Alrighty, so I’ve updated you on my January/Feburary goals and now I’ve got something new for you! A couple of weeks ago, the hubby and I discussed having a no-spend challenge again and decided we really needed to. So are you ready? I’d love for you to join us and take the No Spend Challenge: February 2016 (a grocery challenge)!
During our first challenge, we focused on all aspects of spending – aiming to avoid any and all non-essential purchases! We kept a running tally of things we’d have normally bought without thinking, then added that amount (over $1200!) to our savings account at the end of the month!
One little update before I get into how we’re going to do this challenge differently. If you remember, one thing I talked about in the first post of the August No-Spend Challenge was a house that we’d been carrying for years and years and unable to sell… I’m thrilled to report that we finally sold that house in December 2015!! YAY!! After many, many delays and unexpected expenses related to selling it, we barely made any money from the sale, but we are DONE with it – and that’s good enough for us!
Anywho – back to this current challenge. We’re going to do a “Grocery Challenge” and really focus on using up a lot of groceries we have in our pantry and freezers plus seeing how much we can save this month just on groceries!
These numbers may shock you, but in 2015, we spent $16,805 on groceries.
Or somewhere around that number. That’s the amount I have tracked in my budgeting software, but of course, I’m sure I missed a receipt here or there and there were times we spent cash and didn’t account for it. Also, that number likely includes cleaning products and toiletries. I usually don’t separate those on Walmart receipts.
Remember – there are 8 of us and we homeschool, so we eat 95% of all of our meals at home and I have 2 teenagers and 2 tweens and 2 littles. Plus the hubby & I.
Anywho… that averages $1400/month which is significantly more than we thought we were spending. It’s mostly due to 3 or 4 really high months that tipped our average way up, but still. We used to aim for $800/month. Then we upped that to $1200/month.
But $1400/month? We weren’t budgeting for that and it’s likely why our budget was really tough some months last year.
Now if that number panics you – think about it like this… that’s $2100/person for a year. Or $175/month per person. Or even better… $5.83/day per person in our family. That’s not too shabby, huh? That includes all meals, drinks and snacks! That works out to around $47 a day for groceries for the whole family. We spend more than that on one trip to Sonic… haha!
But still… it’s more than we budgeted for so we either have to adjust our spending or adjust our budget.
As an experiment, I tried in January to keep our grocery spending pretty “normal”… buying what I’d normally buy but not anything special that would throw off the budget. The verdict? We spent $1108.68. Which was good – under our monthly $1200 budget. That makes me think we can adjust our spending and stay on track with our current budget.
But on Day 7 of the decluttering challenge, I cleaned a truckload of junk out of our frig – which made me painfully aware that our other frig could use the same treatment – plus our freezers. They’re a mess – we haven’t cleaned them out in ages – and I’m not even sure what we have in all of them (2 refrigerators – each with freezer sections, plus 2 freezers… remember, big family + cake business).
Hence… the grocery challenge. I’m hoping we can “pad” our grocery budget for any future high months (holidays and birthday months tend to be harder on our $$) by having a really low month in February and in the process we can clean out / use up a lot of the food we already have. What I’m saying is… I’d like a clean slate regarding groceries and a pad in that budget category. That’s a good plan, right? We’ll see soon enough!
So here’s what we’re planning… 3 guidelines:
- We’re allowing milk and bread. We sometimes go through 6-8 gallons of milk a week and while I can bake bread fresh, I rarely take the time to do it. I may try to this month, but I’m allowing myself a little grace to buy it.
- We’re allowing fresh fruit and veggies – but also committed to using up as many of the frozen fruits and veggies that we have.
- I’m allowing myself a little wiggle room to buy “easy foods”. This month my husband will be working an unusual shift (gone 14+ hours, 6 days a week), so there will be nights where I’ll just really want and need to grab something easy to feed the kids while I work on cakes or take a bath or hide in a closet.. you know … things like that 😉 . I’m hoping to plan ahead as much as possible, use the slow cooker to my advantage, etc. but still… I’m being realistic here.
The main thing is this: cut our grocery bill and clean out our frigs/freezers. Would you like to join us? I’ll be posting most (if not all) days with updates on what we’re eating – what we’ve spent, etc. and I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!
Alright – I’m off to bed now! I’ll be checking in soon on the No Spend Challenge: February 2016 (a grocery challenge)!