I consider myself to be a fairly frugal shopper. I’m not an extreme couponer, but I do meal plan, make lists based only on what I need, search for coupons (using Target.com/coupons and Fresh & Easy’s weekly emails). For awhile, I tried shopping every other week, and while I loved having an extra day in the weekend that I didn’t have to go out, and I did save money overall, I hated the food options I had left when it got down to the second half of week two. Also, planning meals for 14 days seemed like such an arduous task vs. 7 days. So, I went back to weekly shopping.
Lately however, I’ve noticed my grocery spending has significantly increased. I’m not really doing anything differently (other than shopping weekly again vs. biweekly) but our overall grocery spending has reached about $120 a week for our small family. (My husband, myself and a picky-eats-like-a-bird 5-year-old). Furthermore, though we aren’t actually vegetarians, we go pretty easy on meat consumption, eating meat with dinner usually only twice a week or so. (Other nights we have dishes with tofu or cheese or other sources of protein). Not eating meat daily keeps costs down as well.
I buy organic foods when the price isn’t a ton more than the conventional price, and I regularly buy store brands over brand name, save for a few items (I like Dawn dish soap, Windex cleaner and Cherry Coke Zero as an occasional treat).
For awhile, I was shopping for certain things in bulk, at Costco (and I do have a current Costco membership, though I’ve never purchased more than a few items at a time there — I typically can run in and carry what I need — the cashiers always look at me like I’m very strange when I arrive to check out without a cart filled to the brim). I would buy toilet paper, chicken breasts, paper towels, bread, sometimes cheese and yogurt there, and often lettuce and peppers for the good prices. But, I struggle with coughing up the lump some of cash it takes up front to buy in bulk, and my kitchen storage is tight (I have no pantry, and limited cabinet space).
So, I ask you dear readers, are you winning the grocery game? Is $120 crazy high for a family of three to spend on a week’s worth of groceries? (Keep in mind, this does include things like deoderant, lotion, soap, cleaning products, cotton balls, dog food, etc. — not just meal ingredients alone, AND we eat almost all meals at home or from home food — we bring lunches to work, etc.) What’s your weekly budget like, if I may ask? And, do you feel like you’re getting the most for your money? And, furthermore, what’s your best advice? Should I shop at Costco and fork out the initial chunk of change for the long term savings? I’d love your insight, friends!
[featured images via growthenergy and geopolitical monitor]