Our grocery budget is $500 per pay period (1st and 15th of each month) for food and groceries. We are a family of 7. My goal is to reduce what we actually spend each pay period by utilizing some budget friendly ideas like menu planning, comparing prices, and making budget friendly meals. At the end of the pay period, the money left will be redistributed: the first $50 (10%) will be donated to YWAM Ethiopia's feeding program, the remainder will be put into another area of our family budget where we could use some help (probably clothing!). So, this is to keep me accountable on my food spending for Dec 30-Jan 13. $100 in bank account: 12/30 MySpiceSage.com - $43.25 = $56.75 $400 in envelope: 12/31 Safeway - $41.74 = $358.26 12/31 WinCo Foods - $136.10 $222.16 12/31 socked away in hiding: $150 = $72.16 hoping to make it the rest of the pay period with only that - and then I would have shaved $150 off the budgeted money for food. PURCHASES: 12/30 MySpiceSage.com - 5# berbere (for Ethiopian food), 8 vanilla beans (free w/purchase) and 1 oz black cardamom pods (free w/purchase) 12/31 Safeway - whole smoked turkey, 2.5# ground turkey, 32oz Lil Smokeys, 2 whole chickens ($.79/#), bananas, 2 bunches spinach, tomatoes, 32 oz broccoli wokoli, 32 oz fresh stir fry veggies 12/31 WinCo Foods - milk (2 gal), eggs (3 dzn), potato chips (NYE), soda (NYE), onions, potatoes, rice, rice/lentil soup from bulk, pasta sauce, beef broth, popcorn (5#!), pastas, yogurt for Shawn for work, peanut butter, sour cream, cheeses, orange juice, string cheese (a must in our house), butter, and cereal ($2 a box!), sausage, bacon, raisins, mushrooms. (probably a few other things, too). *** 12/31 - dh and I went through the freezer and made a list of the protein sources we have in there right now. Now we're making a menu for the next 2 weeks utilizing some of those proteins. We'll be going to WinCo later to get the rest of the big shopping done. I pulled out $400 in cash this morning, and put it in an envelope to use for groceries/food. There is $56.75 left in the bank (not in the envelope) for groceries, in case I need Shawn to stop and get something on his way home from work. I took $150 from the envelope and put it away. I am hoping to not have to touch that $150. *** 1/1 I am so irrirated right now. I told dh my plan. Laid it all out for him. I asked him to go to Costco to pick up the dog food and a pkg of grapes, because last time i looked there, they were $7.50 for a huge container. He got the dog food (about $30) and TWO pkgs of grapes @$9/box. AND then he also picked up a pkg of razors... the bill was over $90. Now, had I known he needed razors, we would have gotten them later this month or I would have gotten those instead of the berbere this pay period. AND... seriously, $18 for grapes? And $40 for RAZORS! He wants me to save money. He says he is on board. But then he goes and does this. Now I have to work the money all over again because he used $$ out of our account, and there was nowhere near that much in there for groceries. **** 1/7/2011 I've been pretty sick all week - so some of my grand plans have gone to the wayside. We picked up more milk and eggs (totally knew we would need that, and it was planned). Wednesday I was in bed all day long, so dh picked up pizza. And tonight he picked up McDonald's. I also ordered my coffee online. So tomorrow I will see what we have left. We've been much more cognizant and intentional with our food money this pay period - and we are still well within our budgeted amount. We may not save nearly as much as I had hoped - but we had some expenses that we don't typically have (the $45 razors and the $43 spices and the pizza and McDonald's - all things we haven't typically been doing). **** 11/12/2011 We get paid tomorrow, so this pay period's grocery money is done TODAY. I have $54.06 left in my grocery envelope! So I am under my budgeted amount for this pay period. Mission accomplished.