Sky high grocery bills
One of the biggest challenges I have is trying to stay within a grocery budget each month. We currently spend over $600 A MONTH on groceries alone (often getting closer to $800, which seems INSANE to me) This includes everything bought at the grocery store, so not just food but toiletries, cleaning supplies, etc. Still, most of that is spent on food and I find it insane (and stressful) that we consistently spend so much on our grocery bills each month.
I’m curious what other people are spending, relative to the amount of people in their household of course. I am finding it particularly challenging lately because Andrew is ALWAYS hungry – ‘Andrew huuungy’ – and running for the fridge or pantry cupboard to decide what he wants. In typical toddler fashion, there are times where he’ll eat just about anything and relatively large quantities (given his miniature sized belly!) and then there are the other times where he seems to eat very little but it’s actually still a lot, just of a few select things that he has decided are ‘it’ for that day or week. I’m finding that it’s easier to stock a whole variety of options than to feel stuck trying to get nutrients in him but not having anything on the go that he’s really into at the moment. (Which is not to say that he isn’t ‘forced’ to eat things he otherwise wouldn’t sometimes…Not that he is literally force-fed, but for example he can’t go to the park in the evening with Daddy if he doesn’t eat x number of bites of his dinner, that sort of thing).
We usually shop at IGA and Safeway – Safeway being my preference above all other stores actually. Not so much because of the price (although it’s certainly better than IGA) but the selection is great, I’m used to their products, I like the store layout, atmosphere, etc. However, I recently was introduced to the Walmart Megastore (or something to that effect) and was FLOORED by the difference in pricing there compared to regular grocery stores – with Walmart of course being the cheapest. AND they even have a produce section, they’ve basically got everything you could possibly need there, the definition of one stop shopping.
Now I have boycotted Walmart for many years because we don’t care for the big American box store and it’s so annoying shopping there (busy, not attractive, warehousey, etc)…BUT I’m at a point where maybe saving the money on groceries would be worth the nuisance aspect of it. And I don’t really feel like not caring for the ‘big American box store’ is a valid argument anymore, given that almost ALL stores here are big, American, and boxy!
I don’t know for sure how I feel about that yet, but I’m considering next month trying something new. Doing a big shop at Safeway on the first Tuesday of the month, because it’s Customer Appreciation Day and you get 10% off, and then another shop mid month at Walmart Megastore to stock up. In between we’d have to visit another store for things like milk and fruit/veg, but otherwise we should be good.
I’m not sure if this will change what we’re spending but I want to give it a try. One thing I tend to find difficult to account for his how often we have people over for meals. Whenever we have people over we splurge in terms of what we prepare, and we buy extra drink options, desserts we wouldn’t otherwise purchase or make. These things can really add up!
Something I’ve been meaning to try but haven’t is taking out cash at the beginning of the month, or each week, and being really strict about ONLY spending that designated cash on groceries. It’s so easy to over spend when using a debit card because you’re not ‘really’ thinking about what the bill is, you’re just punching in your pin code and off you go. I think having a much stricter enforced budget for groceries is the way to go.
It’s just so HARD to do. I try to stick to my list and not splurge on too many extras, but even when I’m going by my list, it’s crazy how quickly $100 worth of groceries will add up!
I think it would be amazing if we could save money each month on groceries compared to the excessive amount we’ve been spending lately. If you have any tips on how to save, let me know!