Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Grocery Budget 201

Another week, another grocery trip.

Last week I received a comment on our budget post that stated "Your tip for grocery budgeting is to shop at Wal-Mart? uh, cool."

I was a little confused by this comment.  Was this person being sarcastic, or were they just simply stating this comment?  Alex mentioned it to me, and I told him I was choosing to ignore it because I felt like they were trying to be hurtful.  Of course shopping at Wal-Mart is one of our budgeting tips, but I thought I was giving so much more information than just that.

So on Sunday we embarked on our shopping trip with our meal plan, grocery list and price-matches in hand.  Once again we headed to Wal-Mart to tackle the task.  Within just a few minutes of beginning our shopping trip, I looked at Alex and proclaimed, "Well, yes, I think shopping at Wal-Mart is my #1 budgeting tip!"  Almost every one of our price matches were actually cheaper at Wal-Mart.  The prices are just simply so much less!

I have explained the price-matching technique before but basically we check out the sale ads for all the other grocery stores in town.  We mark down items that are on sale on our grocery list (HT stands for Harris Teeter; FL stands for Food Lion.)  Wal-Mart will match any competitor's sale ads, so as we shop we mark which items are price-matches.  Out of all of our price-matches this week, the only ones we used were the ketchup, spaghetti and pears!  Everything else was already cheaper.

So yes, Mr. or Mrs. Anonymous, my tip for grocery budgeting is to shop at Wal-Mart.  We can argue all sorts of things about Wal-Mart, but when saving a dollar is important, it is the place to go.

But for the record, here are a few other tips:
  1. Stick to your list. Today Alex and I put back 3 items that were impulse buys when we realized we were over budget.
  2. Plan your meals for the week.
  3. Do not purchase expensive processed and convenience foods.  You can make so many things yourself, like bread, oatmeal, and fries.  Stick to whole foods.
  4. Eat vegetarian.  While I am not always vegetarian these days, at home it is the only way we cook.  I don't know how much meat costs, but I guarantee it's more expensive than a $2 container of tofu or $1 can of beans.
  5. Eat leftovers.  So many people dislike leftovers, but I love them.  It is one less meal I have to prepare!
Ok, with that said, here is this week's meal plan:
We went super simple with meals this week.  We know that we are on a short budget for the rest of the month so we wanted to make the most of each meal.  I commented that our dinners are not very veggie heavy so we will be utilizing those frozen veggies we stocked up on two weeks ago.  

Here is this week's grocery list:
Like I mentioned above, we didn't use all of our price-matches.  Pretty much all of the produce was cheaper at Wal-Mart than the sale prices at other stores.  We wound up ditching the TP and eggs this week.  

Our weekly total was more than I expected.  The list looked small, but many of the items were pretty expensive, like quinoa.  All the same, we came in right under $50 at $47.67.  Add that to our monthly total and we have spent: $229.  We also spent an additional $20 on Saturday for the Chili Cook.  We purchased beer and a few last minute items like jalapenos and candy corn.  That puts us at a monthly total of: $249, leaving us just $51 for our groceries next week.  It's tight.  But we are determined. 

Check out my Pinterest board for most of this week's recipes!

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