We have all been spending more money on groceries since Covid 19 hit. Prices went up at first because of shortages. Then with all of the money that the government has been spending (printing out of thin air) inflation started to take hold and will continue to go up with each new spending package. This trend will continue on the backs of middle class Americans. The people whose taxes they will raise are corporations and many small businesses who will raise the prices on their products which gets passed down to us.
Since I had been stockpiling during part of 2020, I was spending a fortune. I was trying to stick to my budget but it was becoming very difficult. So I was taking lump sums of money from savings to continue that way of shopping. When I took a step back during my break from here, I realized we were spending a fortune. I was finally well stocked and really needed to slow the shopping down and get on a regular budget again. I think many of you can probably relate to this.
So about 6 weeks ago, I started doing things differently. I know prices are up and will continue to go up. But I slashed our grocery budget to $400. per month. I am going to try to continue budgeting that amount as long as I can by incorporating into our meals everything that I can from our stockpile ( pantry, freezer, and refrigerator items).
I am menu planning a month at a time now so that when I go to the grocery store I know what I need for the month for the meals that I have planned out.
One week a month I do a large shop at Walmart, Top’s, Niagara Produce or Aldi’s or a combination of them. I do not buy meat at Walmart except for frozen chicken wings. Most of our meat comes from the other three stores. This week I spend the majority of our monthly budget.
How do I determine the big shop week? I watch the grocery flyers and my Niagara Produce weekly specials and go the week that has a lot of things on sale (especially meat and fish) that are needed to replenish what we are using. Meat and fish are expensive so buying at a good price is the best time to stock. Walmart and Aldi’s has the cheapest prices on other items that we use.
I actually was considering joining Costco before the gasoline prices went up. However, it is a 110 mile trip to the closest one. We only get 20 miles to the gallon so that trip would cost us about $16.00 in gasoline each time we went. After paying a $60.00 membership fee, I couldn’t justify the cost. We know the gasoline prices are only going to go up further.
Then I took a look at joining Sam’s Club which is 37 miles round trip. That would only cost us about $ 5.80 per trip. They have a membership deal that works out to be free after a $45. gift card they give you to join. This would be my logical choice if I decide to join. Costco is so much better than Sam’s or B.J’s. I did not renew my B.J.’s membership because I believe they are going belly up. They’re never well stocked and the prices are prohibitive for the quality. So for now I will just stick to my current plan.
The other weeks of the month, I just shop the loss leaders on things like fresh produce, creamer, cream cheese, sour cream, milk, eggs, and butter, etc. It takes me a few minutes to make a list every week and just go in each store for those items and nothing else. No impulse purchases! These shops don’t cost a lot and keep me within my budget.
This has really been working well and is saving me time and gasoline. Before I was going to too many stores just about every week.
Also, we make sure that every morsel of food is used up that is purchased. Nothing goes into the trash! We have a leftover night or two a week which is built into our menu plan. If produce isn’t getting used up, we freeze it for smoothies. If we have onions, celery, or peppers starting to get soft, we slice them and flash freeze them and use them in casseroles, stews or omelets.
If prices keep going up, I will find other ways to stay under budget. For now it is working.
On Wednesday, I will show you my small shop from last Friday. It was an inexpensive week.
Are you finding ways to stay under your grocery budgets even though prices are rising? Feel free to comment and share with all of us.