How We Spent Less Than 105 On Groceries
Last year about this time, my husband and I chose to do a bit of a spending freeze on our grocery budget. It becomes a “cook down the freezer and pantry time”. In fact, it becomes an exciting challenge for me as I try to create as many meals as possible out of the ingredients we have at home. There are still opportunities to run out and buy fresh eggs, fruits, and vegetables.
At the time last year, I only managed to bring our grocery bill down to about $200 for the month. Today, however, I’m happy to announce our most recent results.
What it does mean is that grocery shopping is done with deliberate purpose and intent. By using the FREE Pantry Meal Planning sheet, and putting a little thought into meals and the ingredients needed, I can greatly chop the grocery list. This saves money!
Here at Free Stuff 4 Daily Needs, we struggle financially too. So it is our desire that as we find ways that help ease that burden, to share those ideas with you too. EMPOWERING you towards a HOPE and a FUTURE.
The Cost Breakdown
You are most likely wanting to know exactly what I spent, and on what food categories. So for the number crunching folks, here you go:
- Meat $27.68
- Vegetables/Fruit $21.65
- Eggs $21.22
- Dairy $39.13
- Breads $3.38
- Condiments/Sauces $2.47
- Cat Food $3.25
- Toiletries $7.14
For a grand total of $104.70. Yes, an entire month’s grocery shopping for 2 adults for less than $105. If you include the $0.30 bag discounts we got at the Giant Tiger for bringing in our own reusable grocery bags, that total is further reduced to $104.40.
Bag discounts? Yes, for every bag of yours that you use while shopping at the Giant Tiger, they will give you a $0.03 credit on your total bill. So, some shopping trips it was $0.09, meaning we used 3 of our own shopping bags.
Hey, when you struggle financially, every penny does count, even if that coinage no longer exists in our Canadian market.
Meats picked up included just bacon. All of the bacon bought was on sale. Bacon was able to be purchased from $1.99 to $2.67 a package. There was just one instance, where I had to grab one package of bacon for $3.47.
Other than that, all meats or meat substitutes required for the month were found in our freezer or the pantry.
Even after purposely cooking down all of the meats we had at home, we still had more. At the conclusion of last month, we still had enough meats to keep us going for almost another 2 weeks before looking at having to restock our home supplies.
When is the last time you cooked down your freezer? What is the point of reading the meat labels, grabbing meats at great prices, popping them in the freezer, if you never cook and eat them?
It is a question worthy of asking yourself. It might surprise you how many meals you have, right there at home. Again, grab your FREE Pantry Meal Planning worksheet to start figuring it out.
Vegetables And Fruits
Vegetables and fruits picked up allowed fresh food options for meal side dishes and salads. Some fruits were picked up off of the reduced produce shelf, to bring the costs down even lower.
Barry and I consume on average, 10 dozen eggs a month. Now I admit, that if you price out the amount we paid in this month’s example, it is too high. Yes, so, as we’ve carried our dining out at home challenge into this month, I’m going to reduce this by $9 for the month. Instead of paying $2.78/dozen, I’m going to make the effort to pick them up at the locations offering them for $1.88/doz.
So I look forward to reducing the eggs cost down to about $18.80/month.
For Barry and I, dairy items are primarily cream for coffee, cheese, and butter. These are items we use daily in our home. Your dairy needs requirement might be different. Especially if you have children, you will need to purchase more milk or milk substitute products.
I was able to purchase a few pounds of butter for $2.88. This is about the price I like to pay for it. Butter freezes very well, so I always grab extra packages when I can find it for this price or cheaper.
Cheese, I admit, I spent too much on this past month. This coming month, I will only buy cheese that is less than $4 a bar of 650 grams. Paying more than $4 is not a deal. Already, this past week I was able to grab cheese bars for only $3.44 each. Last month in this example, there were times that I had paid as much as $5.77 for the same bar of cheese.
So, from now on, I’m only picking up cheese that is priced less than $4. That means that even the 2 bars for $9 at Walmart is not an option. That is too expensive.
I try to avoid grains in my diet because all they do is stick to my hips as weight. However, Barry still enjoys crackers with soup and the occasional sandwich. So, that greatly explains why our bread purchases are so low.
As we eat bacon and eggs for breakfast every day, with no toast, there is no need to purchase cereals either.
And with the recent bread price fixing amongst large grocery chains, we should all be boycotting bread anyways. I personally tried stopping buying bread after it became $1.50 a loaf. I believe that was too high.
Even today, I see no reason why bread can’t be about $0.79 a loaf. So, buying breads, grains, and cereals, are not a high priority on our grocery list.
Condiments & Sauces
This was simple. As many of these type of items are pantry items, I already had them. However, I did run out of mayonnaise and had to pick up one jar for $2.47. Other than that, I was able to find the condiments, sauces, canned soups, and other items already at home in our pantry cupboard.
Yes, like many of you who also struggle financially, we own a pet. Ours happens to be a mature rescue cat from the OPSCA. His name is “Nameless”. You might giggle, but seriously, that is the name he chose for himself.
He was estimated to be about 8 years old when we got him. As he’d been picked up as a stray, no one knew his name. So, after bringing him home, Barry and I tried for about 3 weeks, calling this cat every name we could think of from A-Z. He responded to nothing. Not even a twitch of his ear or tail.
Finally, one day in frustration, I just said, “Well, I guess you are just going to be a nameless cat!”
The cat perked up, and meowed. What? So I called out “Nameless”. Immediately the cat comes trotting over, tail high in the air and purring.
Ridiculous, I know, but here we are with a cat named—Nameless.
Anyways, back to his food expenses. As we had bought him a bag of food towards the end of the previous month, we did not need to purchase any. In fact, this is now a week into the next month and there are still a couple of days of cat food left in the bag.
However, we did buy Nameless a bag of cat treats last month for $3.25 after taxes.
Again, Barry and I live a simplistic life. This total of $7.14 consisted of a package of toilet paper for $4.49 and a can of shaving cream for $2.24.
So, there you have it. This is the breakdown of how much we spent and on what for the previous month. This is how we spent less than $105 on groceries for an entire month.
I realize that in the near future I will have to do a major meat shopping. But I have a cost cutting plan in place for that too. I’ll share it with you in the coming days. As we’ve continued our dining out at home cost cutting into this current month, I’ll let you know those results next month too.
You can do a cost cutting approach such as this at any time of the year. We chose to do it during the winter months when our finances are always at their tightest. So, if you have a time and an unexpected bill comes in, don’t panic. Instead, look in your freezer and pantry and see if by saving on some grocery expenses, you can find to money to cover that bill.
More than just a game or meal planning challenge, use this cost cutting measures to EMPOWER you towards a HOPE and a FUTURE.