Let’s Do the Math: January Recap

Hello! I thought it would be a good idea to devote one post each month to taking a look at how close my grocery spending comes to the $6 per day that I targeted.

With 31 days, that means my total grocery budget in January was $186.

My actual spending on food was $303.71.

Oops. That’s $117.71 more than I planned to spend.

But let me unravel this for you:

  • First, I threw a wine and cheese party for 25 people on January 8. The total cost of that was $129.22, and I estimated that there was somewhere between 33% and 40% left over for my housemates and I to snack on.
  • And on January 23, I went out for dinner, which came to $38.23.
Actual grocery expenditures = $213.79
Leftover party food (40%) = $51.69
Restaurant Jan 23 = $38.23
Grand total = $303.71

So, the actual spending on groceries was about $27 over budget. This number-crunching has led me to four conclusions:

  1. People who are using food stamps probably don’t throw big wine and cheese parties.
  2. They are also probably not going to restaurants.
  3. The $213.79 included the groceries for my first-ever “Good and Cheap” dinner party. Based on that, I think it’s possible to entertain and still stick to the $6 per day budget.
  4. Most important conclusion: I have some work to do.

Although I’m only a month in, I’m starting to  believe that this is a game of averages. Some days, I’ll be a little high, other days a little low. But the overall average should work out to $6 per day.

However, it’s obvious that during the month of February, I’ll need to try harder to trim my grocery bill.

I had a conversation about this project with a good friend, who recommended that I take a look at the work of Steve & Annette Economides, who bill themselves as “America’s Cheapest Family”. I’m about a third of the way into their book “Cut Your Grocery Bill in Half”, and it looks like one of my weaknesses is planning. Using their ideas, I’ve started planning my lunches. I’ll let you know how it goes in February.

2 thoughts on “Let’s Do the Math: January Recap

  1. Have enjoyed reading all your posts. Even though you are not at the $6 a day goal I think you did very well in January. I have no doubt you will reach this goal. Looking forward to your next posts.


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