over. One the other hand I hate to fail so while I am technically going to raise my budget in October, I know in the back of my head I’m still shooting for 100 bucks.
I did have some success with meal planning. Most days we stuck to the plan, and even though we ate out twice during Week 3, that’s actually about a third of the number of times we’d normally eat fast food in a month so I’m calling that an overall SUCCESS! Meal planning/crazy super grocery list planning also helped me ensure I have everything for great lunches for the big girls so we didn’t have to run out for lunchables! Score! I also ate lunch at home every single day except one so win! win! win!
I am also calling this month a win because I learned something HUGE! I learned that just because I run out of something doesn’t mean I have to run out and buy it. Last week I ran out of wheat bread. This week I ran out of butter. We had other breads and don’t use butter that much, but as soon as I saw the empty spot, I felt that “must run to Wal-Mart!” feeling creeping up, and we all know what happens when you run to Wal-Mart for “just one thing”, right? Forty dollars later you leave the store feeling guilty and stupid because you bought everything BUT butter. (True story.) This time though I looked at my meal plan, realized I could easily deal without that items and just decided to wait for my weekly shopping trip! That’s a major WIN for me!
Another thing I am still in the process of learning is that it’s okay to only have a week’s worth of food in the house. Each week I panic at the grocery store a little because my cart looks so empty. I just keep reminding myself, though, that instead of a giant cart of randomness, I’m pushing a small amount of very planned, very purposeful items. By Thursday of each week, I’m all “Whoop! Whoop!” but at each shopping trip I’m still a bundle of nerves. This leads to my tendency to “just add a couple of things” so I must stop that!
Overall I’m happy with my September Grocery Challenge and looking forward to a new challenge in October (which I’m starting this weekend, a few days early, because I like to shop on Saturdays or Sundays).
October’s goals look something like this:
- Weekly budget of $115 (with $100 in the back of my head, of course)
- More meatless meals that aren’t pasta (My FB friends are giving me some great ideas!)
- Try harder at couponing. I have a friend who is a master couponer. Maybe she will give me some super hints!
I’m going to keep up the meal planning and crazy grocery lists, and I am going to TRY to keep us out of the fast food joints. However, a yummy pizza once a month or so … that’s just an awesome treat!