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.
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.