Monday, October 3, 2011

Day 34--Groceries

Ugh I'm still struggling with the "grocery shopping" thing.  I'll be very honest about the fact that I'm not a very "savvy shopper."  I don't get the paper and search ads for what's on sale where, I don't clip coupons, and I don't keep a running tally of how much I'm spending as I go through the store.  Sometimes I don't even shop with a list.  And when I do, it's more of a reminder not to forget certain things; I always buy more than what's on the list.

So I wanted to compare what I spent on food before I started this vegan thing and after.  The best way to do that was month over month, so here it is:

August actual for groceries:  $441.86

September actual for groceries: $507.12

I was disappointed but not surprised that my total for my vegan month was higher than previous months. (I was, however, surprised that we were so close to our goal of $100/week in August, because I was just as bad of a shopper then).  I think a couple of things factor into the jump:
  1. This was the first month of a total change for us which meant taking a hit on some things--like spices--that will last us more than a month, 
  2. This account is never used for eating out, which we did more of in August and almost none of in Sept., so naturally, the grocery bill will go up.
  3. We didn't really have a feel yet for how to be savvy vegans.  Just like with any other diet chioces, some foods are really expensive and should only be a once-in-a-while thing.  For us, that's hummus.  We bought several conatiners before I was finally like "whoa, this stuff is four bucks a pop, let's reign this in."
But I can't blame it all on this stuff.  A big reason we spent more instead of less is simply because produce at my local supermarket is expensive.  I try to have an idea for meals before I go to the store, and that usually means grabbing asparagus even if it is $3.99/lb.  I stopped by a store closer to my work the other day and I was in shock at how much lower their produce prices were!  And their selection was so much better than it was when that was my "local" store.  I made a mental note that I need to do my shopping there.  But there's a problem in that plan, too.  I like to shop on my day off, and this store is 35 minutes away.  If I just shop after work, I know my shopping will never be complete.  But I have to figure it out, because the difference is huge.

Also, I think even $100/week for two people is excessive, and we can probably do with less.  But for now, I'd like to just get back down to that.  I'm going to start by always making a list and sticking to it, planning meals so I use everything I buy (although I've been doing a pretty good job of not wasting much), and vowing to somehow get to East York for produce at least once a week.

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