At my last update (10JAN), I was sitting around $124 for my balance on my food spending for the month. Not too bad, given that that shopping trip actually lasted us about 2 weeks. I made one more trip to the store on 24JAN and spent $99.01 after taxes.
So my grand total for the month of January was $223.01.
Pretty close to the $200 goal I had set for myself for the month. And we've used up a lot of the stuff I had lingering in the pantry and in the freezer. We ended the month with 900+ fuel points so MacGyver and I will tag team the gas station one day this month and pump 35 gallons at a 90 cent discount, saving $31.50 on our gas bill. WOOHOO!
Today was my first shopping trip of the month and, in terms of coupons, I really wasn't prepared. I need to be more diligent about tracking down newspaper coupons - whether it's by ordering them from a clipping site or buying the Sunday paper here locally. I do pretty well printing coupons from the internet and matching them up with the store sales but I suspect I would do even better if I would be more aggressive in going after the coupons from the Sunday paper. That being said, our shopping has started to veer away from the processed foods (for which you can find copious amounts of coupons) and more toward whole foods and unprocessed foods. Unfortunately, coupons for those items are more difficult to come by.
Because I had been sticking to a relatively bare bones budget last month, it was almost a relief to be able to shop 'normally' this time around. That being said, I still managed to keep this trip under our regular bi-monthly budget limit. My shopping trip was further burdened by several special events this pay period: a birthday party tonight (finger foods), a SuperBowl gathering tomorrow (pico de gallo, buffalo chicken dip, dessert), and breakfast Sunday at church (either pumpkin bread or baked French toast). Toward the end of the month, we'll have The Boy's birthday party too, which will also add to our food spending but I have a little money socked away for his party so that should lessen the impact. His party will take place between lunch and dinner so the menu will be light. He's planning a Minecraft-themed party so that helps as well: apples, cake, Rice Krispie Treats and Brownies cut into block shapes, Orange Fanta, and watermelon if I can find it and if it's not ridiculously expensive.
This week, I spent:
- produce $50.46 (I splurged on vine-ripened tomatoes for my pico, raspberries and blueberries for our breakfasts, colored bell peppers because they were on sale, and loaded up on fruits for the kids, and potatoes because they make inexpensive meals)
- soups/chili $30.40 (LOTS of sales and I had coupons to match. When it's cold, we love soups for lunches and dinners and MacGyver takes them with him to work because they are easy to do up and keep him from going out for lunch)
- the rest was dairy, a few processed/prepared items, some pantry staples, fish, bacon, and kielbasa. I still have a few things I need to grab at the commissary the next time I'm on post because I can't justify the prices at the local store (i.e. popcorn. It's about $1.25/box at the commi and $3.79 for the same box at the local store. Commi wins.)
All in all, I spent $235.15 before coupons and in-store discounts. My club card saved me $39.64. I had $8.50 in coupons and, because my store doubles, I saved an additional $2.90. My final bill was $184.11. I also racked up enough fuel points on this shopping trip to save 80 cents per gallon of gas (the max is $1.00/gallon so we'll knock off $35.00 from our fuel bill this month) between the money I spent on food and the gift cards I purchased. My coupon savings came out to be about 22% which isn't too shabby.
Not too shabby.