2017 Money Saving Challenge: January

As most of you may have read, I am doing a Money Saving Challenge for 2017. In January, my challenge was to create a grocery budget. More importantly, I wanted to create one that I could stick to.




First, I’ll give you a little background info. I’m single, I try to eat healthy 80% of the time, & I like to do all of my grocery shopping at Aldi. Sometimes I’ll hit up Shop & Save or Giant Eagle for something small if I am short on time & just need an item I forgot. I also don’t really cook. I know, I know. But – one reason is that I don’t like cooking for just me! I’ll make something every so often, but I’ll rarely eat all of it (even if I eat leftovers for the whole week, its rare the entire amount of food gets eaten) & I also don’t enjoy a lot of hot food. Don’t ask me why – it’s just what I like. I also don’t eat a huge dinner. My biggest meals are breakfast & lunch. Since I’m normally working out after work, I tend to eat a small dinner – sometimes just some yogurt & fruit & it satisfies me.

As far as the budget goes – I printed out my bank statements for the past 3 months & highlighted my grocery spending. What I came up with was pretty low, & I think it’s because of the holidays & the fact that I was eating out so much due to being short on money & for whatever reason, I was programmed into thinking that eating out is cheaper than buying food – NEWS FLASH: IT’S NOT. In line with the “new year, better me” in 2017, I’m getting my shit together & doing my best to being a better adult.

Right now, my budget is $120/mo. This is a super flexible budget – let’s call this my trial run month since I have no idea what I’m actually spending each month. We’ll see how $120 goes, and if necessary, I will re-adjust for February. I normally only spend around $30 each time I go, so this should work – but TBD.

Here’s how I plan to stick to a grocery budget:

Shop at Aldi – I swear this place has such great prices. Their produce can be iffy if you go at a time where they haven’t gotten a shipment in a few days, but if you shop there enough, you can usually time it right. Plus, I’m sure they wouldn’t have a problem telling you when they get their fresh stuff in.

Meal prep – I use the app “Out of Milk” as a grocery list. As I think of things I want to eat/make for the next week, I add it to the list. Sometimes it’s hard to think of meals & things, but I want to try to make more of an effort. Again, I’m not so much of a hot food person, so usually I just like to stick to making some chicken in the crockpot & making wraps for the week, or getting creative with a salad.

Take advice from others – Thankfully I have some friends who are way better at being an adult than I am, so I reach out to them frequently. Whether it be for meal ideas, budgeting ideas, shopping ideas – I’ve always got someone to turn to.

Take advantage of sales! – This is a big one. Aldi DOES send out their flyers but I’ll be honest, I never read them. Everything is such a great price there that I almost never look at their sales prior to going in there. I’m going to see what that’s all about & if I benefit from it – great! Or if I choose to stick to just going in blind, that’s cool too.

Does anyone else have a grocery ‘budget’? It’s kind of fun challenging yourself to stay within the limit you have set for yourself. Let’s talk if you have any other helpful ideas!! I could always use advice on how to be a better adult 🙂


7 thoughts on “2017 Money Saving Challenge: January

  1. Jessie @ The Acquired Sass says:

    I LOVE Tuesdays because that’s when the grocery ads for the following week usually show up at our house. I LOVE reading through them & figuring out what we’ll eat. Nerd Alert much? Haha, I guess so. But, it’s also what I grew up seeing my Mom do.

    FREEZE STUFF. If you don’t know what freezes well, the Internet definitely does. You can just toss a meal in a ziploc bag so it lays flat & freeze it. Then in a few weeks if you’re low on cash or bored with what you have in the house you can thaw it out quick & re-heat! That has saved me so many times.

    Also, I KNOW you can do $120!

  2. Rebecca Jo says:

    I use E-meals & need to use it more because it comes with a shopping list for the recipes … makes me not buy useless things. My food budget is RIDICULOUSSSSSS

  3. mays1107 says:

    I have a budget that I try to stick to but I honk it needs modification. My boyfriend and I bought a house together 6 months ago but I’m still trying to use my pre-living together food budget for us both. We share groceries as in we switch on and off from who buys them but I haven’t changed my dollar amount to cover two so that’s something I need to work on!!

    I try to meal plan and I meal prep breakfast. If I can pick out dinners for a week (I try to go one indulgent, one healthier and one meatless) then I can tailor my grocery list to those meals. The dinner leftovers are usually my lunch. I meal prep breakfast sandwiches or mini quiches (or even oatmeal and small milk) so I don’t buy at out work cafeteria all of the time.

    I use Aldi and Walmart. Giant Eagle is way too pricey. We’re near a Shop N Save which I need to check out.

    I think with sticking to Aldi your budget isn’t unreasonable at all!

  4. Kristen says:

    the grocery budget is the one thing i want to get down this year. we spend way too much. i’m the opposite to you – i like hot food and dinner is my biggest meal. there’s just something about coming home, relaxing, and stuffing my face silly. i do most of my workouts in the morning, so it works well. i’ve just started going to aldi, there are a few things we still get at costco or kroger, but for the most part it’s pretty great. but anyway. i am trying to plan meals, i think that is our #1 waste of money, buying stuff and not using it, randomly stopping to grab something from the grocery or eating out. so i’m hoping meal planning will help with all that!

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