Grocery Geek Presents: Just a Tad Over Budget

Bright and early Wednesday morning (when the sale ads came out) I checked my grocery total for the month. At my last report, it was $348.72. Oh woe is me! Only $51 to get me through next week. Hmmm…. what’s a girl to do?

For those just tuning in, I am on an ambitious mission to cut our grocery budget in half! Last December, FishPapa and I agreed that $800 seemed a reasonable amount to spend based on USDA Food Cost Reports. But somewhere in late winter, I tried out the Grocery Game, discovered Money Saving Mom, and well, my life’s not been the same. Neither has my grocery spending. Here’s our journey in numbers. Nowadays I’m shooting for $400/month, including all toiletries, groceries, and diapers. I came close to the mark last month at $467, so I really wanted to do it this month.

First, I started praying. Really. God says that He cares about the birds of the air, so certainly He cares about my grocery budget. And I’ve found that He is faithful to answer these Grocery Geek prayers.

Well, next I checked the ads and only wrote down the items that I thought were really good deals. For more ideas on shopping the sale ads, see my post here.

Then, I made up a meal plan for next week based on what I already had. It turned out that I had the makings for most of our meals. They seem a little redundant of last week, but I can spruce them up with the side dishes. (Come back Monday for the Meal Planning report.)

There were just a few holes to fill, mostly dairy and produce, so it gave me some leeway and the opportunity to score some free deals (or close to) that weren’t technically necessities! After Friday morning’s shopping outing with my dad and five kids, I was close – $11 over. My grand total for the month was $411! But, the deals were so good, and I had to save FishPapa from Aldi’s coffee. (Have you tasted that? Ick!)

I just borrowed from my mad money to make up for it. And how’s this for justification – July starts partway through next week. Huh? Ya going for it? Hey! It is a $50 improvement over last month!

Here are some highlights:

ALL Buy One Get One Free $6.19
Huggies Baby Wash (we’re using this for handsoap) 2 @ $3.49 = $6.98
Colgate Toothpaste 2 @ $2.99 = $5.98

Subtotal $19.15
Minus $1 All coupon
Minus $1 All coupon
Minus $1 Huggies coupon
Minus $1 Huggies coupon
Minus $1.50 Colgate coupon
Minus $1.50 Colgate coupon
Total $12.15 + tax, paid in ECBs and cash
Received back ECBs for $4 and $4, making these items cost $4.15 + tax

Price Chopper:
4 boxes Blue Bunny novelties $.99 each – $1 coupon = FREE
1 loaf cheap bread = guilt

Lunchable Jrs $.99 – $1 coupon = FREE
Chex Mix $1.18 – $1 coupon = $.18/bag
Honey Bunches of Oats chocolate $2.08 – $2 coupon = $.08/box
Cool Whip $.88
Keebler ice cream cones 2/$3, buy 2 get $1.50 off any ice cream, did this twice
Belfonte ice cream $3.79 minus $.80 coupon = $2.99, minus $1.50 Keebler deal = $1.49
Kashi crackers $2.79 minus $2 coupon = $.79
Cascadian Farms organic broccoli $1.66 minus $1 coupon = $.66
Muir Glen tomatoes $1.18 minus $1 coupon = $.18

This has been Grocery Geek reporting.

Read Newer Post
Read Older Post


  1. Lizz @ Yes, and So is My Heart says:

    We just lowered our grocery budget by $50 to make it $750. That was way too easy so I’m also shooting for $400. It will be closer to $500 this month, but I hope it will get better. After reading this, I see it just might.

    On another note, the CVS I went to today was out of the All Small and Mighty and the Huggies Wash, I had my coupons all ready too. Guess I’ll try another one tomorrow. Can’t beat that price on detergent.

  2. Missy @ It's Almost Naptime says:

    The CVS game is addictive. I quit because I was up $20 in ECBs and…let them expire. DOH!!! MONTHS of work!! Gone in an instant!! I tell ya, it was depressing, and I have not had the heart to begin again.


  3. mamalibby says:

    So here’s a question…who gets to eat the Lunchables?? Hee hee. Seriously, with my three boys I feel like I have to buy three of something or none at all. Boxes with 6 or 12 items inside (like ice cream bars) are my favorite, 8 is my worst nightmare! LOL. Thanks for sharing. Good job!

  4. FishMama says:

    Lizz, I think you can do it. A lot of it is just self-control. I didn’t need to buy so many boxes of ice cream cones, but they were chocolate dipped! That’s what sent me over the edge. That and the ice cream, probably. But, it’s still cheaper than a trip to Sonic with 5 kids. 😉

    Missy, I feel your pain. That would be a major bummer.

    MamaLibby, why do you think I had to get four free boxes of Blue Bunny ice cream? LOL. The Lunchables go to the toddler, FishChick. My 4 yo thinks that they’re “baby food.” I got six boxes, but they’re good until August.

  5. Shannon says:

    I think you are doing a great job!!! I also spend 400 a month on groceries for our family of six. (groceries, toiletries, everything) I just go to Sam’s, instead of running all over creation, it is easier for me that way. I get so excited when it is less than 400!!!

  6. Sonshine says:

    Great job!! I have working at decreasing my grocery budget this year too! It takes LOTS of self-control! I would like for it to be around $500/month for everything(food, toiletries, paper) for my family of 7 but right now with rising prices I am satisfied with keeping it under $600. I am working though to get to that $500/month or lower by the end of the year.

Thanks so much for participating in this conversation about "a mom's life."

This is a place where moms can be themselves. Remember that each mother's path looks a little different. Please keep your comments respectful and kind. Reasonable minds will disagree in a nice way.

So let's talk about it, using "our big girl words."

Share Your Thoughts