My Grocery Challenge


On average, our family spends over $1100 a month on groceries. I learned this last week upon beginning Financial Peace Univeristy. Throughout our nearly 24 year marriage, I have made it a point to stay mostly ignorant on all things related to money. “Blah, blah, blah, blah…” is the script which ran through my head whenever the Hubs would want to have “the talk.” 

But now, for some reason, the Lord is giving me courage to open my eyes and share the responsibility with the Hubs. I feel both empowered by knowing our finances and encumbered because I now need to seriously participate in the process. We are not in financial straits at all yet the time seems right. 

We discussed our food budget. Aside from our mortage, it is the place where we spend the most. Although we narrowly averted a verbal altercation about lettuce right after attending church (!), we had a pleasant conversation about finances that night. My spirit was  challenged to consider ways we could cut back. 

I like to cook, it is my gift to my family. Cooking for others, entertaining, making new recipes; all these things are my passion. Coupons don’t work because we eat mostly fresh food or unprocessed items. I just see junky food in coupons. (Enlighten me if you feel otherwise!) For me, a cupboard full of food means stability. Bringing home groceries feels like I’m carting in Christmas presents for all to enjoy.

Yet as we were driving home from this week’s FPU lesson, I said something unexpected to the Hubs. When he told me that we had already spent $1100 on groceries this month, I blurted out the most preposterous thing.

“Let’s spend only $50 this week.”

HUH? I couldn’t take it back. The Hubs heard me and albeit he was shocked to hear those words coming out of MY mouth, he agreed. Here is a dramatic re-enactment of his facial expression. 

My husband. My muse. 

We announced the budget cut to the OS and a look of panic swept over their faces. Fear of starvation and famine, eating gruel and mush filled their adolescent minds and appetites.

So here we sit on Wednesday. According to my records, we only have $12 left until Sunday. 

For some time now, God has reminded me of this verse…

It’s Wednesday and everyone has a belly full of food. No one has gone hungry. Nutrition is plentiful. We even have shrimp in the freezer! Strangely, I feel a measure of peace. I have already prepared another meal for a family who has a wife battling breast cancer. I am in charge of snacks for my orange hair, freckle face OS’s basketball team tomorrow. I brought food to share during my women’s Bible Study. 

My daily longing for purchasing a large, unsweet iced tea is being satisfied at home with Trader Joe’s Mango Tea. The warm smell of turkey tacos, Guatemalan rice and seasoned tortilla chips permeates the house at this very moment. 

“Be content with what you have.”

I have spoken to the Lord and questioned Him about the timing though. “Um, Lord, I’m not sure if you realize this but it’s MY BIRTHDAY tomorrow (Thursday)! We only have 12 bucks, what are we going to do about that, hmmmmmm?” 

“Be content with what you have.”

I have requested homemade angel food cake (Ike’s specialty) for tomorrow. I’d love some fresh blackberries and homemade whipping cream if we can squeak the remaining $12 out to do so. I’m not sure what is on the menu for tomorrow’s birthday meal but as I assess my possessions, both earthly and those set on things above…

a sewing machine 🙂
a loving family
the blessings of treasured friends
stable finances and 
an enduring faith in the Lord,
and so much more

This will be my desire

to be content with all that I have

my bountiful life

3 thoughts on “My Grocery Challenge

  1. I feel you! Cooking makes me happy and sane and peaceful. When people wanted to cook for me after Henry was born, I would say, "Please, let me. It makes me feel human."And yet it is so expensive. I coupon but not nearly as much as some, since we, like you, are "perimeter shoppers." I'll tell you what I use coupons for: pantry staples like vinegars, flour and sugar (but often the house brand is still cheaper than using a coupon on a name brand); Yoplait yogurt; Jiff and Smuckers; cheese; cleaning supplies; toiletries.More important than couponing, in my opinion, is shopping sales. When Harris Teeter runs a sale on a special cut of meat, I get it even if I don't need it right away. (Freeze it.) If you have favorite items (like my favorite cereal), watch and see how often it goes on sale — like every 6 weeks, 4 weeks, or whatever. Stock up then.The absolute best is when you have a coupon during the sale. I can use to look up coupons (she has a database) and every week I check the HT list to see if there are any coupon+sale deals on things we buy. Sometimes no, sometimes yes. It's worth my 5 minutes to check.*Sorry for the length of this comment!*

  2. Happy birthday friend! I totally echo Mere's comment. I used to be a crazy coupn-er, but now I just use them at CVS for household items and cereal. I will sometimes come across coupons for Kashi, but it's very rare.I have a friend who had a great post about being "green" on a budget. She tries to only feed her family fresh, organic food, too, and they do so on a very tight budget. Here is the link; maybe you can get some good ideas: we lived in Raleigh I had a strict grocery budget ($120/week) that I stuck to with coupons. But I am like you in that we are cutting out pre-packaged and processed as much as possible. And some differences in our income and our expenses since the move have made it so that I don't have to be as careful with the grocery budget, and I know I am spending more. But I don't want to know about it! My plan has been to save as much as possible on non-perishables and household items, and then I can go nuts at the co-op on veggies, meats and dairy.

  3. I would love to see your menus! I am trying to just spend $60 a week and it's tough when trying to just eat mostly healthy, unprocessed things. But we are serious about getting rid of debt and spending as little as possible AND we have a tight budget. So, I've been sitting here staring at the weekly grocery ad and am feeling uninspired but I CAN DO IT! 🙂

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