I got this message from a Sarah yesterday and decided it deserved a post!
“I was wondering if I could get more information about your budget. As I am utilizing sales in conjunction with coupons and stockpiling, we are seeing our outgo become lower and lower. As such, we’re reevaluating our grocery budget and I wanted to see how the “queen” (you!) does hers. I know you spend @ $40-50 per week on groceries. I’ve also heard you say you have a separate budget for diapers and formula. Is the $50 per week strictly food? What else do you have have separate categories for (toiletries, cleaning supplies, etc.)? Any insight would be great. ” ~ Sarah
For us, (and it will be different for you 🙂 ), we stick to $40 – $50 /week, because I know we can. We have a nice stockpile, and most of my purchases each week are produce, dairy and good deals.
:: Our budget includes all food items, toiletries, cleaning supplies, and paper products.
A few things I always separated out from our budget were formula, diapers and coffee. Those were absolute necessities that tended to kill my budget, and it kept me more motivated to separate them out. I didn’t have to dread the weeks I purchased them because they didn’t eat up my budget. Now, if that gets you motivated – do it! But be careful not to put to many separate budgets out there, then you will be setting a budget for everything extra you want! Make sense?
Before you arbitrarily set a number, I HIGHLY recommend you sit down and see what you have been spending previously. My “Getting Started” post shows you how to do that. One caution – don’t set your budget at half of what you are currently spending. Set realistic expectations. The more unrealistic your expectations, the greater chance you will get discouraged and scrap this savings thing altogether. For instance, if you have been spending $1,000/month on grocery items – keep it there for a few months.
Follow the steps below to get you started on the savings track.
1. Week 1: Determine what you have been spending. Do a grocery budget outline. Know your weekly budget.
2. Week 2: Meal Plan from your freezer, pantry and sale ads.
3. Weeks 1 – 12: Start slowly purchasing great deals to build up your stockpile. Between your meal plan and your stockpile, stick to your weekly budget number you set.
4. 3-4 months for budget to decrease – It will take a few months before you start to see a significant decrease in your spending each week.
Here’s why: You are now purchasing what you normally purchase, plus starting to stockpile. Some people actually see a slight increase in their spending the first few weeks – because you are in stockpile and buy needs mode. Your needs are more now than they will be in the future, because you have NO stockpile to pull from. As your stockpile slowly grows, your need to spend more will decrease.
5. After 4 months: Meal plan from stockpile, only purchase “needs” and “great deals” each week.
Do you have any great tips on how you do your grocery budgeting? Share it with us in the comments!!