Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Food Expenses: May and June 2016

Better late than never, lol.  But since I'm really late, I'm only going to report category totals and not subject everyone to a list of everything that I bought during those 2 months, sorry!

My official 2016 weekly grocery budget is $100/wk for 4 people (2 adults, 2 teens) but I would really like to spend $50 or less.  This ONLY includes food, nothing else.  Eating out/Ordering In food expenses are separate and ideally would be either none or would amount, together with what I spent on groceries to what my monthly food budget is. It's been suggested to me that I actually budget for eating out/ordering in separately, but even though I am tracking each penny that we spend, we don't have to count each penny that we spend. I just like to.  So I don't feel necessarily compelled to make sure we never eat out. There will be times when I don't feel like cooking, or months when we have a lot of celebrations or socialization to conduct.  **shrug**  I'm not going to completely obsess about it. However, I do want to keep track of where it all goes so that we can never say "I don't know what happens..." or blame it on someone/something else.

MAY 2016

My budget for May was $500.

  • I spent $515.89 out of pocket, including all rebates, on groceries alone. 
  • We spent $116.32 in eating out/ordering in expenses.
  • Conclusion: May wasn't a good month if you just look at the numbers. Wait for the analysis.
Detail of grocery expenses ($515.89)
  • Baking supplies: $11.10 - higher than usual, some stocking.
  • Beverages: $26.93 - mostly bottled water for hurricane season and a bottle of whiskey
  • Breads: $24.71 - well now I know why my weight ballooned!  I bought a lot of bread!
  • Cereals: $13.54 - this represents 23 boxes of cereal so stocking up at a very good price, I think!
  • Dairy: $59.53 - I bought a lot of cheese that month, including delicious imported cheese from Trader Joe's. Yummy but pricey.
  • Dry/Pantry: $63.61 - A lot of hurricane season stocking up: peanut butter, canned soups, etc.
  • Produce/Juice: $115.60 - I always buy a lot of fruit and vegetables (especially fruit) and this month I also stocked up on canned vegetables and beans for hurricane season, on top of the regular purchases.
  • Proteins: $117.47 - I stocked up on ground beef (on 50% clearance), chicken breasts on sale and chipotle chicken sausages (seasonal item), among other purchases. Most of it went into the freezer.
  • Snacks: $83.40 - this is MUCH higher than I had been spending, almost 3.5 times as much as what I spent in January! I spoiled the kids and myself too.  This really needs to come down.

Eating Out/Ordering In Expenses ($116.32) categorized by:

  • Laziness: $0 (woohoo!)
  • Dates/Socialization/Celebrations: $97.53
  • Treats: $17.51
  • Travel: $1.38


  • Well I went over budget on groceries. Shocker!  It's the first month this year that I actually went over budget. However: I did a lot of stocking up for hurricane season, something that I hadn't budgeted for.  So a lot of what I bought will be used up throughout the rest of the year or beyond since it was mostly non-perishables.  Conclusion: despite all the stocking up, I could have remained under budget if I had kept a closer look on how much I was spending on SNACKS.  Ugh. A lesson that need to be learned.
  • Eating Out/Ordering In expenses are always too much :) However, the good news is that none of it was due to my being lazy about cooking so yay! You got to treat yourself sometimes if you can afford it. And we can.  We had an expensive dinner (for what it was) with both kids at Perkins to celebrate our son's win at the Teen Video Awards, my daughter and I went out to dinner after our Painting With a Twist Class, and I took my Oldest Son to lunch once. Greg and I got some sandwiches to eat on a fishing trip.  All in all it was a good month for socialization.

JUNE 2016

My budget for May was $400. It is to be noted that my daughter was gone for most of the month, and that Greg and our son were gone on vacation for 2 weeks.  Their food expenses during their vacation came out of our vacation budget so are not being accounted for here.

  • I spent $320.75 out of pocket, including all rebates, on groceries alone. 
  • We spent $150.40 in eating out/ordering in expenses.
  • Conclusion: June wasn't a good month either, mostly because of the eating out/ordering in, for which I don't budget.
Detail of grocery expenses ($320.75)
  • Baking supplies: $7.83 - Cake mix (still in my pantry) and flour
  • Beverages: $70.03 - no, it's not a typo!  This was my month to replenish the whiskey stock. I buy 4 bottles at a time to get a 10% discount. Only they were out of the cheap stuff we usually buy so I had to spend a little more. Also, I bought a bottle of wine to cook with.
  • Breads: $10.78 - better than last month, but about $6 of it was pretzel buns that I was too lazy to make from scratch, so I could have done much better.
  • Cereals: $2.03 - 7 boxes of cereal. I didn't stock up as much since I already had quite a few boxes saved up and also my daughter wasn't home and she eats a lot of cereal.  Also I started making Grape Nuts for Greg instead of buying it.
  • Dairy: $27.01 - much lower than usual. With one fewer cereal eater at home, I didn't need as much milk and I also didn't buy a lot of cheese because I didn't cook any "elaborate" dishes this month. 
  • Dry/Pantry: $6.04 - I did stock up on rice, pasta and replenish other pantry items (sweetener, syrup, pepper, Better than Bouillon) but I used quite a few rebate apps on those to get them dirt cheap and also used my Swagbucks gift cards at Walmart to keep the cost down.
  • Produce/Juice: $47.81 - I stocked up on apple juice and spent a lot more on fruit than vegetables.  I actually didn't cook that many vegetables in June... but my garden produced lots of tomatoes!
  • Proteins: $114.95 - Once again I stocked up on a bunch of meats that were on sale/clearance or for which I had coupons: pork, chicken, steaks, turkey smoked sausages and more chipotle chicken sausages (seasonal). Most of it, again, went into the wondrous freezer.
  • Snacks: $34.27 - Much better than last month! This month I bought the usual snacks for my son and also clearanced baked goods because I'd rather buy them at 50% off than actually bake at home (saves me time and saves me from heating up the house with the oven in the middle of summer in Florida!). I also treated Greg and our son to ice cream a couple of times.

Eating Out/Ordering In Expenses ($150.40) categorized by:

  • Laziness: $75.74. No excuse, just summer-itis and I didn't feel like cooking a couple of nights and then we went overboard at Publix with sushi and fried chicken!
  • Dates/Socialization/Celebrations: $34.93.  Greg and I went out to lunch once and then I went out to lunch with a friend.
  • Treats: $39.73.  I treated the kids and Greg to ice cream at Bruster's once, Greg has to buy lunch because I messed up his packed lunch, I took my Youngest Son out to lunch, bought a drink for my daughter, treated myself to a cheap lunch (less than $2 each time) twice. Scandalous!
  • Travel: $0.


  • I was under budget for groceries, as I should have been considering all the people who weren't home this month!  My total was still high, then, but not when you consider that $67.14 of it was just whiskey stocking-up expenses and that $115 was meat stocking-up expenses.
  • Eating Out/Ordering In expenses were definitely too much.  If I had paid attention to what I was packing for Greg, he wouldn't have had to buy lunch. I didn't have to treat anyone to lunch but it's fun to eat out once in a while. However, I wasted $75 only because I didn't want to cook 2 nights.  Seriously... it probably took longer to go get the food than if I had told people to warm up some of the cans that I had stocked up on the previous month!  I share the blame, though, because Greg never puts his foot down nor does he ever say "OK then I'll cook!", lol.

So there it is.  I need to go better this month. I can't be stocking up on anything to be frozen because seriously, my freezers are completely full.  So what I really need to work on is: controlling the food waste (which has crept up since I've stopped planning our meals with what's left in the fridge), controlling the eating out/ordering in expenses (it's hot now so that should help since none of us want to go anywhere!) and making sure not to overspend on snacks.  Still, buying snacks instead of baking them is preferable, in my mind, when it's 105F outside!


  1. Over budget or not, I think you did fantastic! I can only dream of ever spending less than $100 a week for 4 people. I will just live vicariously through your blog I guess :).

    1. OK, you'll live vicariously through mine and I'll live vicariously through Alison's (NOVA Frugal Family) since I don't get double coupons and Harris Teeter's Super Double promotions!

      I think that if you're comfortable with how much you're spending and you can afford all your other bills, then what you spend on groceries is what you spend on groceries. Different people have different needs too. Or live in areas where groceries might be a lot more expensive than here. That's why I always like seeing what other bloggers in other parts of the country and indeed the world pay for their groceries.

  2. I think you did quite well, overall. I agree on not baking when it is so hot. Maybe make more microwaved or no-bake snacks, instead?

    1. You're right, I've got plenty of popcorn that we could pop and flavor as we wish. I provide lots of fruit too, but sometimes you've (well I've) got to have chocolate :)

  3. I knew your totals would be much lower because of not feeding 3 people during part of the month but your total for June was even better than I thought it would be. It wasn't high at all. You did great. Summer months tend to cost more than the rest of the year because of holidays and special meals. Pat yourself on the back.

    1. Back has been patted (pat?) as instructed, thank you, Susan!

  4. I really like that you can see the categories of your spending this way. I confess that it's confusing for me to split my food up by type when I am taking pictures -- my mind just works better when I keep one store's items together -- but I could refer back to my records and divide it out. I suspect that coffee and produce are my consistent big spending areas, but I know I've been spending a lot more on snack food than I ever have and should probably cut back. I blame this on Aldi. I was never all that tempted to buy chips and things regularly because I think they're so expensive at typical grocery stores. But they're so cheap at Aldi. And I love salty foods! I need to stop.

    1. This is funny because this morning I was thinking that I should just photograph everything like you, per store but just a few items at a time. It would be faster! But it would then take longer for me to report my costs into my spreadsheets because I look at the pictures to help me and I really like the comparison week to week, month to month and YTD with the different categories.

      Aldi has yummy snacks for all tastes! I love them all, pretty much, so yes, I agree, it's Aldi's fault! I did resist the chocolate chip brioches that they had at the register this morning, even though I love those.


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