If you’ve been following along for a while you know we’re generally pretty good at sticking to our $400 grocery budget for our family of 7. Well, this month I made an exception and let us go almost $100 over budget!
Let me show you what I got during the month and then I’ll explain to you why I was totally cool with going over budget this month.
If you missed my monthly grocery haul, you can check out the post and video to see what we got for about $300. That left us with $100 for the rest of the month, but we spent $187!
I didn’t do a video for my mid-month grocery trips this month. In fact, I just put the pictures together tonight as I’m writing this post for tomorrow, so many of the groceries are not pictured (I put an * next to the groceries that aren’t pictured at all).
To make up for not having a video, I’ll share a little narritive along with the grocery lists to explain why I got what I did.
After a fun day at Lake Tahoe with friends, we stopped by Grocery Outlet in South Lake Tahoe to pick up a few things I needed to make for a lady from our church who is on bedrest. I was planning to bring taco soup so I needed to pick up some tortilla chips, sour cream, and diced tomatoes. We have chips and sour cream in jumbo Sam’s Club sizes that are half-eaten, but I wanted some unopened ones to send with dinner.
While I was there I found some great deals. The 12-count Nature Valley granola bars were just $.99. I knew this was a great deal, but I restrained myself and only got 10 boxes. Since many of the products at Grocery Outlet are close to the “best by” date, I’m careful about what I stock up on. For many items, the “best by” date can be ignored, but for things with nuts it matters. I wanted to taste them to make sure they were good. I figured I could get more at my local Grocery Outlet if they were good.
Grocery Outlet $24.69
- *Strawberries (2 lb) $1.99
- Taco shells $.99 x 2 = $1.98
- *Tortilla chips $1.99
- *Sour cream $1.69
- *Diced tomatoes $.59 x 2 = $1.18
- *Fudge bars $2.99
- Nature Valley granola bars $.99 x 10 = $9.90
- Nutrigrain bars $.99 x 2 = $1.98
- Lemon bars $.99
Within the next week, I checked out our Grocery Outlet to see if they had more of the Nature Valley granola bars. Not only did the nuts taste completely fine, everyone in the family loves these granola bars. Sadly, at my local Grocery Outlet they were $2.99 a box instead of $.99!
I was kicking myself for not getting more in Tahoe where they were just eight cents a bar!
We had friends over for dinner (breakfast for dinner), so I got some syrup (we usually just use applesauce, but I know that’s not the norm) and breakfast sausage.
The four boxes of Klondike bars didn’t last long enough to make it in the picture (one empty 4-pack box remained).
Grocery Outlet $31.69
- Ice cream (1.25 gal) $5.49
- *Klondike bars (4 ct) $1.49 x 2 = $2.98
- *Klondike bars (6 ct) $1.99 = $3.98
- Wheat bread $1.79 x 2 = $3.58
- Lemon bars $.99
- Baby food pouches $.25 x 17 = $4.25
- Syrup $1.99
- *Breakfast sausages $1.99 x 2 = $3.98
- Chocolate chips (24 oz) $1.99 x 2 = $3.98
- Taco shells $.47
Then at the end of the month, I stopped by my normal Grocery Outlet again because I was in the area. The 12-count Nature Valley Sweet and Salty Nut granola bars were now priced at $.99! Hooray! My kids reminded me how I regretted not getting more in Tahoe and they loaded up the cart with as many cases as would fit.
We ended up with 40 boxes (480 granola bars) for $40!
As a price comparison, you can get a 48 count box of these same granola bars on sale at Sam’s Club for $10 this month (though normally it’s $13). So with Sam’s Club’s sale price it would cost $100 to get 480 granola bars. At Sam’s regular price it would be $130!
I’m pretty happy with that discount!
We’ve had company for the whole last week of June (my sister-in-law and her four kiddos are visiting from Texas!), so I grabbed apples, carrots, and strawberries, along with some more jam and bread (we’re still good on peanut butter and I made several loaves of bread for the first half of their stay). Only one 4-lb container of strawberries is pictured because we ate the first one in less than 24 hours!
Grocery Outlet $82.91
- Wheat bread $1.79 x 4 = $7.16
- Apples (5 lb) $3.99
- Cool whip $.99 x 2 = $1.98
- Carrots (2 lb) $1.69 x 2 = $3.38
- Canadian Bacon for pizza (6 oz) $.97
- Strawberries (8 lb) $7.98
- Strawberry jam $2.99
- Grape jam $1.99
- Raisins (2.5 lb) $5.49
- Granola Bars $.99 x 40 = $39.60
- Applesauce pouches $.25 x 8 = $2.00
- Food bank bag donation $5.38
On the days my husband commutes (he works at home 2 days a week), he drives right past Sam’s Club. A couple of days ago I had him pick up some more staples like milk and bananas.
Sam’s Club $40.35
- Milk $1.90 x 3 = $5.70
- Spring mix $3.98
- Ice cream (1.25 gal) $5.98
- Sour cream $3.89
- Romaine $2.54
- Mozarella cheese (5 lb) $9.98
- Bananas $1.38 x 6 = $8.28
- *Milk (2 gal) $3.79
- Spinach (2 lb) $3.99
Thoughts on Going Over Budget
Maybe you’ve heard me metion before that my Mary Poppins attitude has helped us tackle our debt and keep our grocery budget under control.
If you’re missing the reference, I mean “In every job that must be done there is an element of fun. You find the fun and…. snap! The job’s a game!”
Normally, staying within our grocery budget is like a game to me. I enjoy a challenge! Looking at it that way makes it much more doable and much less restrictive.
So why did I break my own rules this time? For a couple reasons:
I found a great deal on something we will absolutely use. I plan on these granola bars lasting through the whole summer and maybe even into the beginning of the school year. Deals at Grocery Outlet are closeouts, so they only last as long as the inventory lasts. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. If you don’t have the money for it, it’s not a good deal, which brings me to the next reason.
We had the money. Back when we were paying off debt, I had it in my mind that going over our grocery budget would take away from what we would otherwise be paying toward debt. We have more breathing room in our budget now. I could easily move money from other categories to cover the overage in the grocery category and keep our overall spending on track.
We had company. I’ve know for a while that we would be having company for a week in June, but I didn’t really plan it into my monthly grocery shopping. We probably would have survived just fine without extra grocery trips, but I wanted to have milk and produce for our company.
I guess I could just sum it up by saying that our priorities changed. After all a budget is simply just putting your money where your priorities are. When your priorities change your budget should change too!
How about you?
- Are you strict at keeping yourself to a set grocery budget ordo you let yourself go over?
- How do you decide what you’re willing to go over budget for?
- How’d you do on your grocery budget in June?
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