Healthy Grocery Shopping on a Budget – February Check in!

So I’ve got bad news and good news about my budget this February.

The bad news is… I went to New York for 4 days and spent a lot more money than I would have in Sacramento…mostly on some delicious food.

The good news, however, is three-fold! First off, I looked at my average spending over the last 6 months (not including February) on WellsFargo.com, and I spent $700 less in February than my average, and $1,000 less than last month (!!!). That’s including my trip to NYC (not including airfare, which I paid back in December). Secondly, I was finally paid my first installment of unemployment benefits last month, and on Monday was paid 3 of my remaining 4 weeks. This will help out a lot, especially since I took two unpaid days off for my trip, and will definitely be a welcomed supplement to my income. I have had a HELL of a time getting through to EDD on this (obviously, since I’ve been employed since mid-January now and am just now getting paid for November/December…), including about 35 phone calls in a <25 minute time frame last week to finally get through to an operator. Third and finally, I broke even this month. This is a huge victory for me, considering the 2/3 pay cut I took a couple of months ago. It means that I have started to really adjust my spending!

Anyway, I have not included the expenses from my New York trip on my budget breakdown for this month because, like last month, I basically considered them one time purchases. It was vacation, after all! Last month, I didn’t include my Macy’s card payments and a few other purchases (e.g. my replacement iPhone)…and I think that was largely why I stayed within my budget. The absence of a Macy’s credit card payment and some self control when it came to online shopping apparently really went a long way in managing my budget this month.

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I did make a pretty big splurge at Target right before Valentine’s Day (see above), and an impulse Kate Spade online sale purchase (about $150 total between the 2), but I generally kept it light on any other miscellaneous purchases this month. And besides those 2 slip ups, I didn’t go shopping!

Otherwise, I think my adjustments from January’s budget (the fact that I took half of my restaurant budget and put it into the dodgeball bar/entertainment categories) were smart. Check it out:

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Groceries

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I unfortunately only made it to the Farmer’s Market once this month. It was rained out one week, I was in New York for another week, and I was just plain dead from a long run the other week. I have, however, been taking major advantage of the Safeway Just4U app when I shop at Safeway. Check out how much I saved on my grocery bill when I went this weekend- I spent $56 and saved $33!

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Yes, you’re reading correctly, I got 2 jars of Nutella for $2.99 TOTAL! #score

Miscellaneous purchases included a six pack, one bottle of wine, and some nail polish and fake eyelashes from CVS :)

Going Out

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Stayed within my dodgeball bar budget this month! This is surprising, considering how often I end up getting the above “dinner” on Thursday nights… IPA and a basket of fries. Of course, this usually supplements a pre-dodgeball protein bar/banana/snack. OK, that doesn’t make it much better, does it? 😛

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Last week, I treated myself to my first lunch out since starting my new job. It was a rainy day so I couldn’t bike, and I didn’t want to walk all the way home (walking there and back takes up about half of my lunch hour) so I decided to treat myself! Pasta salad at at Ambrosia never disappoints…it is a lot more pricey than my usual stir fry at home though, so it may be a while before I do this again 😛

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The bulk of my going out spending this month was thanks in large part to a few birthday parties and Sacramento Beer Week. I need to either learn how to get guys to buy me drinks, or how to stop being the hero and offering to buy rounds of drinks!

This month will be a different story, as I am hereby swearing to be a hermit these next two weeks leading up to my half marathon! I am most likely passing up on a trip down south to the Democratic Convention this weekend, for fear of not being able to do my last training run or doing something stupid and injuring myself a week before my race.

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I still stayed more or less in my overall food budget this month. If you add in my New York trip, it’s a different story…However, even including my trip, I broke even, and for that I am super proud of myself! *pats self on back*

What was your last big splurge?

Getting bought drinks at the bar– what’s your secret? 😉

15 thoughts on “Healthy Grocery Shopping on a Budget – February Check in!

    • Yes! I’ve realized that keeping up with my usual going out/eating habits is a lot easier when I cut back on clothes shopping and eating out. Just gotta set a limit and pick and choose which categories you want to put that spending money in!

  1. Doh! I just remembered I downloaded that app when you recapped last month and totally haven’t opened it :( Sigh. My last big splurge was the Blend Retreat, woof. Between the lodging and plane ticket my savings was hurting. Second would be grocery shopping last weekend. Somehow I went almost $45 over my food “budget” 😯 I blame the almond butter and salmon! Why so tasty?! haha

    How do you like your new job?? I am not good with change, it literally sends me into orbit.

    • Hahaha, don’t worry, I spent a good 30 mins last night logging all my purchases from after my trip bc I was pretty bad about entering them in as I made them. Good thing I kept my receipts!
      And I am 80% sure I am going to splurge on Blend again this year since I finally ended up getting my unemployment benefits! I assure you it is DEFINITELY worth it- the swag bag alone is worth more than the cost of attendance!!

      As for my job, I LOVE it. I was extremely unsatisfied at my old job and was in a field/position that I had no interest in staying in long-term (yet I had been there 2 years…) I’m now in a field I’m interested in that challenges me constantly which is amaaazing. Lots of changes for me this year, which definitely was tough at times, but they have all turned out to be good ones!!

  2. Low cut shirts 😉 Those always seem to provide free drinks, haha! You are seriously rocking this whole budget thing – I’m so proud! And I think it’s a very smart decision to lie low a few weeks before your half. A last minute injury would be devastating!

  3. I have been a lot more strict on my budget this year since leaving my job and spending a lot of money on my personal training and yoga programs. I actually think it’s kind of fun to set a budget and remain within it. That’s kind of weird I know, but it’s very Price is Right to me :)

    • HA, love it! If my super detailed half marathon training plan is any indication, I’m totally a fan of setting a specific plan and following through with it as well!

  4. I’m so impressed by this… Can’t believe you spent $700 less! Props to you!!

    I’ve been doing good on spending less. Believe it or not it is my husband who is doing the spending & shopping now! I’m going to make him read this post. Lol

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