Thursday, February 2, 2012

Grocery Budget Challenge

Ok, I am not very organized at the moment so I don't have all of my receipts nearby. . . Wait!  Thank goodness for our investment in Quicken.  Now we can breakdown our receipts and better track what we're spending on groceries.  We did do the 'cash' method for a bit but with the start of 2012 we are changing methods to avoid carting a lump of cash for the purpose of feeding The Brood. 

Well, I'll just get to the point and give a synopsis of how January went. . . . We were over-budget!  You could sort of see the trend based on how we fared on the first pay in Jan.  I didn't get a chance to post the break-down for S-Money$'s second pay this month but needless to say our total spent this month was approximately $525 ==> which put us at $125 over-budget for Jan. . . Yikes!

This still begs the question of how much is enough to feed our family since not all of the $125 overage was due to strictly feeding The Brood.  We also had a couple of hospitality get-togethers at our place and elsewhere.  Really, we just happen to be a growing and HUNGRY family, lol!  Since our budget is very thin, there isn't always room to include extras, account for shortages or 'hospitality' without reassessing the overall budget and seeing where we can either make cuts or move funds around.  My hypothesis is that we will need to increase our monthly budgeted amount at some point . . . . . just don't know how much yet and the best place to pull from.  *pondering*

Today is payday again and I'll be starting the budget challenge for February, still going on the $200/pay - then reassess at the end of the month to notate any trends, shortages, overages, etc.  So keep any tips, tricks, low-cost recipes, etc. coming this way to share with me and others! 

But in the meantime, I want to keep things in perspective.  No matter what it seems like we don't have, God reminds me that all we need is enough - which is something I need to be reminded as I make out my grocery list.  This blessing of enough has been illustrated to me on several occasions with a surprise visit by my mother-in-law coming out and treating us with dinner when we happen to be low on groceries, finding a new recipe that uses what's left in the cupboards and avoiding extra expenses, or even finding $5 in my pocket by surprise which enables me to get milk/eggs/or bread for the week.

See, God has always provided to give us enough - blessing us through His own generosity and through the generosity of others.   Proverbs 30:7-9 is a GREAT reminder of God's provision.  Here's a video of Francis Chan explaining just what this verse means to him as well.  I dare myself, and YOU, to say this prayer and help strengthen each other as we strive to live it!

Proverbs 30:7-9
7 O God, I beg two favors from you before I die.
8 First, help me never to tell a lie.  Second, give me neither poverty nor riches!  Give me just enough to satisfy my needs.
9 For if I grow rich, I may deny you and say, "Who is the Lord?" And if I am too poor, I may steal and thus insult God's holy name.

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  1. Sounds like us, over budget! We are a family of 7 and try to stay between $700-$800 a month. Not an easy task!

  2. I agree - not easy at all! That's why the hubby and I are exploring increasing ours since we're a family of 6. . . soon to be 7. . . and we only budget $400/month. :(
    It's almost self-defeating having such a low amount that we obviously can't stay within anymore from month to month.

  3. Amelia2/02/2012

    I represent a family of six and I think that we are in the $800 range each month for groceries. I do clip coupons, only buy sale items, all the normal tricks, I even have the Meijer cc where you get a coupon for savings when you spend so much. But at the same time, I would argue that I can't put a value on nutrition. If buying a ton of veggies, fruits and organic chix puts me over, so be it. I make homemade meals daily and try and buy as little processed food as my family can tolerate, but that comes with a price tag for sure. Just saying, it IS self defeating some months, but it's ok, there are other places to save.

  4. My perspective was that if I spent money on healthy eating, I spent less money on doctors and dentist. It worked well for raising 6 kids. To get a better handle on what was costing the most I actually saved every grocery receipt and separated food and nonfood items. I was surprised at how many nonfood items sneak in the house under the food budget. It was a real eye opener for me. When I was first working, I figured out that I really did work for food. My entire income paid for groceries. Good luck.

  5. Thanks Amelia and Ruth for sharing your perspective/budget amt! Health definitely should be more important which is why I want to make sure that we're not cutting ourselves too short. Based on several responses from others on these 'grocery budget challenge' posts, we are quite LOW on the budget amt compared to similar sized families. :-P

  6. It is tough to stay on a small budget for groceries! The prices keep rising & the coupons get smaller. I'm stopping by from the better mom blog =)

  7. Thanks for stopping by Virginia! :)