Let's take a moment to talk about budgets. One of the very first concepts I talk about in my classes and workshops is establishing a budget.If you don't know how money you are spending at the grocery store, then you won't ever be able to determine how much you are really saving. Sure, you can see savings at the bottom of your receipt but I'm talking about reducing your costs overall.
If you don't know what you are spending each month, I suggest taking a tally of the last month or last 2 months and go from there. It is important to have a starting point.
In order to set an appropriate budget you need to consider the specifics of your family. Here are a few things to ponder:
- What is your household size?
- What percentage of meals eaten at home?
- Do you pack lunches for school/work?
- Are organics a must?
- Do you like to cook gourmet meals with exotic ingredients?
- Is there a baby in the house?
Your budget may be completely different from mine depending on our preferences and needs. The point is to figure out what you are spending and being able to decrease that amount by using concepts like meal planning, coupon matchups and stockpiling. If you are new to stockpiling, I would recommend leaving your budget amount exactly the way it is for about 2 months. Once you have a good stockpile in place, you will see that number drastically drop.
I know there are some of you out there who are looking for a magic number that you should be spending. Here is a *recommendation*. A suggested budget for a family who is practicing stockpiling concepts is $25 per week per person in the household. Please note that the key to this budget recommendation is stockpiling. Based on this *recommendation* a monthly grocery budget *could* look like this.
$100 for a family of 1
$200 for a family of 2
$300 for a family of 3
$400 for a family of 4
and so on and so forth...
and so on and so forth...
Again, I use the *recommendation* term lightly because every family is unique with different needs. YOU have to decide on an appropriate budget based on YOUR situation.
Here's a bit of background on me. I use a weekly budget since that is how our payroll falls and it includes all groceries, paper products, cleaners, OTC medicines and pet food. Before my daughter was born we were spending around $150 a week on groceries for the 2 of us (I know, SHOCKER!). After she was born I started using coupons (and started buying diapers) but that number decreased to $125 per week. Shortly after that, I discovered the concept of coupon matchups and our budget dropped again to $100 per week. Not long after, I started practicing stockpiling techniques and our budget decreased again to $60 per week. I have challenged myself in 2010 to decrease that number for a final time to $50 per week ($200 per month). So, I assure you that it can be done. However, you have to have a starting point and that's where a budget comes into play.
What are you thoughts on grocery budgets? Do you have one and stick to it? Has stockpiling has helped you decrease yours?