Sunday, September 20, 2009

Life is expensive

How much is an appropriate amount to spend on groceries each week? I thought about this as I pushed my mini shopping cart out of Meijer. I spent $61.41 today.

I was shocked at first because my whole family would spend this much at Meijer on a shopping trip. But I'm just one person so I can't possibly eat as much. I already spent too much on groceries last week and I rationalized it as getting set up for the year. This week I don't have a good excuse.

But then I thought about it some more, and maybe, just maybe this isn't ridiculous because I don't eat out anymore. In fact, I've only eaten out once since I've been here, not including meetings where I got food for free. (And also not including coffee, bubble tea, and Dairy Store ice cream but none of that is a meal in itself.) I've eaten every other meal from food I bought at the grocery store. Since eating at even the cheapest fast food joint on campus costs about $5, I reckon I've saved a lot, I've really saved compared to eating at the cafeteria.

It's also the non-food items that drives up the grocery bill. The food I bought was actually all quite cheap. The most expensive food item was a $4.99 bag of frozen shrimp. But I got some face wash, tampons, medicine, and shoe insoles that were all pretty expensive put together. The problem is that I also really needed all those things too so somehow I should spent less on them. Hm. Saving money is hard.


ecomarci said...

I've started keeping track of ALL of my expenses this year (well, starting this month). It's ridiculous. So many things I "need" add up so quickly!

Jessieroo said...

Alas, this resonates with me as well. Unless I'm just grabbing a single item I specifically need at the grocery store, I find it hard to leave with anything less than a $50 bill.

On the upside, I have been able to put some of each paycheck into savings--so fiscal responsibility hasn't been totally lost.

Oh, and try coupons. They're fabulous and sometimes grocery stores offer "double coupon" days where they double the value of the coupon.

em said...

The rate of inflation for groceries has outstripped the national rate for the past few years, for no forseeable reason. When I lived in the coops, I was in charge of all food and house meals for several different houses. Our food budget (per month) was $700/12 people. It was hard to make it stretch, but we always at pretty well. Unfortunately, my suggestions all involve living with other people and cooking with other people. I would suggest, though, that if you are into natural/health foods, join or work for the food coop and you get a 10% discount. Plus (!!!) you can buy in bulk! My fave technique.

Also, meat is expensive in general. I never preach about veganism, but it definitely cuts down on all animal related expenses. Although, if you want to do it RIGHT, it can be just as expensive. Milk alternatives and lots of produce can add up quickly.