There is more money in that picture than is left in our grocery budget. A lot more. Staying under budget this month is going to take an act of God. (It has to be an act of God, because an act of Congress and under budget are oxymoronic. Last political comment of the day.) The grand total left in the grocery budget is (insert drumroll) ..........$4.62
Now folks, I'm pretty good with making the money stretch, but $4.62 won't buy a gallon of milk in Panama and we have 23 days left. So, we now have some decisions to make.
Option One: Make everyone stop eating. Coralynn and I would do fairly well with this plan. She takes after my side of the family. (My brother and I are experts at not eating. If the food is presented, we will eat it, but we aren't likely to stop in the middle of something to make ourselves food.) Tony and the other kids, AKA- The Hungry 4, would struggle with the plan.
Option Two: Stop all menu planning and eat solely through the food on hand. This would normally be the surefire plan. Unfortunately, school snacks and lunches (They each need 2 snacks and 1 meal every day at school. Does that seem like a lot to anyone else??) are a little more difficult to just make up out of the pantry.
Option Three: Fire the household helpers. To say that I am highly conflicted about this would be an understatement. They cost us $45/week. But I am not one who likes to clean. And deep cleaning simply isn't going to happen unless someone else does it. How's that for bottom-shelf honesty? Many of you are in horror that I would say that, but why delude myself. I'm not going to clean 5 bathrooms every week. Plus mop floors, wash windows, dust, clean the balconies, and work on the baby's Spanish. That is worth the $30/week it costs me. The cook is more negotiable. I love cooking, so I would happily take that back, but my helpers are sisters. I'm fairly confident I can't bring myself to keep one and not the other. (Yes, that doesn't make good financial sense, but people matter more than money. ALWAYS.) The current plan with them is to have the cook start ironing as well. She would definitely be proving her value to Tony if she ironed.
Option Four: Up the grocery budget through other budget cuts. It has to be the winner. For this month. We can't make it through with this little left. Fortunately, Grandpa offered to pay for Camilla's birthday dinner. (Grandpa's love language is buying meals for people. We happen to be fluent in this language!) I had budgeted for that meal so I can transfer those funds to the grocery budget. Making our new budget total.....$54.62
I am super disappointed that our $550 didn't last us the entire month. I'm still trying to figure out why. I can confidently say we didn't buy wasteful splurge items. My guess, based on early ponderings, is that we bought too much too soon. Although, I am confident that we bought things we needed because we bought them in large quantities (at the warehouse club) and early in the month, I couldn't make adjustments on the list as the month happened. Preliminary reports are showing that once a month shopping may not work for us. The other issue is the fact I had an empty fridge/freezer/pantry when we started the month. A portion of the budget went to refilling the staples. Still pondering for next month. I am not willing to admit failure for the $550/month budget, though.
You'll need to stay tuned and see how the rest of the month goes...