Wednesday, June 24, 2009

My Working Grocery Budget with Sam's Club

My friend, Judy over at My Adventures in Homeschooling left me a comment/questions on my weekly shopping post that I decided I would take the time to write another post to explain my weekly budget and hopefully answer her questions. Thanks Judy for commenting and asking the questions!

She wrote:
Do you do $100 weekly grocery budget plus your monthly Sam's run? So the total food budget of $525 doesn't include Sam's right?

I am trying to re-do my food budget. It seems to be so out of control right now. With a new baby coming in September I want to get this fixed now. I am looking for ideas.

We have a BJ's (which is like Sam's) in my area. What do you think is the biggest help with your budget? Would you say it is the Sam's run?

I saw that my grocery budget was getting out of control too! My hubby actually has commented before on what looked like me being excessive in my stockpiling. So I have been working at keeping aware and having better control over my spending. So I set myself the goal of having a $100 weekly grocery budget that includes everything that I need to run the household(food, cleaners, toiletries, etc). I don't do "drugstore game"(CVS-ing or Walgreens) but do shop the local grocery stores(Meijer, Save A Lot or Aldis) and do a once a month run to Sam's.

I have been trying to work it where the weekly budget includes the monthly Sam's run. But, I am finding that it is easier to keep my monthly Sam's run out of the weekly total because many of the items end up lasting more than a month and its easier to keep track of it.

I decided to go to my Quicken program and do some figuring out as to find out what my weekly totals are with the Sam's run included in the totals. Here is what I found:

  • We are on day 175 of this year.
  • We are also in the 26th week of the year.
  • I have spent $3621.10 this year for everything that I need to run the household. That figures out to $20.69 per day or $139.27 per week that I am spending to feed and clean seven people plus keeping the house, clothes and linens clean.
  • Out of that $3621.10, the amount of food purchased was $3274.97. That figures out to $18.71 per day or $125.96 per week for just food!
So taking those totals I am finding that my written down monthly "everything I need" budget of $525 is not working for me because it actually is averaging out to around $557 for the month!! The $525 will work for me IF it was just to be the measure for food only!

It is hard to take Sam's Club out of the equation of my grocery budget so after evaluating things, I need readjust the "bottom line" of my monthly grocery budget to include the trips to Sam's Club, or readjust my spending habits to fit back into the $525 monthly "everything I need" budget.

As for how Sam's Club helps the monthly budget and works for me...

Even though it is not the biggest help with keeping my monthly budget low, shopping at Sam's Club does work for me and my family.

  1. I can check their website to find the current prices of items that I normally buy so I know how much approximately(they don't list fresh meat prices) I am going to spend each month.
  2. I can buy certain items in bulk that we use on a consistent basis that are cheaper than sale prices in the local chain grocery stores.
  3. I find it easier to store the bigger containers rather than a bunch of smaller ones.
  4. It helps me with doing a controlled stockpiling better known as the buying ahead principle which is the biggest help to my budget.
Along with buying ahead and shopping at Sam's Club, there have been other "lessons" that I have learned over the last couple of years that has help to keep my grocery budget in check.

One needs to remember what works for me and my family might not work for your family based on number of different variables(location, prices, allergies, tastes, etc). Do what works for your family and challenge yourself to do the best you can with the time, energy and resources that you have.

This post is linked at:


ToyLady said...

I love shopping at Sam's Club (or BJs)! I also have a tendency to want to stockpile, too . . .

What we've recently started doing is this. I have a budget, like you do, for running the household - that gets withdrawn in cash every payday (hubby and I each get paid every 2 weeks) and gets stuck in the back of the coupon organizer. Additionally, I stick $20 every payday in a separate "meat" envelope. That's so if we find a GREAT deal on something, we can stock up without eating into our grocery money. (HA - eating into the grocery money!) We always use cash at the grocery store, and we rarely spend the full budgeted amount - but there are only the two of us, and our freezer is awfully full. Any "leftover" money gets carried over for the following weeks.

Basically, when it's time to buy dog food (roughly about once a month) we make the Sam's or BJ's trip for dog food and whatever else is on the Sam's Club List, and that comes out of the grocery money - what's been leftover each week. So far it's been working for us - and it feels good to be taking control of that part of our budget again.

Judy said...

Thank for doing a whole post for me!!! : )
Great ideas.
Today I did go and pull the grocery money out in cash. I am thinking this will help.