Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Families, Budgets, and Groceries...Oh, My!

That is a cheesy title if I ever saw one, but by golly, I'm leaving it.

I've been keeping track of my grocery receipts for a couple of months now. I've been writing them down in a notebook and keeping track of my savings with coupons, in-store non-coupon savings, etc. I've usually always gone to the store with a list, but I've been very specific about it, including the things that I needed for the week's menu plan and then the other things I needed to buy for the week. Sometimes I would buy things that we eat or use but were not out of because I had a coupon for it and/or it was on sale.

I would still like to reduce our grocery budget and I think there are a lot of ways I can do it. I just recently purchased the book Family Feasts for $75 a Week (written by Owlhaven blogger Mary Ostyn). I've skimmed it and I'm excited about it. It has some great ideas for stocking your own pantry (seasoning, soup, and baking mixes) and lots of recipes. It also tells you how to make a pricing book so you know which stores typically have the best prices on the items you purchase most. I think that's another area that will be really helpful for me, especially as I'm trying out the CVS ECB program, trying to figure out if I should use the double coupon at the grocery store or buy the item cheaper with only the single coupon value elsewhere...stuff like that.

So, I'm curious what other people are spending and how you are making your dollars stretch. I'm going to put a few surveys on my sidebar after I finish up this post so we can all see how we compare to each other.

Here are my results from the last seven weeks (with a week skipped twice, once because I didn't have to go to the store and the other I'm not sure because it was so long ago, so in my averages I'm counting this as 8 weeks since the food covered that period of time and I didn't have to shop again). When non-food purchases are listed, they were usually toilet paper or other paper products or laundry products.

$115.88 less $14.25 coupons = $101.63 total
includes non-coupon savings of $5.36, non-food purchases of $7.17, and $10.17 of very unnecessary items (read candy, gum, and a soda at check-out for Hubby and me)

$142.93 less $15.81 coupons and $5.20 bottle refund = $121.92 total
includes non-coupon savings of $34.65

$146.32 less $21.25 coupons = $125.07 total
includes non-coupon savings of $10.98 and non-food purchases of $22.35

$168.08 less $15.90 coupons = $152.18 total
includes non-coupon savings of $15.34 and non-food purchases of $4.99

$185.75 less $26.90 coupons = $158.85 total
includes non-coupon savings of $17.55 and non-food purchases of $3.99

$120.45 less $10.07 coupons = $110.38 total
includes non-coupon savings of $11.3536, non-food purchases of $13.67, small group purchases of $31.88, and $9.06 of very unnecessary items (read candy, gum, and a soda at check-out for Hubby and me)

$73.25 less $12.65 coupons = $60.60 total
includes non-coupon savings of $3.34

Total coupon savings were $116.83
Total non-coupon savings were $98.57 (my store prints this at the top of the receipt)
Total before coupons was $952.66
Total after coupons (and the bottle refund) was $830.63

My coupon savings as a percentage of the original total was 12.26% (coupons/total amount before coupons).
My non-coupon savings was 10.35%.

We do have to go back to the store for milk during the week and sometimes a few other (minimal) things. We do sometimes buy at Sam's Club also, which is not figured into this. I'll give an allowance for it after this initial calculation.

Weekly amount spent $830.63/8 weeks = $103.83.....divided up between 6 people is $17.30 per person per week.

Weekly amount spent w/out the non-food items purchased at the grocery store figured in $778.46/8 weeks = $97.31.....divided up between 6 people is $16.22 per person per week.

I have no idea how much extra to figure in for the additional milk, Sam's Club, etc. One of my goals is to start keeping track of that also. But to just add in a rough $50 a week more, that would change the average per person for 6 people to $24.55 per week. Still not too bad I don't think.

I know you might not have all your details like I do, being the little bit OCD I am. But I'd love to know what you're doing with grocery spending and all. I think we can all learn from each other, so spill the beans.

I mean, please.

This post is linked to Works-for-me-Wednesday at We Are THAT Family.


MomE said...

Question first...is this only food items or including household, such as paper towels, diapers, etc.? That makes a BIG difference on my bill. I can easily stay around $75 without the household included. I'm so checking out the book...thanks for the resource!

Kayren, Pink Daisy Girl said...

Mine is a bit of a mix as you go through week by week (notice under the totals I said if I had any non-food items which were household).

When I did my totals I left the household in, only because it wasn't the majority of my household items I purchase, just a small trickling because something was on sale and/or I had a coupon. It was also small enough that I thought it wouldn't effect the numbers enough, and I didn't want to throw more numbers into the post to confuse everyone if they'd gotten that far. I'm a numbers person, but not everyone is! :)

Mari said...

That book sounds really interesting. Like MomE said, the paper products, detergent... really add on to the cost. I spend about $100 a week, and that's for the 3 of us. If I don't make those extra stops at the store it makes a huge difference!

Kaye said...

I do about $65/week for 2 adults, a preschooler and an infant. That is food type items alone. My toiletries are almost always free per pharmacy "games" (couponing, rebates, etc) and my household items are only about $10/month due to sales/rebates/etc.

I post deals on my site when I feel they are worth bragging about (mostly the pharmacy ones), but I'm still working on it myself.

Sherry said...

Just wanted to say "hi" from a military homeschooling family! :D I don't have a book that I use per se. I use our Microsoft Money to keep track of our grocery spending. I've been trying to spend about $300 or a little more per month for our family of four. I use Aldi for a lot of items but commissary for our meats and some other items that are cheaper. :D

shopannies said...

books sounds super interesting I know that after 22 years I do love to save but every new tip I can find helps out even more

Ronnica said...

I wish I could shave money off my grocery bill, but it's so hard to do as a single person unless I want to eat the same thing everyday. I do buy up when things are on sale, but you can't do that with perishables!

Love Bears All Things said...

This is very interesting. I'm thinking if I cook dried beans for a meal with leftovers for soup plus stewed whole chicken for broth and make my own bread I can save quite a bit. That is part of my strategy once we are a retired couple. I'm always looking for help on saving.
Mama Bear

Betsy said...

Well, I know I spend a lot more than you do! I'm not sure how to figure in all the things I buy at Sams. Many things last for several months. And I buy lots and lots of fresh fruit since that's a huge staple of the triplet's diet. Sounds like you are doing great to me!

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