Author Topic: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018  (Read 59794 times)

jim555

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #500 on: May 31, 2018, 11:51:33 AM »
May coming in at $194.36.

Laura33

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #501 on: June 04, 2018, 07:10:42 AM »
Well, I am now remembering how I used to spend $1200/mo on groceries without even noticing it.  This month came in at around $625 groceries and $220 household, give or take.  Started off forgetting to cancel the subscribe & save; then DH shopped a couple of times and doubled the list; then I spent ridiculous amounts at our farmers' market, twice -- once because it was DD's birthday, and once because I was going out of town and bought various pre-made things for the kids to eat while I was gone.  Add in the Atkins and the Indian pantry stock-up, and, yeah, not good.  On the plus side, we ate so well that I don't think we got takeout more than maybe once or twice all month; I mean, I splurged on a bagel at the office once (because I was in the mood), but I generally had plenty of leftovers for lunches, and the food was overall delicious so none of us felt bad about eating it (even DH ate vindaloo leftovers twice -- normally he'll grudgingly do leftovers once, even that involves some eye-rolling).  So in reality, some of the extra groceries was probably offset by decreased takeout.  But still, I can do a lot better -- need to get my ass back to ALDI.

June is also off to a similar splurgy start -- in NY, so bought some tasty pantry staples like pesto that I can't get at home, along with cheese for DH, for $49, and while I was gone DH dropped $128 at Safeway + $7 for HH stuff. 


[Edited to correct June numbers.]
« Last Edit: June 06, 2018, 07:02:31 AM by Laura33 »

formerlydivorcedmom

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #502 on: June 04, 2018, 07:52:54 AM »
We completely blew our food budget in May.  I budgeted $550, but we spent about $1100 on groceries/household.  Plus another $450 on eating out!!!!

When I broke it down, though, most of the excess was due to celebrations.  Eating out doubled because of Mother's Day (we treated the extended family), a family meal out the day my husband graduated college, and a pricey birthday dinner for friends.  Groceries were high because we threw ourselves a large party this weekend to celebrate graduation and family birthdays. (Soooo much food!  Soooo much fun!)

I expect to go back to being close to hitting a budget this month!

Roadrunner53

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #503 on: June 04, 2018, 08:13:53 AM »
Not sure how to figure my monthly costs. I am not a minimalist. I am like a squirrel, constantly gathering nuts!

For instance, recently I went to Stew Leonard's and bought a large section of meat and had it cut up into steaks. So maybe we got 14 steaks out of it (froze them) but since I bought it last month at more than $100 how would I calculate that into the $200 a month?

I buy things on Walmart or Amazon or Costco too. I am constantly stocking up. I don't like being down to one can of green beans.

We bought lobsters on sale Mother's day weekend. It is a splurge but we don't eat out often at all. So in a way the lobster was cheaper than eating out!

I stock up when there are sales. We are just two people but we have enough to feed the neighborhood. We are frugal shoppers but not $200 a month frugal!

frooglepoodle

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #504 on: June 04, 2018, 08:16:12 AM »
I also blew my budget in May, $800 on groceries and $400 on dining out (though that included a weekend trip, treating my brother to lunch when he visited, and a date night for me and DH to celebrate the end of his semester). I need to exercise some restraint at the farmer's market, but our CSA box has started up and that ought to help reduce spending on produce.

June's challenges: food for our son's 3rd birthday party, moving at then beginning of July, and prepping freezer meals for July since I'm due with kid #2 at the end of the month and anticipate low energy levels.

formerlydivorcedmom

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #505 on: June 04, 2018, 08:36:08 AM »
Oh my gosh, @frooglepoodle , you are going to be so busy this summer!  Best of luck to you.

@Roadrunner53 , part of this challenge, for me, is confronting my habit of excessive stocking.  We were being wasteful - I'd buy a lot of stuff (on sale) and put it in the pantry and forget about it.  Three years later, I'd throw it away.  I'm working to identify the minimum level of stock that I need.  It's hurricane season now, so I'll need a bit more this summer than I would normally keep in the winter.  I'm hoping by the end of the year I'll have found the right balance.

I go to Costco once a month to stock up on those items for the next month.  So that fits nicely into our monthly budget. 

Roadrunner53

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #506 on: June 04, 2018, 08:58:51 AM »
formerllydivorcedmom

You seem to have gotten into your groove. I am kind of happy with my groove. I did recently throw out about 10 items which did make me mad. Most of the stuff I would have used but the Hub is freaked out by expiration dates. I have recently convinced him things don't totally turn to oozing sludge on the magic day the expiration date occurs. He will go along with some things and not others.  I worked in food research for years and we did shelf life studies and know most things are not rotten the day of the expiration date. There are foods I won't play games with and that is canned fish or refrigerated foods. However, I am sure it is good too for longer than the date. The nutritional values typically decline over time.

The reason I threw out the items is that it was the Mailman food donation day. It is once a year and I go thru all the canned foods for dates. Some things do fall thru the cracks but I try to donate stuff that is still good but may only have a few months left on the expiration date. I really didn't have a lot to donate this year. Some years I have 4 giant bags full. This year it was maybe two bags.

kaypinkHH

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #507 on: June 04, 2018, 02:01:19 PM »
May round up!

Groceries: $123
Restuarants: $51
Fastfood/Coffeeshops: $152
Alcohol and Bars: $110

Total: $436

So this is not a usual total for us due to the fact that on May 4th, Baby HH joined us! Here is how he has impacted this month's food spending.

1. Groceries- we barely had to buy anything since my parents were staying at my house the first 3 weeks, and refused to let us pay them back for groceries. Also, my ILs have also hosted us for a few meals.  #spoiledrotten. Other than that, we are slowly working our way through our freezer/pantry stock pile.
2. Fastfood/coffeeshops/restaurants- we were stuck at the hospital for a full week (had been planning max 2 days). It was a lot easier (and cheaper) for MrHH to pay the $7 per meal the hospital would deliver or go grab subway.  I got free meals with my stay. Big splurge: last night in the hospital we got take out from a nearby burger restaurant!
3. Alcohol- MrHH bought some stuff to share with my dad while he was staying with us, and last weekend we went on a road trip to local vinyards and distilleries and bought some of the product for future use.

Since this month doesn't really count (relying on other people spending money on us is not the mustachian life I imagined lol), I am interested on what June's totals will be!


galliver

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #508 on: June 04, 2018, 06:51:11 PM »
So, I went on a bit of a hiatus for the end of March, April, and May... I was finishing my doctoral thesis, defending, and recovering (I passed! Yay!)

Looking up on totals in Mint, I'm somewhat surprised to find our grocery totals were $337, $366, and $483 respectively...and that last is after I assigned some grocery spending to Travel (we used Splitwise to reconcile expenses for a group of 9, which included some groceries various people bought). I think the conclusion I have to make is that we spend less when I/we are not cooking, although a caveat to that is that I don't have full takeout values because BF was bringing me food a lot. It's all a haze. I think there's some truth to the numbers, in that I'm more willing to eat boring food when I'm stressed/busy, but want to get more creative when I'm not. That said it's also likely not as healthful, even if I remember a vegetable here and there. I had a lot of frozen dinners at work...

May was weird...we were traveling for 2 weeks plus Memorial day weekend, but for the first part some was defense travel (my lodging plus meals are reimbursable, I just haven't gotten it back yet), some was staying with friends who fed us some of the time, and of course some was eating out--more than usual, less than expected. All this travel time, plus the fact that our first full week back I got leftovers from a lab group lunch that made SIX portions for us (when combined with some old-but-fine soyrizo and cheese), should have resulted in much lower grocery bills, but between coming home to an empty fridge and the foggy head/lack of motivation I couldn't shake for 2 weekends after returning... we managed to get in 4x $100 grocery trips, and a few smaller ones...eep! And I can't for the life of me remember much of what we got (foggy head...).

Ahem, anyway. New plan for June: I realized that for some reason whenever I think of tracking grocery spending I think of saving paper receipts...but whenever I need to remember who ordered what at a group dinner bf or I pay for, I take a picture of the receipt and send it to everyone. So, this month I'm going to try and photograph all my grocery receipts! Then when I have the "what the hell is this total?" moment at the end I can at least analyze retroactively. I also think it might be more effective since it will highlight if anything is a more regular splurge than I thought...

Grocery related, not sure if cost-saving: I dehydrated some lemons and limes last night and threw them in my water at work this morning. They did an excellent job of flavoring the water (and rehydrating themselves, but slowly). I think I might pulverize the remaining dessicated citrus and put them in spice jars, but I'll have to report on that result later. In the meantime, if you have extra citrus and a dehydrator and are wondering how to preserve...I recommend.

Laura33

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #509 on: June 05, 2018, 07:50:14 AM »
Congrats @kaypinkHH  and @galliver!!! 

MaybeBabyMustache

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #510 on: June 05, 2018, 10:05:32 AM »
Our grocery spend for May was $568 (budget of $625). However, there was WAY more eating out than we should have had, so not feeling like it's an overall win. I was traveling two weeks out of the month, and things fall apart when I'm away & my husband & the kids are solo.

galliver

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #511 on: June 05, 2018, 11:53:01 AM »
Thanks, @Laura33! Glad to be on this side of it.

Roadrunner53

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #512 on: June 06, 2018, 08:39:21 AM »
This might not be the exact place to put this but I wanted to share a yummy food I had. I had some leftover plain spaghetti and added a couple tablespoons of peanut butter on it and warmed in the microwave. I didn't have any sesame seeds or scallions but that would have been delicious. I guess this could be kind of compared to Chinese sesame noodles. So my point it, this could be a cheap but kick ass dinner. Oh, and I put some hot crushed pepper in it too.

MaybeBabyMustache

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #513 on: June 06, 2018, 06:07:24 PM »
This might not be the exact place to put this but I wanted to share a yummy food I had. I had some leftover plain spaghetti and added a couple tablespoons of peanut butter on it and warmed in the microwave. I didn't have any sesame seeds or scallions but that would have been delicious. I guess this could be kind of compared to Chinese sesame noodles. So my point it, this could be a cheap but kick ass dinner. Oh, and I put some hot crushed pepper in it too.

For a slight adaptation of that, check out this recipe. Love it! http://inpursuitofmore.com/2013/01/24/recipe-peanut-sauce-noodle-bowl/

Roadrunner53

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #514 on: June 07, 2018, 05:57:25 AM »
Making that! DROOLING!

galliver

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #515 on: June 11, 2018, 10:27:27 AM »
I've accidentally discovered a way to curb over-shopping/over-stocking.

Past 3-4 weeks, or been making a 2 gal batch of iced tea and a quart of cold brew coffee (bonus benefit: using up tea stash!) These beverages (in addition to beers that have been on clearance lately at Sprouts, wine we put in to chill and didn't drink, and milk) take up a significant portion of fridge real estate. Plus of course they slow down the consumption of store bought beverages like mineral water and seltzer. (We drink tap water, too. We just get bored. And our water tastes bad. And it's getting warm in  SoCal.)

I've had a good month so far. $90 stock up at Super King last weekend, and a $10 trip to Vons for milk and ice cream, then NO shopping trips until this weekend! $70 this weekend, mostly chicken, produce, milk. Stocked up on 33¢ pasta and <$3/lb ground beef at Vons. On the menu: roasted lemon chicken w/pineapple bbq sauce and grilled veg & pineapple (set off smoke alarm...worth it!), potato salad (been craving!), and quinoa bowls with sweet potato and kale. Might try cooking dried black beans for that last one!

PS Shoot, I forgot IKEA food. That's another $30 of veggie balls and chocolate...but we're still on target!

mtnman125

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #516 on: June 19, 2018, 02:46:04 PM »
Posting to follow here.  I do all the cooking, and all the grocery shopping for our family (2 adults, one toddler, and MIL stays with us frequently), so I have no one to blame but myself for overspending here.

I started tracking closely in November, but didn't really focus on reduction till our daughter started daycare ($$$) in January.

So far we're averaging ~$750/mo including dog food and household items.  Toddler is mostly on real food now, so may save some compared to formula and purees.

I have some kidney issues (so no beans/potatoes/limited protein), and my wife is celiac, so we mainly focus on fruits, vegetables, and meat, with rice and some GF pastas.

Mostly shop at Costco and Aldi, but have a Jewel walking distance that we get fill ins.

Biggest opportunities to save are meal planning for dinner (breakfast and lunch are easy), and limiting alcohol. 

Dining out is ~$150/mo, mainly for convenience or trying new local spots.  I'm ok with this for now- it was much higher before baby.

Yasha

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #517 on: June 21, 2018, 04:45:42 AM »
Please refrain from too many face-punches! We are quite new to budgeting (really just since Feb), before that money was just dissappearing into the black hole... That being said we are still on a somewhat frightening $800/month grocery budget for two people (not including eating out which is budgeted under 'entertainment' two nights a week). That is, like, $40 a day -_- I would like to try and bring things into line a bit more. I am 6/7ths vegetarian, we have a slow cooker, my work hours are reasonable and my work kitchen is easy to use... I'd like to aim for $700 in July. Baby steps.

Laura33

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #518 on: June 25, 2018, 07:48:52 AM »
OK, so I am looking at June, and realizing that I have just completely lost all mental discipline, because there's always one more excuse.  Fancy things from NYC because we're there.  Oh look, there's a new Indian grocery, let's by X different varieties of ras malai and see which one I like best.  It's my mom's birthday and I don't have time to cook, let's just pick up a $25 fruit tart from Wegman's.  I'm traveling, so let's get some quiche and cornbread and pot pies and pierogies from the farmer's market for everyone to eat while I'm gone.  DD has a big trip coming up, let's get new travel-sized stuff that will last the whole trip.  And on and on and on.  Month to date -- which should be all of it -- is $574 groceries and $81 HH.  Not horrible, but not exactly meaningful -- it's death by 1000 cuts.  And that doesn't include whatever DH bought last week while I was gone (but it does include the groceries while we were at the beach).

As always, it is when I am thrown out of my routine that I struggle, and I have been traveling like crazy this month.  That coinciding with the opening of the farmer's market is killing me, because there are so many delicious things there, and the kids think of them as treats so won't miss me being there to cook quite as much, and if the stuff tastes good enough maybe DH won't get so much takeout.  I tell myself that $8 for a pot pie and $6 for pierogies is better than them doing takeout all the time, but when it's every week, it adds up -- it is rapidly becoming an expensive crutch disguised as a reasonable treat.  The only good news is that July will be easy, because we are gone for half of it, and that money counts toward the vacation budget.  ;-)

I have also temporarily lifted my personal prohibition on work lunches.  I am really focusing on eating better, and the place up the street from my office has an absolutely delicious and healthy chicken/mango/avocado salad, so I am allowing myself to have that a couple of times a week.

Roadrunner53

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #519 on: June 25, 2018, 08:49:14 AM »
Laura33, may I ask what kind of a job you have that you travel so often?

I too used to travel quite a bit and I was in food research and development. It was somewhat stressful because everything was based on perfection. I have no children so didn't have that hanging over my head. My Hub took care of our dogs when I travelled and also helped my mother with anything she needed so travel puts stress on family members too.

I am retired now but when I reflect back on how busy our schedules were, I don't know how we did it all! When we went on vacation it would take us about 3 full days to decompress.

Laura33

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #520 on: June 25, 2018, 09:07:30 AM »
@Roadrunner53 -- lawyer.  It's very off-and-on -- I will frequently have several months in a row with no travel, and then sometimes everything piles up in the same month.  That has been my late-May-to-June so far.

Roadrunner53

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #521 on: June 25, 2018, 09:21:43 AM »
Erratic travel was the norm for me too. One trip after another then nothing for a while. Thank goodness for down time! Thank goodness I am retired from it all now!

jim555

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #522 on: June 30, 2018, 05:07:34 PM »
June coming in at $197.24.

MaybeBabyMustache

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #523 on: July 01, 2018, 02:36:48 PM »
Came in $7 over for June, which I'll take. We hosted my parents & Uncle for a deck building day, and made crab cakes (we're at the coast), served beer, etc. I did change up our menu for the next four days when we'll have six extra eaters at our house - I went with fresh shrimp, which was $25 cheaper than crab. We do like to eat the local seafood when we're in town, but it's still useful to price check.

We also drove all the way to Costco (45 minutes each way) to buy our groceries. The local coastal towns are INSANELY expensive. Costco is 40-50% cheaper on pretty much everything.

Laura33

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #524 on: July 02, 2018, 09:33:57 AM »
June came in $10 less than I previously reported, because I had counted an Amazon purchase that never arrived.  So, teensy yay there, I guess.

July is off to a June-like start -- too much shit going on, schedules are too screwy, I am out of sorts.  Dropped $100 at the Farmer's market yesterday (largely on things like pierogies and cornbread, not actual veggies), $30 of which was on beer from a local brewery that was freaking delicious (and that I do not regret).  Then Wegman's for $67 in groceries (not bad given the stocking up on some stuff), along with a gigantic $57 HH spend for a giant mess of travel-related stuff for all of our big trips coming up (which sucked).

krmit

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #525 on: July 02, 2018, 10:54:14 AM »
June total was $182 in groceries. The garden is starting to produce so I'm hoping I can keep it under $200/month for the summer!

galliver

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #526 on: July 20, 2018, 11:23:08 AM »
We were at $429 for June (so close! I think getting snacks for a wine tasting trip we took for a friend's birthday tipped us over a little. Cheese.) I have the receipts snapshotted and will sit down one of these days to figure out what our biggest splurges are, category-wise. I have an uncomfortable feeling we spend more on beverages than we ought. >_>

Already at $438 for July (!!) of which OVER HALF was during a 5-day vacation to see family. So far: $192 at home, ~$100 on sushi night for family (homemade, for 7 people, but fish is $$$), ~$40 on beer we were asked to pick up, and ~$100 on random other groceries (ice cream, picked up bao for lunch, picked up chips to have with dad's chili...it was $10 bucks here and there, apparently 10 times!). So, I think at home we've been doing well, but I couldn't resist the urge to treat my family (and usually can't). My sister treated us to fancy pastries for breakfast and my dad made steak so I wasn't the only one ;)

MaybeBabyMustache

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #527 on: July 20, 2018, 12:20:47 PM »
Kids are coming back from summer camp today, so we finally replenished the fridge. Feeling good about where we sit for July. Currently at $410, so we can definitely stay under our goal of $625. And, in really great news, I was worried that we'd switch from buying groceries to eating all meals out. We did eat out a few times, but largely stayed the course while the kids were gone. We're only $20 over our dining out budget!

MaybeBabyMustache

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #528 on: July 26, 2018, 06:11:42 PM »
Posted this in the "eat all the food in your house" thread, but thought I'd share here as well.

I've found a reasonable rhythm for menu planning. We've always done "cook on weekends, eat leftovers" during the work week. That works well, but we typically run out by Thursday. What I've started to do on Thursdays is to consider it my eat down single servings from the fridge/freezer, or other random freezer items day. This really helps to cut down on costs, but we primarily do it for the time savings. I emotionally just can't make dinner during the work week, as things are too crazy. I work from home on Fridays, which gives me more flexibility to prep dinner.

Here's our menu from the week:
Friday - naan pizzas
Saturday - grilled hot dogs & corn
Sunday - beef kebabs & rice
Monday - leftover pizza
Tuesday - leftover hot dogs & corn, with an addition of side pasta
Wednesday - leftover kebabs & rice
Thursday - kids will have hot dogs & pasta, my husband will have kebabs & rice, and I'll have eggplant cutlets from the freezer + the remaining rice.That should pretty much clear out the fridge
Friday - I'm thinking tacos, but will start a fresh cycle of meal prep

jim555

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #529 on: July 31, 2018, 02:54:47 PM »
July coming in at $200.50.

haypug16

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #530 on: August 01, 2018, 12:48:05 PM »
July was $279.54 and the yearly average so far is $254.86 not bad but I'm going to try to get it down a little more. $200 or less is my goal for August. I'm hoping to have some produce from the garden ready soon but right now we're just looking at a bunch of cucumbers (which I do love)

« Last Edit: August 31, 2018, 09:12:44 AM by haypug16 »

JanetJackson

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #531 on: August 13, 2018, 09:06:34 AM »
Oops,
Somehow I missed that there was an updated thread.
I'm in!  Six months too late, but I've been doing it... just not posting.
I'm SINK with a gym-goer appetite shopping only at Aldi/Lidl (if they don't sell it there, I can't have it). 
Somehow last year my monthly Grocery spending ballooned to over $300, I'm working to get it between $200-$250 including toiletries/households.

 

Laura33

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #532 on: August 13, 2018, 09:47:37 AM »
I guess I should update, but July-August are not good indicators of "normal," because we have lots of vacation/travel, which comes out of other budgets.  July came in at around $400-ish (not sure whether I caught the final dairy delivery in there).  August so far has been hellacious -- re-stocking the fridge, + DD shopping at Wegman's/Farmer's market*, + a big birthday dinner ($50 in ingredients, but we'd have spent 2-3x that if we'd gone out), $30 in beer, and whatever he spent yesterday on stuff for the office picnic at our house.  So @$400 so far, plus party stuff and whatever Amazon S&S was.  And I leave tomorrow again, so I know DH/DS are going to eat out the whole week, even though we literally have 5+lbs of BBQ left from the picnic.  So the reality is that our food spend these two months is atrocious and much worse than the grocery numbers would even suggest.

I am looking forward to September and being in one place and back in the normal routine.

*Such a blessing and curse.  On the one hand, she loves shopping at Wegman's and likes to make more complicated/expensive stuff (e.g., last week was lamb ragu, which required like $20 worth of lamb for about 6 servings).  OTOH, holy shit is it awesome to not have to grocery shop and to come home to deliciousness bubbling on the stove!  So right now laziness and outsourcing to the child (we can call it "teaching valuable life skills" to make it sound more productive than it is) is totally winning out.

4alpacas

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #533 on: August 13, 2018, 01:39:53 PM »
@Laura33 I'm in a similar situation!  Tons of work travel for me, very little cooking, WAY too much delivery.  I have a few works trips coming up, but I'm going to try to keep the freezer stocked with premade options (not super healthy, but much cheaper than the take-out version). 

I'm also going to double down on bulk cooking. 

Wish me luck! 

Novik

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #534 on: August 17, 2018, 07:25:44 AM »
When my partner quit his FT job in early April, we set a new grocery budget goal of 80$/week to a max of 360$ a month. (compared to spending 360-450$ / month while both working FT.) After finally catching up on tracking since then, I am pleased to report, success!!

Apr-18   May-18   Jun-18   Jul-18
326.5   351.65   303.37   248.29

galliver

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #535 on: August 17, 2018, 04:46:33 PM »
Came across this today and was intrigued, although I usually have more issues with wilting greens and squishy cucumbers than overdue root veg...they have a longer natural shelf life. I have saved ginger on a few occasions by dehydrating it, though. I should try it with other foods. Also intrigued by the book they mentioned. Added to my wish list.

https://food52.com/blog/22853-what-to-do-with-wilting-produce-fruit-vegetables

Edit: decided to include a personal update. We're at $266 in groceries for this month. Haven't analyzed my receipts for our grocery budget-killers. I suspect it's beverages and deli/cheese/processed food, just based on the receipts I've looked at. I don't understand how people are like "produce is expensive." If I just buy produce I get like 5 bags of food for $30 (yeah, you have to pair it with something else for calories/fat/protein...on the cheap-per-calorie side beans/grains/oils on the more pricey meat/dairy...but a little of those goes a long way, and the veg adds a lot of bulk and flavor).

Anywho...bf is leaving on a trip for two weeks and I'm thinking about doing a frugal grocery challenge while he's gone, getting only fresh produce and maybe milk *as needed* (i.e. not "I have peppers and I want cucumbers"), and mostly trying to eat down the pantry/fridge/freezer, especially the older stuff. On the other hand, I want to enjoy a more-than-average quantity of homemade sushi while he's gone and I'm out of wasabi, ginger, and crab sticks...is it cheating to prepare for my challenge by stocking up on these things this weekend? :D
« Last Edit: August 17, 2018, 05:16:27 PM by galliver »

Zola.

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #536 on: August 21, 2018, 09:34:44 AM »
I need to look to reduce the grocery spend. We do a lot of cooking but the batch cooking when done right saves a lot of money.

I hate throwing out food, but we always buy things and they end up being neglected without rigorous planning to use it all.

4alpacas

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #537 on: August 30, 2018, 03:16:08 PM »
I'm making a large batch of food for dinner tonight, lunch tomorrow, and dinner tomorrow.  I'm using stuff from our pantry and freezer.  Right now, I'm making brown rice with onions and garlic.  I will make some chicken in the instant pot (have a lot of frozen chicken breasts in the freezer) after the rice is done.

I also made a batch of peanut butter cookies without eggs (ran out) and bone broth. The bone broth used a bunch of vegetables that were questionable and the gallon size freezer bag of chicken bones I've been hoarding.

I'm trying to make as much food as possible to keep my DH from getting take-out/delivery.  He's started getting back into the habit. I need to get back into the habit of bulk cooking, so there are options for us when we are lazy and vulnerable. 

haypug16

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #538 on: August 31, 2018, 08:18:17 AM »
My goal for August was $200 or less and I'm finishing up the month at $208.89. Pretty close! Monthly average for the year is $249.12. Same goal for September $200 or less.

jim555

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #539 on: August 31, 2018, 09:07:50 AM »
August coming in at $210.32, average for the year $196.73.

MaybeBabyMustache

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #540 on: September 04, 2018, 07:06:21 PM »
We came in under our goal of $600 (for 2 adults, & two almost teen boys). We were at $540/month, which included $25 of food for my relay. I travel via plane, so have to buy when we arrive. We did go over our $120/month dining out budget, as I took my mom out to lunch as a thank you for deep cleaning our house for 2 days while she was here.

4alpacas

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #541 on: September 17, 2018, 10:10:02 AM »
We went into a Costco this weekend.*  It was bad.  Costco is set up to separate impulse shoppers** from our money.  We spent $400 on stuff with a list that was about $150.  I'm not even upset about it.  My DH has fallen back into the habit of ordering delivery ($35-$50/order), so I let him go crazy in the Costco.  I have a lot of work travel coming up.  If he's happy eating the prepared frozen meals that we bought, then we will come out ahead. 

An approximate breakdown in our spending:
$100 on dog stuff (food/treats) - Planned
$70 on alcohol (not planned)
$15 on prepared food - Not planned, but we both ate at home for the entire weekend with no takeout. 
$15 on pillows - Not planned, but needed.  We were planning to buy a $50 pillow, but we got 2 for $15. 
$20 on sparkling water - Planned
$50 on sweets - Not planned
$75 on snacks - Not planned
$15 on cheese - Not planned, but a better deal than the grocery store
$40 on frozen prepared food - Not planned

I don't think we will go back to Costco soon, but we had fun.  We will go back if this keeps my DH from ordering food.

*We've had a Costco membership for several years, but we get the stuff delivered for free with Google Express.  The math works for dog food and dog treats.
**Both DH & I are awful grocery shoppers.  We cut our grocery budget to the bones by paying extra for grocery delivery.  We cannot be trusted inside stores.

MaybeBabyMustache

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #542 on: September 17, 2018, 12:47:35 PM »
@4alpacas - we shop at Costco weekly (buy majority of our produce, dairy & meat there), but I have the same approach to the frozen/prepared foods. I'm traveling this week, and if a frozen pizza or meatballs keeps the kids/husband away from eating out, it's way cheaper.

Laura33

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #543 on: September 17, 2018, 12:49:34 PM »
Yeah, so I have been hiding in shame, but time to 'fess up.  I totally lost track of July/August with all the travel; since DH refuses to be bothered to track what he gets when I'm away, it seemed futile.  Meanwhile, for September, I have changed priorities and emphasizing planning and cooking over cutting the grocery budget per se.  The reason for this is laziness masquerading as "good parenting":  I have decided to put DD completely in charge of the grocery shopping, as well as cooking some of our dinners, as this is her last year before going off to college.  But she loves Wegmans and detests Aldi.  So we are doing better on planning and staying on the list (since I only put enough money on her card to cover what is listed), but the overall cost is just a lot higher.  I figure I will do this in baby steps -- get her used to the shopping where she feels comfortable for a couple of months, then give her some training at Aldi and figure out some incentives to lower the grocery bill (e.g., "here's the list, if you can get all this for less, I will let you keep half the savings" or something).

But even that's half bullshit, too -- I mean, yes, that is the plan, but I am sucking on my own as well.  A week ago I went to what historically has been a cheaper store, only to discover that they have really jacked up their prices on everything that wasn't on sale.  I knew I should have bought the cheaper stuff and finished the rest elsewhere, but I was trying to get stuff done and get home, so I just grabbed it all -- to the tune of $220 (first big restock after travels).  And then there's the damn farmer's market -- boy, I cannot wait until it's closed for the year!  The pierogies are killing me -- kids love them and beg me to get them, and I love them so give in.  But Sunday I dropped $50+ on almost no real food (some pierogies, some rugelach, some cornbread, some bruschetta sauce, and a small loaf of bread). 

So halfway through the month, I'm at $572 food and $113 household.  I clearly belong on the Antimustachian Wall of Shame right now.  The only good news is that we have so much food our takeout is down -- even DH agreed to leftover chili for lunch this weekend, and he usually likes to eat out both days.  ;-)

4alpacas

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #544 on: September 17, 2018, 03:36:48 PM »
@MaybeBabyMustache I can't imagine shopping at Costco weekly.  I think we will stick to every once in a while and continue getting dog food delivered.

@Laura33 Welcome back!  I took a break too. Your method of having your kid cook keeps your DH from getting take-out, so you're decreasing one budget category. I'm having a problem finding the perfect intersection of low grocery bill and DH not ordering delivery.  Right now, I'm defaulting to an insane grocery bill to attempt to get restaurant spending under control.  The other issue with the food delivery is that my DH does it while I'm away on travel and when I get back as something nice to do since I just got home. 

Laura33

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #545 on: September 18, 2018, 07:09:09 AM »
@MaybeBabyMustache I can't imagine shopping at Costco weekly.  I think we will stick to every once in a while and continue getting dog food delivered.

@Laura33 Welcome back!  I took a break too. Your method of having your kid cook keeps your DH from getting take-out, so you're decreasing one budget category. I'm having a problem finding the perfect intersection of low grocery bill and DH not ordering delivery.  Right now, I'm defaulting to an insane grocery bill to attempt to get restaurant spending under control.  The other issue with the food delivery is that my DH does it while I'm away on travel and when I get back as something nice to do since I just got home.

Yeah, perfect description!  Like you, I think we are better off on many levels if we focus on the habit of meal planning and cooking more, so I am actually pretty good with the extra grocery money, even if by any normal standard it is ridiculously high.  But, damn, it's like whack-a-mole, isn't it?  You focus on improving one area, and then another pops up!  I need to get to a place where all of the money-blowing options are under control at the same time, and some days it sure feels like a Sisyphean task.

4alpacas

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #546 on: September 18, 2018, 03:02:45 PM »
@MaybeBabyMustache I can't imagine shopping at Costco weekly.  I think we will stick to every once in a while and continue getting dog food delivered.

@Laura33 Welcome back!  I took a break too. Your method of having your kid cook keeps your DH from getting take-out, so you're decreasing one budget category. I'm having a problem finding the perfect intersection of low grocery bill and DH not ordering delivery.  Right now, I'm defaulting to an insane grocery bill to attempt to get restaurant spending under control.  The other issue with the food delivery is that my DH does it while I'm away on travel and when I get back as something nice to do since I just got home.

Yeah, perfect description!  Like you, I think we are better off on many levels if we focus on the habit of meal planning and cooking more, so I am actually pretty good with the extra grocery money, even if by any normal standard it is ridiculously high.  But, damn, it's like whack-a-mole, isn't it?  You focus on improving one area, and then another pops up!  I need to get to a place where all of the money-blowing options are under control at the same time, and some days it sure feels like a Sisyphean task.
The hardest part about my quest is that I don't have buy-in from my DH.  I've cut a huge amount off our spending while making his life easier.  However, his is not on board for any true cost cutting that would "cramp" his lifestyle.  A happy relationship versus an extra percent of savings is an easy decision.

Rosy

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #547 on: September 29, 2018, 02:14:26 PM »
OK people - I need help. I'm a good cook, but I just don't know how to fix "real" steel cut oats (preferably with apples and a pinch of sugar and cinnamon) without cooking it all to mush, sticking to the pan or worse having a really good flavor.

Can someone please tell me how - so I can stop buying the low sugar ready-made oatmeal pouches - save some money and live healthier?

Roadrunner53

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #548 on: September 29, 2018, 03:49:25 PM »
I have cooked mine in a crockpot with a crockpot liner by Reynolds. No sticking problem. Not sure on the mush issue. I would cook it in the CP and occasionally taste it for texture. Maybe after a few hours on low start tasting it. Upon the first taste, check every 15-20 minutes after than and go from there.

Rosy

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #549 on: September 30, 2018, 08:12:39 AM »
@Roadrunner53 thanks:)

I didn't know crock pot liners even existed. I even considered buying an Insta Pot only because I really want to make steel cut oats:) We'll see how it goes.