Monday, May 30, 2011

May 27 - Grocery Bills - End of the Month

I'm back!  Well, relatively speaking.  In three days, I will leaving for ten days as I vacation to Alaska with my entire family.  However, I will try to jam-pack the next three days with some culinary goodness for all my readers.

Let's see.  School is now out, and I have not quite caught the cooking bug like I thought I might.  I attribute this to a general lack of ambition; with the impending trip, I am in "scavenge" mode...getting creative with the contents of my freezer and pantry items.

In addition to the Memorial Day holiday, this weekend marks the last grocery shopping trip for this month...and you know what that means, end-of-month totals!!

But, first, the weekly pie chart.

 First of all, we did go camping this holiday weekend, and because of that, certain categories tend to be inflated, such as "Snacks" and "Beverages".  The meat purchased this week was only cold cuts, which will provide lunch for my children who are now home for the summer.

For future reference, I will refrain from buying cheese from the meat counter guys.  A pound of colby longhorn ran five dollars...maybe this is par for the course??  Dairy products just seem so darn expensive - my 16 oz. tub of Fage yogurt was nearly five dollars!  Of course, my feminine health is very important to me, so I will probably keep shelling out the beaucoup dolares for the yeast-killing stuff.

Here's the exciting news: for the second month in a row, my grocery bill has fallen under $400...this time by $46 dollars.  And, my family is still eating well!  They are not starving!  They are not malnutritioned!

And finally, check out this last bit of data.  My husband (Mr. Meticulous) keeps track of all our bills in a red 3-subject notebook, including our grocery expenditures.  This last fall, we decided to place all grocery purchases on my ATM card, where I would easily be able to keep track of amounts.  In the beginning, we just wanted a baseline for purchase amounts, but then we began to notice that grocery costs was an area that really could use trimming...especially after February (December was the worst, I know, but sometimes with the holiday season, one can be a bit more forgiving)!

The middle of March is really when I started actively seeking to reduce monthly grocery totals - coupons, sales, stockpiling, etc., all added to the significant decrease in March, April, and May's totals.

 To be honest, I think I've found the magical number for our family right now - $400 per month.  Yes, $350 was doable, but $400 would give me a bit more leeway with creativity at mealtime.  Remember, I am still reading Julia Child and will be trying more of her recipes this summer.

June should prove to be interesting.  Not only will I need to replenish my depleted freezer and pantry stores once I return from Alaska, but also devise clever ways to keep costs low now that I have another meal to provide for my three children during the summer.  I think one way might be to double-batch casseroles - leftovers for the kiddos the next day!

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