When I first started this blog (Sep. 2010) I was spending $20 or less on groceries each week — yes, that’s $20, NOT $200 — and no, we didn’t eat ramen noodles every night!
We had a full-size refrigerator/freezer in our kitchen, another refrigerator in our garage, a full-size deep freezer, and a huge pantry downstairs that were all stuffed full of food.
However, that was back when I had LOADS of time to clip every coupon, find every deal, shop at multiple different stores, and send in numerous rebates. It was a game for me and I REALLY enjoyed it. It was fun to see how much money I could save each week — and I was good at it!
One time, the store actually PAID me $0.25 to take a whole cart full of groceries home 🙂
Fast-forward two years … now I have a home that requires more maintenance, a baby who doesn’t exactly love to sleep, and a much more demanding work schedule… I’ve simply decided that although I love the thrill of finding a fabulous deal, it’s just not worth spending all that extra time.
I still clip coupons, shop the sales, and make a meal plan every week, but for the most part, I do all my grocery shopping at Meijer and I only shop one morning each week. No more drug-store games, no more rebates, no more scouring the internet to find every deal.
Not that I think any of those are “bad” things or “a waste of time” — they just aren’t worth MY time at this point in my life.
However, even with just my coupons, my store flyer, and a weekly meal plan, I’m still able to keep our weekly grocery bill to roughly $50 — which seems quite reasonable after talking to many of my friends and relatives.
Yes, it’s more than double what I used to spend, but if you factor in all the time I’m saving by only shopping at one store, not doing rebates, and not spending time on the internet or looking through multiple store ads, it’s definitely worth the extra monetary expense.
If I really wanted to make the time, I could — but I figure it’s worth spending $30 extra each week since I can make more than $30 if I spend that time working instead!
Oh, and I should mention that the $50 per week DOES include baby wipes and baby food/snacks, but it doesn’t always include diapers. Those are the ONE thing that I’m still willing to shop around for (and stock up on) when there’s a great deal somewhere other than Meijer. I’ve ordered some from Amazon.com and often get diapers from Rite Aid or Walgreens when they have fabulous sales (if I’m really being honest though, my mom usually gets the diapers and I just pay her back!)
So while it would be nice to save that $30 per week (over $1500 per year), I’ve decided that at this point in my life, my time (and my sanity) is more valuable than my money — especially since Nora only lasts so long in the front of the cart before she needs to “move around” in the back of the cart!
I’m sure that over the next several years, as our family grows and kids get older, our grocery bill will continue to increase.
I suppose there might come a time when I’m willing to make more of an effort to do the rebates and drug-strore game again — but for now, buying groceries is just one more thing I need to cross off my list each week, and my goals is to do it as quickly and as easily as possible!
Have you also noticed your spending habits change at different seasons in life?