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Frugal Living: $150 Monthly Grocery* Challenge for Three Week 1

Aside from our mortgage payment, the next biggest monthly expense for our family is groceries. I am fantastic at finding deals, however, I am not so great at remembering to eat what I had bought. This means we sometimes waste groceries which is essentially throwing money in the garbage. As an accountant, I am a little miffed with myself that I allow this to happen.

For the month of March, I have reduced our monthly grocery and dining out budget to $150 a month for the three of us. Since I am well stocked with lots of pasta, rice, flour and meats, most of the budget will be for fresh fruits, vegetables, milk and other grocery items.
                     Conquering the grocery budget is no easy task!

Our family is nut-free (my little man is allergic to both peanuts and almonds) which means we cannot always purchase the cheapest prepackaged products. As I have discovered over this past year, having a nut allergy is not as expensive as those who need to avoid milk, eggs or wheat. Since many packaged foods contain his allergens, we *try* to make most of our food from scratch and *try* to eat whole foods as much as possible.

Also of note is that we guzzle milk in our household. We go through 8 litres of milk every week. Milk is also more expensive in Canada than in the U.S. It costs about $4.50 for a 4 litre jug of milk (just over a gallon of milk), and as a result, it accounts for approximately 24% of my $150 monthly budget. 

With this budget challenge, I will be:
  • Scouring my pantry and freezer for my daily meal planning
  • Tracking all grocery and dining out receipts through a receipts jar
  • Tracking all perishables using my whiteboard so I stop wasting food
  • Preparing make ahead meals for those busier nights
  • Reducing temptation to impulse shop at Costco!! (this is my biggest weakness)
  • Posting my receipts for weekly grocery shopping trips every Sunday
  • Scanning flyers for loss leaders (what the grocery stores sell at a loss to get you in the door) and clipping coupons (physical, online, and through smart phone applications).

Week 1 Grocery Purchases: $60.15 (Amount Remaining: $89.85)
Produce: $25.41
Grocery: $6.08
Meat: $28.66 (Leg of ham @ $1.88/lb; Bone-in pork shoulder @ $1.48/lb)

Meal Planning (Lunch and Dinners*)
Sunday: Stir-fried Eggplant (check back for recipe), Eggs with Garlic Chives, Steamed Broccoli, Rice
Monday: Baked ham, mashed potatoes, steamed veggies
Tuesday: Homemade Hawaiian pizza (with leftover ham and pineapples); making a double batch to freeze one for later (check back for recipe)
Wednesday: Mushroom crusted ham and cheese pie (check back for recipe)

* For breakfast, we usually keep it simple with cereal and oatmeal. For lunch, we generally have the previous night's leftovers.

I would love to hear from you on how you save on your grocery bills! Do you track your grocery bill? If so, how do you keep your grocery budget in check? How do you prevent wasting food?

Source: Frugal Allergy Mom

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