Well, my first attempt to try and fix my finances by cutting my grocery bill has been a fail. A big fat, dismally disgusting fail. Fortunately, I can see where I made mistakes AND thanks to this blog I have no choice but to try it for another three weeks before attempting another tactic. (This is the self-imposed length of any experiment I do… four weeks. It’s amazing the things you learn in four weeks, especially with stray cats and boyfriends. )
As I detailed in my original post, the goal was to cut my grocery bill by creating a meal plan based on things I already had. In theory, I would have to buy less and would thus spend less. In theory that’s great on paper. Reality has another thing in mind.
Firstly, I did make my meal plan. And as mentioned before, I struggle at sticking to any type of meal plan or self-imposed schedule. So, needless to say, my first attempt to stick to my meal plan wasn’t successful. My biggest mistake was I didn’t take into account Halloween. The first day of my meal plan we had a Halloween party so neither Davis or I were hungry for anything when we got home. Meal was pushed to Monday which was actually Halloween. Again, no time for supper and Davis was too full of junk from her daycare party to eat anyway. Day one meal pushed to day three. We did well on day three and four but then day 5 we were at the vet and I ended up buying Chinese take-out – which was a waste of $20 because it was gross and Davis wouldn’t eat it anyway. By this point I gave up on said meal plan and just cooked what we had.
Did the meal plan actual reduce my grocery bill? Not really. I spent about $97 in groceries that week – and that was only buying the stuff we needed. Ugh. Add the $20 for take out and it’s $117 in food that week.
My second major mistake was I didn’t take into account being tired from work. And toddler tempers and desire for your attention when you get home from work. It’s hard for a working parent to cook a full on meal every night after work. Even harder when it’s only you doing all the housework, playing and cooking. Planning left over nights and meals that can be frozen for quick healthy meals later is really important as it gives you a break from the rush of come home, cook, clean, play, clean, bath… you get the picture.
Now it’s close to the end of the second week and no, I have no meal plan this week. I thought I’d just get a few things that I needed but that turned into a lot more than the few items on my list. It’s amazing the things you remember you need when you’re there. And I’ve realized when Davis is with me it’s harder for me to stick to the list. If only we could leave our kids in the car like they did in the 70’s (joking… sort of.) This week’s grocery bill is $109 thus, I’m still on the quest to cut my spending in this area.
I’ll attempt another meal plan and see if I can refine it to make it easier to follow. If after four weeks this doesn’t work I’ll try something else. Trying is always better than giving up.
How do you keep your grocery bills reasonable? Got any tips? Please let me know as I’m drowning in the sea of food costs.