Tuesday, March 16, 2010
When my husband lost his job last year our family lost its main source of income. We were forced to budget very tightly and I tried our hardest to make ends meet without having to go into debt. I succeeded but things have remained tight in order to make up for those months without a dual income. In reviewing our finances, I've found that one of the places I spend the most money is on groceries. I'm having a hard time determining a good monthly grocery budget and with a baby on the way, I'd like to start planning for a family of four.
I usually do one large grocery shop every 4-6 weeks. This will include a trip to Costco for a few bulk items like TP, paper towels, meat, diapers/wipes, as well a trip to the grocery store (usually Walmart because its SO cheap) for everything else. Before I do my large shopping trip I plan meals for the month and take with me a list of items that we have run out of since the last shop so I'm not spending money on things I don't need or impulse buys. I feel like I do really well in sticking to a budget for these trips but it's the small trips in between that kill me. I find myself going to the store at least once a week to pick up small items like fresh produce, bread and milk, and somehow end up spending $50-$75.
I really need to try to cut back in this area so answering my questions or giving any advice and suggestions would be great!!
~Any ideas on how much a monthly grocery budget should be for a family of four?
~When you budget for groceries, do you count diapers, wipes and formula as part of your monthly allowance?
~Do you include personal items in your budget?
~Do you usually do one or two big shops a month or do you shop weekly?
***Small disclaimer: I don't spend money on the newspaper with ads, clipping coupons isn't really my thing and I don't have time to run from store to store in order to "chase" the best deals so keep that in mind!