Hi loyal followers (hah),
Today I bought a month's worth of groceries. Well, almost.
I read an article earlier this month about monthly grocery shopping. I thought it sounded like a good idea, for the most part. I decided to try it for the month, but with my own rules and steps.
I made a menu for an entire month. I did not plan for weekends, as those are crazy and I didn't want to schedule myself too much. I figure that weekends are for cooking with friends and being spontaneous.
I also made sure to plan around weekly events--for example, on Thursday nights I have a weekly babysitting job. Thursday night meals are always simple to make, as well as Friday lunches.
I am allowed to buy some products after the inital monthly trip. For example, I am allowed and encouraged to go to the produce stand once per week (On Mondays, preferably.) Awesomely, the cheapest produce stand in town is kind of on the way home from my new job, which will save on gas for the trip down there I usually make. I did plan my menu around going to the produce stand on Mondays. For example, tomorrow night's planned meal is veggie stir fry.
I am also allowed to buy stuff that will spoil or run out--mostly stuff like lunch meat, since I eat sandwiches as snacks sometimes.
Anyway. Today I went to Safeway to get almost all of the things. I did pretty well--I spent $141.34, but actually only 111.21 was on food groceries.
Included in the $141.31 was cat food and litter, sandwich bags, a quart of motor oil, some cleaner, and some hair conditioner. Even though I may have been able to get these things cheaper elsewhere, I figured buying them now would help in the long run with impulse buying. If I bought as many things as I can now, it will give me less excuses to go to the store to "just buy cat litter" but then end up buying a ton of other things. It will also save on time and gas.
I did not buy wine, even though I have been drinking a lot of it lately. I will buy that as needed. (I have not been drinking a LOT of it, I mean, but...some. It's more of a weekend thing.)
I also have not bought salmon yet. I couldn't find it at Safeway.
The question is: will this really save me money in the long run?
I am not sure. Looking at my past monthly grocerie bills, it probably will. It also may save me money on restaurant food, if I can control myself. This will be easier, as I will be working less hours at the new job and it is in a neighborhood with less interesting restaurants, as far as I know.
For the record, I spent $168 in October on groceries. This is according to Mint, which is not completely accurate because of my cash income from babysitting.
Really, I should be depositing my cash and THEN spending it, but that is hard. I am pretty sure that I used some of my babysitting cash for groceries in October. But whatever.
I also spent $49 on restaurants in October. Again, probably inaccurate, because of the babysitting cash that I had.
September is probably a little more accurate--$279 spent on groceries and $92 in restaurants.
August is $145 on groceries and $133 in restaurants.
Looking at all of it, I spend an average of $197 on groceries. Which is about where I want to be, anyway. (Of course, less would be better!)
I am shooting for around $150-$170 this month. That allows this $111 shopping trip, plus four $10 trips to the produce stand, as well as $20 of flexible money. We will see. I will keep everyone posted.
Oh! An important detail! The kindness of my mom and her husband brought down my bill pretty significantly. My mom donated to the cause--home made salsa, jam, home-grown peas and corn (frozen) as well as several other things. That will save a LOT. So thank you, mom.
The key here is to be conscious. I have to remind myself that I have an overstuffed pantry every time I want to go to the store for entertainment. I have to remind myself that every time I want to eat out. If I am conscious, I can do it.