WRAL SmartShopper

WRAL SmartShopper

Thursday thoughts: Faye's revised grocery budget

Posted September 27, 2012 10:40 a.m. EDT
Updated September 27, 2012 10:42 a.m. EDT

 

As we all know, the cost of groceries has been increasing. In some cases, prices for items like peanut butter, have gone up as much as 40% in the last year. The bad news is that this trend will not be slowing anytime soon. Because of the drought in the Midwest, prices will continue to increase. Some experts are predicting increases of 10 – 30% on meat, dairy and grain products.

After many years of having a weekly grocery budget of $70 for our family of 4, it’s time for a change. There are a number of factors that have prompted me to adjust our budget. My kids are older and eat more, the cost of food has clearly increased and finally, we are eating “cleaner”. Fruits and veggies cost more than high fructose corn syrup-laden processed food. I am thrilled that my kids love pears and plums and pineapple. My budget….not so much. So, I have increased our weekly food budget to $80 per week, which is basically $20 per person. This does not include non-food items like cleaning, paper products and bath and beauty.

Up until recently, our $70 budget did include paper products, cleaning and bath and beauty items, but not any more. Don’t get me wrong, I am still able to get very good deals on these items using coupons, drug store promotions and gift cards from Swagbucks and by cashing in credit card rewards (there is no annual fee on the card and we pay it off every month so there are no interest charges). Using coupons, promotions, and gift cards I am able to keep my non-food spending on essentials down to $10 per week for toilet paper, paper towels, hair care, oral care, other bath and beauty, cleaning and other non-food essentials. Considering that I have a teenage daughter with long hair who uses amazing amounts of hair care product, this is quite an accomplishment!

One of the things I plan to change in the coming year is my garden. Years ago, we grew awesome gardens with tons of veggies. As we became busier with the kid’s activities and our work, my husband and I let the garden slide a little more each year. This year I only planted a few container plants and we had a pretty sad crop of tomatoes. Next year, I am going to focus on growing more and freezing more. If anyone knows how I can grow some frugal pineapples here in NC, please let me know!

I want to thank all of you for posting the deals and coupons you find every week. I am very grateful that we have this community of “smart shoppers” and that we can help each other save, save, save!.

Has your budget felt the increase in prices? I think it would be interesting to know your grocery budgets as well.  I know many of you track your weekly spending.

How many people are you feeding and how much on average are you spending per week on food?