Taming your grocery bill

Fresh vegetablesI was chatting with a group the other day and the discussion came up about how much people should pay for groceries.  How much do you pay for groceries?  My husband and I spend about $500 now that my son is at university.  We eat mostly fresh or frozen food, no packaged goods, meat, fish and buy everything at grocery stores, including cleaning products.

I do watch for sales and gear our meals on what is on sale that week.  And that’s how I buy my cleaning products too.  I don’t belong to any big box grocery store because when I did, I found we were spending too much money on groceries, throwing more fresh food out and buying items from the non-grocery area that wasn’t planned and we likely didn’t need.

But all of this doesn’t help you figure out what you should be spending on groceries.  Here are tips to get you started:

1. Look at the last 7 days of meals and try to calculate the cost of each meal.

2. If you can’t do that, look at the flyers for the next week and create a 7 day menu from it, then calculate what the groceries will cost.

3. Figure out how often you buy cleaning products.  If you have kept your receipts from the grocery store, you should be able to see when you bought them and how much they cost.

4. If you are creating your own cash flow statement, determine how much money you have to spend on discretionary items and include:  groceries, pet food, gas for your car, lunches, snacks, coffees at work, entertainment & dining out, alcohol, cigarettes and misc. transportation costs like a presto pass or parking fees.

And finally, as money coaches we use a guideline of approximately $200-$250 per person, per month, for groceries.  So if none of the 4 tips work, put that amount in an envelope for the month and once the money is gone, you have to eat the beans and rice in the cupboard. 🙂

As always I love to hear from you, so please send me your grocery stories and share how you create your grocery budget.

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