So last week I posted that I had $4.98 left to make it to the end of March. And we made it. So we made it through March on less than $300, which, while more than I had hoped (I was aiming for $200), was half of what our normal grocery budget is ($600). So why am I calling it a failure? Because in the first two days of April, we spent almost $500 for groceries. We will still need more milk, yogurt, meat, and produce for the next 25 days too. So even though we restricted spending in March, if we overspend in April we are no further ahead!
I have about $150 remaining in the jar for April (I paid part of my Costco purchase using my debit card). I will try very hard to get to the end of the month without spending more than that amount. In May, I had intended to try to spend $500 – I hope I am able to do just that. Then in June the plan was to go back to our regular $600 amount. We’ll see how it goes.
So why did I spend so much in two days? Well, we ran out of a lot of staple items during March. I buy a lot of my items at Costco, which means big quantities, but that costs money. What are some of the items we needed?
Chocolate chips – $22.49 (but this will last 3-4 months)
Beef roast/steak – $56.00 (3 roasts, 2 steaks)
Olive Oil – $10.00 (2 liters, 3+ months)
Dishwasher tabs – $15.00 (90+ tabs, 2+ months)
Shave gel – $12.00 (4 cans, 2+ months)
Walnuts – $16.79 (3 pounds, 2+ months)
Juice boxes/Fruit cups – $32.97 (kids lunches, 1+ months)
Freezer bags – $13.99 (120, 2+ months)
Plus our everyday groceries, produce, cheese, yogurt, and a $20 ham for Easter dinner. The fridge and freezer are full, the pantry has food on it, and I have a menu plan for April that says we will only need more ground beef to get through (for meat). What really amazed me as I shopped, though, was how much certain items had increased – grocery prices seem to have jumped over the winter, making it harder to continue feeding us all well on only $600 a month!
So, I consider March an interesting experiment, but generally a failure. Would I try it again? Yes. But I’m just not sure I believe it was effective for us this time.