Thursday, October 25, 2012

Managing God's Money--Grocery Shopping

Previously I've talked about the importance of getting out of debt, and making wise, educated consumer decisions. Both could be (and probably should be) considered important line items in a budget.

Another important item in a budget is groceries. Everyone has to eat something! Grocery shopping is something that I've struggled with for awhile. In my opinion, it's a necessary evil. We have to eat, so we have to shop. But, if I develop a plan before we go to the store, it generally goes a lot better, and we stick to our budget.

When I was in college, I lived off-campus for two years, so that was when I figured out how much it cost to feed one person for a month. I found that it's about $100/month to feed one person, so when Daniel and I got married, I just multiplied that by two. We've always tried to spend about $200/month on groceries, which for us includes all our paper products, toiletries, and cleaning supplies. Generally, we've been able to stick fairly close to this amount, unless we had to stock up on a bunch of staples all at the same time.

When we were first married, we generally shopped at WinCo, which is one of the cheapest grocery stores in town. WinCo doesn't offer store coupons, but I found the prices to be reasonable, and we were pretty much always able to stick to our budget when we shopped there. Two years into our marriage, we moved across the river, and our shopping pattern had to change. We tried shopping at Wal-mart for awhile, but it was pretty expensive, so we worked out a way to get back to shopping at WinCo.

Then, this summer, we found out about all of Daniel's food allergies, so our plan had to change a little bit. Now, we can still get most of our shopping done at WinCo, but we also pick up a few things (like gluten-free, casein-free, soy-free cheese; egg-less mayo; and bulk quinoa) at Yoke's, which is much more expensive than either WinCo or Walmart. I was worried that this would increase our budget significantly, but to my surprise, it hasn't!  In fact, we're pretty much done our shopping for the next two weeks, and we still have some money left over for more produce.

Trying to maintain a "normal" diet while going GFCF is very expensive. By choosing to eat naturally GFCF foods, we cut down our budget. A good example is GF pasta. Daniel and I can both eat rice, so at first, we had been buying the specialty labelled GF pasta. But, then I was over at the MTHFR family's house, and discovered that they eat rice pasta. We were in WinCo a few days later, so I decided to check the Asian food section, and sure enough, I found white rice pasta in the Asian food section for much cheaper than the labelled GF noodles!

I know most of my readers probably don't have to worry about eating GFCF, so, in conclusion, I would just encourage you to think about what you're eating, what you should be eating, make a meal plan, and stick to it. I think you'll find that it makes a big difference in how much you're spending on groceries!

How do you manage your grocery spending?

4 comments:

  1. I 100% agree that it is expensive if the goal is to replicate "normal eating."

    This has been an ongoing challenge for me too, trying to figure out how to give my family treats and fun meals without completely breaking the bank. I'm glad that it's going well for you!

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    1. Thanks for the encouragement Ruth! :)

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  2. Good thinking! Are quinoa and couscous options for you?

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    1. Couscous isn't, because it's gluten, but we've been eating a LOT of quinoa! We had some last night in fact! It was yummy!

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