I can honestly say that grocery shopping is the only shopping I truly enjoy. Add in the challenge of doing so with a miniscule budget and I'm all in. I've decided to continue in 2018 with our current budget of $150 per month (USDA average is $500 for a family of 3 on the Thrifty Plan) for food and $25 per for nonfood items. Can we do it! Yes, but will we? That is certainly the goal.
Some of you have asked for more details and specifics with regard to how I shop in order to stay within our budget. Especially as I not only manage to feed a family of three, but also keep a well stocked pantry and chest freezer. I will do my best to accommodate you.
As most of you already know I keep a spreadsheet and I track every penny as it is spent. At the end of each month I share that spreadsheet with you to show what I bought and how much I paid. I will include my nonfood spending this year as well.
One thing I've learned is that in order to maintain this budget I cannot be loyal to any one store. Prices fluctuate and change with the economy and different stores have different overhead. They also have different sales, so I literally shop around for the best prices. I'm also not brand loyal either and never really have been. I look for the best quality at the lowest possible price.
I shop around for coupons online and in the store ads as well as on their websites. I have a store loyalty/rewards card for each store that offers one and I download a lot of digital coupons and special offers. The more I use it the more they tend to offer.
I keep a pantry list of items I want to stock and make sure I have all of those items on hand. With a well stocked pantry and freezer I can make pretty much anything we want and accommodate guests for a meal as well.
Additionally I meal plan, we eat leftovers, pack our lunches, keep dining out to a minimum and enjoy a lot of healthy food. There are plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables in our home at any given time. Eating healthy is not expensive. But, eating junk is.
Once again I'll be shopping and sharing with all of you what I buy and how I do it. So stay tuned! And of course, I am always happy to answer any questions you may have.