One of my biggest struggles as a mom is feeding my children a healthy diet while sticking to a grocery budget. When I used coupons, it was very easy to stick to a $400/month grocery budget, or even less. But, we weren’t eating healthy.
Over the past 2 years, we’ve worked on eating healthy and including as many organic and locally raised foods as we can.
It’s hard work. Sometimes I feel like I’m making progress, and then life changes and I have to figure out a new way to get healthy food ingredients.
We’re all struggling with the balance between providing nutritious food for our families and the increasing cost of food thanks in part to crop failures and the rising cost of gas.
On Fridays, I’ll be sharing my struggles, experiments, and thoughts. Please feel free to share yours. Seriously.
My First Step: Updating my Price Book
If you don’t know your prices, then it’s tough to keep a tight rein on the grocery budget. How do you know when it’s worth an extra trip to pick up a loss leader at a store? If you already have a price book, how disciplined are you about keeping it up to date? I haven’t been, and with prices increasing so rapidly right now, keeping the price book up to date is imperative in saving money for my family of seven.
My price book is a spiral-bound notebook that I keep in my office. I keep my items organized alphabetically with 2 to 3 pages per letter. I record the item, the price per unit of measure, and the date. I don’t record the store since I feel like that’s a waste of time for me. I also have a version of my price book for local suppliers here on A Life in Balance at the top of the first column. Yes, it needs updating, too, but it’s a great place to start for those living in Delaware County.
In addition, to my price book, I now have a running list of cost per ingredient which I use to determine the cost of recipes (http://alifeinbalance.net/category/price-book/). I keep the cost analysis of the recipes in a separate notebook. Another option would be to include the cost with the recipe in my cooking binder.
My price book is about 6 months out of date, and with prices going up every week because of the volatility of the Middle East, I need to update the price book weekly.
Do you keep a price book, or do you feel they are unnecessary?
Fight Back Friday at Food Renegade
Frugal Friday at Life as Mom
Thrifty Thursday at Coupon Teacher
Monday Mania at The Healthy Home Economist