February Grocery Tally and More

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(Picture found online not sure who to give credit to)
One thing that I liked to see on other blogs when I was starting out was how much do they spend on groceries a month.  We all know Money Saving Mom has a $40 weekly budget for her family of 5!  I’d LOVE to only spend that a week, but I’m just not that good.  I try to keep my monthly grocery budget at $300.  I’ll understand if you want to stop reading this blog now since some of you are cringing it’s so high. Sorry I can’t be more impressive but there it is.  I will say I’d like to spend $60-65 a week instead of $75. Some months I’m close; in January my average was $68 wk.

I started using  THIS Savings Tracker in 2010. I like to see the overall amounts at the end of the month. 

Here’s a look at the summary of my February spending:

Shelf Cost: $923.15

Coupon Savings: $442.48
Total Savings: $610.88
Rebates Owed: $26.88
% Savings: 66.09%
Total Spent OOP for Month: $296.97
Avg. week: $74.24
Have $4 ECB’s
(included b-day party)
Factoring in the additional discounts at stores like Farm Fresh isn’t possible because I don’t have the amount of the regular prices on the receipt. Harris Teeter gives you a line with total VIC savings so those are factored in. Further, I don’t really know how much I saved with Sam’s Club and Commissary purchases vs. outside.

When I say grocery budget I include:
Food, household items, beauty, health and personal items such as cleaners, TP, shampoo, makeup, medications and feminine products.

Note: Prescriptions are from a different fund
Basically it’s my everything budget

Next I think it’s important to know where your money is going. Identify ways to cut the budget if you can and know other ways to cut if you HAD to. Money Saving Mom has a fantastic series going right now, 31 Days to a Better Grocery Budget. I know you ALL read Money Saving Mom so you already know this. For the 1 person that doesn’t, START!

Here’s the reason’s for my budget and where if I HAD to I could cut it:

Feeding a family of 4 plus a cat and fish: No I’m not going to cut a family member or pet, but I could cut some of what I buy

Cat: The biggest part of my cat expense is the litter. I use the crystals that cost me about $15-$17 month! Oh, yes. It makes my life easier, so I buy it.

Coffee Creamer and milk: We use A LOT of coffee creamer and milk. Hubby takes a thermos of coffee to work every morning and I have 2 cups in the am. But wait, in the afternoon we also drink coffee in the winter months (I know, I need to work on this). We also go through 2-3 gallons of milk a week or more. I figure my average spending on creamer and milk is $14+ week!

Meat: My husband expects meat at virtually every meal. In an effort to use less I don’t serve meals where meat is the main event as often, and when I make casseroles and such I use less meat and more veggies (he hasn’t noticed yet).

Lunches: I make lunch for my husband everyday (almost). He works in the construction industry (union pipe fitter) so lunches must be good cold and include a lot of food. He burns about 2X the amount of calories in an 8 hr work day than the average person should consume a day. Further, I also make lunch for my brother so that’s lunches for 2 grown men.

Sensitive Skin: Some family members have sensitive skin, so I have to watch what products I buy. Example: we can only use All or Tide Free and Clear laundry detergent.

I do want to add that before I started my crazy obsession with coupons and saving money, I’d spend $600-$700 month on groceries for 2 adults and a baby!  I’d also only average $40-$50 a month in coupon savings.

Look at the USDA guide HERE to see what it says you should be spending on food.  My family size’s liberal plan is $226.30 week! The thrifty plan is $116.20 week or $503.30 month! I’m not sure if I should be happy for my family or sad for everyone else. 

I would be interested to know your budget, budget killers or tips for cutting your budget.


  1. Ginger says

    I started using the same savings tracker spreadsheet in Jan also. My groceries include it all as well, no separate cleaning/hygeine budget. My shelf cost is what I paid for the item. Since I don't take the time to write FF nonsale prices (and as you mentioned they don't print on the receipt), I just decided that I would make all things equal. We do also shop at the commissary twice a month. These trips are in my totals.

    Feb 2010

    Shelf cost 477.54
    Q savings 178.27
    Total savings 290.26
    Total Oop for the month 187.28
    60.78% total savings.

    Our family is usually 2 adults, 1 ten yr old and 2 cats. But my husband is currently deployed so not the best budget for a family of 2, I know.

    I encourage myself w/the reality that Jan oop total was $44O!! and only 43% savings.

    Working toward the goal. Thanks for sharing your totals too.

  2. momondealz says

    Our budgets have a lot in common! Our grocery bill was about the same as yours before I began couponing too,so definitely don't feel too bad (although I do too!:) ) We have 2 adults, 1 toddler, and a teenager that is here part time (stepson), and a dog. We also include everything (including diapers) in our grocery budget, but also do not include meds as I have allergies that cost a lot. I would say the best tip is to begin tracking it and make it your goal to reduce the bill at least 10% a month.

  3. Dana says

    I love the savings tracker! I used to record everything on the cash envelope, but I like to see all the savings and a breakdown of everything right in front of me.

    I'd say the change from Jan to Feb is VERY encouraging. That's Great!

    I like the 10% tip. Bringing the budget down slowly helps you to stick with it. Thankfully, no more diapers here!!!


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