This week’s grocery challenge was a bust. I went well over budget mostly due to the fact that my husband and I hosted the weekend that past. We also replenished our household cleaning supplies, hygiene products and vitamin supplements that costed us a bit of money but these items usually last us anywhere from 2-6 months.
Our total grocery costs for week 3 of the challenge was $246.92. This amount was well over our $140/week challenge for the reasons I mentioned above. From this amount I think the cost associated with groceries is about $123.75. Here is the breakdown:
|Total grocery expenses||$246.92|
|Less: Amount spent on vitamins, household cleaning supplies and hygiene products||($63.17)|
|Less: Estimate of foods purchased for hosting||($60.00)|
|Balance of groceries for us for the week||$123.75|
This week’s grocery challenge had me re-evaluating how we classify groceries and whether we need to broaden or narrow the scope to include or remove certain items from our classification of groceries and give them their own category. For example, we currently lump all of our household cleaning supplies, vitamin supplements and hygiene products under groceries. We typically purchase these items when they are on sale every 3 months or so. Because of how infrequent we make these purchases, I typically lump these amounts together with our grocery bill. There is also the expenses related to hosting dinners which we like to do.
To resolve this issue we take the cost of the difference from the contingency fund which is a fund that we created to bridge the gap in costs fluctuations that we may not have been able to predict. Since we can expect to spend money on hosting and purchasing supplies for the home, we cannot classify these expenses as an emergency. Instead, the contingency fund captures our expected ‘unexpected’ expenses that come as a result of life, building relationships and categories which we may not want to create a separate line item. Our contingency fund for the year is $2,000 which is funded primarily through windfall income.
However, some things I will re-evaluate moving forward is:
- Is the $140/week grocery enough? Yes. However, this amount should only include food items and not household supplies, hygiene products and vitamin supplements. Adding these amounts, even though they occur every quarter, inflates our expenses.
- Should we create a category for household supplies & vitamin supplements? Yes. Based on my experience from this week and in the past I will need to create a new category for these expenses. I will allocate $100 every 3 months for this category. This would translate into around $34/month or $8.50/paycheque. For good measure, I will round up and allocate $10/paycheque towards this new category. This amount will be transferred to our Tangerine chequing account so it remains separate from our grocery money. Every 3 months, or when needed, we will transfer $100 back to our main chequing account from Tangerine to make the purchases.
- Should we create another category for hosting? No. We actually already have two categories called small group and young adults which capture much of the costs we incur for hosting and socializing with friends. Monies from these categories were used for the week to cover these expenses.
This week’s grocery run made me appreciate our contingency fund and also confirmed our need to split our grocery expenses into two categories.
Over the last 3 weeks, I have a better idea of what groceries cost our household and the changes that need to be made moving forward. The following 3 categories will consistent of our broader food/grocery expenses:
- $140/week for groceries. Already in place. This accounts for the food that is consumed between mostly me and my husband.
- $10-$20/week for hosting. Already in place. Between our different circles of friends we probably host every 2-3 month, are involved in potlucks with friends at least once a month, and provide a dish for our church luncheons once a month. These are expenses over and above what we normally consume in the home.
- $10/week for household supplies & vitamins. Will implement line item in May.
My 4th and final grocery challenge was inspired by a comment received from my previous post.
Buying a majority of one’s groceries online is still not a popular practice for most Canadians. It could be due to preference, economies of scale (size of the economy), cost or a number of different reasons.
For my final grocery challenge, I will try and purchase at least 90% of my grocery items for the week online.
I will document my experience and will report the following week whether it was worth the time and money to take this approach. Depending on my experience, I may decide to implement this moving forward.
Have you purchased your entire grocery list online? How was your experience? Any pointers you would like to share, please leave in the comment below.