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One of my goals for the year is to reduce our grocery budget and spend less than $300 a month on groceries.
Well, I failed in January, the first month!
But, I’m not giving up! New habits and goals take time to reach. So, I’m evaluating how I can improve and making a plan to do better in February.
Good habits take time!
Are you joining me in the grocery budget challenge? If so, how did your first month go?
It’s not too late to join! Challenge yourself and set a goal you want to spend each month. Start now!
January Grocery Budget Challenge Update + How I Plan to Do Better in February
So, I already told you I failed. But, I still want to keep myself accountable and evaluate how I can improve for next month.
I’ll show you what I spent, what I think worked well and what didn’t, and some things I’m doing differently for February.
This is just for the 2 of us and includes household items since I buy those at the grocery store mostly.
We also eat almost every single meal at home (breakfast, lunch, and dinner). So, I don’t have a separate budget for eating out – we just try to hardly ever go out.
Related Post: $40 Weekly Meal Plan for 2
What I spent in January:
Total = $123.23
Dollar General $20.86
Total = $85.96
Total = $70.32
Total = $76.46
Monthly Total = $355.97
$55.97 over budget. 🙁
Ok, so now I need to figure out what worked and what didn’t work so I can do better!
What worked & what didn’t work so well
- Meal planning – knowing what I’m cooking each week really helps me know what to buy
- Shopping at Aldi – they have the best all the time prices in our area
Related Post: The Complete Guide to Meal Planning
Related Post: $30 Weekly Meal Plan + Aldi Grocery Shopping List
What didn’t work so well:
- Shopping lists – I always make a shopping list and stick to it, BUT I sometimes forget things to put on that list. So, I end up going back later in the week and get more things.
- Shopping in a hurry – Now that I work from home, I hate going out and running errands. We live about 30 minutes from “town”, so I try to group my errands and do them all together. But, I get tired and ready to get home. So, I rush and try to shop as fast as I can. Meaning I grab things quickly, don’t look for coupons, or search different stores.
How I plan to do better in February
I have a few ideas of how I can do better next month and stick to my $300 grocery budget. Also, February is a shorter month so hopefully I’ll make it! 😉
Grocery Inventory Checklist
I am a NERD, y’all.
So read what didn’t work so well #1 above.
I was tired of forgetting things we needed and making multiple trips to the store, sooooo…. I made this grocery inventory checklist of all the things we use, categorized by store section.
Looking at our freezer, fridge, and cabinets, I typed out the things we buy all the time. So now when I make my grocery list, I will use this inventory checklist to make sure I don’t forget anything.
You can make your own using Word or just hand write it and make copies. I would provide you with one, but what you buy at the store will most likely be way different than mine.
This should help tremendously cut down on the trips I make to the store. I plan to go through the checklist at the beginning of the month, and make sure we have enough of everything for the month.
Then, I know what we need and what sales to look for.
Monthly Meal Planning
I just planned out all of our dinners for February. By planning my meals for the month instead of each week, I know what all ingredients and food I need to buy for the month.
Then, I can look for sales on these foods and buy ahead when I see a great deal.
Related: Yearly Budget Planner
Shopping at Kroger
I used to only shop at Publix, then discovered Aldi and love love love it!
It’s hard to change where you shop because you know where things are at, how everything works, and you have your parking space (oh, just me..).
But, sometimes changing the stores we shop at can mean big savings!
I follow Moneysavingmom.com and she has been posting a lot of Kroger markdown and deals she gets there. Since, I knew I was failing at my grocery budget, I decided to stop in and give it a try.
I stopped in Kroger real quick and got a Kroger savings card so I can get all the deals.
They have markdowns on soon to expire meat and produce. I got some chicken, ground beef, and produce and plan to go back a lot more in February.
Getting back to coupons
We cancelled our newspaper delivery after the price went up, so I no longer get ads and coupons in the mail. I just didn’t think I was saving enough by using coupons to make the newspaper price worth it.
So, I have just been shopping sales and going to Aldi.
I’m planning to get better with digital coupons and printable coupons in February. It does take some time to match coupons with deals, but sites like moneysavingmom.com and passionatepennypincher.com have great coupon matchup posts!
I’ll plan out a few minutes once a week to look these up and get everything ready for my shopping trip.
Are you joining me in the Grocery Budget Challenge?
So, that’s how my grocery budget challenge went for January and how I plan to improve in February!
This challenge is keeping my accountable and helping me keep up with everything. If you are joining me, comment below and let me know how January went for you and your plans for February!
Related: 30 Day Money Saving Challenge
I’m not giving up or giving myself a hard time for not hitting the mark in January. I’ve got a new plan for February and I’m aiming for progress not perfection!