Thursday, February 9, 2012

Grocery Groanings

A while ago Mr. Taffy made a comment about how much money “we” (which really means me, he doesn’t grocery shop!) were spending on groceries every month.  At first I was admittedly offended by his comment, but now that I have had time to process the constructive criticism/encouragement I’ve taken on the challenge to see what I can do to spend less money on food each month.  The groanings come when I realized a couple things:

  • When we were living in WA, Mr. Taffy had a great paying joy and I got pretty used to buying whatever food I wanted, whenever I wanted it.
  • When Mr. Taffy was unemployed for 18 months I got pretty used to not buying much at all and was feeling a little too frugal in this area, as in wanting, not lack, just wanting.
  • When he started working again I think I went back to the same mindset I had previously, buying whatever I wanted whenever I wanted it. 

Okay, I can deal with that realization and admit my problem.  The only solution I can come up with to save money is going to be more work for me.  And frankly I already feel like I spend A LOT of time in the kitchen!  (More groaning and maybe a few tears of self-pity) Granted, I know that I can be more efficient in my kitchen time and I think I am guilty of wasting a lot of food too, so those are two areas I am going to focus on. 

I got these 2 books from the library:

image     image

Sadly, I pretty much know everything these guys teach about saving money on food.  I’ve read it before.  I’m not going to coupon, I don’t have the time or the ambition to do that.  The suggestions in the books go beyond couponing thankfully.

The way I am going to try and save money, as suggested by Cut Your Grocery Bill in Half, is by trying to only go grocery shopping once a month.  The theory being if you don’t go into the stores, you won’t be tempted to buy stuff  that you didn’t need until you saw it!  Happens to me all the time.  (Another groaner) It also means I have to make a very detailed plan about what we are going to eat for each meal for a whole month!  Wow that seems so intense.

Currently I plan our menu out for a week.  Today my goal is to plan out three weeks of meals, working my way up to a month.  Yesterday I wrote down all the things we like to eat for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.  Then I transferred them to three separate sheets of paper with a weeks worth of meals on it.  This way we aren’t eating the same dinners for three weeks, though Tacos are on there twice, on purpose.  I also did a freezer and pantry inventory so that I could plan meals around what I already have on hand.  I don’t have much in my freezers right now, we never found cheap turkey’s last year and we haven’t been eating much beef, and the boys hunting was unsuccessful this year. 

My next step is to figure out what exactly I need to buy.  This might take a while…I’m going to try and stay as close to home as possible to save gas money, so that means I’m not running to Trader Joe’s, but if I need something special, I’ve been able to find most things on-line with free shipping.

I searched through all our receipts and our checking account statement and figured in January we spent approximately $773.37 on groceries.  Which isn’t exactly as bad as I thought it was going to be.  That does not include household items and it does not include eating out, it’s just groceries.  I’m going to keep track of what I spend in February as well and see if it comes close or if that was just a lean month.  January did include an Azure order, but February won’t because my friend who hosts the pick-up is on vacation.  I wonder if it’s reasonable for a family of 9, with three teenagers, to spend $500 a month on groceries.

We shall see!  I’ve resolved myself to being in the kitchen more and giving it my all to try and decrease our eating expense.   It’s the least I can do!  Thank God for my Ergo Baby Carrier!


Mrs. Taffy


  1. $800 a month does't sound like a lot for such a large family! Maybe you'll end up spending less on gas as an unintended consequence. I've been trying to shop once a week (with the credit card), and if I need anything during the week, I use cash. Using the cash somehow makes me consider, do I need this now or can I wait?

  2. I will have to follow these posts b/c I am curious to see whether you can feed a family of 9 with 3 teenagers on $500 a month! I actually thought the $773.37 was pretty good. We spend about that on a fam of 6 with one teenager, and that was after I cut some things out for the same reasons you are saying (includes my household items though). Angela Coffman of "Grocery Shrink" feeds 10 on $500/mo, I believe. It probably also depends on the area of the country you live in. The teenager is the one that worries me. He's actually turning 13 in a couple of weeks. This time last year, we used to to have leftovers for a number of meals, but not anymore!!

  3. im always trying to cut the budget right now 2 adults and 4 kids(ages1-11) is about $650 for a good month, looking foward to you tips and tricks.

  4. I started to write a comment but it got too large and I thought I needed to work this subject out in my own mind. haa - I wrote my response to your Grocery Groanings over on my blog.

  5. Hurrah for you...thanks for the honesty and I have full full full confidence that you can do it and that you will do it with lots of joy - that is just who you are!!!! Have fun with this new challenge!
    We have to only go into town for shopping once a month mainly because of how far any store is from us (about 1 hour) and because of the gas...(groan) We have found that shopping only once a month is great and makes me really think about what meals to serve. There are months that we have to go into town more than once (and secretly I love it when this happens) and that just makes the "end of the month" not seem so my suggestion to you, from my experience, is plan for the end of the month "blah" meals when things are getting low and all the fruit is gone etc..., have fun!


Your comments make me happy! Thanks for sharing your thoughts with me!!