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Adding It Up: Groceries


Lately I've been wondering how much we actually spend on groceries each month. In our budget, we allot $500 per month for groceries, which comes from our joint checking account, but I had a hunch that we were spending more than that. Since we don't add up our grocery bills at the end of the month, we're never really sure if we're actually sticking to our grocery budget. We budget conservatively (i.e., extra) for all of our expenses, so we could be going over $500 for groceries each month and making up for it with the "cushion" that we have built in.

We typically go to the grocery store (usually Trader Joe's) once a week. But then there are also the random trips once or twice a week to grab whatever it is we forgot or have run out of along the way. We eat a vegetarian diet, which probably helps us to spend less money than if we were buying meat, but we also tend to go for organic when we can, which can be pricey. It just seemed like all of this had to be adding up to more than $500 per month.  

So, with a fresh Excel spreadsheet at the ready, I reviewed all of our grocery purchases for August, September, and October using our online bank statements (since we always use our debit card) and put that spreadsheet to work! Unfortunately, the Excel tables could not be wrangled into making an appearance in this post. 

Aaaaaand the totals are:

August: $485.10
September: $386.13
October: $463.19

Average: $444.80

So we actually are sticking to our budget; I'm really surprised!

Even though we seem to be coming in under budget each month on groceries, we don't plan to contribute any less money to our joint account. Having the extra cushion in our joint account is always nice.

But I'm left wondering how our grocery bills compare to other couples'. Are we spending more? Less? Should I be learning the ways of the super-couponer...?