In the month of August, for two people, I spent $628.26 on groceries. That number does not include eating out or any household items- just food from the grocery store or Target. That was a little under 9% of our net income last month. I’m not sure if that is an unreasonable percentage, but it is the highest dollar amount we have ever spent on groceries. When I see our total debt only decreased by $700.25 over the same month, I see the grocery spending as a major opportunity for improvement this month.
Stupid Things I Do With Food
I buy too much of it. My pantry is overflowing. I have no shelf or cabinet space left. I cleaned out the pantry recently and found food that I didn’t even know I had anymore. The freezer is so full I have to spend time digging and rearranging it when I come home with groceries (yes, I add more food to the already overflowing freezer).
I throw it away. Just last week I threw out about $12 worth of old food from the refrigerator. A couple weeks before that I threw away a rather large amount of food from the pantry because it was expired, though I did not take the time to think about how much money was wasted then. It strikes me as rather ridiculous that I throw away perfectly good food just because I didn’t feel like eating it in time or I was too lazy to do so. It’s not that $12 of wasted food is breaking the budget, but it is a good indication of a problem- and I can tell you that I’ve had this problem for a while.
Smart Things I Can Do With Food
Obviously, I don’t have all the answers, but my first step is to eat the food I have and not waste any! Last week I made a large portion of rice. It was tasty and I had a lot left over. In the past, I would have stored the leftovers in the fridge, maybe have one more serving, and let the rest just languish there for a while until I had forgotten about it and forgotten how old it is- then throw it away. This time, I brought the leftovers to work for lunch and didn’t stop until I had eaten all of it. So not only did I not waste food in the first place, but I saved a lot by using it at work and not eating out or preparing other meals for lunch.
I’ve read a lot of great blog posts recently about spending on food. I’m going to work to implement some of these ideas and see what kind of progress I can make this month. Look for updates in the future.
Here are a few of the great posts I read recently:
- How to Feed Yourself for $15 a Week, from Get Rich Slowly
- Survey: How Much Do You Spend on Food?, from Get Rich Slowly
- Eight Simple Ways to Reduce Food Costs, from The Simple Dollar