Its no wonder I think I spend so much on groceries. For some reason, that’s something I’ve been fretting over for a while. If I run the numbers at the end of the month, I’m shocked by how much food we ate. We eat enough to purchase another house.
Gone are the days when we ate in restaurants 3-4 times a week. Long gone. But our family does like to eat, and we try to eat yummy food that’s relatively healthy. And, because I’m a cheapskate who’s terrified by the monthly grocery bill, I try to cook a lot from scratch and not rely so much on mixes and kits and pre-prepared foods.
Also, I went grocery shopping last night, and I have a lot of prices fresh in my mind. So just now, I thought I’d do a little exercise in figuring how much I’m spending on food for today. I’m estimating on some things, as I don’t have all of the packages and prices in front of me
Oatmeal with brown sugar and cinnamon - 20cents (Note I buy the generic brand oatmeal in the large canisters, not packets. And most of the cost estimated here is the brown sugar)
Cranberry juice – 50cents (100% juice cranberry/pomegranate blend. I’m picky.)
Breakfast Total 70 cents
microwave dinner – $1.25 (these were on sale 8/$10)
grapefruit – $1 (it’s a huge white grapefruit, and I’m going to eat the whole thing)
cookies – 50cents – This is one of my massively estimated numbers. They’re homemade, and my price estimate might actually be high.
Soda – 25cents. It would be higher if bought from the grocery store, but we picked up some at Sams recently
Lunch total $3
1 lb ground beef $3 (another estimate, I buy it on sale and freeze, but this is in the ballpark)
1 28oz can chili beans $1.50
1 28oz can diced tomatoes $1 (I think it might have been cheaper, but close enough)
1 bell pepper $1.50
1 onion 10cents (the bags were $10/10 before Thanksgiving)
Chili powder .25 (another big estimate. I pay by the ounce from Penzeys, and have no idea how much it costs per pot)
Tortilla chips $1.33 (we’ll eat about 1/3 of a bag or so, maybe)
Shredded cheese 50cents (estimating 1 / 4 of a bag at 3/$5)
Dinner total: $9.18. I’m not eating the entire pot myself. My share comes to approximately $2.30
Total for the day = $6
If all 4 of us in the family at the same cost in food, every day of the year, then we would spend:
$6/person/day * 4 people * 7 days in a week * 52 weeks in a year = $8736/year = $728/month.
No wonder I’m freaked about the cost of food. Today’s menu is pretty cheap. No steak, no fancy ingredients. I don’t drink much milk, but the kids do, which would change the cost of today’s meals.
There are a few places I could cut back here: pb&j instead of the tv dinner, a less expensive piece of fruit, make a larger pot of chili using dried beans instead of canned (and use leftovers for future lunches), etc.
There are also easy places to spend more money: boxed cereal instead of oatmeal, add a cup of yogurt (which I frequently do), actually account for the cup of tea and few squares of chocolate I have stashed in my desk :)