When my husband and I first talked about making a budget, it seemed like a good idea. In theory. Of course, we should work it out so that we spend less than we make. It will be a great idea to make sure we put money in savings each moth. We will make a budget, stick to it, and reap all the benefits of being fiscally responsible adults by next month! Ehhh... not so much. We tried to do overall-idea-budgets at the end of 2013. We overspent by about $800 each month. Yeah. That's a LOT. So last month, heady with new year resolutions and good intentions, we sat down and did an item-by-item budget. And we worked out the figures this month- and we only went $150.00 over budget. Which, while not a clear victory, is quite a momentous feat in one month. For the three of us, I only spent $282 in groceries last month. And the numbers included a trip that I am taking with my friend in March where I fronted the money for both of us and told her she could pay me back later. Technically, that probably shouldn't count, but since I have a bad habit of just spending the money people give me back in those situations, I will just count it as it is.
One of the big changes last month was that grocery figure. We were spending about $800/mth on food last year. And that number was after I quit. Before that, we spent a MASSIVE amount of my salary on take-out and convenience foods since neither of us had time to cook or do dishes. So, I basically went from $800/mth to $300/mth. One of the big changes for me was buying in bulk, and making things completely from scratch. I posted my pizza dough recipe yesterday, and that is a really good example. We used to get take-out for pizza. During the week, our favorite pizza place has large pizzas for $9.00. We would get two large pies, and with tax, spend a little under $20.00. I used to think homemade pizza meant buying the dough, and then putting on the sauce and toppings. That way will cost about $5.00/pie if you buy refrigerated dough. When I make my own pizza from scratch, I am using flour, yeast, and cheese that I buy in bulk. I then use whatever leftovers we have for toppings. This week it was bbq ham. Since I only pay $1 for the block of cheese I use, pennies for the flour and yeast, and leftovers for the toppings, I can make two large pizzas for around $2.00 total. That's an amazing amount of savings if you make them once a week. And even better, they are REALLY good! I don't mind exchanging out the take-out in the least, and I feel like I am winning the budget wars, so it's great for my frugal self-esteem.
So next month, I am aiming to be even better. I am going to do a full inventory of the fridge, freezers and pantry, and figure out what I am lacking from what we normally use. And my ultimate goal is to create a monthly meal plan so that I can buy everything I need at the beginning of the month (maybe not produce though), and eliminate lots of grocery store trips and wasted food. Impulse buys can account for some of our grocery bill, and I want that to stop pronto.
Does anyone have any tips for other ways to cut a grocery bill?