08 April 2011

And the budget is blown


Here I am, a bit sheepish, to tell you that today I broke my own rule. I knew I'd gone over my $25 budget, but I thought it was by a couple of dollars. I was writing down prices, and keeping an average total in my head. While soothing a baby in a front carrier and entertaining a 2-year-old (who also needed one trip to the bathroom). Clearly, one of my next goals should be a remedial math course.

The grand total was $35.28. I bought 24 items. The most expensive award is split between a 32-ounce tub of yogurt and a 28-ounce jar of peanut butter. Both rang in at $2.88. My impulse buy was a bag of English muffins because we used the last of our bread for toast this morning, and it was going to be a PB&J kind of day.

I bought mostly produce and bulk items. Fresh fruits, veggies, dried beans, rice, flour, yeast. The big ticket items were cheese, yogurt, milk, peanut butter and granola bars.

There are a few staples that I don't buy at the store, which should be noted. I make most the bread we eat, and we have backyard chickens, so I don't buy eggs.

I'm still aiming for $25 a week or as close to that as possible. No matter what, I'm learning some valuable lessons that go way beyond the scope of my kitchen.
  • If you truly had only $25 in your pocket to spend on a week's worth of family groceries, you would easily spend 1/5 of your budget on a block of cheese or two gallons of milk. Although my family doesn't need it, it gives me a new perspective on why programs such as WIC are crucial to feeding our families.
  • The way Americans have been trained to shop is just to accept that things like flour and sugar come in 5-pound bags. Breakfast cereals, just about anything from the snack aisle and frozen foods are where portions are chosen for us by the manufacturers. And since their goal is to make money, they find creative ways to make you feel good about your purchase. Just being aware of this goes a long way.
  • If you have access to a store with bulk items, shop there. I bought 47 cents worth of bread flour and 70 cents worth of rolled oats.
  • Buying such small amounts really makes me question the validity of bargains from warehouse stores. The pricing may be slightly cheaper, and I've been buying several things is large quantities. But buying the large portions didn't keep me from my weekly journey to the grocery store. And every time I go in, I always buy a few things I didn't plan on.

2 comments:

benlist said...

did you save your receipt. i would love to take your experiment and check out the money issue with my experiment. then maybe we can do another experiment of this sort. you should be bloody proud for doing this. it is a very worthwhile thing!

The cook in her kitchen said...

Benlist,

Yep, keeping all of the receipts. I look back at them before my shopping trips to get an idea about what I spend on various things.

Thanks for reading!