Just a quick post. I went to the grocery store today, and went over budget again! I just can’t seem to get the grocery thing figured out. I use coupons, buy generic where I can, try to shop sales, but I just can’t keep it under budget. I even upped my budget for each week, and that didn’t help this time around.
It seems as though the weeks that we don’t really have a long list for groceries, it is the week that we need a lot of household items. For example, this week we needed wipes ($13.99-$0.50 coupon for a big box), paper towels ($5.49-$2.00 coupon-$0.50 sale item for six rolls), deodorant for me ($7.49-$3.00 coupon… I have to use the clinical strength stuff or else we are going to have a sweaty mess), tissues ($1.45 – $0.30 coupon x4 boxes. I bought 4 boxes, because it printed out a $3.00 off my next grocery store purchase). All of that right there is $25.57 without tax.
Then on top of that, I bought some stuff for my classroom… technically not a necessity, but definitely something that the kids will enjoy next week. Our 100th day of school is on Tuesday (if we have school on Tuesday, if not, then Wednesday). For snack we are going to have 100 Day trail mix. There are 10 of 10 different types of foods in a bag for them. They are going to sort them, then we will graph which food is their favorite, then they get to enjoy their 100 things to eat. I already had some of the items donated by parents, but I still needed a few more. All of these items were generic. Chocolate chips ($3.75 for 1 bag), pretzel sticks ($1.67 for 1 bag), mini marshmallows ($1.00 x 2 bags), Teddy Grahams ($3.65 for 1 box), Fruit Loop cereal ($1.99 a box). That is a total of $13.06 without tax.
Even if I wouldn’t have bought those two groups of items ($38.63), I would have been over budget. I know that one thing that is killing us is the price of meat. I spent $25.25 (without tax) on just meat for this week. That is all beef. I got 1 roast, 1 lb ground beef, and 2 lbs coarse ground beef for chili. That isn’t even that much meat, but it is so expensive.
A few other expensive items include frozen meals and pizzas. Hubs takes the frozen meals to work for lunch, and uses the pizzas occasionally for lunches when he is home with Miss C. I had coupons for both, so I went ahead and got a few. The frozen pizzas were $3.99 each (on sale, and an additional discount), and I had a buy 2, get 1 free coupon today. I had a coupon for the frozen meals, too.
I really am just at a loss on what to do about our grocery budget. I have saved my receipts from the last month, so I may start a spreadsheet of prices to see if I can figure out when we should stock up on certain items and when they are on sale. Any other tips or advice would be welcome. I know I should start cooking from scratch more, but it’s hard coming home from work and being in charge of something that daunting. I also know people are going to recommend batch cooking on the weekends and freezing it. I am on my own on the weekends, and it is very hard to cook with a toddler under foot. I also have to find time to get the house clean, laundry done, and errands run. Batch cooking on the weekends just does not seem doable at this point (maybe in the summer, though).