Even though they are kind of a lot of work to write up, I enjoy sharing my Our $200 Grocery Budget: What I Spent & Saved this Week posts with you all each week. I don’t do these posts because I think the way I shop and live is that amazing, I do them because I love to help people save money.
These weekly posts allow me to share ideas and tips with you that help me save on our groceries, and then in turn can hopefully inspire you and give you ideas on ways that you can save too. Many people are frustrated because they feel like it’s impossible to eat healthy on a budget. By showing exactly what I purchase on a tight budget, it gives people a chance to see that yes, you really can eat pretty healthy without needing to go broke. I know many of you enjoy these posts because you have told me that you were inspired or that you learned something new that is helping you save. And seriously, when that happens it totally makes my day because I realize that my goal for these posts was accomplished!
But I’ve had a nagging worry ever since I first started doing these weekly What I Spent & Saved posts 5 ½ years ago. Occasionally I’ve addressed it in my weekly posts and in my response to people’s comments. And I’ve said it countless times to readers that I’ve talked to in real life. But I feel like it needs to be said here too, in a blog post that hopefully will be seen by most of you.
So what is it that worries me? Simply that these posts will make you feel inadequate or less than because you don’t have a $200 grocery budget, or because you don’t coupon as much as I do, or because you hate grocery shopping. I worry because I know that we as ladies are so quick to do that, to compare ourselves with someone else, to feel inadequate. And I really, really don’t want to be an enabler of that.
So I just want to be perfectly clear: I don’t expect everyone else to have a $200/mo. grocery budget. And I believe that you can be frugal and spend more than $200/mo. too! Here’s why.
WHY YOU SHOULDN’T HAVE A $200/MO. GROCERY BUDGET (EVEN THOUGH WE DO!)
1. We have different strengths
One of my strengths is being able to save money. I’m wired in such a way that I about can’t keep myself from looking at life through the lens of frugality! But you know what? There’s other things that I don’t do so well at. I stink at decorating! And I feel totally overwhelmed if I try to tackle a craft project, because for as long as I can remember, creating things like that has just felt frustrating. And while I love the idea of preserving memories with beautiful scrapbooks, I’ve finally accepted the fact that it’s just not my thing and I don’t even bother to attempt it. I don’t have a garden and I’m not an outdoor sort of person who loves creating beautiful flower beds.
Chances are, your strengths are quite different from mine and honestly, I think our diversity is part of what makes the world so interesting! If being frugal doesn’t come naturally for you, that’s okay. No, it doesn’t give you a free pass to spend your money carelessly, but it does mean that how you spend your money is going to look differently than how I spend it.
Or maybe you are frugal by nature, but still spend $450/mo. on groceries. You don’t necessarily need to feel bad about that either because….
2. We have different needs and preferences
We eat fairly simply. I think our meals are tasty and filling and the reality is, we enjoy the way we eat a lot. But we pretty much never eat steak (unless we go out to eat!) and meats are often served more as a side than as a main dish. In the winter, we eat a lot of soups not only because we love them, but also because they are frugal. Neither do we have food allergies or eat organic (unless I can get it really inexpensively).
Your family’s needs and preferences are going to look different than ours. Your husband might find it really important to have large servings of meat at every meal. Or maybe he feels like soups shouldn’t really even be considered food. You might have a child that is gluten intolerant. And eating only organic may feel super important to you. That is okay! Your family is not mine, my family is not yours. There is no cookie cutter grocery budget that will fit everyone.
3. We all have different demands on our time
It’s no secret that shopping frugally takes time. Many weeks I spend three hours planning my shopping trip and doing the shopping. It’s not that my life isn’t busy or that I don’t have plenty of other things to do, but for a variety of reasons, my husband and I have decided to continue to make this way of shopping a priority. At this point, for us the benefits outweigh the negatives. But there may come a time when we decide otherwise.
You know your life, your schedule. Only you know what you have time for and it may be that even if you would love to coupon and deal shop, that you simply can’t right now due to life circumstances. We all have to know our limits, to decide what is best for us.
THE BOTTOM LINE…..
Yes, I think it’s important to shop smart and be mindful of how we spend the money that God has trusted us with. But I think it’s equally important to remember that it is going to look differently for everyone. So, if you’ve been feeling badly that you spend more than $200/mo. on your groceries, go ahead and extend yourself some grace. And remember, it doesn’t necessarily mean you aren’t frugal!
If you are looking for ways to trim your grocery spending though, check out these posts for some inspiration!