So for those of you who took the grocery challenge this year, here are my updated numbers:
2011 Grocery Budget Goal: $3600 ($300 a month)
Year to Date spent: $2357.12
Remaining budget: $1242.88
I know it looks like I am way over budget--but it will even out by the end of the year. First, $200 of this was party expenses--which I budgeted for separately, so technically I could deduct that amount, but I wanted to leave it in for now to just to show the numbers (plus we had a nice amount of leftovers which has already provided us several meals this week).
Secondly, my freezer is well stocked in meat--a while back I was able to pick up boneless, skinless chicken breast for $1.60 a lb, so I bought 60 lbs which went into freezer meals, marinades and extra chicken.
Third, I just paid for a bulk grain order which was close to $400. That includes about a years supply of wheat berries, dried beans, salt, and honey plus the storage containers. With my garden started and my neighbor who runs a little farm stand in his front yard, my fresh fruit and veggie cost over the next few months will be very small. My freezer is fairly well stocked and I have plenty of baking supplies, so it is likely that my monthly expenditures through the fall will be around $100 a month--although I will keep you updated. I also plan on doing a lot of canning and preserving this summer/fall to help cut down on our expenses going into the winter.
Because we buy in bulk--we have always built some flexibility into our budget--so we have the extra on months when we need to pay for big orders or buy bulk meat. I know that is not always possible for everyone, especially when you are first working on cutting your budget--just set aside a little extra when you can (even $5 at a time will add up) for months when there are good sales or to make the bulk purchases. I can remember one year we even had a yard sale and used the money to buy a side of beef that lasted us a full year.
Over the next few months I will share some more of my bulk storage area and tips and also cover the basics on canning and dehydrating recipes.