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I REALLY thought i was doing good this month, i've kept my trips down and didn't spend too much, shopped coupons, sales, etc.

BUT I didn't keep close enough track and missed a few at the beginning of the month... Then i didn't realize how much all my husbands little trips really add up.

Its just the two of us - we budget 360 and i honestly think thats plenty but we go over EVERY month! It usually ends up closer to 400 but not always by that much. But i refuse to believe we need to spend that much for 2 people! This month we are at 450! Thats 90 dollars over budget and that included having a 20 dollar off coupon and not having to cook for thanksgiving like we thought we would! WTF!

I figured out that my husband made 11 trips on his own and spent a total of 112 dollars.... That i wasn't expecting.

I tried cash and it doesn't work because theres 2 people using it and my husband is notorious for forgetting and using his card or using it for something else and its impossible to track. Debit is just trackable. I do most of the food shopping for us - i stopped letting him come with me because he would always just find something to spend money on or wouldn't let me stock up on sale items like i wanted to.... but he's just making more separate "small" trips. all those 10 dollar trips ADD up!

I don't know what to do anymore. I'd have to spend less then 300 in December to make up for it and its Christmas- thats not gonna happen. That 90 dollars is money that we cant pay toward Debt now.

How do you stay on budget with 2 people shopping separately?
 

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A couple of suggestions.

What about a prepaid card you both have access to? Once the money is out, it's out. Might be a pain if you don't have enough food for the rest of the month.

Why not figure out what he is buying on these small trips and see about adding it to your normal shopping days?

Scott
 

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I try not to shop with DH myself, because he does the same thing and I can't bring myself to tell him he can't have a snack or treat, as our sole earner he works so hard.

Most of the time I tell him that if he wants something to write it on my shopping list.

I would try and stay on top of what he is buying and how much it costs each week. Then you can adjust your budget and menu week by week. That is assuming that talking with him and asking him to stop doesn't work.
 

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Is there a way you can sit down together and look at the budget? If not, maybe you just need to be the only one who shops.
 

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Another thing that occurs to me is that if you think you are shopping too much you probably have more food in the house than you're going to eat in the next few weeks. Shop your pantry and freezer to see what you already have that you can make dinner out of, or that only needs a few additions. That should severely cut back one or more week's worth of shopping in December.
 

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Grocery shopping is a pain for me to stay on budget. I am now newly gluten and dairy intolerant.
I really spend more than I think I should. I write everything down. I too have a hard time saying no to my DH but I need him to lug the water etc. I am hoping once I get more used to eating this way I will figure out how much I really need. We do have times when other than milk and bread we just eat out of what we have in the cupboards and fridge.
I obsess over my budget to the point DH gets mad if I have my budget and bills out!
 

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When I first married my hubby he was spending $60 a month on groceries and that included paper products...I kid you not....of course he only ate tv dinners as he doesn't cook, went out with his Dad once a week, and didn't eat lunch or breakfast....when I came on the scene, our grocery bill was close to $800 - $1000 the first six months (after that, it was around $300 for the two of us)....and, I used coupons...he had NO spices, no back up food, nothing!!!! His idea of a stockpile was having 2 cans of Campbell's chicken noodle soup.....The first time his family came to our home after we were married, they saw my pantry and everyone had to come and look at it because that was the first time they ever saw any food in it....LOL....Here it is, 17 years later, 50 lbs. heavier, and we now are spending around $100 - $150 a month but that does not include paper or hba....we don't eat like we use to and I now have time to cook from scratch since I am retired......I still refuse to let him come shopping with me....it only took one time him going with me and asking me what I was going to do with something I had put in the cart and he never came with me again and he never said another word to me about what I buy or how much I spend......if he wants something special, he will ask me to buy it or he buys it with his allowance....works for us......those little short trips add up quickly....maybe if you show him on paper...some guys need to see it on paper to believe it.....good luck...
 

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I'm not sure that amount is out of line. What kind of foods are you buying with that money? Is it junk, or is it more expensive healthy food like fresh produce and good quality meats?

Are groceries expensive where you live?

Do you and/or he cook from scratch?

We average about $300-$400 a month for the two of us. That doesn't usually include non-food items but does include homemade dog food ingredients for our dog. But we live in a tiny town at the end of the road where shipping costs are high and there are no big box stores of any kind, so our groceries tend to be a little higher at least in some ways.

What types of foods does your husband buy when he goes by himself? If it's snacks, can you or he bake cookies or make other foods from scratch to save money and get food with less additives? Would he eat fresh veggies or fruit as a snack? Mine husband will but usually not if I don't prep it for him. Drives me nuts, since he's not five years old, but I do that sometimes so he'll get the nutrients from those foods. He knows better than to ask me to do it for him, but he never turns down fruit and veggie snacks if I offer them to him.

If you pack a lunch for him, will he eat it? My husband will pack his own lunch, but he tends to forget stuff like veggies and fruit. He loves it when I pack his lunch because I tuck in stuff he never thinks of, but likes. I invested in a good set of assorted Pyrex dishes for his lunches, and also have a wide selection of high quality (Tupperware, Rubbermaid) plastic dishes he can put small snacks and desserts in. It helps to have good, appropriate dishes to pack things into.

If your husband is stopping to pick up a snack because he's hungry, then see if you can get him to take snacks from home. It's bound to be cheaper if you plan ahead for it and take advantage of sales, etc. Buy larger packages of snack items to get the best price and then as soon as you get home, separate the big packages into snack size packages that will be handy to grab when he's looking for something to take along to work.

If he's picking up something to drink like pop, see if you can get him to use something like a Bubba Keg. We use these which hold 52 ounces.

Carbonated, sugary drinks don't quench thirst, they make you thirstier, so you drink more because you're still thirsty, etc. We like ice water with a slice of lemon in our Bubbas. Once you get used to that, soft drinks just taste artificial and stale by comparison. Water will actually quench thirst. Also, people often think they're hungry when they're really thirsty, so drinking enough water can help keep the munchies away, too, among many, many other benefits. If your husband likes drinks like Crystal Light or other drinks you can mix up yourself, that could save you money too, and you can use the Bubbas for that.

It goes without saying that buying bottled water is a big waste of money. If he's doing that, get him a nice insulated travel mug he can refill from any water tap. We use a system of stainless steel water bottles when we camp/travel, and refill as necessary. In our travels over the past eleven years and tens of thousands of miles, we've only found one place that the drinking water was unacceptable. Good water is everywhere and it's easy to refill a travel mug. Or get several if he likes the water at home but not at other places, so he can take a whole day's supply with him and not have to refill.

There are lots of little tricks to get him on board with staying away from the grocery stores. It takes some trial and error, but eventually you will find things that work for both of you.
 

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I agree with spirit deer and am not sure that is out of line. We are also 2 people and food is our biggest expense each month( we have no debt). I am one of those people that thinks oh we spend 200 maybe 250 a month on food and when I actually keep track it is more....usually alot more!
I do all the shopping/ planning/cooking. We eat high quality food.I am veg. hubby not but I buy the most humane raised animal products I can find also as much organic as possible because that is what is important to me. I would rather be frugal in other areas and spend more on food. Not to sound cliche but you are what you eat. I didn't think this way when I was your age but we are older ( 45 and 54) so eating to live a healthier, quality life as we get older is on my mind alot right now. I have had many older people tell me money is nothing when you get old if you don't have your health.

So how can you save?? I am also wondering what your hubby buys?? would he be willing to stick to a budget for his food spending....50 maybe??
I used to hate leftovers, now I love( well maybe just like them) and lucky hubby has always liked them. It is so easy with two people to cook once and eat at least 2 meals off it. This is a big money saver....cooking less meals.
I also like alot of variety and I am trying to pare that down a bit as that adds alot to the budget.
Then there is food waste.....if you are throwing food away you are throwing away money. I am guilty of this more than I would like to admit. When I am doing good though I "save" alot by putting stuff in the freezer if it isn't eaten in a few days. Even things like hoagie roll..... throw away because it got old or put in the freezer to pull out and make garlic rolls for 2 as a side to a meal. Those little things add up.
Of course you know about cooking from scratch.....taste better and healthier too!
I just started a new thing to try and save money and time and give my hubby healthier lunches. It did require me to purchase some single serve freezer/micro safe dishes. I just got finished making enough work lunches ( 4 days a week) to last through the end of the year. I am making casserole type dishes ( with meat, recipes I know he would like but I don't normally make because I am veg. I also hope they include at least one serving of veggies in each) 1 normal size recipe yields enough for dinner for him that night ( i just have a salad or something easy) and 3 lunches. I plan to do this the last week of each month 5x which will give 15 lunches ( or more ) I plan to do different recipes every month. Thaw in fridge a day or 2 before sending for lunch to warm in micro. I think it will work well, be healthy and frugal.
***look for some of nuisance's posts on food/grocery/budgeting........she is inspirational, knowledgeable, and amazing!
 

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i am a single person with cats and it costs me 400 a month in Houston Texas dollars for food and supplies to run this house. what city are you in?

how about the two of you shop together 1st and 15th and no trips in between? have to plan carefully when you can't go for 15 days. meal planning, shop with a calculator, keep a running total, and prioritize.

meal planning, cascading meals like whole roast chicken first day, chicken tacos second day, and chicken soup third day. ground beef sprinkles for tossed green salad first day, stroganoff second day.

edited to add: i drink water. for special, i drink water with a slice of lemon and a packet of sweet and low. i refuse to pay for pop.
 

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If you are "constantly" going over, it may mean that you underestimated your grocery expenses when creating your budget. $400/month does not seem out of line to me. That's under $15/day for two people. If that covers all meals and snacks, then you're doing pretty well! :)
 

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i am a single person with cats and it costs me 400 a month in Houston Texas dollars for food and supplies to run this house. what city are you in?

how about the two of you shop together 1st and 15th and no trips in between? have to plan carefully when you can't go for 15 days. meal planning, shop with a calculator, keep a running total, and prioritize.

meal planning, cascading meals like whole roast chicken first day, chicken tacos second day, and chicken soup third day. ground beef sprinkles for tossed green salad first day, stroganoff second day.

edited to add: i drink water. for special, i drink water with a slice of lemon and a packet of sweet and low. i refuse to pay for pop.
quoting myself, i forgot to say this is for everything, HBAs, cleaning supplies, paper products.

have you discovered aldis?
 

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Are you counting food only? I know alot of people include H & B, pet supplies, paper supplies etc. If you are including other things you might figure out the food portion only. It can be an eye opener. Our non-food household/pet supplies can be as much as our food.
 

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Thanks, yea its for everything that you'd buy in a grocery store pretty much - all food and non food (except dog food). I've noticed that when it comes time to restock on things that we buy in bulk or a large package then its very hard to not go over.

We used to grocery shop once a week together and one or both of us would end up stopping for little things throughout the week. But my husband is more of a "one trip" kind... he doesn't care about sales or stocking up or anything... just go in to one store and get what you need for the week and get out. But spending more on something just drives me crazy. its like throwing money away. So i thought i could do it better by shopping sales, multiple stores, buying in bulk, etc. But its not working out quite the way i planned apparently.
 

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As the old saying goes "Fast, good, or cheap, pick any two." If you want good food fast, it will cost you. This seems to be your husband's method. If you want it good and cheap, you have to give up time. This seems to be your method.

Maybe you just need to refine your process. For example, I shop from 5 different stores in 11 locations, but I try to not do more than two each week. I look at the ads and see who has the best deals at the moment, and limit my driving. I buy multiples of items not only to save money, but also so I don't need to go back to that store for a few weeks and can hit the others in my rotation.
 

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Have you tried planning out meals a week or two in advance, based on what you have and what's on sale? Make a menu, post it on the fridge. Could really eliminate all those 'little trips' that add up when you have a plan.
 

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~It took years for me to get my hubby to stop frittering money away on treats. He was a soda, candy and cupcake addict. One of the first things I did to tackle the problem was to establish a place for receipts and then "demand" them every time he brought a bag in to the house. The I'd go over the items and prices and telling him how they fit into our budget. I'd compare the cost of what he bought to the healthier, homemade items I was cooking at home. I expanded my cooking horizons and learned to cook things he liked so he'd be less tempted. Then I moved to insisting those non-essentials come out of our pocket money and not the food budget as they were completely unnecessary but that I would still buy all our favorites for birthdays and vacations. We still do this now for the most part and it seems to work. We buy chocolates and alcohol with our own money and it cuts down our consumption of both.
I spend $325 a month, average just for food, for our family of five.
The biggest ways to save money are first, to understand the items you buy regularly, know the lowest sale prices for those items and stock up a lot when you see those prices even if it doesn't make sense to you at the time to go over budget to have three months worth of peanut butter or cheese(I have a pantry and a big upright freezer).
Second, cook from scratch. A box mix of anything isn't scratch. A cookbook, flour, yeast and butter is. Yes it takes more time to learn how to shop this way and cook like that. You will buy ingredients and be able to skip 75% of the supermarket aisles. I spend about 5-7 hours a week in the kitchen but I get a lot done in that time due to my years of experience. Figure at least an hour a day, more on the weekends, while you are learning. You can run a video, listen to an audio book, or chat with someone while you are working so the time should go by fast. Your spouse can also cook with you if you'd like. Make the time something you look forward too. I do. It's my unwind time after teaching the kids all day. So I like to work alone. DH has mostly taken over dish duty though so that's how he helps.
A lot of people don't want to spend the time I do in the kitchen so instead of making their biscuits with a cookbook or cream soup base for their casserole from milk and flour they open the Bisquick and a can of Campbell's. Those convenience items may seem like basics to many people but when you price out how much they cost compared to scratch, you will see you are paying 25%-15X more for the convenience(and a lot more salt, trans fats, preservatives and fillers too). In my experience, convenience items like this save at most 5 minutes of time each and cost you more in the long run in terms of health. A homemade, whole wheat biscuit I make at home costs about $.07. Comparable sized Bisquick biscuits cost around $.12 each. A cream soup base equal in volume to a can of Campbell's is around $.15 homemade. All those little things add up!
Make a menu for the month. Use a plan template to make it easier. For example, in our house, Monday is always soup and bread night. I make a huge pot so I can eat it for lunches the rest of the week. Last night was minestrone and wheat bagels with an applesauce spice cake for dessert(breads double as leftovers for breakfast for a few days). Wednesdays and Sundays I make a more expensive meat and potatoes meal with a favorite dessert. Friday is always homemade pizza. Saturday we grill. The other days we fill in with leftovers, pasta, breakfast foods and garden salads, as needed. Having a plan makes every mealtime easier.~
 
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