How much do you figure you spend on groceries each month?
About how much is your grocery bill on a monthly basis?
I knew I'd be taking a non-trivial salary cut to move from my office job to a
part-time work-from-home gig, but on paper it looked like Office Job + Daycare
Expenses = New Job - Daycare + 9 Hours of Babysitter Expenses Each Week. I
expected that with my greatly reduced commuting costs and new work-appropriate
clothing requirements of one (1) decent pair of yoga pants, we'd actually end up
with a little more money each month.
WRONG. It turns out that at least in my household, being home with the kids has meant that our money expenditures have slowly crept upward.
Our utility expenses shot through the roof (I blame the 15 trillion cycles of oops-I-forgot-this-stuff-in-the-dryer-better-turn-it-on-for-a-while-to-unwrinkle-everything I seem to be doing every damn day), I started spending more on miscellaneous items (sometimes just as an excuse to get out of the house—you know, "Oh look, we're getting low on bird food! And, uh ... ballpoint pens!"). I spent a truly horrifying amount of money on a fun but ridiculously overpriced class for the boys at a children's gymnastics franchise I will refer to as the Gittle Blym.
I cut back on all sorts of
luxuries a long time ago, Gittle Blym mistake notwithstanding. Goodbye to the
monthly yard work folks, the biweekly housecleaners, the HBO, the aquatic center
membership we weren't making good use of, the non-thrifted-or-Old-Navy'd
clothes, the Starbucks lattes, and so on. Still, something besides
Maytag electricity and bags of birdseed was siphoning our checking account dry
each month, and I couldn't figure out what it was.
Until I took a hard look at our monthly grocery bill. Ohhhhhhhhhhh, right.
We are spending an insane amount of money at the grocery store, you guys. It's mostly my fault, since I'm a terrible meal planner and I'm always running to the store for this or that instead of doing one big strategic amount of shopping. I use Amazon's grocery delivery service a lot, too, and while it's fantastically convenient, it's rarely the cheapest option. Also, I'd love to tell you that we mostly consume whole foods lovingly harvested from our own organic garden, but I can't lie—we buy a lot of pre-packaged stuff.
The kids are eating more at home than they were before, and so am I. My 5-year-old suddenly seems to be a bottomless pit into which I can pour strawberries, udon noodles, and almonds all day long, and I swear my 3-year-old can beer-bong an entire gallon of milk in one sitting. We go through a lot of food each week, not to mention paper towels (kids are messy), toilet paper (kids seem to require yards and yards of 2-ply for every single poop), and caffeinated beverages (kids are exhausting).
So anyway, I've got some work to do in order to wrestle our grocery costs back under control, but I was wondering—if you don't mind sharing, what's your biggest monthly expense? Aside from the usual suspects like mortgages and rent, where does the bulk of your money go? Am I the only one spending most of my paycheck on things we stuff in our mouths?