Sticking to a Family Budget: What I Spent on Groceries Last Month

Lori | Home Made Simple
by Lori | Home Made Simple

It is the end of February, and it is time for me to go through all of my receipts and figure out how much money I have spent on groceries, household items, and animal feed.

I have decided to be organized on family budgeting this year and to compare months and learn from my successes as well as my mistakes.

Last month I kept everything tallied up, but this month that just went by the wayside and I just threw all of the receipts into this basket.

So, today, I am going to calculate how much I have spent on each of the categories this month.

1. Groceries

My grocery spending in February is $528, which I was really surprised by. I was expecting this number to be closer to $1,000, so I am very happy with that $528 for a family of five.

Grocery basket

I was expecting my grocery spending to be much higher, since I was ill at the beginning of the month and then again at the end of the month, which means I was not so focused on my budget.

One thing I learned about myself and my budget this month is that if I do not feel good, I do not care about my budget as much as I should.

Not only was I not on top of our spending at that time, I was also not able to cook as I usually do, leading to us buying a lot of convenience items and eating sandwiches instead of hot meals.

Moreover, we had family staying with us for a week at the beginning of the month, which was wonderful, but obviously was reflected in the budget, since we were feeding a couple of extra people.

One interesting thing I can learn from this is that when I am not on top of things and not keeping a tally either in my mind or on a board, I inflate my spending in my head and tell myself I am doing a terrible job, when in reality I might be doing okay. This number reflects way better behavior than I was giving myself credit for.

I did try to keep up with using cash, but it has been a bit of a burden. I have found that it is just so much easier to pay with a debit card instead of stopping at the ATM, getting my baby out of the car, and getting cash, before making a purchase.

I definitely need to figure out a better system that would allow me to have cash available at the beginning of the pay period so that I can keep everything cash-based as much as possible without having to go way far out of the way or inconveniencing myself.

What also made a big difference was the $50 meal plan I carried out one of the weeks. This was very beneficial and balanced out some of the overspending I had done over the other three weeks.

I am definitely considering using that $50 meal plan once a month from now on and using it as a financial cushion to allow me a little more freedom in the other three weeks. I think that works a lot better than always trying to constrict the budget and get as much out of it as I can.

2. Home goods

For my home goods section, it went up a lot from last month, coming up to $119. That included a lot of vitamins, medicine, probiotics, essential oils and other things to try to help us to get healthy. It also included some things for potty training my baby, which is a one time expense.

Moreover, last month, Amazon made a mistake on my shipment and fully refunded the purchase, which led to a very low spending, so obviously this month it was higher.

3. Animal feed

My animal feed spending was still high at $316. I really wish we could get that down, and I am still working on it.

I think the best way to get that amount down is to keep moving animals out of our homestead that are not really profiting us.

The pigs are on their way out, and we have also been giving our goats away. Eventually, we want to be down to just the cow and the chickens, which will be much more manageable.

Also, I am going to try to get more grass out on the pasture to save on the hay cost. Just being better land managers and using the resources that we have here to feed the animals more and let the chickens free-range more might help to curb some of the cost as well.

Animal feed

However, I think there is also a mindset shift I need to make here. Sometimes it is hard to remember that keeping animals is an investment.

For example, the pigs are going to go in the freezer, which is a massive positive in the long run. Especially these days when everything is crazy and sometimes there is a fear of shortages, having animals that produce food in the backyard gives so much security, so it is $300 well spent.

I think that overall our animal situation is moving in the right direction, and hopefully in the summer I will also be able to keep the costs down.

Family grocery list on a budget

All in all, I think February was a positive month. I was nervous getting ready to calculate my spending, as I was sure I would be embarrassed by the amount we spent on groceries, but it is actually a very decent number, which just reminds me to be kinder to myself and keep a log for the sake of my mental health.

When you spend money to supply things for your family you can only save so much, and we just have to embrace the fact that things cost money. Hopefully, using cash more consistently and keeping track of how much I am spending will give me the confidence that I am doing alright next month.

In March, I am going to try to focus on some healthier options, specifically with a little more protein and a little fewer carbohydrates. I hope this will help all of us to start spring on a good note and feeling good.

I would love to hear about your February family budget! How much did you spend on groceries and home goods? If you have animals, how do you keep from overspending on the animal feed? Leave your comments down below.

Next, check out my Frugal and Delicious Slow Cooker Meal Ideas.

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