Well, we are back! We got back late last night, and it will take me a few days to get back into the swing of things, but the blog will go on. I have lots to share financially from our trip (two words: budget failure) and also just a lot of general financial things that have been floating around in my brain. There will be new posts tomorrow and Tuesday and I plan on the blog being back up to speed and in full force by Wednesday, maybe sooner. We’ll see. Vacations turn my brain to mush.
But something that has to be done, no matter how mushy my brain, is grocery shopping. Even before Mrs. Micah submitted her guest post to me on overbuying and underbuying, I knew I was an overbuyer. I just didn’t know what it was called. And working on controlling that has actually been the key to making my grocery budget work this month. In the past, there were things I bought every week, pantry staples, that I just bought every week without thinking about it. Yes, they were all things we use, and yes, we did use them. But much like bulk buying just because it is a good price without any further thought to need, buying a set list of items every week ‘just because’ can wreak havok with your grocery budget. And, in fact, it did. This month, I vowed to not have ANY standard ‘set’ list, and only buy what I was really out of or what was on a significant sale. And instead of hovering around $90/week, I have consistently been hitting the low to mid $70′s.
That’s the good news. The bad news is this makes me realize I need to drop my grocery budget back down to $75 for the new year. No more feeling self-satisfied because I hit way under budget like I did this month. But, that’s okay. It is better to save money and reduce the budget. Especially since the smaller my budget is, the more potentially I have opened up to debt reduction.
This week, I spent $53.45 at Aldi and $16.59 at Walmart for a total of $70.04. I bought two packages of hamburger rolls on special for $0.25 each, so $0.50 total or 0.7% of my total spending for impulse purchases. Part of that is that Christmas provided us with tons of snack foos in our stockings, and part is due to me squelching the overbuying tendencies.
Overall, I am $78 under budget for the month of December in groceries. Which means I spent an average of $70.31 each week for the 4 weeks we were home to shop. I am going to set next month’s budget at $300 or $75/week, because as I actually use up my pantry staples I will have to replace them and spend a little more than I have been. But I think the pantry will carry me through another low-spending month… I really am a serious hoarder.
And the under budgetness in groceries this past month will help counterbalance the fact that I did not factor tolls and food on the road into my Christmas trip budget at all… more on that later. As I said – complete budget failure. Not a spending failure – a budgeting failure. Heh.