The Frugal Canadian

A frugal spender seeks to find new ways to save money and increase her net worth.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Reducing our Grocery Bill

I used to be very good at managing our food budget, but it has increasingly become a larger and larger expense each month. A recent analysis of our expenses showed that for a family of 3 we're spending close to $900 a month on groceries. This includes our 2 year old son, who at this point, really just eats scraps. I've set a new budget of $500/month initially and would like to get it down to $400.

I plan on doing this by setting a weekly menu and do one big shop. Our busy lifestyle has left us with last minute meal ideas and many trips throughout the week to the grocery store. Without a plan, we often would pick up convenience foods, or buy a few items on our way home without a real plan. The result is a higher cost for prepared foods which are undoubtedly higher in sodium and less healthy and a lot of wastage food. We'd buy items on a whim without any plan for them only to find them waste away in our fridge. We once thought that picking up a few items each night for dinner would help reduce our bill but it's had the opposite effect. We often pick up extras adding to a higher bill and it doesn't address existing leftovers in our fridge. So what I'm hoping to do is set a weekly menu which will list out all ingredients for the entire week. This means that if I have a stirfry on Monday which has broccoli, I'll plan later in the week to have another meal with broccoli so I don't let half a head of broccoli go to waste. This will help me know exactly what i'm spending on each week and also eat a better diet. Also, once I have a spreadsheet of prices, I'll be able to better budget as I'll know exactly what items are costing me. Wish me luck!


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