Well, there I was, checking in with Mint.com at the end of the last day of August to see how I did as far as staying within my monthly budget. (Okay, I probably should have checked in any point prior to the last day of the month, but oh, let’s just not talk about that right now.)
Okay, how’d I do?
OMG, the grocery budget.
I went overbudget. Way WAY OVER. As in, I spent almost half again as much as I had budgeted.
I budgeted $450 — a figure, admittedly, I picked at random, but it turns out it’s only slightly more than the average cost for a family our size (two adults and 7-year-old) on the “Thrifty Plan” according to this USDA chart. However, last month, I ended up spending slightly more than $600 (still more than $100 less than the “Moderate-Cost Plan,” which makes me feel a bit better).
I know exactly how I ended up going overbudget: multiple trips to the nearby-but-somewhat-overpriced supermarket. Trips during which I also tend to go, well, as long as I’m here, I’ll get this, too… and that thing… oh, hey, they have those things I was thinking about… hmm, do I need that? I’ll get one, just in case… Yeah. In retrospect, why am I even surprised we I spend so much?
Seeing as publicly committing myself to doing all the laundry last month made me actually do it, I’ve decided that this month, I’m going to keep track of all our household grocery purchases here. I’d like to come close to the $442 on the USDA’s Thrifty Plan and see if that’s a reasonable amount for us.
Total so far: $6. Last night, my husband picked up two jars of spaghetti sauce (his go-to standard when it’s his turn to cook) and a jar of peanut butter. Meanwhile, I’m headed to the Greenmarket this afternoon for our fruit and veg of the week, which will probably add about another $20 to that (I’ll be giving between-post updates over on Facebook).
Lastly, do you write out a month-long menu? I’m trying to plan out a month-long menu this month, to see if that cuts down on unnecessary grocery store trips — let me know if you have any tips on making that work.
Addendum, 3:30pm: Went to the Greenmarket and bought some carrots, a pound of onions, about 3.5 lbs of tomatoes, a bag of grapes and 5.5 lbs of apples for $15. So, current total: $21.