My solution is this: A Grocery Expenses Chart. You can print it here or on my website, or you can simply use a good old fashioned notebook with lines. I use a chart every week to track my expenses and budget for the next week. It helps my family live a healthy lifestyle within a reasonable budget. We buy very high-quality raw ingredients, versus processed expensive organic food. We also will be growing a lot of food this upcoming year, so hopefully our grocery bill will go down a lot.
How to Use My Chart
Set a monthly goal at the top of the page.
• Mark the Trip # in the month (so, if this is your first trip to the store in February, mark down #1). This helps provide a visual so that it’s easy to break up each month’s spending. Also, if you forgot the date you went to the store, you will know what trip # it was. It’s not a necessary feature, but one I find that is helpful. Mark down the date that you went to the store.
• Save your receipts so that you can mark the subtotal down after each individual store run (even if you only spent $20!).
• Don’t forget to add any Amazon or other online food purchases!
• In the Notes section, comment on what items were indulgences or treats. In other words, where can you improve for next time? What items are over $10?
• Add up the totals as you go in the Running Total section (so each trip in the month is added to the previous subtotal). Once you finish the month, start noting Trip #1 again for the next month.
Why Track $10 Items?
Did you know that if your organic butter costs $10 per pound and you buy 2 every week, you spend $1,040 on butter alone every year? This also means that you have to earn about twice that in your job just to pay for the butter (due to taxes taking roughly half of your earnings). Something that is seemingly low-cost can really add up over time. It pays to focus on those $10 indulgences, because if you get two $10 treats each time you go to the store, you are then spending that same amount on a treat instead of for something that is really necessary for the family’s survival.
Other Ways to Save
We also buy our meat, grain, sugar, and some dried fruit in bulk (25lb or 50lb bags) straight from a grain mill in our province. This way we spend drastically less than buying little cute packages of dried fruit, chia seeds, or rice. You pay for that pretty packaging!
Sprouting seeds in winter is my favorite way to grow salad greens and save on my fresh produce bill. No sense in paying $4 for a bell pepper when you can sprout your own seeds for a fraction of the cost. In my newest book, I teach you how to sprout seeds, which I call “No-Fail Gardening”, because it’s so easy!
Here is a chart you can print off! If it doesn't print properly, you can go to my website and download it in PDF format.
In Part 2, I’ll cover the top cheapest organic products you can buy on a budget and still feed your family healthy nutritious meals!
Rosemary Hansen is an author, homesteading Mama, and a chef. She has spent the last 10 years “homesteading” in the city. She and her family have just started their off-grid homestead in rural British Columbia, Canada. Her books, Grow a Salad In Your City Apartment and Rosemary’s Natural Cosmetic Guide are a great way to ease into a healthy, pure lifestyle. You can connect with Rosemary at her website: www.RosemaryPureLiving.com or on her YouTube channel. Read all of Rosemary's MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.
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