I'm really loving Ms. Mary Frances' series on cutting back on food spending. She is interviewing Heather, a GF gal feeding a family of 6 on a budget of $275 a month. If y'all don't already subscribe to Gluten Cooking School, you must do so immediately as Ms. Mary Frances is a super smart lady who knows her GF stuff.
I ran the numbers for what we spent on groceries and restaurants last year, and it was SHOCKING. I'm too embarassed to say the amount, but if Suze Orman were here in the room, she would rip me a new one like she does to those clueless couples on Oprah, who are still spending what's left of their HELOC like it's June 2005. Speaking of, here's the link to Suze's free download, which will be up on the Oprah site for another few days or so: http://www.oprah.com/article/oprahshow/20081119_tows_bookdownload
I thought I had spent less in 2008 because I made sure to make more meals at home and to eat out less often. The numbers reflect that restaurant meals have gone down, and grocery bills now account for 66% of our food bill. Husband and I hardly go to lunch anymore unless they are business meetings, as we are consciously and regularly eating all lunches and breakfasts at home. Coffee shops are only for business meetings as well. Dinners are where I get weak with my discipline. It's too tempting to have a cocktail or a glass of wine with dinner, and we all know how much that jacks up the bill (and the waistline). My dinners with my girlfriends are celebrations of epic proportions that include a multitude of booze, food, and laughter. A lot of my dinners are business dinners, and I don't really want to cut back while taking an agent to dinner, or a voice over client, or anyone else I'm wanting to treat for that matter.
So while there's some room to limit dinners out that aren't necessary business dinners, I need to get my grocery store spending under control. Here are my red flags:
1. I know that I overbuy every time I go to the store. I go to three grocery stores since there's not one store that sells everything I need. That means that I don't stick to my grocery list at three stores instead of just one.
2. I go to the store too often, which means I need to plan meals and stock up better (that's where the MacGourmet Deluxe Software comes in).
3. I forget to eat leftovers, and they go bad and get tossed. I vow to eat all leftovers in 2009!
4. Even worse than throwing away leftovers is having to throw away food that went bad because I didn't have time to get to it, or I forgot to freeze it! I'm so ashamed of this one. I don't want to throw away any more unused food in 2009.
All four of these points lead to one theme: conscious consumption. I want to consciously shop, cook, and consume in 2009. Even if we cut our food bill by a few hundred per month, that means saving several thousand or more per year. Heather is feeding a family of 6 for under $300 a month. For our little family of three, we have no excuses anymore.