Sunday, October 2, 2016

Food Expenses: September 2016

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.  My weeks go from Wednesday-Tuesday so my monthly budget isn't always the same, month to month.

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.

Greg was gone for two weeks this month.


My budget for September was $400.
  • We spent $268.75 out of pocket, including all rebates, on groceries alone. 
  • We spent $184.76 in eating out/ordering in expenses.
  • So altogether we spent $453.51 on feeding ourselves (and others at times), a little more than the $400 I would have liked to stay under. Still, according to the USDA's website, our family of 4 should be spending $684.40 on the "thrifty plan" so I think we're doing quite well despite our splurges!
Detail of grocery expenses ($268.75)
  • Baking supplies: $10.25
    • 1 can chocolate frosting
    • 1 large Hershey bar
    • 1 can evaporated milk
    • 2 cans cherry pie filling
    • 5 lbs AP flour
    • 20 lbs whole wheat flour
    • 1 large jar unsweetened applesauce
    • 1 can cherry pie filling
  • Beverages: $3.18
    • (2) 20-ct boxes herbal mint tea
    • (3) 12-can packs Diet Dr. Pepper
    • (2) boxes Celestial peach tea
    • (1) jar decaf instant coffee
  • Breads: $8.63
    • 4 packages naan bread
    • 2 packages mini naan bread
    • 5 loaves white bread
    • 1 loaf Dave's Killer Bread
    • 2 8-ct hamburger buns
    • 1 loaf French bread
  • Cereals: $0.14
    • 1 box Rice Crispers
    • 4 boxes Special K Red Berries
  • Dairy: $31.03
    • 2 packages American cheese slices
    • 2 packages light string cheese
    • 1 8-oz block mild cheddar cheese
    • 4 gallons whole milk
    • 1 half gallon chocolate milk
    • 1 13-oz jar queso salsa dip
    • 27 cups yogurt
    • 1 16-oz container light sour cream
    • 2 canisters Reduced Fat parmesan cheese
    • 1 canister lactose free parmesan cheese
  • Dry/Pantry: $22.51
    • 4 jars Pace salsa
    • 2 boxes Zatarain's rice mix
    • 8 boxes Ronzoni pasta
    • 10 boxes Barilla Pasta
    • 6 cans coconut milk
    • 1 large bottle sriracha sauce
    • 1 jar cayenne pepper
    • 1 bottle hazelnut syrup
    • 1 jar seasoned salt
    • 1 jar smoked paprika
    • 2 cans Bush's Cocina Latina refried beans
  • Produce/Juice: $99.21
    • Vegetables
      • 5 Romaine hearts
      • 9 ears corn
      • 8 lbs russet potatoes
      • 5 lbs red potatoes
      • 1.67 lbs tomatoes on the vine
      • 0.47 lbs Roma tomatoes
      • 1 head broccoli
      • 1 jar red cabbage with apples
      • 2 lbs carrots
      • 1 lb Brussels Sprouts
      • 2 2-cap packages portobello mushrooms
      • 4 cucumbers
      • 2 bags spinach
      • 0.12 lbs jalapeƱo
      • 1 Dole Caesar Salad kit
      • 4 large cans crushed tomatoes
      • 0.29 lb yellow onion
      • 1 large can baked beans
      • 4 avocados
      • 1.84 lbs butternut squash
    • Juice, Fruit & Nuts
      • 1 half gallon OJ
      • 6 oz blueberries
      • 13.15 lbs grapes
      • 11.63 lbs papaya
      • 12.6 lbs bananas
      • 7 lbs strawberries
      • 4 6-oz containers raspberries
      • 2 cantaloupes
      • 6 lbs Navel oranges
      • 9 lbs apples
      • 8 oz pecan halves
      • 2 mangoes
      • 2 pineapples
      • 3 packs Dole fruit cups
      • 1 pack Dole squeezable fruit pouches
      • 4 packs Dole Mixations fruit cups
  • Proteins: $56.09
    • 2 lbs Black Forest ham
    • 2 lbs Black Forest turkey
    • 0.63 lbs Cajun turkey
    • 1 lb bologna
    • 3 deli cheese pizzas
    • 2 deli pepperoni pizzas
    • 6 dozens large eggs
    • 1 Rotisserie chicken
    • 2 whole chickens
    • 10.16 lbs chicken breasts
    • 3.26 lbs St Louis Ribs
    • 1 package chipotle chicken sausages
    • 1 box turkey maple breakfast sausages
    • 1.66 lbs Atlantic salmon
    • 2 cans herring fillets
  • Snacks: $37.71
    • 1 13-oz jar chocolate hazelnut spread
    • 1 jar Biscoff cookie butter
    • 1 4-pack chocolate pudding cups
    • 1 box Swiss rolls
    • 4 candy bars
    • 2 bags cuernitos
    • 1 6-ct package cheese danishes
    • 1 bag organic gummy worms
    • 2 pints ice cream
    • 1 container mini cupcakes
    • 1 box donut holes
    • 1 blueberry pie
    • 1 caramel nut danish
    • 4 containers mint gum
    • 2 bags pretzel sticks
    • 2 bags potato sticks
    • 1 package pb crackers
    • 7 bags tortilla chips
Eating Out/Ordering In Expenses ($184.76) categorized by:
  • Laziness/Cook's Night Off: $88.05
  • Dates/Socialization/Celebrations: $76.22
  • Treats: $20.49
  • Travel: $0
  • Groceries: 
    • I was able to use some gift cards at CVS (earned via our American Express Rewards program)and at Walmart (earned via Swagbucks) to lower my OOP this month.
    • I stocked up on such pantry staples as pasta, crushed tomatoes and coconut milk via an order from and also sales from Publix
    • Despite declaring that I wouldn't buy any meat in September, I bought quite a few things!  However, it all fit in my freezer and I got some great deals on chicken.
  • Eating Out/Ordering In expenses:  
    • I got lazy quite a few times but the only time our cost was pretty high was when Greg, our son and I went to the Mexican restaurant because we all had drinks other than water and we each ordered a platter that was $9.99+.
    • We celebrated my daughter's 18th birthday by allowing her to have dinner at the Cheesecake Factory with her BFF. I hadn't realized it was so expensive or I might have say no! I also had lunch with a friend but we each paid for our own meal.
    • All of our "treats" were at McDonald's. Darn that app with its coupons!
    • Even though Greg traveled extensively this month, he either expensed all his food (business travel), or didn't spend any money on food (personal expenses) since he was staying at his parents' and his sister and BIL treated him to lunch or dinner a couple of times.
  • Goals for October: My budget will be $500 because there are 5 weeks of shopping.  I will probably have to stock up on whiskey again so my Beverages category will be high. To compensate for that, I want to try to keep on avoiding buying meat as much as possible, which shouldn't be hard since I once again have freezers that are full, full, FULL! I want to resist buying discounted bakery goods as much as I can and start baking cranberry and raisin cinnamon bread again, muffins, and pumpkin bread. So I'm hoping our snack budget will remain low.  However, my baking budget will be higher as I'm going to need to stock up on sugar and oil again.
How did you do in September? What is your budget for October?


  1. I think your eating out expenses are pretty low for an entire month. We can afford to eat out occasionally, but I don't like to do it mainly because when we eat out we don't always make the best choices nutrition-wise.

    1. It's hard to be healthy when you eat out. For me it's hard because even if there are healthy choices on the menu, I'm tempted to order something better and not as healthy. And then you have to fend off the bread or tortilla chips that they bring before the food... argh. But that's also the fun in eating out. For me, though, eating out is usually purely a matter of being lazy and not wanting to cook. I'd eat at home on those night if "someone else" took over and cooked for me, but "someone else" never wants to either :)

  2. I'd say you did very well, especially since you lump everything - grocery shopping, eating out, special celebrations such as birthdays, etc. - into one budget of $100 per week for 4 people. I think my favorite part of your breakdown of your grocery spending is the $.14 for 5 boxes of cereal! That's under 3 cents a box! You are definitely the queen of grocery deals! :)

    1. Ha! I don't know about that but it's true that my cereals category is always pretty low, mostly because I tend to buy most cereal at CVS and I can pay with the gift cards that we earn with our American Express Rewards. Other people redeem their rewards for merchandise or travel vouchers, but I like to apply them to our grocery budget.

  3. I was bad this month, because I stopped keeping track. I don't think I went over budget but I don't really know....'cause I didn't keep track. I am going to do a weekly update on Fridays to force me in staying with the program. That means I will have to write things down daily, even if I don't blog daily.

    1. When I don't keep track of things, it's always worse when "the day of reckoning" comes. It's true for my diet/weight and spending as well. That being said, I haven't recorded my calories in 2 days. I'll probably be screaming on the scale again Wednesday morning!

      I think your plan of writing an update weekly is a good one :) You can start your post as a draft or just schedule it to be published at a certain time on Friday and then keep on updating it as time goes by. That's what I do.

  4. I totally understand the logic of putting the groceries and the eating out together because normally if you don't spend enough on groceries you eat out more. I do try to keep my numbers separate but I started tracking the eating out on the meal calendar to keep track. I think that we are doing okay now but my eating out post for the year is going up on Friday so you will see that the whole year hasn't been too great!! Hoping to improve but currently sitting on the couch instead of putting cinnamon rolls in the bread machine so I guess I still have a little work to do. Looks like a great month!! I sadly, didn't get enough shopping in but I have already been to the store a few times in October so I guess this month is going to be interesting!!


Anything you'd like to add? Share away!