I’m on a mission this year: spend $80 or less per week on groceries for my family of four! After reconciling all our expenses for 2009, all the while remembering the splurges during a special family celebration and replenishing of food storage, I realized I could and would do better in 2010. With the skills I’ve obtained, and the deals on some web sites I’ve recently discovered, “I hereby pledge to lower my food budget this year!”
My tool in this regard is a simple paper envelope. Recycled, of course, from whatever junk mail landed here eons ago. Each week (starting this past week), I’ll withdraw $80 cash and place it in the envelope. All my food purchases will come from this cash, and I’ll get receipts for all of them. I can’t count on DH to do the same (already he’s purchased two bags of chips), but as for regular groceries that I’m in charge of, we’ll be making do on $80 or less, nicely, thanksverymuch.
Having cash for groceries, for me, makes sense. Since another goal this year is to reduce charges to my credit card (even though they get paid every month), I need to have cash when I shop. Target does the weird give-your-check-back thing which is a pet peeve of mine, so I usually whip out Ms. Visa when I don’t have enough green. Aldi doesn’t take checks or credit. And it’s just so much easier to keep tabs on spending when you have cash for specific things. I just have to remember to swing by the ATM on a certain day every week. I used to use cash, but it got cumbersome with toting kids around. I’m so over that phase, and now it’s time for the cash system again.
We use Quicken to track our finances. The weekly $80 gets categorized as “Groceries:Food and Food Products” rather than as cash to me. We have other categories for paper and cleaning products, health and beauty products, and so on. My kids take their lunches to school. We have a separate budget and category for eating out, as well. This $80 is for food only, for meals (breakfast, lunches and dinners) and snacks at home and school.
I am feeding, in order of volume consumption, an adult male, a male teenager, an adult female, and a male under 10 years. We are by no means underfed or undernourished. We have only one food allergy (to rye), and no special dietary needs or serious medical issues. We are used to a variety of foods, including vegs, and a good amount of whole grains, lettuce and fiber. So this is totally doable!
Follow me this year as I venture through the $80 Per Week in 2010 goal! Get inspired by my Weekly Dinner Deals and the super grocery finds.