My brother Mark called me Monday evening, as I was finishing cleaning up the kitchen from an all-day session of making stock and bean soups (split pea with ham, Cuban black beans) to freeze for eating later in the fall and winter. Somehow we got around to talking about our household budgets.
Mark and my sister-in-law Jackie just became true empty nesters with my niece Elizabeth (their youngest) moving to New England for graduate school. I said that ought to be a positive impact on the bank balance. In the middle of that discussion, I mentioned our grocery bill.
Several years ago, I blogged that we spent less than $200.00 a month on groceries, with another $25.00 on non-food household items (soap, toilet paper, shampoo, toothpaste). That figure did not include prescription medications, but did include eating out, which has rarely ever exceeded $25.00 a month (and usually does not exceed $10.00). When I was talking with Mark, I gave him the wrong figure: $100.00.
Mark was intrigued. "$100.00? Really?"
Well, not quite. I discovered my error today and emailed Mark and Jackie to tell them the figure was actually $200.00. During the phone conversation the night before, I told Mark that I had not tracked our food spending closely for a
long time, and that I was tracking it this month to see if we are still
close to that figure, given just the overall rise in the cost of food.
When I learned the target is $200.00, I was thrilled. Heck, $200.00? Piece of cake, especially since I think our actual spending is closer to $150.00. If anything, we have reduced our food expenses in the six years since that first blog post ran.
At least I think so. I'll know in a few more weeks.
So I will be saving the grocery receipts, noting the non-receipt purchases ($7.50 yesterday at my friend Donna's great farm stand to get local sweet corn,
some cherry tomatoes (mine having mostly bit the dust thanks to an
invasion of cucumber beetles), and four of the most beautiful bell
peppers I have ever seen and all four of which ended up going into the black bean soup
mentioned above), tallying up the odd meals out here and there.
And then we'll see what September brings.