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Budget Grocery Shopping

Welcome back everyone! I hope you all had wonderful 3 day weekends. We had a great time in Chicago (like usual!). The weather wasn’t fantastic, but we made the best of it. We went by our old place, which is still standing! It’s a super old place that looks like a dump from the outside but is actually quite charming on the inside.

our old porch!

It wouldn’t have surprised me if this place had blown away in the time we were gone…but it was still there! We used to live in Lincoln Park (for those of you familiar with the city) which is in the northern part of Chicago. It’s such a great area, it really feels like a neighborhood. I miss it!

Anyway, we also  had plenty of awesome food like cinnamon rolls from Ann Sather, a cute swedish diner.

The best lentil soup I’ve ever had at Pars Cove, a small, family owned Mediterranean restaurant in Lincoln Park.

phone pic!

We also saw the Hangover 2 on Sunday (since it was pouring outside). I thought it was pretty hilarious. Definitely not as good as the first, but still really funny, I’d recommend it! It was so nice to see friends who still live there and just to see the neighborhoods we used to live in. It was pretty amazing how many new additions there were to our old neighborhood in just 8 months! There’s a Trader Joe’s now right down the street from our old place…could have used that when we were there!!


Anyway, on to the topic of this post. I’m still attempting the Body for Life “eating plan,” (which by the way, I totally blew this weekend. But I swear this week I’m getting back on track!). With that in mind, I also want to try and bring down my grocery budget for the month. I used to have a weakness for buying clothes, now it’s food. I don’t know what happened, maybe just getting older? It’s kind of weird…and embarrassing.

Our grocery bill is way too high each month. I’ll give you an idea: Last week, I went to the store and spent $105 bucks…essentially for the week (too high!). Then a few days later, went back to Trader Joe’s and spent about 30 more bucks on snacks for our road trip. I go to the grocery store at least once a week. So, when I look back over my month of expenses, those grocery bills are way too high. I need to get more control over what I’m buying and how often I buy.

So, I have a challenge for the month of June: A monthly grocery budget of $275 dollars. Divided over about 4 weeks, it comes out to around 68 bucks a week. This is going to be $275 for both my husband and I and for food only. I’m not counting the random grocery items like toilet paper, or detergent since we don’t buy that on a weekly basis.

I have to say, this is somewhat inspired by The Runny Egg. She did a similar grocery challenge, only spending $200 dollars a month on food. It made me think about my own grocery bill and how high it really is. I’m trying to concentrate on the money we could be saving!

This does not include food we spend eating out. The reality is, we don’t eat out that often. Of course this past weekend and this coming weekend will be an exception (we’re going to Colorado this weekend). But once we’re back on Monday, we’ll be in Cleveland for the rest of June so it should be a good month to try this out.

These are some techniques I’ll be using to cut down on spending:

  • Buy Less Protein– Protein is expensive. That’s just the bottom line. We’re both meat eaters (especially the hubs) so this could be difficult. But the thing is, we still have quite a bit of wild boar in our fridge. So, I’m going to try and concentrate on making meals out of the meat we already have. This in itself will be a challenge since wild boar is pretty lean, a lot of commercial pig recipes won’t quite taste the same. This will also be somewhat of a challenge because Body for Life encourages eating a good deal of proteins. I’ll just have to get creative in where I get my protein from, for example, quinoa or canned tuna/chicken. This doesn’t mean we can’t buy chicken or ground turkey anymore, we’ll just limit it more.
  • Search for Recipes Using Food You Have-This is somewhat related to the wild boar. We have so much food in the fridge and in the cupboards, there has to be recipes out there where we can use these items. Speaking of…
  • Plan Weekly Meals-I’m going to start planning our meals during the week. First, I’ll check out what we have and see if I can make a meal out of it. If not, I’m sure I can at least use a couple items, then just pick up a few more at the store to make a complete meal. It sounds so easy doesn’t it? I realize it’s time consuming, but I’m sure definitely worth that extra money we’ll save!
  • Check Store Flyers for Sales– For snack items or everyday foods like veggies, yogurts, etc., I’m going to try and start checking sale flyers. There are always certain items on sale for the week so instead of always buying the same item, I might have to compromise and buy a similar item if it’s on sale that week.
  • Buy What’s in Season-I’m sure you’ve all noticed a huge price difference in blueberries over the summer versus winter. It makes a big difference to buy produce when it’s in season. It (probably) tastes better and it’s cheaper since it’s growing! Makes sense! Luckily, summer time is approaching which means lots of great veggies and fruits at our disposal so this should be an easy one!

Those are just a few of the ideas I have to save some money! So, June goal: $275 dollars! If we’re successful with that, maybe I’ll chop it down to 250. I know this will be much harder for me than I think. I just need to plan out my trips to the store and stick to it! It can be done! I just need to stop living a champagne lifestyle with a beer budget (pretty much the story of my life!).

Do you have a grocery budget? How do you stay within the budget?

6 comments to Budget Grocery Shopping

  • Olivia

    Hi Amy! This is your sister-in-law Katie’s maid of honor. She sent me the link for your blog and I have totally been lurking for several months! I really enjoy your writing and am psyched to follow your fitness routines after I am done with being pregnant (baby’s due June 22).
    We have a grocery budget ($350/month) and it is hard to keep! It’s the vegetables that really do me in, it’s hard not to buy what I want. The key for me is meal planning, only going to the store once a week, and then I use lots of online coupons and stack them on top of the store sales that you mention above. You can get a lot of good coupons at, redplum, smartsource, but also try different manufacturers. For example, I never buy almond milk at full price because I signed up for Silk’s weekly email.
    Anyway, good luck!

    • Amy

      hey olivia!!! how’s it going? congrats on your pregnancy how exciting!! im so glad you like the blog (and that katie’s sending out link love yaaa!).

      produce can be tough for me too. i especially have to be careful bc i have a tendency to go overboard…then some things spoil which is no good. i’ve never used ill have to check it out! ill check some of my favorite products websites too for coupons…like i love fage greek yogurt, but sometimes its more expensive than others so maybe there are some coupons out there?

      thanks for the great tips!! and congrats again!!

  • thats awesome! i did it too! It was hard but it just took more focus, ya know? I just posted about GF shopping today.. how funny, we think alike.

  • Thanks for linking me!

    Good luck in June with your groceries! Yes it is all about eating what you have on hand and I look forward to seeing how you do!

  • […] the summer I did a grocery challenge of $275 dollars for the month and I pretty much nailed it (I was over by a little….64 cents to […]

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