Sunday, February 27, 2011

Journey to Spending Less

My journey to cutting our grocery budget has had a lot of ups and downs but I think that finally, after 6 months, I can say that we've built our stockpile up enough that I can look at the grocery ads and buy only the absolute best deals.... and I actually think I've got a much better handle on what those deals are now.

As we started, it was all about stockpiling, so not only was I having to buy what we needed that week but I was trying to buy (in bulk) the things we would use over time. Maybe we weren't out of that item yet but we'd use it and better to buy it when it's on sale and have it than to need it later and pay full price.  The painful part is that as you go along you think you will never really get to a point where you can stop stocking up.

The Journey
September 2010 - We started off back in September with just setting a grocery budget.  That alone was new for us.  In the months prior we'd spent $5-600/month on groceries.  There was usually 1 or 2 big trips but most of what we spent was on little trips here and there.  It's amazing how much you can spend just running to pick up some milk.  So we started off just putting a budget in place of $400/month.  I know that seems like a lot to most people (and it even does to me now) but for us at the time it was a start.

I remember that first trip when we looked at the sales and saw that our detergent was on BOGO and decided we'd better buy 4 bottles (after all, who knows when it will go on sale again).  We needed butter and there was a blinkie machine with a coupon for the butter we use and we stood there for a good 10 minutes trying to figure out which size would be the best price.  It's definitely a learning curve.

I remember trying to explain to my husband the reasoning behind stockpiling and why I was buying a ton of something that we didn't necessarily need RIGHT NOW.  It took a few trips of him seeing me come home with a massive amount of items for less than half of what we would have normally spent for twice that much before he understood.  It also took my explaining to him that my goal was to cut our grocery budget even further and that by January 2011 I wanted to have our budget down to $50/wk.

November 2010
In November we managed to cut our grocery budget down to $75/week and not even feel it. 

January 2011
I started out trying to cut our grocery budget down to $50/wk right off and soon realized I may have cut it too fast too soon.  It hurt.  We made it through January and only went slightly over (really just using up reserves of what we didn't use from December), however it was tight and I used most of our budgeted funds in the first half of the month.

February 2011
I didn't plan well at all for February, evidently I thought it was further away than it was.  The Kroger Mega sale snuck up and bit me in the butt.  I knew we'd be doing major stocking up on 2 items at that sale but I just didn't plan for it properly.  We ended up spending $350 in February.

I started this week with just $20 that I took out for groceries and so far I've only spent about $2 of it, despite buying well over $30 worth of groceries so far.  Looking forward into this coming week I SHOULD be able to continue spending and saving at that rate.  Hopefully, I don't screw anything up.  What' I'm realizing, though, is that looking at our stockpile and looking at what we need/ what's on sale there are fewer and fewer items we need to stockpile and those that I do see I can get for extremely cheap or practically free.

Thinking about it, I know it seems much simpler than it really is, and I'm going to start sharing more tips on how to get started saving money & stockpiling.  I think it was something that came fairly easily to me, but I don't think it would have without the help of some other amazing blogs who really break down the sales and do the  coupon match-ups week after week.


  1. Hi Julie,
    I wanted to thank you for sharing your journey of stockpiling.
    It feels good to hear that I am not the only one that screws the budget up some months and does not exactly plan appropriately.

  2. Lisa - thanks for letting me know I'm not alone!