For the longest time I was doing so well at coming in or under our monthly grocery budget. Food/household items are our second biggest expense every month. Ever since I was pregnant (and so sick) with Emelia, I started not paying so close attention. It was much easier to buy frozen foods then to make from scratch. Menu planning and couponing moved lower on my priority list. Running through a drive thru on our way to various activities just became easier (which is not cheap when you have a big family even if you order off the dollar menu.) Then, the cost of groceries has been steadily creeping up. I raised our budget after Emelia was born to account for the extra diapers we would have to buy. Soccer season soon came around and we were spending an outrageous amount of money on gas and snacks. Even with the raised grocery budget, I have still been consistently going over every week.
I had to go over our finances and with the extra money at the grocery store, extra gas money, and occasional take out food, our monthly spending has been way over what it should be! Even the chicken feed went up. It is time to take control of the budget once again. Avoiding take out and lowering our gas money should be fairly easy especially now that soccer is over. I will have to avoid the temptation of eating out, and commit to only eating out for special occasions. I will have to be more diligent in my menu planning/price matching/couponing to try and pay the lowest price possible for the food we buy. The frozen/convenience foods that we have gotten used to in the last year since I was pregnant with Emelia will have to be replaced by foods made from scratch. I will go back to shopping for 2 weeks or a month at a time with a smaller weekly shopping for milk, lunch meat, and produce. I have found in the past that shopping/meal planning for a month saves me the most money, but requires a lot of extra planning and patience at the grocery store (hard to maintain with the crowd.) Shopping for two weeks will probably work out best for us right now. I am committed to lowering our expenses so we can stay on budget, pay off our debt sooner, and become debt free.