Sunday, December 2, 2012

November Budget Results and Getting A Handle On Our Grocery Bill

November's Grocery Budget $425
Year to date overage prior to November $261.25
Actual November grocery spend $472.
Over by $47 this month for year to date overage now at $308.25.
Coupons Used $10.97.
If you are a new follower the grocery budget includes all over counter medications, grooming and cleaning products.

Annual Clothing Budget $200
Remainder after October $6.40
($109.79 was transferred out of clothing to cover part of grocery overage in September and October)
Bought leather Kenneth Cole belt for $3.35 at Salvation Army.
$3.15 remaining for rest of year. I might buy a pair underwear this month, new of course as don't buy used undergarments.

Annual Hair Budget $400
Balance after October $99.13.
Zero spent - I used the root kit bought in October last week. I need a hair cut but am trying to stretch it another week so I can get one closer to our Christmas visit to Alberta. Whatever is left will be transferred to reduce the grocery overage at end of year.

It seems harder than ever to stay within our grocery budget, even after increasing it to $425 per month. Perhaps it is because our entertainment budget has been reduced $60 per month for two of us(eating out once) but I think the true reason is that all groceries have gone up. I would have paid $5.69 for four litres of milk last week - got it free using Quality Foods points. Perhaps it is because we pay 12% tax on all nonfood items (and some food items that are considered convenience foods). Perhaps it is because I am still stocking up and have been forced to buy items when not on sale. Whatever the reason, I have gone over the food budget again this month. We are living leaner than we ever have and as a result my cooking skills have become better because we are eating at home 98% of the time. I do use coupons but most of the ones I have access to are for processed foods or for items that I don't buy like air fresheners. If only they made coupons in Canada for staples.

There are no Tim Hortons Coffee's (the last one I had was in October when my Stepson was here as a treat). There are no spontaneous lunches out. We carefully plan our days and outings to avoid eating out as that is the number one budget buster. We belong to a business organization that has a lot of fundraisers for Charity. Since August we have been to two - cost $30 per plate. We declined going to their Christmas party at $37 per plate as it is not going to charity. There are no movies out with popcorn as we own a PVR purchased in 2011 with cash so we record lots of movies and tv shows (yes, we have cable). Once in a great while we rent a DVD for $4 - the last time being early October. Early in November we invited our neighbor friends over for some drinks and I splurged on a variety of cheese and crackers to go with it. The extra cheese was frozen to use for casseroles.

In order to keep our entertainment budget low we try and keep our diet varied and interesting, which sometimes involves buying more expensive ingredients. This week's menu included chicken curry, shrimp stirfry, cajun chicken pasta casserole (one of the best things I have ever cooked so says hubby and I just threw it together with ingredients we had) and tonight barbequed burgers. Yesterday a large batch peanut butter cookies for desert was whipped up - froze half.

It is difficult to source out inexpensive meat here. For now we are using less meat in casseroles and stir fry's. Last week Tuna was on for .77 cents a can - the usual lowest price here is .99 cents so I bought twelve. I creep about in the meat section of every grocery store looking for pink stickers with extra dollars off. Every week the flyers arrive out comes the list to write down the loss leaders at every store - and that is my shopping list for the week. Buy only what is on sale and do without until something goes on sale.

The plan this month is to start a Price Book to keep track of lowest prices found on grocery items so that when a sale comes along I know how good the sale is to stock up. This is certainly not my idea, but one borrowed from that famous Frugalista
Amy Dacyczyn, author of the The Tightwad Gazette - go to the library and read the books if you haven't already for frugal ideas,some over the top and some very good ones that anyone could benefit from. The budget is likely to get blown again this month due to Christmas as we are flying back to Alberta for five days and the four kids will be over at our house for at least four of those days. They consume huge amounts of food being 15, 17, 19 and 21 but we are really looking forward to the time with them so I will have to do some meal planning for that timeframe. Family time is worth blowing the budget!


  1. You, my dear, are absolutely AMAZING!!! I know I must have said this before - but I am saying it AGAIN!!

    1. Thanks! I have been following along with the Quad's growing - they are bigger and cute as ever!

  2. It so hard to stay in line with the grocery shopping as the prices just go up and up, and it's hard finding coupons. 77 cents for a can of Tuna is a good price.


    1. This week I found a big boneless ham on sale so cut it up into two dinner sized hams and a bunch of small pieces for soup and breakfasts

  3. Come January, grocery stores will offer a leg of pork for 99 cents/lb.
    It will be the whole leg.20lbs +.
    You tube has instructional videos on how to cut this leg-o-pork into smaller roasts.
    Nothing could be easier or cheaper.
    I believe it happens around Easter too.
    Thrifties will even give out rainchecks!

    1. I have started to buy large packs and cut them down - pork loin being one of the easiest. I haven't cut down leg of pork with bone in though - will have to watch for those. Thanks for the tip!

  4. I've never been very good about budgets, but I do love a bargain. One of my favorite places to shop is the Hospital Auxiliary's Economy Shop in Powell River. I'm always finding great things that I actually want and need. Plus, the price is always better than other thrift shops AND the proceeds go back to our health services here in Powell River. A double bonus.

    Also, I love watching the Freecycle posts via my email. I've given here twice, but haven't accepted anything yet. I find it's an interesting way to see what's happening in my town. - Margy