Shrink your food budget Day 1: What do you spend?

It’s none of my business and you don’t have to tell me, but you need to know for yourself.  Do you know how much you spent in December on groceries?  How about November or October?

If you don’t have a clue, search for all the food receipts you can find and add them up. If you are still using credit or debit cards, you’ll have a record on your statements and can add up the charges from food stores to get a ballpark figure. If finding out what you spent those months is impossible, make sure to keep track of what you spend this month.  Every time you spend record it in your phone or keep your receipts.  Pick the method that works for you and do it.

Once you figure out how much you spent, decide how you feel about it.  Is it enough?  Is it too much?  Can you afford it? What do you want that number to be?  WHY?

“Why?” might be the most important question to answer today.  If you don’t have a big enough “why” you won’t be able to stick to any positive change.  Our why includes a hope and a future for our kids.  We can eat our money right now, or they can have music lessons, a college fund and opportunities.  We can’t do both.

Here’s the deal.  I won’t spend less on food if it means my kids are eating non-nutritive junk, and I won’t ask you to do that either.  Is it possible to spend less and still eat healthy food?  I know it is and this month I’m going to show you how.  Who’s with me?

This is Day 1 of our Series: Shrink Your Food Budget

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21 thoughts on “Shrink your food budget Day 1: What do you spend?

  1. Christie says:

    I am excited!!!! I found Aldi 2 months ago and it has been a major $ saver for our family of 5. I honestly think the good tastes better too !!! Thanks for always being an inspiration to me I appreciate all of your knowledge and tips!

  2. Melanie says:

    I’m in! And, when I am talking to friends, I feel like they are probably often underestimating what they spend on food. When I press for details, I typically hear something like, “Well, that’s what I spend at walmart each week. Then we make a sam’s club trip. And we eat out on Wednesdays. And my husband picks up lunch.” My grocery budget includes the *cost of eating*…lol…I guess it helps keep things simple in that we homeschool and my husband doesn’t eat out for work or anything, so we all eat at or from home for pretty much every meal.

  3. Christie says:

    …….the FOOD tastes better. LOL! Every 2 weeks I take $250.00 in cash to shop for our groceries. It has been working good for us☺

  4. Renee says:

    I used to spend around $300 a month, then it crept up because meat prices here in California went up with the drought, $4+ for hamburger, $8-10 for steak, pork loin $3-4 etc. including Costco stuff I’ve been averaging 4-450 a month for the two of us. Which may seem like a lot, but we don’t eat out much, and take our lunches. I average about $80 a week if I shop at Walmart or Food Maxx, Winco type stores. If I go to a “regular” type store like Von’s or Safeway I could easily spend another 30%. We mostly stick to meat, veg and salads with a little starch thrown in. I don’t use coupons too often because it’s mostly for prepackaged type food. If I really had to penny pinch I could probably spend $250 a month, but we would be eating a lot of carbs, rice, beans, etc. This past month with the holidays and baking I know I spent at least $200 more.

    I don’t have children, but grew up in a big family so I like reading about yours. I also paid off a pretty good size of cc debt….mostly by saying “No”. I found your blog by reading about Dave Ramsey.

    • Angela says:

      Hi Renee! It’s so nice to meet you :). Awesome job paying off your cc debt. I’m curious about how food prices differ in different areas of the country, so I’m glad you posted about California.

  5. Holly says:

    NC family of 5 1/2 (grandbaby on the way) and I’m spending $800-$1,000/month on grocery items, pet food and household items. Over the last year it’s become the second largest budget item. Our mortgage is the largest. My husband and I agree that’s insane. Snacks seem to go the fastest. Our grocery bill is out of control and has to stop. Looking forward to following this. Angela, you’ve always been an inspiration to me and I welcome your advice.

  6. nikki says:

    My family of 4 (18 to boy & 14 yo boy) mom & dad, 4 basset hounds, 2 cats. My all in budget is approx $800/mo. This feeds all mouths. I shop @ aldi, Walmart, & Ingle’s (just for my meat). I maybe eat out twice a mo. I wrk full time, take my lunches, & make all my meals.

  7. Rochelle says:

    I have found the best way for me to shop for food is with cash. It makes me think twice about what I buy. We are trying to mostly buy whole foods, so we buy lots of fruits and veggies at Aldi. I buy a few things at Walmart and if I have any money left, I shop at Costco. I found out the hard way that COstco can not be my first stop! We are fortunate that my husband and sons hunt, so they provide for almost all our meat. That allows us to keep our budget fairly low–$250-$300/month for our family of 4.

  8. Denise says:

    Oh boy, I’m afraid to look at what I’ve spent on food over the last couple of months – to include any fast food, lunches purchased at work, going out to eat…. I’m sure that I can cut a couple hundred dollars worth of food in our budget.

  9. LJ says:

    I wish we had an Aldi nearby. We are in Northern Cal and I find it almost impossible to stick to $900 a month. I really need it to be about $200 less to make our budget. This is only food, no eating out or anything. Besides hubby and I, we have a 10 month old and 2 yr old girls, boys ages 14, 16, 18, 19 and our 22 yr old daughter still at home. Myself and 2 teen boys eat gluten free due to Celiac disease. I keep the 2 little girls gluten free also at this point. I eat a higher protein diet and lower carbs as I find it helps with my fibromyalgia and that I’m nursing both girls. I am also borderline diabetic thanks to GD during my last pregnancy.

    We shop Costco, Wal Mart and Grocery Outlet for the most part. I also order some items online from Amazon, iherb or vitacost.

    We don’t eat out, make alot from scratch and eat real, whole foods. Also, we have a garden during the summer. Hubby takes leftovers to work. I do not buy things with HFCS or MSG.
    Food is our second largest bill after our rent.

    What else is there?

  10. Marjorie Cooper says:

    I think I am a bit nervous about my food budget.. I can’t keep to a budget at all and I am sure that food is a big part of that!!
    I am looking forward to reading about your tips!!
    Ty for the help!!

    • Angela says:

      You can do this. When you are getting starting using cash is the MOST important step. It’s also the step that most people try to skip….and then subsequently meet with failure.

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