As the main shopper in the house, I feel this comes back to me. As we were driving to the meeting, I said to Nick, “Why do I have the feeling I am going to be beat up here?” I justify my spending by saying we make good money, our kids don’t play hockey and we rarely eat out, or go anywhere for that matter. I think we are doing all right. You gotta live!
The first thing the advisor asks me when it comes to our spending habits is the grocery bill.
“Why are you spending $1300 a month on groceries?”
Whoa! I suddenly feel that I am the subject of an intervention on that Debt Do Us Part show. Is Gail Vaz-Oxlade going to strut out from around the corner with the camera crew? Do I really spend that much? I never really took much notice. I just load up the cart and pay by Visa. He asks a few more questions:
“Do you buy all organic?”
“Do you shop at Whole Foods?”
“There isn’t a Whole Foods within 50 miles of our house.”
“Do you buy a lot of prepackaged foods?”
And all of those answers are true. I don’t buy all organic or shop at an expensive store. And I stopped buying a lot of pre made foods last year in an attempt to prepare healthier meals for my family.
So why is my bill so high?
I retrace my steps…four days prior, I had to go grocery shopping. I went to a discount chain, not an upscale one, and loaded up. I needed a lot of basics as well as our usual weekly consumables such as bread, milk, OJ, fruit and veg. My total was $167.00.
Three days later, I had to go back. This is generally my weekly routine: one big shop and one or two extra little shops. We were out of our consumables. I spent another $40 because, on top of the consumables, I realized we also needed ice cream, a frozen pizza and chips for the “kids”.
I also went out to buy meat from a local farm store. Yes, it is more expensive, but I have a hard time buying no-name meat with a 30% off sticker on it from the discount place. That rung me up $40.
So yeah, for my family of four I am spending about $250 – $300 a week, which is $1000 – $1300 a month.
But here is my justification; we rarely eat out. The food I buy suffices for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and dessert most of the time. My husband and I pack lunches for ourselves for work. The kids bring a packed lunch to school.
I asked my friend last night what she spends a month on food. She has a husband and one 12 year old daughter in her house. She said on average, $400. I almost fell off my chair. How can our one extra body (a 9 year old boy, mind you) set us back an extra $600+ a month! What am I doing wrong?
She asked me all of the same questions that the financial advisor did. No, no, and no.
She also asked, “Do you price match?”
No, I don’t. I am sorry but I don’t want to be that person who holds up the line by rummaging through her weekly flyers to show the 16 year old check out girl the cheaper price somewhere else. I go to the discount place, isn’t that enough?
She said that by using the Flipp app, she saves $30 – $40 a shop.
Maybe I will give it a try. Maybe we just eat too much. Maybe I have to buy the discounted meat.
Maybe everyone else is lying about what they spend?
I am curious to know what others typically spend in a month on groceries. If you have any tips on saving money please share them!
At the end of the day, I just need to eliminate the wants and stick with the essentials. Good bye cookie aisle; we are on a diet.