Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A Dinner of Condiments? Okay, Who Underestimated The Food Budget...

With the end of the month brings slim pickin's and a near empty fridge here, in the M Household. Budgeting is a fairly new concept in this place and although I'm getting better at it as time wears on, I still falter every now and again and manage to completely underestimate and therefore blow our grocery budget. I have to say this is the worst it's been. If I hadn't made a trip to the grocer today, I'm fairly certain our dinner would have consisted solely of condiments. No, really. I'm not kidding.

How is it that at the end of the month both Carter and Sheepie have enough food to sustain themselves, but the two responsible adults in the house are left to feast off of popcorn, a single chicken breast and sliced mushrooms?

Although I loathe Meal Planning, I've managed to nail down some sort of tactic that typically requires two to three trips to the grocer each month. Occasionally there's a fourth trip thrown in there to make up for all the stuff I forgot to grab during trips one, two and three. Hey, I never claimed to be perfect! 

This morning's trip to the grocer at 9 o' clock had me thinking. Carter and I managed to make it in and out of the store in under and hour and with two-hundred dollars worth of groceries.

A year ago? I could navigate the inside of King of Prussia Mall like it was my backyard. I could draw you a map clearly indicating the location of every single kiosk, my favorite stores and literally every single Smoothie Stand and Wetzel's Pretzel from Lord & Taylor to Nordstrom to JCrew and back. I could tell you where to park in relation to your desired shopping haunt and could steer you clear of high-traffic no-no's. I could even tell you what parking garages filled up during lunch time and where you should park during the holidays.

Now? I can navigate the inside of the grocery store like you wouldn't believe. I know when to go, what checkout lanes are the quickest and what hours to avoid going there at all costs. I even write out my shopping list aisle by aisle. 

As for the mall? You know, the mall that I've been going to since we moved down here a year ago? The one that I've probably been to less times than I can count on both hands and feet? Yeah, that one? I get lost every single time I go because I don't know my JCrew from my Nordstroms from my Ann Taylor Loft. A year ago? This would have been blasphemy.
So maybe I can't shop my way through life anymore, but I sure can steer a mean grocery cart...

Happy One-Day-Closer-To-Friday, Loyals!

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  1. I'm not even a mom yet (wait, do we count husbands?), just married for 3 years, and this one was the first clue that I had crossed into some parallel universe. On a recent trip to the Bahamas with my sorority sisters there was a legitimate question about whether we should MAKE food one night to save money. Who.am.I?

  2. I have fallen in love with your blog. Just sayin'.

    Also, I am Lindsey PAIGE, which makes me love you more.

    And you are too cute! Don't feel bad - I go to the grocery store or Wal-Mart at least 3 times a WEEK!

  3. And P.S. I love how you changed the title of your post in the amount of time it took me to read it! ha!

  4. if you were to look in my refrigerator right now - we are total twins (no joke) i have sliced mushrooms, sparkling water and jalapeno peppers. My freezer has a giant (empty) bag of boneless skinless chicken "breast"...there is also only one left. This was too funny. I am perfectly fine with a random dinner of bbq sauce or sour cream with salt on it....but my husband is a little pickier.i always think that if i just don't make dinner my husband will suggest we go out to sushi -except that rarely happens and he usually just gets pissed, makes a bowl of popcorn, then walks into the kitchen 20 more times just to prove to me that he is still hungry, we still have no food oh yeah and i failed. its sweet ;)

  5. Love this post! Since I had Macie when I was super young, I had to learn to adapt right away, but didn't become somewhat domestic until Addaline came along. Being responsible with finances stinks sometimes, but it makes you appreciate those shopping trips that you do get even more ;)

    As far as meal planning, you should check out e-mealz.com It has been a LIFE saver in our house, seriously! If I got paid to advocate for them I'd totally do it, ha!

  6. I hate Wal-Mart - but you just really can't get around shopping there unless you can afford to spend 30% more on EVERYTHING.


    I know when to go. I make my list out in the order of the path I travel. I know where the "secret" lane is - the one that's not even busy at the height of Christmas season.

    And I hit the Starbucks drive-thru first...because if I'm saving all this money, then I can afford a cup of my favorite natural sedative...caffeine :)

    You're a good wife & momma, AP! Those boys are lucky to have you!

  7. I love this and it's a great reminder that no one is perfect. I struggle with the same thing and have the added bonus of hating meal planning. I've been trying to go to the store once a week for fresh produce and meat and then planning around that rather than having a strict plan, but it's still sometimes tough to stick to the budget.

  8. Just curious, How much do you spend a month on groceries? What does it all include? Just food or toilet paper, paper towels, soap, etc. I CANNOT for the life of me stay under our budget for the month on groceries.

  9. I make my list by aisle. I'm a tad bit OCD though :-)

    I just recently signed up for something that Dave Ramsey approves and it is
    maybe you could try it out to help with your meal planning and budget.

  10. Hmmm I guess you can make chicken with mushrooms and popcorn for dessert?!! awww.. xxxooo

  11. I'm with Lindsey! How do you do it?! Spill your secrets, woman! As much as I try, I'm at the stupid grocery store at LEAST once a week.

  12. Haha. I may not know our grocery store like the palm of my hand, but I get around ok. I hate going to a different store where stuff is all in the "wrong" place....aka a different place thean I'm used to. Throws off my entire shopping experience!

    And we have to go at least every 7-10 days. I don't know how people only go once or twice a month. Do they not eat fresh produce?!? Do they have super fridges that keep stuff fresher longer? I just don't get it.

  13. You should try E-Mealz....it's awesome! saves money, stress, and is delish! It's a meal planning service that gives recipes for each week:


  14. I use e-mealz too! It is really user friendly with recipes, grocery list and COUPONS! And you get to pick the grocery store you want coupons for!

    I am a strange one that loves going to grocery store, but like you said, only certain times of the day!

  15. I can be the same way - but couponing has changed ALL that! Check out hip2save.com. I think you will love it!

  16. I shop the opposite way. With three kids we go through a lot of food, and we eat a LOT of fresh stuff. So I shop every 3-4 days.

    And then we eat what we have until every scrap of fresh food is gone. Because in the 7 years I've been budgeting for a family? I've gotten cheap and HATE to throw things away.

  17. Guilty of this, too. It is so hard!

    What kills us is the "stop by for one thing here and there" - like a bottle of wine, random spice, etc.

    I need to be better about stocking up during BOGO sales and forecasting meals. It's haaaaard.

  18. Is it bad that i LOVE to go grocery shopping? I've started meal planning and do 10 days at a time, which really lasts for 3 weeks, I end up only going to the grocery store once a month! It's saved us like $200/month doing this!

  19. I have to start a fun budget when we move next month. And I am NOT looking forward to it. Budgets are for the birds. Money should grow on trees.

  20. I go to the same wal-mart every week to grocery shop, I get so confused when I go to new stores!

  21. I go to the same wal-mart every week to grocery shop, I get so confused when I go to new stores!

  22. Ok, I know I am super late on commenting on this but if you ever have any questions or need and budgeting advise feel free to email me! I am now a budgeting pro! Since hubs only gets paid once a month, I totally feel your pain!

  23. I'm thinking I should start this aisle by aisle list! It takes me a long time because I have to stand there and do math with my coupons before I decide what is the best value. :)

    We also had mushrooms, one chicken breast in our freezer and some cheese.

    I went yesterday. Saved 82.00. I love coupons. :)


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