Extra extra, read all about how I went nuts and spent an outrageous amount on groceries!
For less regular readers, I have spoken a few times about my grocery spend, and how I think increasing it would mean I’m spending less eating out, and ready made meals. It’s a rough measure, hardly exact, but still. So to read about my grocery spend for the first 6 months of the year and the glaring discovery that I spend peanuts on food (as a function of my take home pay).
I’ve started reading Creative Saav’s blog and been inspired by the wholesome food she feeds her family, on the tightest of budgets. I’m not at her stage at all, but I’m inspired. I’m tracking costs, both what I spend, and the cost of things in different stores (now that I have easy access to more).
At the end of August, I sat down with all the receipts I’d collected from groceries, and came to a nice total, on par with past months. But then I asked the BF to export the totals of grocery spending from his bank. Sadly, we missed those receipts, so couldn’t track against categories like fruit/vege, meat etc. It’s just a total sum.
So, in August, together we spent 2.7 times what I spent in July. On my average grocery spend since Dec 12, it was 3.1 times more. Now there’s the thing about combining households, and two bills. But it has MORE than doubled! And that didn’t include any ‘big ticket’ items like cleaning products (cause I make my own, or I get given some to try).
If I look at my July spending and then portion off half of August’s grocery costs, I still spent 30% more.
Last time I looked at this in May, I looked as a comparison to take home pay. I reported spends from 2.9-3.5% of my take home pay (I’v even re done them for this post, so it’s a truer base wage per days in the month!). I should also mention there was a nice pay bump in early May too.
In June, I saw a jump in the amount spent, and the percentage rose to 4.35%.
In July, the spend was 3.95% of my take home pay (even though in dollars I spent on par with the month before, maybe a -5% difference in the final raw $ total)
When I look at my income in the weeks of August it’s 5.32% of my take home pay. (If I was covering all the grocery costs in August, that’d be 10.65%)
Neither of us are exactly sure what happened, but it certainly effected our weekend shop on the first Saturday of the month September! We decided to use up all the extra meat, such as pulled pork prepped the week prior and frozen, the cheap chicken at $6.99 a kilo and some bacon and mince hanging around (in the fridge of course!).
Sadly, there’s been little increase in fresh produce – if anything I’d say there’s a decrease now that I don’t live next door to a green grocer. But there’s been a marked increase in meat meals. That’s to be expected with a man in the equation.
Now, two grocery shops into September, I can say things are looking a little more stable. The two week’s totals are on par for a monthly total like when I shopped alone – though we’ve bought minimal meat. So it’ll increase a little I expect, but in line with the fact that it’s two people, not one.
Anyhow, we’re not at a stage where we’ve set a budget for the groceries. I am however starting a grocery price list. Intelligently, I started this whilst shopping at IGA near the loft, so I have a greater collection of prices. I’ll also add in the co-op prices from my post about their prices.
This week, I started shopping smarter too. I’ve started with buying bulk oil (3L) against the co-op’s self serve, or more smaller bottles. And this week, I used my own container to get salami at Harris Farm’s deli counter – so much cheaper than the prepackaged sliced pepperoni (with a complimentary side of grief about the container for one lady – even though her boss was on board!).
What tips do you have for keeping the grocery budget in the reasonable range?