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June Grocery Budget Challenge

Well, June’s almost over. It’s officially time for me to go through all my receipts and see if I made it under or over my grocery budget of $275 bucks. Unfortunately, I already know the answer. I ended up going over! Can you believe it? Well, I can. That last trip to Giant Eagle was not a very good display of self control. In case you don’t remember, I spent almost $90 dollars on just that one trip.

Since that left me with $25.26 for the rest of the month (which was only a week), I should have been able to manage that! Well, apparently 25 bucks is not enough for me to live off of over 1 week. I went to Giant Eagle on the 20th, then went to Dave’s Market on the 24th to pick up a few items. I ended up spending $16.03 at Dave’s, which still left me with $9.23 for just a few more days!!

The thing that I couldn’t understand is, I spent so much at Giant Eagle, but when I looked in the fridge it was a classic case of “we have nothing to eat.” So, where did that money go? I feel like that happens all the time. The bottom line is I spend a lot of money on yogurt and produce which I eat all day long, so it usually disappears within like, 3 days. I’m thinking at this point it might be worth it to start a Costco membership-if only for the greek yogurt! Buying it one at a time is killin’ me.

Anyway, I had $9.23 left for about 6 more days in the month. Sunday rolled around and the hubs and I were trying to think of what to have for dinner. We decided on wild boar sausage burgers but needed a few items (you see where this is going) so we rolled over to Dave’s. We only bought 4 items, but it came out to $9.87 – .64 cents over my budget!! I was so close!

Even though I went over budget, I’m pretty happy with the outcome. Less than a dollar over is not too bad for my first try. It’s kind of amazing how difficult it was towards the end. It seemed so easy at the beginning then I felt my self control slipping away as the month came to an end.

I feel like this challenge has definitely made me more aware of how much I spend on groceries. Just learning the prices of products I buy on a regular basis versus their competitors makes me somewhat of a smarter shopper. I still have a long way to go, but I think I’m heading in the right direction. Here are a couple other things I’ve learned from this challenge:

  • Sometimes it’s okay to “downgrade.” In this case, I’m talking about greek yogurts and snack bars. Normally, I waltz into the store and pick up Fage greek yogurts (I think they’re the best) which are normally around $1.70 a piece. Then I walk on over to the snack bars and pick out 5 or 6 Lara Bars which usually run you $1.30 or so, so that’s almost 8 bucks for 6 snack bars. I love ‘em, but I love my husband more and at this rate, he’s gonna go nuts sooner or later. I don’t know if I’ve necessarily “downgraded”, but I started buying the Trader Joe’s greek yogurt and Kellogg’s snack bars. They’re really tasty and (almost) just as healthy.

  • Use what you have- At the moment, I only have a carton of almond milk, no regular milk. Usually, I have nonfat milk and almond milk/soy milk on hand. I was going to buy more milk yesterday but I stopped myself: finish what you have. So instead of using nonfat milk in my cereal this morning, I poured some almond milk over my bowl. I bought it, so I need to use it! Speaking of cereal, I normally have cereal, oats, and wheat waffles around for potential breakfasts (or snacks). Again, I stopped myself from buying waffles because I have plenty of cereal and oats to last several more weeks. So, I’m going to try and work on those first, then maybe buy waffles.

  • Shop sales and don’t be afraid to use coupons!  I’m still learning tricks of the trade when it comes to using coupons, but I have picked up a few sale items here and there. I’m especially going to try and pay attention to sales when it comes to household items like paper towels, soap, etc. Although I spent too much at Giant Eagle, I did buy a few items on sale like cottage cheese and yogurts. Every penny saved helps!

 

My next step is taking on July! I’m going to try and stay under the same amount for groceries but I’m also going to add on eating out expenses. I still need to come up with a plan on how much we should try and stay under for that so I’ll keep you posted. But the grocery budget stays the same: $275 for July. Hopefully, this time I can stay under!

 

Do you have a monthly “eating out” budget? Do you find it difficult to stick to?

12 comments to June Grocery Budget Challenge

  • Great tips! And I still think you did great for the month budget wise! :) We’ve started having that “nothing to eat” thought even though we just went grocery shopping a few days prior! I’m a big fan of using what you have too…. hence smorgasbowls! I tryyy to finish off everything in the fridge before buying more but that only works about 50% of the time. I like the TJ’s Greek Yogurt but I feel like even though it’s cheaper, it’s a smaller serving size. Or maybe that’s just my bottomless pit stomach talking! :)

  • Great job on the challenge! I don’t have a budget for myself but I try to spend as little as possible. Being an unemployed student, I have no other choice!

  • I’d say you did a great job! Grocery shopping is hard and it sounds like you’ve made some good observations on ways you can save money!

  • I’m with Lisa up there – you definitely did a good job in my book!

    Also – I’m OBSESSED with those TJ’s greek yogurt. So delicious :)

  • Jill Gray

    You did a great job on your budget for June. Why don’t you come out to our place in July and we can eat out of the garden and save a bundle. Love you Jill(your other mom)

    • Amy

      that would be GREAT! that’s what we need is a garden…maybe some chickens too to save on eggs/meat? we’ll get there one of these days!

  • My grocery budget is something that I’m totally struggling with and working on right now. I think meal planning is my number one to stay on top of it. But, I still go over because something happens – someone comes over. I forget a major ingredient or some expensive spice/ingredient has run out. It’s frustrating but it’s a work in progress!

  • I read your post and was inspired to try something similar. I am started today, June 30th-July 30th. Hoping to spend $300 on groceries. I went through the house today to figure out what I could use in the house to make and only bought for one week. Didn’t do too bad. There are a few things I buy in bulk (Sam’s club has chicken breast for cheap) but keep that to a minimum. I’ll keep you posted! Thanks for sharing!

  • Hey there! This is my first time on your blog, and this entry caught my eye :) thought I’d share my experiences with saving money at the grocery story.

    College taught me how to save lots on groceries. I would look at the weekly ads to see what was on sale, figure out the lowest prices, and since I lived in an urban area I could go to another store to get items that were cheaper at a particular store. Another thing I’ve found is that ethnic food stores tend to have the best prices if you’re getting certain things. For example, you will find awesome bargains on rice, beans and legumes, dates, spices, and produce too sometimes. The legumes and beans usually come dried, and I’ve invested in a pressure cooker which has ended up saving me time and money. As for the Larabars have you ever tried making your own? It’s so easy! Just buy some medjool dates for the base and add in the rest of the needed ingredients to recreate your favorite flavors :) OH! Before I forget! For the Greek yogurt the Fage 35.3 oz tub saves you money too. If you have glass containers or tupperware you can make your own to-go cups :) plus you can fit in more for topping or whatever your heart desires.

    You did an awesome job for your first month of budgeting! It’s really interesting to pay attention to where and how you spend your money, isn’t it?

    xo!

    • Have you checked out any Indian or Asian grocery stores near you?

    • Amy

      Thanks so much for the comment! I appreciate the help..i definitely need it haha. I’ve tried the dried beans before, I should try those again. I kind of forget about them because canned are so convenient! Ya i need to start buying the big cartons of greek yogurt-thats definitely the best deal!

      I haven’t seen any ethnic stores nearby, but im sure they’re there! That’s a good idea too, especially since we love to cook asian foods in particular!

      Thanks again for the comment! I’m going to try the budget again this month, so it should be interesting!

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