Grocery Budget Check Up Week 4: Do You Keep Track Of Your Spending?

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How’s your grocery budget looking this week? I really hope that you’re focusing not only on pinching those pennies with all the great deals out there, but also keeping track of your spending.

 

As I shared earlier this year, we increased our budget to $85 per week in 2013 as I really wanted to stock up on more fresh produce for our family (and love Sam’s produce which is a little pricier than Aldi’s!), however so far we’re still staying right around $60. Here’s where our money went this week:

  • Publix:  $32.63
  • Kroger: 27.86
  • Total: $60.49
I’m so excited because as I’ve really focused this month on getting the best deals, my pantry, fridge and freezer are completely stocked, and we have plenty. That’s what makes clipping coupons so much fun for me!  The thing I love about saving money with coupons is that there is no other area in your family’s finances where you can so drastically control what you spend. You can’t drop your car payment, electricity, or mortgage by 50% each month, however you have control over every penny that you spend at the grocery store. (And I’m a girl who likes a little control!)

 

My friend Shannon and I taught a coupon class a few days ago, and I’m always amazed at how differently we look at shopping. Several folks in the class really just bought items as they needed them, not taking into account items that were even on sale . . . much less coupons. Even if you NEVER, EVER use a coupon, ALWAYS check the sales ad! I bet that 30-40% of my savings each week is simply by shopping what’s on sale, and that really can impact your budget.
Here are a few tips to help you reign in control over your budget if you’re struggling with this one.
  1. Make a spreadsheet. I have a simple excel spreadsheet that keeps up with my savings, and this morning when I realized I’d lost this week’s receipts I headed out to the trash because I really want to know where my money is going each week! When you get back from the store, enter your total amount spent as well as savings in, and see how you’re doing each week. (So far this year we’ve spent $280 for $670 in groceries . . . woot!)
  2. Determine what you want to spend each week on groceries. Consider your family size, the amount of time you realistically have for bargain hunting and couponing, and what you’ve spent over the last three to six months on groceries.  Also check out your pantry, take into account what items you’re stocked up on and which items are looking pretty slim, and determine your budget for the future.
  3. Don’t go to the store for one more “deal” if you’ll be tempted to purchase more than you really need.  It’s so easy to see another bargain, head back to the store, and overspend on purchases that aren’t really all that necessary. What’s even more tempting is to grab one more not-so-great-deal as you go.  Know what your budget is and stick to it, no matter how great that deal may be. (I promise, I’ve been a penny-pincher for quite a while and there is always another bargain deal . . . really!)
  4. Remember that you can significantly impact your families financial situation by how much you spend at the grocery store, as the amount of money spent on groceries is one of the few items in your family’s budget that you have complete control over.

 

If you need to change your grocery budget in 2013, this really is a great time to start, and I know you can do this. Determine today how you want your year to look, set realistic goals, and decide to take control of your finances instead of allowing them to control you.  I can’t wait to hear how you’re doing on your goals, and am excited to see how we’ll do in 2013 to pinch those pennies even further!

 

Share how you’ve done this week by clicking HERE ~ I love hearing from you!

 

New to budgeting and don’t know where to begin? Here are a few posts that might help you get started:

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Comments

  1. Samantha says:

    So you have a template for the excel spreadsheet, i am not 100% familiar with how to create one with formulas & such.

    • Laurie says:

      Hi Samantha! I just have a VERY basic excel spreadsheet. Basically I include the date, store shopped, how much I saved and how much I spent. There’s a little auto sum button that I use to total it, and that’s it! Keep it simple – just a place to keep up with your spending and saving so that you know where you’re at.

  2. Samantha says:

    Thanks i will try it!

  3. Vanessa says:

    I am way under this month! I committed to spending $85/week including all household goods (even diapers and pet product). Yesterday I spent $29.25 making my total $158.39 for the month. Money is very tight this month due to an unforeseen work delay for my husband. Even with 5 weeks in the month I will end the month spending only about half my budget.

    • Laurie says:

      Great job Vanessa! It’s got to be hard when the budget tightens, but goodness that’s fantastic that you’re sticking with it (especially when buying diapers and pet food.) Hang in there, I know you can do it! (Sounds like you’re well on your way ~ woot!) :)

  4. Samantha says:

    That was one of my concerns, if its realistic to keep a small budget buying formula & diapers? Not to mention i have to buy meats this week. I was going to set my buget at $80. I did okay last week, course I just thought about it usually i try to spend $100 when my husband gets paid which actually IS $50/week. So that isnt bad at all right? But formula is $25/can and it lasts about 5 days maybe.

    • Laurie says:

      I think I’d figure out what those items cost you per week. If the formula costs you $25, then figure it out per day so that you have that much in your budget – the same with diapers. Those are two huge expenses, but as your child gets older you’ll be glad to have that money because they’ll start eating more!

      One other thought with the formula: my doctor recommended that we get the generic brand and my kids did great on them after I finished nursing. They were older (9 months), but check with your doctor first and that might save you some money too!

    • Cristy says:

      Always ask your doctor for samples of formula. A lot of the time, they get samples and the samples go unused. When my twins were on a costly formula, I cried to my doctor one day asking her when we’d be able to switch to a cheaper kind. Turns out, they had cases of samples that they could give me. So every time I was at the doctor, even if the appt was not for the babies, I asked for formula samples. Helped save us a lot back then.

      Cristy

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