A Review of My 2011 Grocery Shopping

I ended up shopping lots over the end of December. In the final two weeks of December, I shopped at Meijer, Target, Walmart and Save-a-Lot. I had Christmas meals to contribute to and a party for my husband’s basketball team to plan. Sometimes, it is easy to forget how quickly the extras like plates and cups and pop add up! Some times I had to run out for one thing – like this.

I will confess that I watched sales and used coupons, but there were certain things that I needed for these times. I think I made 6 batches of chili dip for our various get togethers over the past couple weeks! I knew I’d go over my budget, but we had lots of compliments on all we prepared!

My total from these various trips was $91.05. Yikes! This put my total for December at $203.91 which is $43.91 over my monthly budget. Oh well. Part of frugality is knowing that these months will happen and living through it.

After I looked at my December totals, it was time to take a look back over my year of shopping. This was the first full year that I really, truly, tracked our grocery budget this carefully. I hope you enjoyed seeing our grocery trips in pictures. It really held me accountable.

Here is what I spent as I looked back over my pictures and totals for the year.

January – $139.73

February – $114.29

March – $150.54

April – $147.49

May – $162.11

June – $163.15

July – $132.76

August – $157.68

September – $144.17

October – $142.90

November – $166.77

December – $203.91

Year Total – $1825.25

Now, because I do like math and analyzing this, I did so. Here’s what I discovered.

I was under budget 8 months and over budget 4 months.

Our average grocery spending was $152.13 a month.

This was the first year I tried budgeting $160 a month (planning on $40 a week) for the two of us. I was pleasantly surprised to see that I could do it!

A couple things that helped were the following.

  1. I get most of our toiletries for free at CVS.
  2. I buy our multiples of our paper products and cleaning supplies when I find a good sale.
  3. I have a stockpile.
  4. I shop the sales and stack the good deals with coupons to make them great deals.
  5. I like the challenge of stretching our grocery budget.

Now, I share all of this knowing that your budgets may be larger than mine. They probably are! I don’t want you to feel like you have to shop as I do. We all have different circumstances in our lives.

Some of you have larger families. Some of you don’t have access to multiple grocery stores. Some of you don’t have stores that double or triple your coupons. Some of you purchase more organic items.

What I do hope you will take away from my budget is the reminder that we can all save. We can all find ways to save on the things we buy everyday. We can all create and follow a grocery budget. I want to encourage you to do so!

So, this year, I will be continuing to share my shopping trips in pictures on Friday. I am sticking to our $160 monthly budget for 2012. Even with the price increases that we have seen, I want to try and make this work. It’s one little thing (which is a big thing) that I can control.

Do you have your grocery budget set for this year? It’s a new year so let’s go find those great bargains and save our families some money!

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