My budget says I spend $400 on groceries. My June spreadsheet says I spent $495 on food and July’s spreadsheet says you’re screwed now.
I spent $660 on food in July. With a $400 budget.
If you can’t look away from an accident, read on:
My total budget for food and household items is $500.
I spent $1587.
I’m more than 300% over budget for July.
New month, new budget, move forward.
I need to look back though, to figure out where I went so terribly wrong.
I saved $240 by using coupons. I’m wondering: Are coupons killing my grocery budget?
Coupons are fantastic for household items like toothpaste and toilet paper and shampoo; I get great deals, free deals, they even pay me to take stuff home sometimes.
But for a family who eats mostly whole foods (not Whole Foods – my grocery budget would be 1k-plus!) coupons can’t do a lot to help lower the grocery bill.
Mixed in with the amazing deals on deodorant and disposable razors are amazing deals for Popsicles and the cereal even the kids would not eat even though it was full of sugar because it was so disgusting Hershey’s Cookies and Cream; food-like items that I normally wouldn’t touch.
I went through my receipts and added up the grocery items I would never purchase if I didn’t have a coupon for them: $23.44 out of pocket [that's after coupons.] The grocery coupon matchups to these items totaled $31.13.
$23 worth of food I bought because of coupons did not kill my grocery budget after all – remember I was $260 over budget!
We thoroughly enjoyed every one of the dye-bright Popsicles and Pretzel Crisps with GMO soybean oil. We also got to try new items that wouldn’t have been on my radar if I didn’t have a coupon for them – yes, I realize that’s the entire point of coupons.
Still, $23 is nothing to sneeze at. For $23 I can take the kiddos on a daytrip to Disneyland. I’d rather have that experience than a pantry full of Kit Kat bags I scored cheaply with coupons. I’ll be paying extra attention to the nutritional and out of pocket costs for all food coupon items from now on.