Grocery Bills. No Progress. No Worries.

>> Friday, June 10, 2011

Would you believe that we've made absolutely no progress on lowering our grocery bills?

Problem is, even when we save, we spend big:

Our goal is to get our bills down to around $50 per week. This number seems realistic to me, but I don't know what's going on. Well, maybe I do. OK. I do know exactly what's going on. We're both eating like teenage boys while Stephen ups his training (to PR in the 5K) and I grow a tiny human.

But some much of what we've been buying is more luxury than necessity:

We need to refer back to some of our own rules about treats in the grocery cart. Right now, we pile them in. Chocolate almond milk, coconut milk ice cream, energy bars, fancy coffee, brie (pasturized, of course), etc. Because we're identified what we believe to be the "main" problem, we're not worried.

Our current focus is on doing without the fancy stuff and thriving with the basics.
  • I'd like to sign up for CSA produce delivery. Just trying to find a service in our area.
  • I'd like to do more with freezing meals ahead of time.
  • I'd like to shop sales and learn how to optimize buys with coupons.
  • I'd like to create a new list of pantry essentials and stick to them.
  • I'd like to experiment with visiting the grocery store bi-weekly versus weekly.
  • I'd like to shop around and other grocery stores (not always Wegmans) to compare pricing.
I think we got caught in the buying loop when I was feeling sick. I didn't want to bake or make much from scratch. But now we're really feeling it in our wallets. Now that I'm feeling much better, I've been enjoying making all kinds of treats (like s'mores bars and graham bars) that require not much more than a couple cups of flour, sugar, and other inexpensive ingredients.

Though our bills are higher than we'd like them to be, we are doing a few new things that are helping:
  • We're starting to look for and make sure we actually use coupons. It's a slow process, as not many are for whole food items.
  • We're buying more frozen veggies to eliminate waste. We don't love all frozen picks, we do well with cauliflower, peas, broccoli, corn, and even some mixes.
  • We've been agreeing more on what's for dinner and other meals. They don't all need to be fancy culinary experiences. We're learning to love what's in our fridge versus what we'd ideally want in the moment.
  • We're cooking in on weekends to make those special meals. And thus saving on that other large chunk of our weekly budget -- entertainment funds.
  • We're opening our eyes. We do have certain things we always buy -- like green peppers -- but in certain weeks/months/seasons, they are wicked expensive. So, we modify our diets and buy something more in season.
I'm sure this issue will continue to evolve and change over the coming months. I'm even wondering how much of an impact a little one will have on our grocery bills. So, if you have suggestions or advice, we'd love to hear what you have to say! Just leave a comment or email us at neverhomemaker [at] gmail [dot] com.

Pssst: We've been posting like crazy over on (never home)maker, baby! Check out our 15 week video post and subsequent update after my latest appointment (which was this morning).

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