A while ago, Gayle over at Grocery Cart Challenge received a negative comment on her blog. I can't find the comment now, but it was along the lines of "Your grocery budget is impossible. You are not giving your children enough fruits and vegetables."
At one point when I found Gayle's blog I too thought it was impossibly low. I couldn't imagine how she could possibly feed her family of 6 on $60 per week. Her blog encouraged me! Instead of being angry at her, I sat in awe of her. I think I sat down and read every post that she wrote. I was intrigued because she didn't use coupons and her dinners looked like something I would cook.
Our budget was TIGHT. Seriously TIGHT. We spent too much on our house (oh hindsight!) and then my husband was supposed to get a raise, but ended up getting a pay cut instead. Something had to give. With a heartfelt prayer and my paper and pen, I ran the numbers and found that there was NO WAY I could have such a low food budget. However, I decided that I would take $75 per week for our family of 4 and MAKE IT WORK. It seemed impossible to do, but amazingly enough, it worked. I was able to get our budget down to $60 per week. I shopped once a week and that's it. I wasn't malnourishing my family, we were eating almost the same things we were eating when I was spending more.
So what was the difference?
- Cash. I knew I couldn't fall back on my debit or credit card. I was limited so I bought the most important items first.
- Focus on the week - what do I need to get through the week. I stopped using the pantry principle for a time.
- It was rare that I'd buy anything prepackaged. Tortillas were an exception. I tried making those several times, but couldn't get the hang of it.
- Prayer and DETERMINATION
Now that I have $400 per month to spend, I'm still applying the same principles that I used when I first started following Gayle's plan (make a menu, use cash, and shop once a week. FOCUS FOCUS FOCUS). Be grateful for what I have!
It's not impossible to decrease your grocery spending, but it does take EFFORT!