Financial Friday #17 – Groceries Per Month

Or a secondary title I considered was…Reasons To Stop Cooking with Cheese

Financial Housekeeping

Feeling great about your finances?  Feeling like you are finally getting things under control?

If the answer is yes, then it is time to calculate your monthly expenditure on groceries.

Not feeling so good anymore, are you.

Where’s the beef?
Photo by chuttersnap on Unsplash

The Shocking Truth of What We Spend on Groceries

There are two lines items we have failed to put into our spending plan:

  1.  Gas
  2. Groceries

This way I could live in the delusional world that we really didn’t spend that much…probably about $1000 a month for groceries for a family of five was my estimation.  Gas was variable so we just approximate a week by week amount (more on that in another post).

Groceries has always been a bit of a sore subject with me.  I think because I know some super frugal people who can stretch a dollar like no one’s business. They make things from scratch, cook simple meals that their family likes and know how to work the grocery stores.  I admire them immensely and wish I had that skill because saving money is a skill.  It is also a religion that your entire family needs to buy into.  If they don’t, you can preach your faith as much as you want, they’ll just be sabotaging you with the sin of deceit (sneaking things into the cart).

Finally getting fed up of seeing money disappearing faster than it should be and watching our emergency fund go up painfully slowly, I decided it was time to get a better handle on our expenses of gas and groceries.

So, what do we spend on groceries?

$1500 a month.

I preferred avoidance.

A Short Sulk

Whenever I get bad money news, I immediately go into the money sulk.  Granted working on healing my relationship with money, these episodes are getting shorter. This was no exception.  Once my sulk was done, I decided that it was time to figure out how we compared to our fellow Canadians.

The Average Canadian

For a deep question, who is the average Canadian?  I imagine it is a middle-aged woman with a family of five and two dogs with existential questions and a yearning to write a thought-provoking blog post (the woman, not the two dogs).

From my extensive Google research, the average Canadian spends between $200 to $350 per month on groceries not including eating out, cleaning supplies, toiletries, toilet paper, etc.  We spend $1500 on everything including cleaning supplies, toiletries and toilet paper…everything you can buy at Costco and your average grocery store was included.  Our last bill from Costco had potting soil on it.  Yum! This does not include eating out as we really don’t eat out very often.

I started to feel better. 

Forces That Work Against Me

I feel especially better since I have a few complications that challenge our grocery bill:

  1. I have a family with a vast difference in eating tastes.  On one side, I have the vegan, and on the other, I have a self-identified carnivore.  No matter how you slice it when you have different food requirements, it gets more expensive…especially when we’re talking cashew nuts and any kind of meat.
  2. I am feeding 5 adults essentially.  No small children half portions here.  Think of vacuuming the food from your fridge down into a black hole.
  3. Inability for me to cook from scratch for everything and a lack of desire.  I know I could save myself a lot of money making vegan cheese from scratch, but do I want to?
  4. No Trader Joe’s in Canada for those $1 can refried beans.  Nope, luxury beans here in Canada costing $3 to $4…have you ever heard those two words together…luxury beans?
  5. A family-wide peanut butter addiction….not natural healthy peanut butter…full on Squirrel…both crunchy and creamy.  We don’t hoard TP.  We hoard PB.

Damn Evolution

The biggest problem in my view is eating.  If we could just stop that we’d save some money.  Intermittent fasting is started to look more attractive.

Failing that, it helps to know that we’re on the lower end of “normal” and not wasteful.  What a relief.  I will have to come to terms with our expenditure on groceries and am potentially considering a challenge for my family….whatever we save on groceries every month can go towards a new dishwasher.   I think I’ll get some serious consideration, but not enough to let the PB go…,,maybe a downgrade from cashews to almonds.

Peanut Butter – Is there anything more beautiful – unless you’re anaphylactic.
Photo by Corleto Peanut butter on Unsplash

Whew!  This financial independence thing is a real challenge.  Constant examining.  Enough personal growth already. Changing my blog to be all about watching paint dry. I could call it…Accepting Pain.

Look for next week’s post on a few grocery-shopping strategies I employ.  Not that I am one to talk after the above, but I shudder in horror at what we could spend if I didn’t employ little strategy.


This Week’s Financial Plan
To DateGoal
Emergency Fund (Up $174.03)$2523.48$6000
High-Interest Savings
* Monthly car insurance/property tax
$7861.46None
Current DebtTotal Paid
Debt (Starting $21,803.49)
* Minimum payment of $95. Interest rate dropped!
$20578.15$1225.34
Savings Rate (April 2020)7%58.8 years
Groceries For May– Next Week$1500

Good, Good, Good, Good Vibrations

I’ve been reading a lot lately about keeping your vibrational energy high.  Essentially from reading, a good indicator of your vibrational energy is your feelings.  If you are feeling positive emotions like happiness, joy, appreciation, wonder and delight, your vibrational energy is running high, and you are in an open, welcoming place.

This leads me to wonder if people who write those books suffer from seasonal allergies…I think not.

This is what I feel like today with a little of the slime.

Sleepy not Sniffy

While my symptoms do not show up as a runny nose and red eyes (thank goodness as I’d be home all season with suspected COVID symptoms), I do have a general sense of fatigue while my body goes into fighting an imaginary foe.  I imagine this is how I respond when I walk through a spider’s web.  My immediate arm-flailing movements are illogical…I didn’t actually see the spider, but the imagined sense that I may have a spider on my person sends me into a convulsive-type dance that takes a great deal of energy…much like my immune system and its perceived allergenic enemy.  My body is fighting so hard; yet, I am not sick. I feel dull and lethargic. Time to raise that vibration.

Change Your Thoughts

My first desperate attempt to raise my spirits involves improving my thoughts.  With a focus on gratitude and appreciation, I sit with myself and send myself some self-compassion followed by just really appreciating the energy that I do have.  After all, appreciating what do you have just produces more of the same. Energy begets more energy, positive or negative. Unfortunately, my higher self can sense my inauthenticity and knows I am full of it. My halfhearted attempt at gratitude is not successful.

Come on, pull it together, lady!  

Dwell on Love

So, I try again and think about something that make me happy.  I find myself thinking about my family which usually produces a smile.  They are such a great bunch of people who I am lucky to know. Then like a beagle on a scent trail, my thoughts run towards worry and anxiety.  It is so easy to find both joy and anxiety when thinking of your family.  My emotional foundation is too shaky to drag my innocent family into my hot mess. I quickly change to another technique.

Noisy Silence

Meditation…yes, let’s try that.  I pick a guided meditation and revel in the calming voice gently prompting me to breathe slowly in for 4 and out for 6.  Taking a few breaths, I feel my shoulders relax. Then, a breathing hiccup…was I on the in or the out breath?  Confused, I suck in a bit more air and then hyperventilate.  How do I breathe again?  Obviously breathing in through my nose and out through my mouth involves the same kind of consideration that rubbing my stomach and patting my head does on all days…time to stop before I pass out.

Let’s Do Joy

Joy, that’s the ticket.  Take the brain out of it and invoke action.  Why I decided to start with a scroll through Facebook is beyond me.  Failing to uplift, but to induce a case of social justice warrior feelings, I shut the app.  I should know better!

A guaranteed source of pleasure lately has been watching SGN (Some Good News) with John Krasinski.  The show on YouTube never fails to infuse joy, and there’s a new episode!  Sadly, the theme is to advise gently that the series of uplifting videos is ending for a time and to go share my own good news.  It makes me cry because I’m going to miss it, and I fail to see what good news I would have to share if I cannot even uplift my own vibe.

This is just not working.

Despair

Fed up, I grab my keys and go walk along the river.  Lots of people are out and about today on this sunny weekend.  I start snapping pictures of slugs, the river and wild flowers around me.  The river is running high and fast due to freshet which is scarily fascinating and mesmerizing.  As I walk, I listen to some happy podcasts.  I step off the path as I meet other strollers and give them the appropriate COVID space.  They nod appreciatively and express their thanks which makes me feel like a thoughtful human being. 

Magic!

Seeing a group of dogs milling together with their owners, I go down on one knee to greet them and meet Jasmine, a beautiful tan dog with gentle eyes.  She gives me a lick, and the owners are appreciative of the extra attention their pride and joys are receiving, but really I should thank them.  Slowly like a cup being filled, the magical mixture of outside time, beautiful scenery, friendly humans, happy dogs and positive words through my ear buds are doing unconsciously what I tried to do consciously.  Appreciation and gratitude come easily now with full authenticity behind them.

Nature…always my magic cure to coming back to my best self…allergies or no allergies.

Now I’m curious…what magic lifts your vibration?