Posted by Christi | Filed under Christi
Six months ago we moved into our new house. In preparation, we created a budget with our best estimates of what owning a house was going to cost. Recently, I decided to update that budget with some real numbers to ensure we were doing A-OK.
As I went through the last 6 months and added up budget items like electricity, water, and fuel, I realized my estimates were pretty bang on. Yay! We can keep living here! And just as I was about to close my laptop and sleep soundly that night, I decided to check my groceries.
I was expecting that our groceries and personal items totaled less than $500 per month between the two of us. As soon as I hit the equals button, I realized I was wrong. Like, way wrong.
We were averaging almost $650 per month! Here I am, holding my head all high thinking we’re doing just fine, and we’re going 30% over budget.
Cue the self-reflection. Why were our grocery costs so high?
For one, we shop where it’s convenient, not where it’s cheapest. Safeway is 4 minutes from our house, and Superstore might be a whole 5 minutes away, so guess where we go! Everything looks so much better in dim, romantic Safeway light, doesn’t it? Their fruits and vegetables are so much prettier! And let’s face it, they bag your groceries for you. But if a personal bagger is going to cost me an extra $150 per month, I’m going to have to hand him a pink slip.
I also never create a grocery list. I just go up and down every aisle, and when I see something we “need”, I grab it. Isn’t that doing the same thing? Obviously not, because without a prepared list, I am buying what I want, whenever I want.
We’ve all heard that the more prepared the food is when you buy it, the more it will cost. This alone likely explains why our grocery costs are so high. We buy food that takes less than 20 minutes to cook. Food that is frozen solid, that you dump onto a pan and pop into the oven. Food that you slice open, plop into a pot, and cook for 10 minutes. With my choice of words I really should be a food blogger, eh?
Cue the self-realization. I don’t have the slightest idea how to cook! I don’t have a week’s worth of staple meals in my head that I can whip up for everyday dinners. I know how to make a mean spaghetti sauce, and I like making stir fry because I don’t think it’s possible to mess that up. But everything else we buy is frozen, boxed, or ready-to-eat. That is why our grocery costs are so high.
So here’s where you come in; I need your help. What are your go-to, staple meals? Please brag! I need some easy recipes that I can memorize and make after a day at work. I expect that by buying ingredients that are on a grocery list that I bring to a cheaper grocery store, I will be able to get our groceries and personal care items to be under the $500 mark. One day, I want to be that person who looks into her cupboards and just throws something together. If I did that right now, I’d be forced to combine frozen egg rolls, jam, popcorn, and thyme. Wait, is that a stir fry? HELP!
- Christi (@ChristiPosner)