Saturday, April 1, 2017

Food Expenses: March 2017

My official 2017 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 and drinks, 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.

MARCH 2017

My budget for February was $400.
  • We spent $196.87 out of pocket, including all rebates, on groceries alone. 
  • We spent $483.82 in eating out/ordering in expenses.
  • So altogether we spent $680.69 on feeding ourselves (and others at times), way 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 (as I say every month!).
Detail of grocery expenses ($196.87)
  • Baking supplies: $4.63
    • 10 lbs all-purpose flour
    • 1 box lemon cake mix
    • 4 lbs sugar
  • Beverages: $1.99
    • 1 small jar decaf instant coffee
    • 3 12-packs Diet Dr. Pepper
  • Breads: $7.94
    • 1 loaf rye bread
    • 1 loaf Hawaiian bread
    • 8 loaves white bread
    • 2 8-packs hamburger buns
  • Cereals: MINUS $1.00
    • 6 boxes Lucky Charms
  • Dairy: $25.10
    • 16 oz shredded cheddar
    • 1 package Swiss cheese slices
    • 3 packages American cheese slices
    • 3 packages string cheese
    • 1 container blue cheese crumbles
    • 2 containers Earth Balance spread
    • 1 lb unsalted butter
    • 1 lb margarine
    • 2 gallons whole milk
    • 8 cups yogurt
  • Dry/Pantry/Frozen: $22.97
    • 1 envelope lower sodium taco seasoning
    • 2 40-oz jars crunchy peanut butter
    • 1 bottle raspberry syrup
    • 1 jar grape jelly
    • 1 bag oyster crackers
    • 1 box saltines
    • 2 bags tortilla chips
    • 1 bag potato chips
    • 3 cans no salt added black beans
    • 1 package Ramen noodles
    • 1 bottle vegetable oil
    • 2 boxes couscous
    • 2 bottles ketchup
  • Produce/Juice: $53.98
    • Vegetables
      • 1 can chickpeas
      • 2 lbs asparagus
      • 8 oz portobello mushrooms
      • 1 bag frozen fries
      • 8 ears sweet corn
      • 0.80 lbs yellow onion
      • 1 bag spinach
    • Fruit
      • 12 oz raspberries
      • 12 oz blueberries
      • 5 lbs strawberries
      • 7 lbs clementines
      • 3 lbs navel oranges
      • 22 lbs apples
      • 4.06 lbs grapes
      • 7.16 lbs papaya
      • 12.79 lbs bananas
    • Juice
      • 2 64-oz bottles 100% apple juice
    • Proteins: $50.85
    • 2 lbs Black Forest ham
    • 1 lb Black Forest turkey
    • 12 oz sliced roast beef
    • 1 lb bologna
    • 1 bag chicken nuggets
    • 1.49 lbs fresh salmon
    • 4 lbs frozen tilapia fillets
    • 11.36 lbs frozen bone-in chicken breasts
    • 1.96 lbs corned beef
    • 5.47 lbs spare ribs
    • 4 rotisserie chickens
    • 2 dozen eggs
    • 4 cans tuna
    • 5 can herring fillets in mango sauce
    • 1 box breakfast links
  • Snacks: $30.41
    • 2 packages Jell-O Simply Good gelatine
    • 1 package peanut butter crackers
    • 2 boxes Swiss rolls
    • 1 box saltine crackers
    • 2 bags pretzel sticks
    • 4 13-oz jars Nutella spread
    • 1 Powerbar
    • 1 bag tropical trail mix
    • 1 package gum
    • 1 bag sour worms
    • 1 cherry liquor cake
    • 2 pints Ben & Jerry's ice cream
    • 1 box mini eclairs

Eating Out/Ordering In Expenses ($483.82) categorized by:
  • Laziness/Cook's Night Off: $143.51
  • Dates/Socialization/Celebrations: $111.18
  • Treats: $185.70
  • Travel: $43.43
  • Groceries: 
    • On average, I spent less than $50 a week out of pocket. Woohoo!
    • My OOP was so low because I was able to use ExtraCare bucks and a CVS gift card earned via one of our credit card Rewards program to get cereal, milk, eggs, and Diet Dr. Pepper for free.
    • I also got over $58 in groceries for free from Walmart thanks to gift cards earned with Swagbucks.
    • I was able to buy fish this month, and we enjoyed tilapia, salmon, and canned tuna. I also got my favorite canned herring fillets.
    • My freezers are full again.  I never seem to be able to empty them since good deals abound!
    • It's obvious that I'm not doing well on my "diet" (I didn't diet at all this whole month, actually) because I bought very little in the way of vegetables this month.  I did use canned vegetables that I had in my pantry, though.
    • Our snack expenses weren't too bad until the last week when the kids picked 2 pints of ice cream at $4.99 each as their snack instead of the other brand on BOGO and I didn't realize it until I had already paid for it.  I need to never go shopping with anyone else!
  • Eating Out/Ordering In:  
    • Oh my, what a catastrophe this month!  Even though I'm rationalizing that we're still under the federal "thrifty plan", we still spent way too much.  I should have planned better. Even though I did meal plan, it was way too easy to say "we're eating out when going to D&D", for instance.  I have got to get a grip, especially since I continue to put on weight instead of losing it.
  • Goals for April: My budget will be $500 (=5 weeks, according to my shopping schedule).  Greg will be traveling to visit his daughter and grandson who will be celebrating his 1st birthday soon so I'm sure he'll be treating them for a couple of meals out. He will also be gone for a week on a business trip so all his meals will be taken care of.  I plan on having coffee with my BFF and having lunch with my friend Juliet, as usual.  And I'll also schedule outings with each of my 3 younger kids so eating out will probably be involved but I do need to plan on packing lunches when we go to D&D since we'll be going every weekend.  As far as groceries are concerned, my OOP will probably be higher than $50 a week since I haven't been diligent with Swagbucks in March.  So I will try to use as many items from my pantry and freezer as possible.
How did you do in March? What is your budget for April?


  1. Yay for keeping the out of pocket grocery expenses to under $50/week! Well done! As for the eating out, as long as you can afford it, Nathalie, I don't see the need to fret too much about it. Think of it as you doing your bit to keep the economy going! :) If nobody ate out, all those chefs and cooks, servers, people who provide the ingredients to the restaurants, etc. will be out of work!

    1. I'm only fretting because I mostly see if as my failure to resist the temptation of unhealthy food. But make no mistake, I deeply appreciated every meal out, even the crappy Chinese food that I'm weirdly so addicted to! And you're right, I am supporting the economy *chuckle*. Thanks for the reminder!

  2. I haven't worked on April's budget or figured out what I spent in March. I keep all my receipts but I never do much with them. Hanging head....

    1. Well, if it's just you and you can pay your bills and food expenses aren't an area of concern, then there's nothing to be ashamed of :)

  3. Still haven't figured out March expenses minus Disney trip! I had a decent weekend- nothing exciting but I got a lot accomplished and even visited my client in the hospital- she was being discharged yesterday and seems to have made a miraculous recovery from the choking incident. My little sis is planning on visiting next weekend so that will be good- their spring break is the week before Easter so I think she'll bring the 2 younger boys and stay until Tuesday. She lives in Myrtle Beach. I think I'll start planing a weekend menu- they will stay with my other sister but probably be here Saturday or Sunday.

    1. Is your sister trying to escape Spring Break in Myrtle Beach by going to St Augustine instead? LOL. I hope you have a good visit with your siblings and all the cousins get to play together.


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