Monday, February 29, 2016

How we spent our grocery budget - February edition

First up, we overspent in our grocery budget. M & I really don't see eye to eye on this one. In order to keep the peace in my marriage, I'm going to consider upping our grocery budget & finding another category to cut. And, it's hard to argue with someone who just wants to make sure the house is constantly stocked with fresh fruit & veggies. ;-)

Speaking of different shopping styles, I like to see an empty fridge at the end of the week. I like to get creative with the last few items in the fridge. On the other hand, it totally freaks M out and he'll immediately go to Costco & replenish all of the supplies. Or, if we forget to put one type of fruit on the shopping list (but, we have 7 others in the fridge), he'll go to Costco. I don't have the time or patience for that, but c'est la vie.

And now, onto our grocery spending for February! Our budget was $550, and we spent $679. Ouch! This compares to $652 in January.

For a category breakdown, here's what we bought (numbers don't add up exactly to 100%, because of rounding. And, laziness.):

  • Dairy: We spent 16.5% of our budget on dairy. Up 3% from last month. This mostly includes: eggs, milk, and cheese. We go through a lot of cheese. I also had to restock our butter this month.
  • Fruit: 27% of our budget was spent on fruit. Who knew?! I thought it was the veggies that were killing us, so it's great to know that it's the cost of fruit. Hopefully this will go down as the the growing season in California really heats up. This is up significantly from last month - 19%. Not sure why that is. I'll have to go back through some of the specifics.
  • Grains: 7% of our budget was spent on grains, which is about what I'd expect. Although, up 2% from last month. I need to figure out a better sandwich bread solution. I have no problem baking loaves of bread, but we use a pannini maker for pretty much every sandwich, and a sliced sandwich bread doesn't hold up very well to the heat. We've been buying ciabatta rolls at Costco, and they are very pricey. M also brought premade breadsticks for a Super Bowl party, which added to this category. 
  • Meat/Fish: We spent 19% of our grocery budget on meat/fish this month - down 2% from last month. This was spent on: ground beef, meatballs, & chicken.
  • Vegetables: 16% of our grocery budget was spent on vegetables this month, which is down a whopping 6% from last month. I realized we were spending about $10/week on cucumber, so I cut this down, and found some cheaper kale options. I believe some of the prices are also dropping, as spring is arriving early here.
  • Snacks: 6% was spent on snacks, which included stocking up on tortilla chips, pretzel chips, crackers after my surgery, etc. This is up 2% from last month.
  • Pantry: 9% on pantry this month, so almost even with last month. This month the outliers were spices, garbanzo beans (for hummus making) & olives.
  • Prepared Food: We spent 0% on prepared food (obviously, not entirely true, but for anything that doesn't fall under one of the buckets above). Last month, this included things like the infamous flat bread pizza, frozen pizza, etc. I didn't travel this month, so that helps. ;-) Last month we spent a whopping 7% of our budget on prepared food, so it was good to cut this back. 

To be totally honest, my first grocery shop in February was actually made on January 31st, and I rolled it over thinking we'd have one less shop in February to even it out. Wrong! 

And, that's how we spent our money in February! I love tracking our spending by category, because it makes it so much easier to understand where/how to make tradeoffs. How about you? Do you track your grocery spend by category? Are you staying within budget, unlike me?


  1. Your husband and mine are a lot alike. When he goes out of town I purposefully eat up things and only buy groceries just before he gets home. Oh well, you are right, sometimes easier just to keep the peace. I bought a tiny tub of prepared cole slaw that was his impulse buy for $4 just to appease him - then told him how much it was when we got home. He was shocked, I don't think he will do that again :)

    1. It's amazing, really. I wonder what M will be like when the kids are out of the house. . . will he still push for $700 worth of groceries?!

  2. My boyfriend is the same! He likes to have a full fridge and when I take him shopping he throws everything in the trolley.....I keep saying that's not on my list but he buys it anyway. Much cheaper when I go on my own! I like to see an empty fridge too and like throwing stuff together which is rather random but tasty all the same. He really doesn't like it at!

    1. Yes! Exactly. I'm like you - the empty fridge reminds me that I'm buying the right amount & reducing potential waste.

  3. I never thought about food categories to keep track of until this past month when I only bought produce once. It's very interesting to see. $650 is not a bad budget, especially for a family of four. With just two of us here, I could probably get away with $100/week.

    1. It is really helpful. It's one thing to say, "I'm going to reduce the budget." But, until you know how you're actually spending the money, it's hard to determine what to cut.