Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Weekly Shopping Trip - 1/19/09

So God has been convicting me lately to become a better steward of what monies He provides us, so this is my first week to actually implement two new habits that will assist in that.

If you read my post yesterday, you'll know that I've been inspired by Gayle over at Grocery Cart Challenge. This is my first week to attempt applying two of her money-saving methods: weekly menu planning, and weekly shopping trips. So yesterday I sat down and did my menu plan for the week and last night I went shopping for all the ingredients I was lacking.

My goal is to get our weekly shopping budget around $75, eventually lowering it more, if possible. I'm not familiar enough with budgeting this area of our lives to know what works yet. If you read my previous post, you'll probably glean that we have never had a grocery budget. I'm a little embarrassed to confess that we're rather spoiled in that area of our finances. We also have a few challenges, personal to my diet that I'll list later, so this will be a lesson in what works for us.

After creating this week's menu, I wrote down every ingredient I would need to create all of the food from our Weekly Menu. Some of which I had in hand, some I did not. The items I did not have, I put on my grocery list.



This is what I came up with...along with a few impulse buys. (I'm being gentle on myself since it's my first week.) :-)

Target

Swiffer 360 $4.29
Hormel Bacon 3.69
2 bags Dole Lettuce 4.48
2 cans generic black olives 2.18
Generic tomato sauce 0.47
Generic diced tomatoes 0.59
Mission corn tortillas 1.99
2 cans generic diced green chiles 1.34
Bulk lemon drops 0.82
Generic Frosted Mini-Wheats 4.83
Generic decaf black tea 2.79
Decaf Constant Comment 2.19
Generic green beans 0.69
Del-Monte Peaches 1.47
Spam 2.44
2 cans Starkist tuna 2.14
Small Gala apples 3.24
CF Coke 4.00
Can minced clams 1.59

TOTAL $46.28

Sprouts

1 lb Bulk chocolate cashews 4.84
1 lb Bulk chocolate raisins 2.59
Rice Dream 3.29
Tofu 1.69
1 pint blackberries 1.50
yellow bell pepper 0.69
1 pint grape tomatoes 1.50
2.34 lb yellow onions 1.17
1.89 lb oranges 0.93
2.45 lb Russet bakers 1.69
1 quart strawberries 1.50
1 Texas grapefruit 0.34

TOTAL $21.72

GRAND TOTAL $67.00

Considering I didn't want to spend more than $75 this week, I'm happy. But...I have some challenges that I need to overcome and obviously some areas I need more discipline.

Two pounds of bulk chocolate candy? What on earth?! I'm blaming it on hormonal cravings.

CHALLENGES:

Not making a thorough enough list. I realized tonight after I got home that I will need milk for the Monkey before the week is out, so I'll need to make another trip for that. I'm praying that I don't make anymore impulse purchases while I'm there.

Dietary restrictions. Budgeting with my dietary restrictions (gluten and dairy allergies) makes a tiny grocery budget something that's just near impossible. A box of simple gluten-free water crackers cost close to $5 for me. A loaf of bread, close to $7. Dairy-free and gluten-free ice cream $6. So instead of expecting myself to be a Gayle, I'm just going to allow myself some slack for what works for me and see where I can trim later.

Limited stores. Gayle works with outlet bakeries and outlet grocery stores that sell day old breads, or dented can foods. Since there aren't any of those type of stores in my area, I have to work with what I have. From what I can see, Target, Wal-Mart and Sprouts are the best options for me to use without coupons. Because I truly just don't have time or energy to clip. (Or patience!)

I full realize that much of my expensive items (meat) I already had stashed in my freezer, so I'm anticipating next week being a bit more of a struggle, as I'll have more of those items on my list.

WHAT I LEARNED:

Tom Thumb is WAAAY expensive. I shop there all the time out of convenience and habit. Wow - have I been getting ripped! But simply going across the street to Target and Sprouts, I think I saved quite a bit of money. So my shopping trip is 10 minutes longer because of traffic lights. Not a deal breaker to me if I budget my time wisely.

Sprouts has GREAT produce and bulk bins. I was surprised and impressed with the quality of the produce at Sprouts and the cost! I think it surprised me because I always consider health food stores as pricey. But strawberries and grape tomatoes were HALF what I would have paid at Tom Thumb and even Target. It also contains the added convenience of providing a great selection of gluten-free foods, which are hard to get at regular grocery stores.

Fun stuff. I know myself well enough to know that must allow this in the diet or I'll end up making terrible impulse purchases later. Hopefully, I can get more disciplined about them as I go, so I'm not going to beat myself up over it today. But obviously this area needs a little tweaking. LOL!

So that is my experience for the week. I would like this to become a habit. I'm feeling very convicted that this is an area that would please God if I take seriously. I'm hoping that eventually, I can start sharing some of the recipes that I utilize and with that, create an environment of sharing and support with others that have the same goal of saving money.

6 comments:

Pandamonium said...

I so wish I had a Sprouts close! Good luck on your venture, A! I hope you find what works for you...I don't envy having to budget around dietary restrictions. That's certainly a luxury I've taken for granted.

Leslie said...

We're working on our budget and for me, groceries is the hardest part. I don't like limiting my spending on food....just don't. However, I hate even more spending money going "out" or eating fast food. It's such a waste.

I'll be glad to see how well you do b/c I know that making a plan is what helps most of all. I've been thinking of maybe doing some type of life group about recipe swap/cooking/etc. I know there used to be something like this, but I was never able to take part. I struggle with finding new/different things to make and getting stuck in a rut of the same things all the time.

Becky @ Boys Rule My Life said...

We, too, have dietary restrictions - no dairy, eggs, or peanuts, as my youngest son is severely allergic. I've just had to come to the realization (like you did) that I'm not Gayle and that my budget is just going to be higher out of necessity. :)

If you do decide to start checking out coupons online, Hot Coupon World has some online printable coupons for Target that can be combined with manufacturer's coupons that you can find in the Sunday paper. (Just in case you didn't know and wanted to... even if you didn't know you wanted to. LOL!)

So nice to meet you! I look forward to checking out your blog some more. :)

McMama said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mrs. Bick said...

We have found for us that regular trips to our local wholesaler to stock up on bulk items (in our case goldfish and the like, canned goods, meat...)in addition to weekly shopping trips (averaging roughly $150)helps quite a lot. Eating out is our downfall. And for our family of 5, that gets pricey fast! Our goal for this year is to be more proactive so that we, too, can be better stewards of our monies.

In our house we try to have stock items handy. That way on low energy nights we can have somethings simple and nutritious.

Some favorites for us: Hamburger and Noodles, Breakfast for Dinner, Cheesy Noodles with green beans followed by pineapples and oranges, and never forget "Crazy Mixed-Up". (I have a personal aversion to left-overs. Crazy Mixed-Up sounds so much better! And the kids love getting to pick from the left over smorgasboard!)

Gayle said...

You did great! It took me 6 months (at least) to work out all the kinks. And everybody's budget number will be different for each family. As long as you are comfortable with your dollar amount then it's the right amount for your family. Plus you learned alot. I consider that a success.