Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Grocery Budget - Thoughts so far

You may have been reading my blog this week and already know about my grocery challenge. If not, I am basically trying to cut my £550 a month food/household/toiletry bill to £250 a month. I have allocated £50 a week and kept £50 in reserve.

I am on day six and today I blew the budget! We went shopping in Tesco this evening and spent over £35.29. However, we normally spend over £70 and so I was pleased with this reduction. This means that in addition to the £14.79 already spent, we are over the £50 weekly food budget (£50.08). I have to buy bread tomorrow as well and I know that my husband has been buying chocolate bars at work and not telling me how much they cost or how often he has bought them.

I have found out a whole host of things already from trying to do this.

- I still do not know how a family can survive on less than £50 a week (I have not even had to buy nappies, wipes, toiletries, potatoes, pasta, rice, couscous, tea, coffee, frozen veg etc)
- I have discovered that shopping around can make a huge difference but is time consuming
- Some 'cheap' shops have certain items which are hugely overpriced
- Unhealthy food seems to be much cheaper
- Shopping in budget shops tempts me less and I make less impulse buys
- A good way to cut down on the food bill is just to eat less or make things go further - water down fruit juice, liquid soap and do not buy bottled water.

I will certainly be continuing with some of my frugal behaviour as it just seems silly to pay more money for food which can be easily bought for less. I have, however, decided to stop the project early - not yet, but it will only last for two weeks instead of the originally planned four. This is because my husbands birthday falls in the third week and I do not want him to suffer because of me being frugal. He is having a week off work so we may be going out and eating out sometime. He works very hard and it will be nice to spoil him.


jay said...

Interesting how spending on a budget throws up those things that you previously consider unimportant ie. buying chocolate bars at work. I used to do this all the time (I can eat a pack of five Mars Bars before lunch - really, I CAN!), but since my clamp-down I very rarely buy any, when I do it's in packs from the supermarket (and usually 'own brand'). I always thought that £50 was going to be tight when you have the two little ones, but I bet having tried it, you can now find a level of spending significantly below your previous level. Well done for sticking it out for two weeks, I'm impressed...

Rachel said...

Thank you for your support! It has been a very useful experience. My husband went to Waitrose yesterday and for the first time complained about the prices! I just need to stop the boys crying every time I refuse to let them go in!

Mizé said...

Hi Rachel. Been awhile since my last comment but I drop by often.
I agree, living with 50.00 for a week is a big challenge, specially when you have to buy nappies and babies items x2.
I´m also trying to cut down my expenses in food and it´s not that easy. I think the experience of trying to cut expense is worth for itself, and when living on a budget one gets more conscious and balanced on spending. Anyway, I think it´s worth trying to find a reasonable budget and work from there, better than cutting drastically.
Best Regards. Mizé.

Rachel said...

I agree that cutting drastically is pretty tricky and I after I have finished my second week, I will set a target which I think is reasonable but will still save us money.

Mizé said...

Hi. I guess it´s the best to do, I´m trying that myself for months:) Every month I ruin the budget (either is one unexpected expense, dinners out, pizza, etc) but now that I control expenses I´m saving money and almost paid my credit card.
Elaborating a weekly menu helps alot too, because you can balance meals (for example 2x week less expensive meals)and shop in advance for the whole week (I manage better weekly, monthly no way).
Anyway you´re right: To save on food, one has to eat less:)
See you soon.

Rachel said...

My husband wants to eat out for his birthday next week so that will probably cost a whole weeks budget but at least I know that I have saved a lot these last two weeks. Well done on saving enough to nearly pay off your credit card - good luck in paying it off soon.