Okay, folks - I've done the preliminary work and I'm ready to go. I spent the last few days going through all my receipts from January through May of this year. I picked out all the groceries, tabulated how much I spent in each of twenty-six different categories and came up with a monthly average for each category. That's the number to beat.
While going through this process I learned a few things about my shopping habits.
1. I spend way more money on meat than I thought I did. In fact, it's my number-one expenditure, although it only beat produce by twenty-six cents per month.
2. My third biggest category is a "catch-all" category I call "miscellaneous household items". That encompasses necessities like toilet paper, napkins and toothpaste. But it also includes the stupid impulse purchases I make at the grocery store - like makeup (which I never wear). I think I can easily cut back on that category.
3. Snacks and Bread Products rank fourth and fifth, respectively. After doing a very quick few calculations, my son and I are betting we can cut our expenses in this category in half.
4. I spend about $34.00 a month on condiments. If we made our own salad dressing and peanut sauce we could probably cut that in half, too.
5. At first when I saw we spent an average of $46.79 on canned goods I shrugged and thought - that's not so bad. Most of that is either black beans (or other beans) or spaghetti sauce. I buy the cheapest beans and sauce I can find, and I've always felt kind of good about that. But if we stay home next summer I will definitely grow a bunch of tomatoes and put up my own sauce.
You can see the entire list here: Where the Money Went
Check it out - I wonder where everyone else's money goes.