Friday, January 16, 2009

Grocery Goals for the Year

I've decided to set a goal for my grocery spending for the year. I generally don't do this for a full year. Usually, I set a particular time frame. Last year, from April to July, I decided to try and spend only $50/week on groceries. I was successful - came out at about $45/week (and donated the extra to the food bank).

This year, I've decided to shoot for the full year! Here's my plan:

Each alternating month, set a budget of $160 or $400 (for the most part, that's approximately, but a little less than, $40 or $100/wk). That means January is $160. February is $400. And so on. I am also using a Cash-only system. My hubby loves this because I shop less and there are fewer receipts to enter.

Here's my rationale. If I set my goal at $40/wk, it's a challenge. But one I can manage. It got a little easier this week with the start of my (pre-paid) 45 week CSA. That was $850, paid at the end of last year. For fairness in my calculations of grocery, I am counting it towards this year's total.

At $40/wk, I am eating extensively from the pantry and freezer. I am not running to the store to get cilantro because "it will go well with this dish". I am deciding, a week in advance, what it for dinner, and doling out about $30 of it right off the bat. The remaining $10 is left in reserves for emergencies. At the end of each week, the leftover gets moved to the following week. At the end of each month, it's removed from the envelope and put in another one. I guess an "emergency" envelope or "stock up" envelope...something that I can use for those 31-day months of only $160. Or maybe it will be useful for, say, my son's birthday party.

By the time I get to $100/wk, that's going to feel flush. That will be the month that I can stock up on some good sales and re-fill the freezer and the pantry. In the past, I have stuck to an even $70/wk. The problem is, that gets too hard. Then I start borrowing money from next week. A week that started on Monday now starts on get the point. So now the week starts on Friday, since most shopping and cooking is done on the weekend.

My other grocery and food-related goals are pretty simple. I'd like to build and maintain ONE square foot garden in front of my house (a 3'x3' spot). You have to start somewhere. And for non-food items like TP and toothpaste, I am going to pay better attention and shop sales with coupons, instead of just buying everything at Costco (which is more convenient, but not necessarily cheaper).

And hey, I should be gaining about $500 this year from NO MORE DIAPERS!!

Thus far, here's the count:
Jan 1-9: $37.50
Jan 10-16: $35.79

1 comment:

Tina said...

Your plan sounds great! Good luck - can't wait for the updates.