Warming Up for the Grocery Budget Extreme Makeover

Happy FruGal Friday everyone. As I always say, I know the name is corny, but the thoughts are sincere.

Next week, the Grocery Budget Extreme Makeover will kick into full gear. To get ready, we need to have a good sense of how much we spend per week, or per month, on groceries and other food.

If you’re doing the Dave Ramsey Total Money Makeover or Financial Peace University, then you probably have a good sense of this already. If not, let’s try to get a realistic estimate of your total grocery costs.

If you have receipts that are representative of your average shopping trips, total them up and use those. If not, make your best educated, REALISTIC, guess.

Don’t get stressed out. The goal of this exercise is to give you a baseline, a starting point so to speak, so that when you are saving a lot of money, you’ll actually know how much you are saving. For instance, if you typically spend $700 per month on groceries, and after the Grocery Budget Extreme Makeover are spending $500 per month, you’ll know that you’re saving $200, or just under 30%.

Include these categories to determine your total food expenses (some of them overlap):

1. Eating out
a. Restaurants, sit-down or drive-thru
b. Hotels while traveling for business or pleasure
c. Convenience Stores
d. Meals out of the home while working, running errands, etc.
e. Coffees, teas, waters, or sodas while out of the home

2. Groceries
a. Typical groceries such as produce, dairy products, meats, baking supplies, etc.
b. Groceries purchased at farmer’s markets or CSAs
c. Entertaining: Any food purchased to host family or friends in your home, or to attend a function at someone else’s home, at church, etc.
d. Processed foods
i. Cans
ii. Jars
iii. Boxes
iv. Bagged mixes
v. Frozen foods that contain more than one item, i.e., frozen peas by themselves don’t count as processed foods.
vi. Candy, snacks, junk foods, special treats, or other addictions
vii. Snacks purchased at health food stores
viii. Prepared specialty or diet foods
ix. Sodas
x. Juices
xi. Bottled water (not necessarily “processed,” but heavily packaged)

3. Any other food items I have left out

You know what you eat better than I do. This isn’t an exercise in feeling guilty about what we do or do not eat, or how much we do or do not spend; it’s simply a bookkeeping exercise to determine if we know what we’re actually spending on consumable food items.

Don’t worry if you don’t know what you spend on groceries every month. Most people don’t. Click here to read more.

Use whatever method of tabulation works for you. If you prefer pen and paper, use that. If you prefer Excel, use that. Make it as easy on yourself as possible. And don’t forget to have fun.


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About LivingLaVidaMama

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Formerly, I've worked in publishing and been a medical student. Currently, I'm a freelance writer and copy editor, and full-time mom with two exceptional daughters. LivingLaVidaMama focuses on intentional frugality and the Specific Carbohydrate Diet that has dramatically improved my younger daughter's autistic-like symptoms. Contact me at MadForWriting at windstream.net