OK, kids. Here it is. The first part of the plan for 2010: to cut our grocery bill in half.
How it started
It started with this.
A red pepper.
Yes. 1 red pepper. In fact, this exact red pepper.
I was at the grocery doing our weekly shopping last Saturday, list in hand. I made my way to the produce section and per a recipe I was making that week, I needed a red pepper. Just one. I look up and notice the price per pound.
Nearly $5 for a pound of peppers!!
Considering I'm not Peter Piper and I have no idea how much a peck of peppers weighs--pickled or otherwise--I picked the smallest one out of the bin, and put it in my cart. I breezed through the store, got my weekly items and checked out. This photo is deceiving because of the angle. Really. It's not that big.
As I watched the items ring up on the cash register and contribute to the total, I couldn't help but notice how much that one little pepper cost.
ALMOST TWO DOLLARS AND FIFTY CENTS FOR ONE PEPPER.
I'm not dumb. I knew it wouldn't be 20 cents. But I thought it would be, at most $1.50.
I was mad.
No. Scratch that.
I was pissed off.
Not because I picked a recipe that had a red pepper as an ingredient, but mad because the cost of my grocery budget keeps going up and up and up and I'm tired of it. The kicker to this is that we don't buy stuff on a whim. We don't have a cupboard full of snacks and junk food. We don't have a freezer bursting at the seams. We are a modest couple who makes a shopping list and menu each week so that we don't pull the "I-don't-feel-like-cooking-so-let's-order-a-pizza" card.
Yet. My grocery bill has grown slowly since the fall of 2007. It's bad enough that gas is starting to crawl back up again.
So, the plan? To spend up to $60 a week on groceries, with a monthly trip to Costco of up to $60. The savings would go directly into our money market savings account. My money manager, Chad, will be thrilled to hear this!
I know that there are a lot of blogs that do this already--so I cannot take credit for this idea. But what is different with our situation is this: we do not live near discount grocery stores (Aldi, for example), food co-ops, food liquidators or a discount bakery. We also can't do a "shop the ads for the best deal"--we have one grocery store. That's it. OK, there is a Super Wal-Mart, but other than canned goods, I will not shop there for groceries (at least, not this location. Food safety, anyone?).
Yes, there are coupons, but honestly, they are mostly for items I don't use. So, while there are some savings, it isn't huge.
*Continue to meal plan with the intention of taking left overs to work or freezing them for later use.
*No menus full of processed meals in a box (pasta and the occasional side dish are the exception). *Each lunch and dinner will consist of a protein source and a veggie serving.
*Meals for special occasions need to be a part of the menu plan
Each week I'll post what our meal plan is, how the grocery shopping went, the cost, etc. Hell--I'll even photograph the receipt to prove it!
Can we do it and live on more than pasta, condensed soup and Hot Pockets?
I hope so. Because while I can live on soup and a hot pocket every day, I don't think the Big Guy can.
Monday, I'll go into part 2 of the plan--buying nothing new for 2010 (and the small catch that I've factored into the plan before the new year began....).