Groceries? Money? I followed the link to the Official USDA Food Plans: Cost of Food at Home at Four Levels. After I pushed my jaw back up from my chest, I found the information exceptionally interesting. According to these scientifically and mathematically formulated charts, my little family of three should be spending at the grocery store each month:
$4880 – thrifty plan
$633.90 – low-cost plan
$783.80 – moderate plan
$964.40 – liberal plan
$964 per month? We’d have to be dining on filet mignon with a side of every off-season fruit and veggie sauteed in truffle butter each night for dinner. Maybe some homemade tiramisu as well (that darned marscapone cheese IS expensive). I could make all the recipes I wanted to try — like truffled deviled eggs — from the new Cook Like A Rock Star cookbook I am reviewing for Bookshelf Bombshells. I would never have to clip another coupon in my life.
Now, these numbers are assuming all monthly means and snacks are prepared at home. Hubby and Kiddo brown-bag lunch and we almost never eat out, so these number should mesh, right?
I blogged last year about my grocery shopping addiction. If you haven’t read that post yet, you should — it explains my love affair with grocery stores and the rush I get when I score fabulous deals. Not all of us can climb mountains, jump out of perfectly good airplanes, or afford a vicious drug habit — a girl has to get her thrills somewhere. Everyone needs some hobbies, and well, I love food and I have a puney budget, so I have learned to make due.
I am nowhere near an extreme couponer; those people are certifiably crazy and I’m sure there will be an official disease named for them soon (couponaholic? suffering from extreme unnecessary stockpiling syndrome?). I do not illicit looks of terror form the cashiers when they see me coming.
I shop at three stores. I hit Costco for frozen meats, paper goods, and sometimes produce. I go to Publix for whatever is on sale (BOGO dry goods, frozen foods, and a tiny bit of meat and produce), and I use Aldi for just about everything else (milk, eggs, produce, and many other things are ALWAYS cheaper there). Oh, and I hit the Entenmann’s outlet for bread and bagels ($1 for whole grain Arnold breads and Thomas’ bagels, okay).
Yes, this takes some extra time, but time I have, money I don’t. It works for us.
So this month I am going to save all of my grocery receipts so I can discover what I really spend on food. I don’t have a set budget; I buy whatever is on sale. Some weeks I spend next to nothing, some weeks I stock up. I will be curious to see how it really evens out.
I am also starting will a full pantry and freezers (they are always full). Technically, we could go an entire month without shopping and not starve, but that would just be no fun. I will shop as per normal.
I have a couple of birthday parties and family entertaining events to work in this month. How much will that add to the bottom line? I’ll find out and let you know.
This should be interesting. And I will see if I have to eat my words…