Last month, I kept all of my grocery receipts in a wadded up pile in my purse.
You can imagine how lovely that was.
I pulled those out this week and began the tedious work of identifying what I spent on each item. I broke it all up into 9 categories: meat, dairy, produce, boxed/packaged foods, dog food, treats/dessert, wine, household goods and baking supplies.
I spent hours identifying what grocery store codes meant and tracking the price of every item I purchased.
Readers: this is not for the faint of heart. Also, just start in Excel, if you're going to do this. Don't start with paper and then transfer to Excel. Geesh. I did that. Seriously.
What I learned, however, surprised me.
I guessed, before tracking this, that I would have spent the majority of our grocery budget on boxed/packaged foods. I'm not proud of that. I want nothing more than a pantry full of glass jars, beans, baking items and lovely Italian pasta.
The reality is this:
And that's a picture without the usual bags of chips.
I can barely even look at that picture. When did I start buying crappy food? When did I start shoving things into my pantry all wily-nilly? When did I buy a green Le Crueset utensil holder and start using it to store KIND bars?
Anyway, I can analyze all of that later. Let's move on to the budget.
Here is how it all broke down:
If you all knew how long it took me to make that sad little infographic you'd feel really sorry for me (and laugh heartily....heartily).
The total amount I spent on groceries last month (assuming a receipt didn't slip by me) was: $1163.08.
That doesn't include eating out or Starbucks. That's tracking for another month, I suppose. I don't even want to think about it.
So, out of the $1163.08 I spent on groceries, the largest amount ($283.49) was spent on boxed/packaged foods. This means refried beans, enchilada sauce, pasta, chips, pretzels, oatmeal, maple syrup, etc.
But the real SHOCKER comes at the next largest expenditure....meat? Dairy? Toilet paper?
Obviously, we're not drinking only one bottle per week.
How is it possible I spend more on wine each week for 2 people than I do for meat for 4 people?
And we don't drink a lot!
I am now horrified.
I'd like to see my grocery budget reverse course. I'd like to spend the most on meat and fruits/veggies. This dairy business is out of control; my daughter eats brie and Babybells like it's her job.
I'd like to see more home-baked goods and fewer packaged snacks.
I'm surprised we don't spend more on treats. We eat dessert every night, which has been amped up lately. I probably spent double that amount this month so far. I've got an M&M habit that isn't doing me any favors.
It's truly shocking what you see when you track something. In my mind, I knew I spent a lot on packaged goods, but I didn't know it was almost twice the amount I spend on, say, meat.
I didn't realize, obviously, that I'm spending almost $6/day on wine for my husband and myself.
And I had no idea, until this morning, that my pantry looks like I've never learned how to make proper pasta sauce or a batch of muffins.
My poor sister, who graduated from cooking school, will likely have a good chuckle when she reads this. I'd like to see a picture of her pantry.
Moving forward, I'll be purchasing less wine. One bottle per week. No more than $25/bottle.
And I'm now motivated to make a master grocery list/meal planning list so that my pantry isn't an assortment of odds/ends that make no sense.
I have to stop writing now because I'm going to get a migraine.
Has anyone else done this? Do you know where your food money goes? Would you be surprised?
Incidentally, I've not been doing well with taking my shopping bags. I'm a mess in every way.
I'm off to ballet, hopefully ridding myself of this information overload.