Jul 22, 2008

What's your grocery budget?

I want to know because I just might learn from you.

I budget $200 for grocery for 2 weeks. We have NEVER met that budget. I'm guilty of stock-buying sometimes. Over the weekend, I went inside Pak 'n Save alone while my family waited in the car. I noticed that they didn't have small trolleys! All they have is this giant trolley that can fit 3 or 4 toddlers in it.

Anyway, I got what was on my list but I took more than I should for baby formula. We keep a 900g can at baby's daycare centre and another at home in addition to maybe 1 or 2 cans standing by. Obviously when I went shopping last weekend we didn't have any stock anymore so I took 3 cans of $22 each. Those 3 cans already made up half of my purchase that day. I almost took 4 but guilt got the better of me. I thought that was already hoarding.

I used to just get 1 as our stand-by supply but there was one weekend when our formula went on sale and they all disappeared before we got there. I asked the staff but they said they didn't have any stock. Pak 'n Save is a WYSIWYG supermarket apparently. They usually sell for $25 at New World. My baby being nearly 6 months old now, he can still finish that off in more or less 5 days.

Back to my question - if I buy baby formula for $66 and diapers for $30, maybe it's not realistic to only budget $200, right? I'm not keen on upping that to, say, $250 because we might lax on budgeting.

What do you think?


  1. i was just going to ask you which grocery stores you go to...all we have close enough to walk to easily is foodtown. I don't know if they are really expensive or not. my food budget in the states was $250/mo, but i think that's going to have to double here!

    i say, if you KNOW you aren't going to meet your budget, you aren't motivated to try to cut back as much. figure out how much you realistically spend each month--just a test month, with no budget--and then try to cut THAT number back by $10 or so each month.

  2. Woolworth's is Wellington's version of Foodtown. They belong to the same company so the prices are about the same, I suppose.

    New World is a bit more pricey than Foodtown. I actually thought it was the other way around until I really paid attention. Pak 'n Save and Countdown are the cheaper ones, but the former claims that they are the cheapest in NZ. I like PnS because they always have big stores and have more variety and cheaper of course! They also give out the highest petrol discounts than any supermarkets in NZ. Quality is not compromised despite lower prices so that's always a good thing.

    I actually did not maintain a budget for grocery until January (new year, new start). I found out that we spent between $250 and $300 between J and I, including our dog. We cut back but just in time for the baby's arrival, so his expenses (formula and diapers) basically offset our cutting back.

    I'll try your approach and see how it'll work for us. Thank you!

  3. Hey Tasha.
    I also shop at pretty much only PnS. Except for when Countdown/Foodtown have a good deal on but I only ever get the deal (alcohol at the moment for our engagement party in a couple of months)
    At the moment we both get paid monthly and I budget $800 a month for food, cleaning products, toiletries, kitten food. Normally spend about $140 - $160 a week on the main shopping trip, and normally $20 ish to top up on bread and lunch food.
    If we buy lunch or coffee out that comes out of our spending money.
    Any takeaways also come out of this budget :)
    I have found doing a list and sending my partner shopping works really well! He sticks to the list so much so, even if he knows we have run out of soap for example he won't get it if it isn't on the list! :)

  4. Hi Muirie,

    I could also try your idea although my partner tends to buy something not on the list e.g. fizzy drink, chocolate bar. In retrospect, he usually stick to the list.

    Thanks for that idea though!