Thursday, August 9, 2007

Budgets

Okay, here I go with my first Thoughts for Thursday post. Budgets - boring, some-what depressing topic I know, but I'm looking for a little advice. When it comes to a grocery budget, I am really struggling. I have no idea where to begin! I have one friend who spends $80 a week on groceries. I spend anywhere from $80 to $160!! That is quite a difference!! Am I out of control? I meal plan, cut coupons, and watch ads. I think I have things all ready to go and I am not going to overspend, but then I get to Walmart and I start putting things in my cart that are not on my list - sometimes reasonable like bananas, just forgot to put them on the list. Other times things end up in my cart that are just not necessary - Crest Whitestrips, jumbo sidewalk chalk, DVD's, unhealthy snacks - someone else must put these items in my cart when I'm not looking! I try so hard to stick to my list - I must not have any self-control!!

Anyway, how much is normal to spend on groceries each week? Is $160 totally crazy for a family of 4 (including a 3 year old who eats like a bird and a 15 month old who only eats meat and cheese)? I'll take suggestions if you have them!!

9 comments:

heather said...

Sadly, I have no idea how much I spend on groceries. Our "budget" method right now is one chunk of money for all things household. Household probably better meaning everything besides bills, payments and savings. I don't have it budgeted out, per say, for groceries vs. eating out or gifts or new clothes or whatever. I just have a total "amount" to spend every two weeks, and that's it. That's actually how we've done it for the past year or so.
Now that we're settled and into a routine of things, I really need to sit down and track it all.

I *think* that a couple of years ago, when we were still doing more of a whole "budget", we were spending maybe $150-200 every two weeks. I think.

heather said...

Also- I'm starting to think I shouldn't shop at Walmart. I go in with my gorcery list, and I come out with probably anywhere from $10 to $50(!!!) added to my total with non-grocery non-food items! Either that or I have to make a rule that when I'm grocery shopping I cannot cross the line into the retail side of the store!!! I'm bad! haha!

Nicole said...

Budget? We're supposed to budget?? LOL... we are horrible with money, well, not HORRIBLE... we get the bills paid, but we don't set aside portions for this and for that, kwim? And, we don't regularly grocery shop either... so I really can't say how much $$ we spend on groceries. Ryan just went last night and it was $150 (however, he buys like double of somethings, which bugs me, but then I guess thats less often we have to buy that item, right?). Anyhow, we probably won't go "big" grocery shopping for at least 2 weeks, but we always end up running up to the grocery store at least a few times a week to pick up misc. items that we need, or fruit if it gets old, or milk... you get the point.

I'm no help for budgeting, though... sorry! I need help HAHA!

K.M. Laughlin said...

Our budget is about $200 for the month. We go "big" grocery shopping once a month and then every couple of weeks for bread, milk, etc. We started just using cash when we go to the grocery store. It is a lot easier for us since with debit the amount you can spend will seem endless, but with cash, what you have is what you can spend. The first couple of months is hard especially to adjust how much you think you can spend and how much you actually spend. We take out our grocery $ for the month and then just use that when we go. Mike and I have found we like it ALOT better this way. Hope this helps! :) Great first topic!

MacKenzie Leigh said...

Hey Heather. I started reading your blog from Heather Morrison's blog. (I was in the same mom/tot group as her in MI) Our family is pretty much just like the rest of the comments on here. I have a weekly budget for everything BUT groceries. Then whatever money is left over, if a certain grocery item is needed, I buy it with the "left over" money. Jeff and I ususally go big "stock the house" once a month and spend close to $300, then weekly shopping for the perishables. I think you are reasonably spending with the $80-160 a week. But I would recommend not shopping at Walmart. Here in MI we have smaller stores like Polly's, that run better deals than the big chain stores. And they don't have the retail section either...which also gets me into trouble! haha Have a great day!

Kim said...

Yep, don't grocery shop at Walmart. Go to a 'real' grocery store, where you can pretty much only get food and a few household items... that way you won't be so tempted. Every time I go to Target, I spend like $100... I can't imagine how much I'd spend a month if I grocery shopped there too! :)

Kim said...

Also, I got here from Nicole's blog. Just realized I'm posting on Blogger and I don't have any info!! :)

krystal_l_jacob said...

Do you have a membership to a store that sells bulk items like Costo or Sams? I know I don't have a family to support, but I go with a friend to buy bulk items that last a long time and then just buy perishable items on a weekly/bi-weekly basis. Even more expensive things like cereal can be cheaper there and it will last a long time. It has saved me quite a bit of money not to mention time.

Nicole said...

Hi Heather!

I *think* we spend about $100 a week just on groceries...not the additional household stuff I get at Walmart, etc. This includes Sams Club stuff and regular grocery store trips, as well as the grocery items I buy at Walmart. I, too, cut coupons and buy things on sale, and other boring stuff like that, but with two little boys with growing appetites, it seems I can't get much below about $100 a week. (Plus, you have to look at the quality of food you're buying too...for instance, I'm willing to spend more on whole grain bread than something cheaper that's less healthy...so could I save on some things? Yes, but I'm purposely choosing these items that I know are more expensive.) So I don't think you're really out of control with your range...that's probably not what Kevin was wanting to hear :)