Just for kicks, I sat down one Money Monday (my invention- a time to read up on financial matters and update the books) and broke our food spending down into sub-categories to see WHAT we were spending all of our grocery money on. Our goal right now is $40 a week- this is relatively easy to hit, especially because our freezer is full of venison. Still, what an eye-opener it was to line things up on order from greatest to least.
Dairy- $16.47 (milk, cream, cheese, cottage cheese, cream cheese, sour cream)
Meat- $11.35 (chicken & fish)
Vegetables- $9.52 (frozen stir fry, carrots, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, cucumber and green pepper)
Eggs- $5.47 (2 dozen a week- I love my eggs)
Household- $4.19 (oven cleaner for Gertrude the Gas Stove & paper towels)
Fruit- $3.39 (Pineapple, lemon, lime)
Dessert- $3.38 (Cosmic Brownies that Hubs suckered me into buying, & ice cream)
Grains- $2.00 (rice)
Other- $.98 (spaghetti sauce)
Whoa! That was a whopping total of $56.75- almost 42% over budget. I decided I needed to get serious about being frugal.
1. Cuts: First I decided to not buy chicken for a couple of weeks, at least until the venison stockpile was down a bit. I also promised myself to not buy Cosmic Brownies again. This was a side effect of running out of eggs- we had to go back to the store to get some, and while we were there Hubs decided he wanted some of Little Debbie's fine cooking, and convinced me that I did too. So basically I promised myself not to run out of eggs again.
2. Replacements: Then I made a big batch of mashed beans. This cost me $1.03.
My biggest problem with this eye-opening breakdown was the dairy products. Hubs and I both really like dairy, so we buy a lot of it on a weekly basis. My new experiment is to see if I can save $$ by making my own dairy products. I'm wondering if 2 gallons of milk (about $5 from Aldi) will make us enough yogurt, sour cream, cottage cheese, cream cheese and possibly hard cheese (mozzarella) for a week. We'd still have to buy butter, but I'm implementing butter-stretching hacks already to cut down on butter usage.
The dairy is going to be a little tricky because Hubs is used to store-bought dairy and its artificially-induced creaminess. He doesn't really care about how healthy something is- if it doesn't taste "good", he doesn't like it. I'm going to try out some recipes and if they get his stamp of approval, I'll put it on the blog. Starting next Friday.
Folks, that means it's gonna be gooooood.