In case you think DH and I lowered our grocery bill and haven’t been eating well or have shortchanged our menu plans, I spent a week taking iPhotos of our meals with my smart phone and set up a little slide show. I put a caption under each photo describing the dish. Almost all the food was purchased at Aldi with the exception of the beef and whole wheat pita bread (Stop & Shop) and the chick peas (dried, at Shop Rite). I’ve also included a pic of our favorite table wine, Paisano by Carlo Rossi @$14 for the 4 liter bottle. If we conserve, the bottle usually lasts for six weeks.
As far as our monthly budget goes, there is absolutely nothing more we can cut out of it. Our bills are fairly the same each and every month. Most of my utilities are on basic or bare bones. We’ve stopped going to restaurants, shopping retail, buying entertainment, etc. If it isn’t free, we don’t do it.
One of the last challenges left for us to face was to somehow lower our grocery bill without affecting our high quality menu planning. DH and I take our food seriously. We’re both excellent cooks and we demand meals made with good quality ingredients.
I came up with a solution that if we streamlined our meals and narrowed our choices we might be able to achieve our goal, lower the food bill yet still retain our high quality, healthy meals. It was a team effort and I am happy to report that DH and I have successfully accomplished our goal. We have lowered our monthly food bill by 38%! We used to pay on average $516 a month for the two of us. Now? I can safely say we are currently averaging $317 a month. That’s a savings of almost $200 a month!
We did this by narrowing our food shopping to one main store, Aldi. Once or twice per month I would shop at another grocery store, either Stop & Shop (Thursday only, when all meats and veggies/fruits are discounted) or Shop Rite (when they have their canned good sale/pasta sale/organic chicken sale). I only buy food at these stores. Anything else, such as shampoo, soap, cleaning supplies are purchased at The Dollar Store.
This savings came just in time because DH and I will be facing a steep increase in one of our budgetary categories: medical. DH had some unexpected medical treatment this year due to contracting Lyme Disease. Who would have ever thought that a teeny, tiny little tick could have done so much damage to his health. He’s had a plethora of tests because the Lyme affected his heart and possibly his brain. We’ll know more soon when results from other tests come back. But in the meantime, DH’s out-of-pocket costs, plus his high deductible have pushed us over our budget. I’ve called everyone who we still owe money to (hospital, doctors, labs) and worked out a monthly payback of $217 a month total.
Is it a coincidence that the medical amount is very close to how much we have saved on our grocery budget?
And so my beat goes on.