Ready for some real grocery budget talk? This summer was rough, budget wise for us. We had some big repairs to make the van (a new compressor…after a new transmission), plus we bought our Suburban with cash. Thankfully, we had money set aside in savings that covered everything, but it wiped out our new car account and our car repairs account.
Then, we traveled and went school supply shopping and bought a new microwave (the handle broke off our old one several months ago) and entertained more this summer. Let’s just say our savings accounts are looking pretty slim right now. However, I am truly thankful we had the money in savings to cover these expected and unexpected expenses.
Then, of course, there is the inflation that is really hitting at the grocery store! Add in the fact that I feel an urgency to stock my pantry more, during these uncertain times, and my grocery budget is really taking a hit.
I had kept my budget the same as last year at $425 for groceries, toiletries, paper products, and 2 in diapers. I have bought several large packages of toilet paper in June and July and that alone eats up a chunk of my budget! I don’t regret purchasing the extra toilet paper though.
I am sharing all of this in full transparency because staying on budget isn’t easy – even for me who likes to save money at the grocery store! Here’s a look back at this year so far.
2021 Grocery Shopping Totals for the First Half of the Year
- January – $423.15
- February – $407.07
- March – $418.16
- April – $406.45
- May – $515.01
- June – $533.67 – $100 for Travel = $433.67
- July – $489.45
That averages out to $456 a month so far in 2021. I had 4 good months of staying under budget but then things started creeping up. I didn’t get many pictures but here are some of the reasons for my higher bills.
In May, I bought 35 pounds of ground beef for $1.79/lb. It was on sale at Meijer for Memorial Day and I went every single day that week it was on sale and bought the 2 packages limit. It was so good to have ground beef in my freezer – and I still have over half of that left! Totally worth going over budget for. A good sale on meat – especially now – is worth the money spent.
In June, I went over because we were traveling and cooking food for my entire extended family. I always budget $100 from our travel fund to help cover those expenses, so once I did that, we weren’t really that badly over budget. Still over, though.
In July, I started stocking up more. Kroger ran their amazing spend $40 in the diaper aisle, and get $10 off instantly. That basically means the big boxes of diapers went from $20.99 to $15.99, when I bought 2. I bought 6 boxes of diapers in July – plus a half price box of diapers that was smushed. All the diapers were in there, but because the box was dented, I got it for only $9.98! Great deal for me! I also ordered 3 large packages of Scott toilet paper from Amazon. It was the best price around and delivered to my door. Diapers and toilet paper accounted for a third of my budget in July.
Like I said earlier, I am really trying to stock our pantry more. We saw how many shortages there were during the lock downs last year, and I don’t want to be caught unprepared by anything that is coming. Stay tuned for my Stockpiling in September series where I dive into this more!
I want to keep stocking up, and prices are going up, so I have decided to raise my budget mid-year. I am going to increase my grocery budget from $425 to $475 a month. I really debated raising it to $500 but I am going to challenge myself to stay under $475 a month for groceries and my extra stockpiling. It will be a challenge, but the extra $50 will give me a bit more wiggle room. Plus, I found that $50 when rearranging our budget so I can make that amount work.
Consider this your reminder that budgets are not set in stone. You can rearrange things, if you need to. Yes, most of us have a fixed amount available to spend but with some creativity, maybe you can find a bit more money too.
If you have gone over budget, give yourself grace! There are good reasons for going over, and it happens to all of us! We will all work harder at staying on budget next month.
Now that I’ve confessed my overages, how are things going for you at the grocery store? Has anyone else raised their grocery budget, or are you getting more creative with what you have? Anyone else feeling the urge to prep a bit more?
Here’s to everyone shopping on a budget, and looking for those good deals! I hope we all find some this week!