Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The grocery budget

I'm making a goal for 2012 to spend $10 or less per day on food for the family. I haven't tried it yet to see if it works, and I don't know yet if I'll be able to include cleaning products/toiletries/other essentials in that $10. I won't know if I can do it or not until I try it.

The thing is that we already have so much food in the house (both "long-term storage" items and a full refrigerator/freezer and pantry) that I think I can get away with spending less than $10 a day for quite a while. Maybe a month or more. I'm not going to count the cost of items that I already own in the $10. I'm only counting money that I spend in the store starting from yesterday, December 26, 2011.

I will try to remember to blog about it on Saturdays - what I spent on groceries during the week, how I feel about that, what we ate during the week, etc. It will be a change for me, because for the past several years I have been doing the grocery shopping by stocking up on things (for example, buying six months worth of spaghetti sauce) when they went on sale and I won't be able to do as much of that. Now I'll be setting a weekly budget and planning on buying things only for that week. Hopefully it will be fun for me, and I'll get a chance to do some creative menu-planning utilizing some of the food we already own. A happy consequence of this is that it will be a good way to see if I'm storing the right food items for my family.

Gail Vaz Oxlade says that unless you write it down you have no way to track what you spent your cash on. Blogging about it will hopefully help me not only keep track of my spending, but stop me from mindlessly spending money at the store for things that are nice to have but not really necessities.

The truth is that I've spent too much money at the store this year and for the past few years. I want to get us completely debt-free, and tightening up our variable expenses is the place I'm starting. Although I say I don't like shopping, there is definitely both a sort of thrill and a sense of security for me that comes from spending money. I've actually added it up, and in November I spent over $1000 in Walmart and other grocery stores. I have no idea if that was all food because I didn't keep track, but I know it's typical of a usual month. If I can cut that amount even in half, that's $500 a month. In my opinion that is a substantial amount to add to our debt payments each month. And we have a LOT of debt.


  1. I think you shouldn't include more food storage in your $10. If you don't you'll use a lot of storage without replenishing it. Then when you're finished with your project, you'll have depleted stores and will spend a lot of $$ trying to put it back.

  2. Sounds great. I am always inspired by the way your mind is always trying to improve.You can do it!