Author Topic: Rein in the grocery spend 2017  (Read 29842 times)

Linda_Norway

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #300 on: March 31, 2017, 06:08:36 AM »
I checked the online discount magazine and made a list on my phone on what to buy in bulk for cheap. Only picked stuff that I need.

Ebrat

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #301 on: March 31, 2017, 06:56:05 AM »

We are going to Italy in April for 7 nights (and 1 night in London on the way home), so I know our eating out will be high in April, <...>

When staying abroad and eating in restaurants, you can at least look at eating only a main course and not 3 courses.

I personally find Italian food a bit confusing when I'm there on holiday, having a menu built up by pasta first, followed by meat and veggies. I am already stuffed after a pasta meal. Therefore when we visit Italy we usually eat either a pizza or a portion of pasta. And sometimes only the main dish, without the pasta. And only very occasionally a starter or dessert. And we skip breakfast and lunch at restaurants. Lunch is just some bread, cheese, olive paste and wine, bought in a shop. Much cheaper than eating lunch in a restaurant.

Have fun.

This is how we usually do it, too. I like checking out grocery stores in other countries.

I don't think we're buying any groceries today, so our final number for the month is $613 and $1587 for the year. Not great. We only spent $53 this week, and we still have a lot of food in the house. I'd like to get to the point where our food expenses are less "lumpy." I tend to buy a bunch of stuff one month, eat it down the next month, and repeat. I want to spread it out better. And I also really need to work on my snack purchases (candy, cookies, etc.). That'll be my main focus for April.

Speaking of Italy, we diverted a little bit of our grocery budget to savings for a trip there next year. That's more fun and motivating to me than putting it toward generic savings or something. I'm hoping cutting the budget here and there on an ad hoc basis, as opposed to a permanent reduction, will improve our shopping habits and lead to more permanent reductions in the future.

swick

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #302 on: March 31, 2017, 08:35:44 AM »
Skipped our last weekly grocery shop on the month and made do so spending for the month was 280.00 CDN and included a stock up of coffee for $60.00.

Definitely been making progress with the "use it up" gauntlet. Plan is to have another super lean month and stock up cross-border in May.  Spend for the year so far is 1026 or about 343.00 month out of 350.00 budget. I don't think we'll stay this low all year as we set a number we knew was artificially low because we wanted to force ourselves to use stuff up.

We have decided to not renew our veggie CSA this year as they changed the delivery to pick up and it is on a day of the week we will mostly be out of town. Going to try and grow a bit more this year and do some bartering/crop sharing between friends and family who have better green thumbs than we do.

jillinsandiego

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #303 on: March 31, 2017, 10:00:58 AM »
Thanks for the advice, Linda! I've never been to Italy before so I'm really excited. We are staying at an airbnb with a full kitchen, so we will do breakfast at the house each morning (except the last morning when we'll be in London at a hotel, then we'll probably grab a quick bite at Pret in the airport before heading home). My husband and I often split a meal these days when we go out, and of course I have the teenager who will eat absolutely everything that anyone doesn't finish. I really like your idea of bread, cheese, etc for lunch. Our airbnb is pretty centrally located so we could always stop back in to eat lunch too. Since we are traveling with our two younger kids also who are 5 and 7 I don't expect we will have a lot of nice "sit down" meals with multiple courses!

We did a grocery run last night, and our monthly food spending is currently $1168. There is a slight chance we'll split a (huge) sandwich at a local place for lunch since we have errands we need to run in the area before tomorrow morning, but that shouldn't add more than $10 at the most. We are definitely going to come in under my $1200 goal, and we even had company two weekends in a row, AND 3 nights in Las Vegas this month. I am starting to feel confident that we can get it down even further. I know $1200 is a TON to spend on food around here, but our monthly average last year was $1774...which is outrageous even not on MMM. It is amazing what a difference a little bit of awareness makes!

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #304 on: April 01, 2017, 10:13:52 AM »
Groceries were $670 out of $775 goal. I didn't buy any meat all month, which helped a lot. We are now making granola every week or two, and bought the Costco almonds and walnuts and Amazon chia and flax seeds to bring the cost per batch down. We also bought a 5 pound bag of raw cashews on Amazon, so we have some possibilities for roasting, making cashew milk, or making cashew butter.

I signed up for ibotta, downloaded my grocery store app, and got the Amex Blue Cash Preferred for 6% cash back on groceries, plus $150 bonus for the first $1000 spend. Finally trained DW on which card to use for what, just in time for the categories to change :-O

Linda_Norway

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #305 on: April 02, 2017, 07:03:43 AM »
We are out of (luxury) potatoes. This week I'll buy the el cheapo brand that costs 1/3 or so.

pancakes

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #306 on: April 02, 2017, 09:33:34 PM »
We still have inlaws visiting from interstate this month so our groceries are all over the place. They come over for dinner most nights and eat meat where as we usually eat vegetarian meals. They are buying a lot of the food too making it impossible to track or work out what we are actually spending. We are throwing out a lot more food than usual too because plans keep changing at the last minute.

Last month was our first on a single income and with a baby. I really want to get a grasp on what our normal spending is like now so I can feel more comfortable with and in control of our new situation. Right now I feel very uncomfortable about our finances because I have no strong evidence that this situation is viable long term (no strong evidence to say it isn't either).

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #307 on: April 02, 2017, 09:54:39 PM »
We still have inlaws visiting from interstate this month so our groceries are all over the place. They come over for dinner most nights and eat meat where as we usually eat vegetarian meals. They are buying a lot of the food too making it impossible to track or work out what we are actually spending. We are throwing out a lot more food than usual too because plans keep changing at the last minute.

Last month was our first on a single income and with a baby. I really want to get a grasp on what our normal spending is like now so I can feel more comfortable with and in control of our new situation. Right now I feel very uncomfortable about our finances because I have no strong evidence that this situation is viable long term (no strong evidence to say it isn't either).

Hang in there, pancakes.

Any change of routine (i.e. guests) makes it harder to track spending and food. With a new baby on top of that, go easy on yourself and monitor what you can. When the visitors leave, you can see where the chips (and all the other meals) fall.

swick

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #308 on: April 02, 2017, 09:59:09 PM »
We still have inlaws visiting from interstate this month so our groceries are all over the place. They come over for dinner most nights and eat meat where as we usually eat vegetarian meals. They are buying a lot of the food too making it impossible to track or work out what we are actually spending. We are throwing out a lot more food than usual too because plans keep changing at the last minute.

Last month was our first on a single income and with a baby. I really want to get a grasp on what our normal spending is like now so I can feel more comfortable with and in control of our new situation. Right now I feel very uncomfortable about our finances because I have no strong evidence that this situation is viable long term (no strong evidence to say it isn't either).

Seems like you have a bunch on your plate and the uncertainty isn't helping you. I would suggest being gentle with yourself right now. Do what you can with what you have. Is there any way you can start freezing things to cut down on food waste when plans change?

Laura33

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #309 on: April 03, 2017, 05:57:41 AM »
We are out of (luxury) potatoes. This week I'll buy the el cheapo brand that costs 1/3 or so.

Go Linda!  :-)

We are going out of town next week, so this week I decided to forego the Aldi's shop and dairy delivery and just eat from the fridge/pantry.  I also took a hard look at my Amazon Subscribe & Save and realized I didn't actually need anything this month, so I canceled that as well.  Unfortunately, it's not a total win, as I also had to go by Wegman's for pseudo-foods I was running out of (e.g., Powerade, Diet Pepsi, tea), so that still ran me $57 ($40 on "food," $17 on household stuff).

I have no idea what next week will bring -- on vacation with all of DH's *totally* non-Mustachian family, so I suspect the groceries will be of the "go to the store every day and drop $200 for a houseful of people, then go out to eat anyway" variety.  So we will have to carry our fair share of that.  But, hey, at least this week's lower than usual. . . .
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Eporedia

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #310 on: April 03, 2017, 08:28:30 AM »

Another under $100 day at Aldi's. I feel that I can keep doing this all year long - I was afraid it would be super painful and depriving... but instead I still buy ice cream and almond milk and some wine every now and then; For me the bigger difference is that we are eating leftovers now. When we have little leftovers (not enough for a full meal) I found that making a cup or so of sushi rice will round up the meal and actually taste good.

My breadmaker is used every week, I make good bread and pizza dough for calzone. Next week I'll try softpretzels.

Thanks to the "eat all the food in your house" challenge, I'm also refraining from buying novelty foods: almond meal flour, chia seeds, coconut vinegar, stuff like that that lingers in the house for years.

Plus I love this forum: is super nice to see all the smart things you do every week.

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #311 on: April 03, 2017, 08:49:44 AM »
I'm a little late on the monthly update up my total spend for March was $280.50!  This is the lowest spend we have had (that I can remember) and it still included lots of indulgent shopping including 3 boxes of wine, 1 crawfish boil, and some desserts (ice cream, girl scout cookies).
I feel like we are really starting to feel more comfortable with our grocery spending and we have a really cut down on the number of things we buy at Costco after comparing prices and finding alternatives.
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jillinsandiego

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #312 on: April 03, 2017, 09:27:28 AM »
My March total ended up being $1178.76. Still much more than everyone here...but just under my target of $1200, and $600 less than how much I spend on food in March the previous year.

I am going to try and do my best in April, but I plan to indulge in good food and drink while we're in Italy. We leave Friday!!

Eporedia

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #313 on: April 03, 2017, 10:07:55 AM »
My March total ended up being $1178.76. Still much more than everyone here...but just under my target of $1200, and $600 less than how much I spend on food in March the previous year.

I am going to try and do my best in April, but I plan to indulge in good food and drink while we're in Italy. We leave Friday!!

OMG I lived in Italy for quite some years, I hope you have a great time!

jillinsandiego

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #314 on: April 03, 2017, 12:24:02 PM »
My March total ended up being $1178.76. Still much more than everyone here...but just under my target of $1200, and $600 less than how much I spend on food in March the previous year.

I am going to try and do my best in April, but I plan to indulge in good food and drink while we're in Italy. We leave Friday!!

OMG I lived in Italy for quite some years, I hope you have a great time!

Thanks!! I've never been to Italy, so I'm really excited! Not excited about the process of getting there: Drive from San Diego to LAX, red eye flight to London, 7 hour layover at Heathrow, and then finally the flight to Rome. Cheap flights have a downside! We'll be in Rome for 7 nights (staying at an airbnb and daytripping from there; full kitchen, laundry, and week discount). We are doing a (long) day trip to Pompeii and hiking up Mt. Vesuvius, taking the train to Florence for a day, and have a number of other things planned (already paid for Sistine Chapel tickets in advance to avoid the massive line). We promised the kids daily pizza and gelato. :) I will work hard on my food budget the rest of the year to make up for it. I will still track all of our spending, but I'm going to enjoy the local food for sure.

Ebrat

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #315 on: April 03, 2017, 03:23:32 PM »
My March total ended up being $1178.76. Still much more than everyone here...but just under my target of $1200, and $600 less than how much I spend on food in March the previous year.

I am going to try and do my best in April, but I plan to indulge in good food and drink while we're in Italy. We leave Friday!!

OMG I lived in Italy for quite some years, I hope you have a great time!

Thanks!! I've never been to Italy, so I'm really excited! Not excited about the process of getting there: Drive from San Diego to LAX, red eye flight to London, 7 hour layover at Heathrow, and then finally the flight to Rome. Cheap flights have a downside! We'll be in Rome for 7 nights (staying at an airbnb and daytripping from there; full kitchen, laundry, and week discount). We are doing a (long) day trip to Pompeii and hiking up Mt. Vesuvius, taking the train to Florence for a day, and have a number of other things planned (already paid for Sistine Chapel tickets in advance to avoid the massive line). We promised the kids daily pizza and gelato. :) I will work hard on my food budget the rest of the year to make up for it. I will still track all of our spending, but I'm going to enjoy the local food for sure.

That sounds amazing! Couple ideas for you: Someone recommended Herculaneum over Pompeii to us because it's less crowded and better-preserved (though this was several years ago, so things might've changed). There's a stop a few blocks away on the Circumvesuviana. We really liked it. Also, a lot of the touristy gelato places will sell you huge, fancy cones for like 8 Euro. We found a few little places here and there that were more out of the way and sold more reasonably-sized cones for 1 Euro.

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #316 on: April 04, 2017, 07:31:26 AM »
averaging 341 on the year for groceries and booze.  stocked up alot on grocery last month and my parents moved in.  so thats affecting things too.  still much lower than the close to 600 we were at last year.
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jillinsandiego

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #317 on: April 04, 2017, 11:42:13 AM »
My March total ended up being $1178.76. Still much more than everyone here...but just under my target of $1200, and $600 less than how much I spend on food in March the previous year.

I am going to try and do my best in April, but I plan to indulge in good food and drink while we're in Italy. We leave Friday!!

OMG I lived in Italy for quite some years, I hope you have a great time!

Thanks!! I've never been to Italy, so I'm really excited! Not excited about the process of getting there: Drive from San Diego to LAX, red eye flight to London, 7 hour layover at Heathrow, and then finally the flight to Rome. Cheap flights have a downside! We'll be in Rome for 7 nights (staying at an airbnb and daytripping from there; full kitchen, laundry, and week discount). We are doing a (long) day trip to Pompeii and hiking up Mt. Vesuvius, taking the train to Florence for a day, and have a number of other things planned (already paid for Sistine Chapel tickets in advance to avoid the massive line). We promised the kids daily pizza and gelato. :) I will work hard on my food budget the rest of the year to make up for it. I will still track all of our spending, but I'm going to enjoy the local food for sure.

That sounds amazing! Couple ideas for you: Someone recommended Herculaneum over Pompeii to us because it's less crowded and better-preserved (though this was several years ago, so things might've changed). There's a stop a few blocks away on the Circumvesuviana. We really liked it. Also, a lot of the touristy gelato places will sell you huge, fancy cones for like 8 Euro. We found a few little places here and there that were more out of the way and sold more reasonably-sized cones for 1 Euro.

We will definitely be on the lookout for reasonably-sized, affordable gelato! We will be there with my husband's best friend and his wife who have spent a lot of time in Rome, so I hope they know some good local places to go away from the touristy stuff.

We considered Herculaneum, but in the end settled on a full day guided tour at Pompeii that includes transportation there and back from Rome, and a hike up Mt. Vesuvius. I just didn't have it in me to deal with the train through Naples with 3 kids (5, 7, 16) and my mother-in-law (turns 78 while we're there, but is very fit). I definitely plan to go back to Italy someday, so we'll branch out more then.

Back to groceries...in anticipation of our trip we're trying to eat up everything in the house. Hope it will offset our travel food expenses somewhat.

haypug16

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #318 on: April 05, 2017, 04:56:06 PM »
I'm jumping in! My food spending in March was $478.73 which included several meals out.

This month's goal is $350. This is for me and my daughter (my husband buys his own food for the most part)

So far this month I've spent $83.58. So I'm on track so far to reach my goal. Last month was my first month tracking all my spending. This month is the start of cutting out spending where I can.

Hotstreak

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #319 on: April 05, 2017, 10:41:41 PM »

I ended March at $5 over budget, with a relatively empty fridge.  I just threw out an entire $15 dollar batch of hash.  I thought I had washed the greens but apparently I did not do a good job, since I have chewed on some sort of sandy dirt every time I tried to eat it.  Since this is 5% of my monthly budget I'm trying to let it go and move on.  Tomorrow is farmers market and I plan to spend another $15 to make a similar recipe. 

I realize that to some extent I am reducing spending, but not reducing consumption on a dollar basis.  Essentially I am eating down pantry items that will require replenishment later.  I want to know how much I am actually eating, and it's frustrating to not know, but I also don't want to take the time and effort to weigh and log all of my meals.  Like a log pushed out in to the lake, my course is set and only time will tell how effective my cost reduction efforts are.  By the end of the year I should have a really good idea of a sustainable spending level.  In the short term, I am shooting for $300 again.. but I have already spent $180 stocking up this month and so I don't know that I will stay under goal.  I've just been so fucking ravished, eating everything in sight!  Exercising like a maniac also, which may be the cause.  Hunting seasons are beginning and hopefully I will get a buffer of meat soon.

March - $305
February - $352
January - $750, including large stock up of vitamins and household goods, more like $500 on food items.

Linda_Norway

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #320 on: April 06, 2017, 12:46:59 AM »
We are out of (luxury) potatoes. This week I'll buy the el cheapo brand that costs 1/3 or so.

Ate the cheap potatoes yesterday and there was absolutely nothing wrong with them. I'll continue to use them.

The cheaper bread is not quite as good as the next-cheapest bread that costs 40% more. But as long as it's fresh, it is acceptable to eat.

swick

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #321 on: April 06, 2017, 09:02:41 AM »
We are out of (luxury) potatoes. This week I'll buy the el cheapo brand that costs 1/3 or so.

Ate the cheap potatoes yesterday and there was absolutely nothing wrong with them. I'll continue to use them.

The cheaper bread is not quite as good as the next-cheapest bread that costs 40% more. But as long as it's fresh, it is acceptable to eat.

Good job on testing it out, the little differences do add up over time so it is worth it!

Still haven't gone to the store, last trip was...March 19th. My husband is getting skeptical about how long we can go for, but he also said he has been enjoying the variety! Apparently, when I shop for staples I fall into a routine. We'll see if he still feels as enthusiastic after his Cauliflower Milkshake this morning :D

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #322 on: April 06, 2017, 03:19:23 PM »
I'm disappointed in our grocery spending for March. It ended up at about $585. I'm glad to see it under $600 but was really aiming to do better. A small chunk of that was hosting meat-loving visitors. It all evens out, as they were helping us with childcare when our kid's daycare was closed.

Goal for April: $500, with the caveat that I am due with baby #2 at the end of the month, and that will throw everything into disarray.

Ebrat

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #323 on: April 06, 2017, 04:44:20 PM »
Still haven't gone to the store, last trip was...March 19th. My husband is getting skeptical about how long we can go for, but he also said he has been enjoying the variety! Apparently, when I shop for staples I fall into a routine. We'll see if he still feels as enthusiastic after his Cauliflower Milkshake this morning :D

I laughed pretty hard at this!

I feel like we're starting to get into a good groove. I'm working on a spreadsheet of go-to dinners that cost less than $2 per person. Next I have to figure out a good routine for my lunches. The trick with making things from scratch is that it takes a lot more planning to have things ready (beans need to be soaked, bread needs to rise, etc...)

Linda_Norway

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #324 on: April 10, 2017, 11:24:25 AM »
I'm disappointed in our grocery spending for March. It ended up at about $585. I'm glad to see it under $600 but was really aiming to do better. A small chunk of that was hosting meat-loving visitors. It all evens out, as they were helping us with childcare when our kid's daycare was closed.

Goal for April: $500, with the caveat that I am due with baby #2 at the end of the month, and that will throw everything into disarray.

Is it an idea of looking at meat sizes? People don't need quite as much meat as most of us eat each day.

haypug16

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #325 on: April 10, 2017, 02:43:02 PM »
I'm jumping in! My food spending in March was $478.73 which included several meals out.

This month's goal is $350 $300. This is for me and my daughter (my husband buys his own food for the most part)

So far this month I've spent $83.58. So I'm on track so far to reach my goal. Last month was my first month tracking all my spending. This month is the start of cutting out spending where I can.

I decided to set my monthly goal at $300 for the month. So far I've spent $126.38 and shouldn't have to go shopping again till next week, except maybe a gallon of milk or some other one off item. I had some other "surprise" expenses this month so to cut down overall for the month the groceries seemed like a good place to start.

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #326 on: April 10, 2017, 09:09:43 PM »
I finally broke down and bought meat this week. There was a promotion of $12 off $120 purchase, and another $4 off $10 meat purchase. Hams were $0.77/lb and $0.97/lb, so I bought one of those and some ground beef. I ended up "saving" over $70 all told, as I stocked up on some other sale items. That should easily hold us till the end of the month, outside of vegetables, fruit, milk, and possibly some cheese. I may make something to bring for Easter dinner, but it won't be jamon-wrapped hummingbird tongues with caviar sauce.

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #327 on: April 14, 2017, 12:11:17 PM »
I'm going to be cutting it close this month.  Currently at $285 out of a budget of $300.  Enough fresh stuff for the next week + $15 cash left from a $20 I withdrew for farmers market purchases (already included in the $285).  I have freezer meal plans and should not need much from the store so at this point I am planning on making the $300 target.

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #328 on: April 16, 2017, 08:22:11 AM »
Well, *I* only spent $26 on groceries for the week, but we had a couple of unsupervised visits by certain other family members for an expensive convenience dinner and $17 of eggplant and lemons ?? Also had an e-coupon for $10 off a $100 Mastercard gift card, so I bought that and an Amazon card with the Amex BCP, so $200 of value for about $184, if the cash back comes through.

Ebrat

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #329 on: April 16, 2017, 09:42:16 AM »
We're at $193 halfway through the month, so on track so far!

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #330 on: April 16, 2017, 01:45:46 PM »
So last week was a total cluster - 13 people, 1 house, and I had zero control over either shopping or meal planning.  So I have zero clue how much was spent (the idea is to "even it up" later), but I know it is going to be ridiculous.  Given all of this, I have just decided to write the whole week off to vacation, and then also knock 1/4th off my $600 monthly grocery target.

So this week, alas, Aldi's was closed (the downside of returning to a completely empty fridge just in time for Easter, I guess).  So I hit the Asian market instead, which was not awesome -- prices were higher than I recall ($2.99 for a head of lettuce??).  So I spent $112 on food and another $4 on household supplies, for a monthly total of $156/21.  I also have a large dairy stockup coming later this week, so that'll probably be another $50.  Still, that will leave me about $250 left for the last @10 days of the month, so if I pay attention and don't go crazy with Papa John's or something, I should make it this month.  Yay.

As a total of-topic rant, last week was *such* a good demonstration that throwing money around is no guarantee of a good time.  This was the luxe-luxe-luxe vacation (inlaws), with a fancy house and eating out and even a personal chef to make dinner a few nights.  And I had a fucking miserable time and resent how much our "share" of all of that crap is going to be.  Don't get me wrong, the guy made some awesome food, but there were too many people and I got stuck in the totally crappy room and the bugs ate me alive and I basically drank my way through the week pretending to have fun so as not to ruin it for my MIL (in whose honor we were all getting together - Stage 4 cancer, so damned if I was going to make her feel bad that my vacation sucked).  If I had been smart, I'd have volunteered to be the personal chef for the group and have them pay me instead -- since I didn't exactly feel all relaxed and vacation-ey anyway, I might as well have been making some cash instead of basically lighting my own on fire.  FFS.
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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #331 on: April 18, 2017, 08:45:52 AM »
Well...April will be WAY over my goal. We are already at $1120 for the month, with very little food in the house and a trip planned to Costco during lunch today. BUT!! Italy was amazing. :) We ate fabulously well every day, and we had gelato at least once (sometimes twice) a day. We had the great good fortune of La Romana Gelateria two blocks from our airbnb, which had the best gelato (full of locals with all menus in Italian and employees with scant English), for a very reasonable 2.2 Euros.

Part of our over-spending was poor water planning. We did bring water bottles everywhere with us (free to fill up from fountains in Rome), but drinks in Pompeii were $$$$ and of course every meal we had to pay for water since they don't do free water there. And, even in Rome, we often ran out with thirsty kids. I was most appalled at the airport, no drinking fountain anywhere! Oh well, at least Heathrow had water bottle filling stations so we didn't have to buy water during our London layovers.

We will try to keep the rest of the month as frugal as possible, but the kitchen is pretty lean right now. We have a three day Disneyland trip planned in May, and aside from that, no additional travel planned for the foreseeable future. Plenty of months to save up and get our grocery bill down at home again.


Eporedia

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #332 on: April 18, 2017, 09:29:58 AM »

Ah, so glad I'm not alone with a expensive April... (jillinsandiego and Laura33). Spent 4 days in Portland OR and about 200$ in restaurants... it was a fun trip with lots of friends from NV and CA meeting there. Still have a trip to a waterpark with my kids for next week (but I can pack snacks/lunch for that) - and then I'm clear for the near future. On the other hand my grocery bills are completely under control. When I started back in mid-February the task was so daunting... a few common sense changes and I hit my grocery budget (under 100$/wk) in March and I'm on track for April as well.

jillinsandiego

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #333 on: April 19, 2017, 08:45:21 AM »

Ah, so glad I'm not alone with a expensive April... (jillinsandiego and Laura33). Spent 4 days in Portland OR and about 200$ in restaurants... it was a fun trip with lots of friends from NV and CA meeting there. Still have a trip to a waterpark with my kids for next week (but I can pack snacks/lunch for that) - and then I'm clear for the near future. On the other hand my grocery bills are completely under control. When I started back in mid-February the task was so daunting... a few common sense changes and I hit my grocery budget (under 100$/wk) in March and I'm on track for April as well.

Always good to have people who understand, right? We have been SO much better with grocery spending and eating out at home, that I'm not going to stress too much about the Italy spending. It was a fantastic trip and all worth it!! We went to Costco yesterday so we are over on our spending, but we only bought "necessity" food and not frivolous snacks/drinks, for the most part. As far as Costco trips go it was very reasonable.

Laura33

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #334 on: April 19, 2017, 09:34:36 AM »

Ah, so glad I'm not alone with a expensive April... (jillinsandiego and Laura33). Spent 4 days in Portland OR and about 200$ in restaurants... it was a fun trip with lots of friends from NV and CA meeting there. Still have a trip to a waterpark with my kids for next week (but I can pack snacks/lunch for that) - and then I'm clear for the near future. On the other hand my grocery bills are completely under control. When I started back in mid-February the task was so daunting... a few common sense changes and I hit my grocery budget (under 100$/wk) in March and I'm on track for April as well.

Always good to have people who understand, right? We have been SO much better with grocery spending and eating out at home, that I'm not going to stress too much about the Italy spending. It was a fantastic trip and all worth it!! We went to Costco yesterday so we are over on our spending, but we only bought "necessity" food and not frivolous snacks/drinks, for the most part. As far as Costco trips go it was very reasonable.

Yeah, ITA.  My problem is that I feel like I am making excuses by not counting the vacation week toward this month's groceries.  But the point of this exercise is to challenge myself to do better on the things I can control -- and telling 9 in-laws who like pampering that they need to cook for themselves and eat some more rice and beans doesn't really fall in that category.  (Irony alert: the chef prepared, you guessed it, rice and beans one night)  I need to remind myself that I am changing my own habits, and that I am making progress on that part of the equation, even if that doesn't extend to other parts of my life.  Maybe those will be the 2018 challenge.  :-)
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Drole

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #335 on: April 19, 2017, 10:52:08 AM »


Part of our over-spending was poor water planning. We did bring water bottles everywhere with us (free to fill up from fountains in Rome), but drinks in Pompeii were $$$$

Heck, we brought 4 frozen bottles of water with us to Pompeii and still those expensive drinks outside the gate were *almost* worth every penny (definitely needed to get the kids moving again)!

Eporedia

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #336 on: April 19, 2017, 02:54:43 PM »

Yeah, ITA.  My problem is that I feel like I am making excuses by not counting the vacation week toward this month's groceries.  But the point of this exercise is to challenge myself to do better on the things I can control -- and telling 9 in-laws who like pampering that they need to cook for themselves and eat some more rice and beans doesn't really fall in that category.  (Irony alert: the chef prepared, you guessed it, rice and beans one night)  I need to remind myself that I am changing my own habits, and that I am making progress on that part of the equation, even if that doesn't extend to other parts of my life.  Maybe those will be the 2018 challenge.  :-)

Ha! Personal chef cooking rice and beans... did his fee include the food?

Rice has been one of the most significant changes I made. I get sushi rice (sticky) because I like the texture/flavor better so is a little more expensive - but still sooo cheap compared with many other dishes. I can make any lb of meat last 3 times longer, and leftovers do not fell lame if there is fresh rice with it. I own a rice steamer, so no real cooking talent involved.

Anyhow I understand the frustation of expending money when the (poor) choice was made by others but at least you had plenty to drink! If you do not mind sharing: How much was your daily cost for the place+chef?

Laura33

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #337 on: April 19, 2017, 06:23:40 PM »

Yeah, ITA.  My problem is that I feel like I am making excuses by not counting the vacation week toward this month's groceries.  But the point of this exercise is to challenge myself to do better on the things I can control -- and telling 9 in-laws who like pampering that they need to cook for themselves and eat some more rice and beans doesn't really fall in that category.  (Irony alert: the chef prepared, you guessed it, rice and beans one night)  I need to remind myself that I am changing my own habits, and that I am making progress on that part of the equation, even if that doesn't extend to other parts of my life.  Maybe those will be the 2018 challenge.  :-)

Ha! Personal chef cooking rice and beans... did his fee include the food?

Rice has been one of the most significant changes I made. I get sushi rice (sticky) because I like the texture/flavor better so is a little more expensive - but still sooo cheap compared with many other dishes. I can make any lb of meat last 3 times longer, and leftovers do not fell lame if there is fresh rice with it. I own a rice steamer, so no real cooking talent involved.

Anyhow I understand the frustation of expending money when the (poor) choice was made by others but at least you had plenty to drink! If you do not mind sharing: How much was your daily cost for the place+chef?

I honestly don't know.  My FIL rented the place, and my MIL hired the chef (though we will be reimbursing her).  She said something like $50 pp per meal, which implies $600-700 for each of the three dinners.  Plus probably $600-800 in groceries and multiple other meals out -- basically, my SIL is doing a spreadsheet that includes what everyone paid on communal food, and we will find out our share at some point in the future.  I wouldn't be surprised if we end up owing $1-2K (since we contributed about 1/3 of the mouths).

TBH, the rice and beans was the best I ever had -- I had leftovers with some fried eggs every morning after.  :-)
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boarder42

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #338 on: April 20, 2017, 06:17:49 AM »

Yeah, ITA.  My problem is that I feel like I am making excuses by not counting the vacation week toward this month's groceries.  But the point of this exercise is to challenge myself to do better on the things I can control -- and telling 9 in-laws who like pampering that they need to cook for themselves and eat some more rice and beans doesn't really fall in that category.  (Irony alert: the chef prepared, you guessed it, rice and beans one night)  I need to remind myself that I am changing my own habits, and that I am making progress on that part of the equation, even if that doesn't extend to other parts of my life.  Maybe those will be the 2018 challenge.  :-)

Ha! Personal chef cooking rice and beans... did his fee include the food?

Rice has been one of the most significant changes I made. I get sushi rice (sticky) because I like the texture/flavor better so is a little more expensive - but still sooo cheap compared with many other dishes. I can make any lb of meat last 3 times longer, and leftovers do not fell lame if there is fresh rice with it. I own a rice steamer, so no real cooking talent involved.

Anyhow I understand the frustation of expending money when the (poor) choice was made by others but at least you had plenty to drink! If you do not mind sharing: How much was your daily cost for the place+chef?

I honestly don't know.  My FIL rented the place, and my MIL hired the chef (though we will be reimbursing her).  She said something like $50 pp per meal, which implies $600-700 for each of the three dinners.  Plus probably $600-800 in groceries and multiple other meals out -- basically, my SIL is doing a spreadsheet that includes what everyone paid on communal food, and we will find out our share at some point in the future.  I wouldn't be surprised if we end up owing $1-2K (since we contributed about 1/3 of the mouths).

TBH, the rice and beans was the best I ever had -- I had leftovers with some fried eggs every morning after.  :-)

Holy hell its stories like this that make me very happy to be from a budget/frugal minded family where we talk openly about and agree to any spending on that level.  WOW is about all i can say.  My wife's family is less so but she's not afraid to speak up and say whoa whoa whoa thats not something that makes sense lets re think this.
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jillinsandiego

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #339 on: April 20, 2017, 09:28:23 AM »


Part of our over-spending was poor water planning. We did bring water bottles everywhere with us (free to fill up from fountains in Rome), but drinks in Pompeii were $$$$

Heck, we brought 4 frozen bottles of water with us to Pompeii and still those expensive drinks outside the gate were *almost* worth every penny (definitely needed to get the kids moving again)!

We actually did well with water on the Pompeii day; brought enough bottles and filled up at the fountains. It was the fresh, local orange juice that we fell for. Best (and most expensive) orange juice I've ever had! And yes, the lemonade slushy for the kids did get them moving again!

Laura33

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #340 on: April 20, 2017, 09:30:32 AM »
Holy hell its stories like this that make me very happy to be from a budget/frugal minded family where we talk openly about and agree to any spending on that level.  WOW is about all i can say.  My wife's family is less so but she's not afraid to speak up and say whoa whoa whoa thats not something that makes sense lets re think this.

You're telling me.  My family went to the beach, hit the grocery store, and packed lunches and cooked dinner the whole time.  DH grew up in a different world -- although even that was not remotely this level. 

The elephant in the room is that MIL has Stage IV cancer.  So I think they are basically blowing out all the stops because they don't know if she'll be here next year to enjoy it.  And I am biting my tongue for the same reason -- it feels mean-spirited to kvetch about a few thousand bucks (that we can afford) under the circumstances. 

But after this last week, man, my tongue must have a hole in it.
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rachellynn99

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #341 on: April 23, 2017, 04:50:14 PM »
I did fairly well in January and February. March was pretty bad and so is April. So I'm back on needing to be very intentional in May. We have a large garden and I need to freezer space anyways- so I need to eat it down before gardening season gets in full swing. I plan on not going to the grocery store at all until April 30th- then after that my May goal is $400 for a family of 5.

We have so much frozen corn on the cob and deer meat, that honestly we could just eat that every meal if we had to. But I also have canned goods, pantry items etc. so I'm think $400 should do it for May.

Laura33

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #342 on: April 24, 2017, 06:18:19 AM »
This week, between Aldi's and Safeway, $140 total ($112 food, $28 household), bringing the month so far to $264 food, $49 household, $313 total.  I am also going to add Friday's takeout, even though I didn't participate and don't generally hold myself accountable for DH's decisions, because I really exerted no effort whatsoever on dinner so can't really blame them for deciding pizza sounded better.  So I am going to assume $340 total.  That *should* be it for the month, although I did forget the hamburger buns.  So that would be pretty good (although I still haven't figured out how I dropped almost $100 at Aldi's).
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Linda_Norway

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #343 on: April 24, 2017, 07:40:10 AM »
The month has been a disaster, moneywise. I have spent about 50% more on groceries than I did the previous 3 months and that was on the 20th, with still 10 days to go. And this month my DH has also shopped groceries on a few occasions.

Possible reasons:
- FIL visiting for a week. I had to buy more food and wanted to make over average good food.
- Discount week in the supermarket. I bought bulk of some goods that were on sale, that I use regularly. I also bought other optional stuff on sale (should not do that again).
- Easter holiday. We shopped for easter in a more expensive shop to give ourselves some extra treat.
- Bought quite a lot of cheese, as I can't buy my preferred cheese everywhere.

« Last Edit: April 24, 2017, 09:31:55 AM by Linda_Norway »

haypug16

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #344 on: April 24, 2017, 09:39:02 AM »
Total for April is $349.72. Goal was $350 then I lower it to $300. I wont be buying anything else until next week (May) and will keep my goal at $300. I totally could have hit it this month but the husband talked me into going out to eat this weekend.

jillinsandiego

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #345 on: April 24, 2017, 09:48:51 AM »
We had two families of 5 over (awesome neighbors) yesterday for swimming, and even though they brought food too, that definitely upped my spending for the month. I'm still going to try to do the best I can the rest of the month, but April was over goal already. At least it's been fun and not stupid/mindless spending...

boarder42

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #346 on: April 24, 2017, 11:24:30 AM »
looking like we're going to be at an avg spend this year so far of 310 a month depending on how the last week goes.  and what goes on sale wednesday. My parents have moved in with us so there is grocery buying going on both ways i think its staying fair but i have no clue how to track all that so i'm not gonna.
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Well Respected Man

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #347 on: April 24, 2017, 06:57:57 PM »
Spent only $46 on groceries this week, thanks to a $10 off $25 in produce coupon, and our pantry and freezer are still well stocked. I think we'll come in well under the target for this month, and we will be increasing the frugality and awareness for the next two months. We've got DS coming home from school, though, so that will add a bit to the grocery spend. But he will be required to pay for his own treat-ish food using money from his job(s).

Also rode my bike to the store for the first time this year. That brings the cost per trip of the bike trailer down by half. I hope I can get in 10 more this summer, plus 5 farm share pickups.

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #348 on: April 26, 2017, 12:31:32 PM »
High all! I'd like to join you all for support and inspiration. I was a part of the grocery tracking/categorizing thread a few years ago that swick mentioned last month. I don't think my grocery spending has gotten too out of control since then, but I moved to a new house at the beginning of this month, so I want to keep tight reins on my grocery spending. My goal is $90/month for all food and drink for just myself except weekly coffees at my knit group (we meet at a coffee shop, and use their space for "free", so buying a drink is expected) and any spending while out that might better fit in the "entertainment" budget category, like popcorn at a movie.

April was an anticipated high spending month. My birthday was Sunday, and I took the opportunity to do a ton of baking which incurred high costs for dairy, nuts, and fruit. Also, I was restocking some items that were totally consumed pre-move like flour, corn starch, sugar, and other staples. Retrospectively my spending is at $103.69 for April, but I also spent down a gift card I received at Christmas for a local grocery chain, so actual costs are a bit higher than that. I did some meal planning last night that should cover me for the rest of April and the beginning of May without spending anything further, so next month will start fresh on a positive note.

I also started adding to my old grocery tracking spreadsheet. Since I'm in a new area with different store choices, I'd like to see how the prices for certain items compare.

CutTheFat

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #349 on: April 27, 2017, 07:30:10 PM »
Does anyone have a price book spreadsheet that they would be willing to share?  I'm constantly trying to remember what I spend between Costco and Aldi (my two go to stores) I'd love to use an app or spreadsheet.  Spent in April $329.39 and we shouldn't need anything else for the rest of April.  I had set the grocery budget this month at $360 would have been well below our lowest recorded month.  I'm so thrilled to have beat that number!  I even stocked up on some amazing meat sales at Aldi and stocked up on a few things at Costco.  My freezer is full!     
« Last Edit: April 28, 2017, 08:45:33 PM by CutTheFat »