People in this country are too afraid to talk about money. Money is a taboo topic that should never be discussed with your kids until they go off to college, sign up for a credit card to get a free t-shirt, get massively in to debt, then later purchase a home with a 3 year ARM and balloon payment. Hmmmm...how is that working out for us as a society?
So, in the spirit of being transparent, I'll share my grocery budget with you. I would love to see yours, so please feel free to post a comment!
Each paycheck I head to Fred Meyer (where I do the majority of my non-bulk grocery shopping) and put $125 on their store giftcard. That is my limit until I get paid 15 days later. Fred Meyer is the PNW version of Super Wal-Mart and Target. They have groceries, a fantastic natural foods section, and housewares. I prefer to buy our toiletries like shampoo or razors from Target as they are generally cheaper, but FM will work in a pinch.
They often have great stock up sales as well, so I've been known to blow my budget if the perfect opportunity arises. The Seventh Generation powder dishwasher detergent sale of November nearly sent me over the edge. The boxes ordinarily sell for $4.79. They were 50% off and each had a $1.00 off coupons attached to it. The idea of paying $1.40 for an item that was originally $4.79 sent my frugal heart a racin'! Jack could build epic forts out of the amount of dishwasher detergent I have in my garage right now.
So, for 1 month I have $250 to spend on fruits and veggies (if not purchased via the farmer's market in season), canned goods, pasta, beans, etc etc. Soda is a treat in our house and purchased when Hansens is on sale.
Our monthly supply of milk, eggs, buttermilk, and cream (for homemade ice cream baby!) runs about $30 a month.
Meat from our butcher runs about $30 a month. It's been known to be higher if I get bacon horny.
Flour for homemade bread, rolls, and biscuits is probably $15 a month. A relative bargain considering how much freaking bread we eat in our house. We're a family of carbovores!
Costco runs between $0-$75 a month.
What you don't see on our monthly budget is laundry detergent, surface cleaner, or bathroom cleaner. The reason for this is that I make all those products for pennies! We also don't drink alcohol.
So, let's run the numbers! We're paying on average $325-$400 a month for groceries and household supplies. When you consider that we're a family of 3 (one with very expensive food allergies) about 75% of what we eat is organic, and probably 35% is local, it's not too bad. We definitely have months where it is MUCH lower, and other months where it nears the high end of the spectrum. Additionally, because there is always good food in the house, we almost NEVER dine out. Maybe once a month we get teriyaki from a local place.
In coming months, the expenditures will likely shrink by $35-50 a month. My sweet little toddler with the dairy allergy is a soy yogurt-aholic running us almost $2.14 a day. My wonderful parents bought me a yogurt maker for Christmas, so I will be making my own! Jack's coconut milk is often on sale, so I can very easily make a few week's supply of yogurt for my little healthy bacteria fiend for $3.00.
If could get my lovely and darling husband to cut out his disgusting granola bar, Pop Tart, and snack habit, we could cut another 5% off the bottom line. I've tried, trust me. That's another conversation for another day.
So, how about you? What does your grocery budget look like? Are you comfortable with what you spend, or is there room for improvement?