Monday, March 9, 2009

$400 March Challenge

So I have never been that great at keeping an accurate track of our grocery expenses.  Its always been, "well, I think we spend about this much..."  I thought its time I really look at how much is going out of our pockets toward groceries, including food, diapers, toiletries, paper products, cleaning supplies etc.   Last week, before looking at how much we had been spending each month, I told DVB that I wanted to see if I could do it all for $400.  I mentioned this amount to one of my friends and she thought that $400 would be tough.   Especially when shopping at Costco because some months you run out of all those big things that you don't buy that often (i.e. diapers, paper towels, toilet paper, soap, detergent, etc.) and it throws the monthly budget off.  I'm still trying to figure out how to account for those types of months.  Anyway,  I decided to tally up what we spent in February....I was shocked to find out we spent about $619 (I did get a lot of big things)!!!!  WOW....that's a lot!  I bet $550 would be a little more accurate since we did have a purchase of $70 for DVB's razors and our fancy toothbrush heads that we won't have to buy again for another 4-6 months....anyway...now the challenge is really on.  I am so determined to see if I can keep our grocery bill to about $400. One of my other goals is to continue to cook relatively healthy and fun meals too, since we have been on our health kick for so long now.  And I love to cook, so I want to keep up with a variety of meals.  So far, so good.  I have already spent $300 but I have mostly everything covered for the month except additional milk, coffee cream, yogurt, and fruits and veggies, that I have to buy every 1-2 weeks.  We'll see how it goes.  Just last week I found a great recipe for homemade wheat pizza that was delicious (2 more balls of dough in the freezer).  We have a weakness for ordering out pizza in this house (granted I always have a coupon), but now that I know how to make dough, and its not as intimidating as I thought, we will not order out this month as a way to save some extra cash.  I also had found a great deal on some yummy frozen pizzas at Costco a few weeks ago that ended up costing only about $2.5o/pizza!  So there's no excuse to order out.  Last week, I also found another light recipe that was very economical.  We started getting a weekly paper and just last week I used over $10 worth of coupons at Walmart...that pays for our monthly cost of the newspaper subscription.  

I'm excited and up for the challenge.  Its helping me to be more organized, and to plan better as far as meals are concerned.  Oh, here's another frugal tip:

12.  We eat Quaker old fashioned oatmeal almost every day of our lives!  All four of us do and, no, our kids don't need sugar on it.  We do sometimes put fruit or Craisins, but both our little ones will eat it plain.  I actually transitioned NDVB to real oatmeal right after baby oatmeal. Does baby oatmeal have sugar? No.   They don't know what they are missing until they have it...so don't give it.  Oh, and you can make it in the microwave. Another benefit....you have oatmeal on hand for delicious homemade energy bars and yummy healthy chocolate chip and oatmeal raisin cookies.   Here's the cost per serving: (and if you're feeding it to children, you probably get more servings per box because your giving them less).
A box at Costco costs:  $6.49 with about 102 servings/box
Serving price:  $0.06  (Wow!!!)

I must say I think that is a pretty great deal for a breakfast budget-24 cents/day for four people!!!

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