Grocery Challenge: Trim the Grocery Budget

Each month I will focus on improving one area of my life. The focus may be working to improve my spending habits, improving productivity and time management or decluttering my life. Whatever the challenge, the objective is to always be improving my life, learn new things, have something of value to share with you and grow in the process. To track and document my progress, I will be providing my updates every Thursday. This will ensure I am accountable to my readers and force me to complete the challenge.

So the challenge for the month of April is to trim our grocery budget. To be specific the goal is to:

Reduce the amount of money we spend of groceries from $140/week to $100/week. About a 30% decrease.

If I still lived in Ontario, this would be doable. However, living in Calgary, Alberta means higher cost of living, including the cost of groceries (the price difference is re-donk if you ask me). Cost of groceries out west seem to be higher, but I am determined to see if I can comfortably live on an Ontario grocery budget in Alberta.

To make sure I am not depriving myself from eating a healthy balanced diet, I will need to ensure what I purchase consists of every element of the 5 food groups.

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Since my husband likes to have meat or seafood with his dinner meals, I am going to have to get creative with searching for deals, clipping coupons and meal planning. I haven’t done meal planning since getting out of debt and to be honest, I am not super excited about the idea, but I think learning more tricks on how to be effective with it will help.

So, why do I want to slash my grocery budget? Well, we can comfortably afford paying $140/week without compromising the way we live, but I also know that when we were paying off our student loans, we had a budget of $100/week and things were tight, but doable. Somewhere between then and now I got comfortable with spending more without asking why, I want to ask that again. It will also help me to determine:

  • Where we may be wasting food
  • Where to get the best deals for certain grocery products
  • Be mindful of loyalty points and where to shop
  • Clear out the food (non-perishable goods) that we already have at home
  • Be thankful for what I do have

After the month of April is over, we will re-evaluate to see if a $100/week grocery budget is realistic. I told my husband about this challenge and although he is not excited about, he is being a good sport and going along (let’s face it, not like he had a choiceJ)

How will I be tracking my progress?

My husband and I use the envelope system for variable expenses like groceries and gas. I will still continue with that process but only take out $100/week. I will keep my receipts for the week and track my spending each week sharing my totals with you by food group. I will also share with you what challenges and successes I encountered during the week. This will serve as information I can look back and review in the future.

What I hope to get out of this?

Well, a few things. An appreciation for what I do have. More effective meal planning approaches that actually work for us and a better understanding of how we spend money on groceries.

What will the money saved be used for?

The money saved will be transferred into our TFSA retirement investment accounts. Although this is not the objective of the challenge, I think rewarding our efforts by paying ourselves back and increasing our future income is the way go.

 

 

Categories: Budgeting

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6 replies

  1. I currently spend $600-700 a month on groceries, and I don’t even go out! Partly this is b/c Sydney is an insanely expensive city, and partly b/c I’m a health freak. I consume a ton of protein through meat and eat only vegetables. I eat some fruits, but avoid other carb foods (eg. bread, pasta). I think food is the one area of my life where I don’t try to save money on. A satisfied stomach makes me happy 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • That doesn’t sound like a lot of money, groceries there must be very expensive. That’s about how much we spend a month but for 2 people. A satisfied stomach is important. My goal is to not to buy unhealthy food but to be more mindful of sales and food wastage and still get what I want. It also gives me an opportunity to learn new ways to be aware of my spending. We will see how it goes.

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  2. I like how you continually challenge yourself in an empowering way. Discipline produces growth and you surely seems to display growth. I believe you will find this new endeavor one which is profitable like the others. Have you considered one-meal dishes like soups, casseroles, gumbos, crockpot preparation, stews? You can always incorporate meat and vegetables with these types of meals. Yes, I’m aware the weather is getting much warmer, they might not be as effective than during the Winter months, but I was told by a physician these are healthy meal choices. I am not sure how cost effective.

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    • I love crock pot recipes. They save so much time and the food comes out so tender. I have a 5-ingredients or less crock pot recipe book that I used a lot while we were getting out of debt. It freed up time for us to take on extra work to make more money to pay off the debt and it was easy on the wallet. I need to revisit that book again. Thanks for your comment. I do like to try and take myself to the next level as much as possible. I find I get bored easily when I feel like I am ‘standing in one place’. Doing challenges like these help me to learn and grow and hopefully help others along the way.

      Liked by 1 person

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