Grocery Budgeting | Weekly OR Monthly?

I find it much easier to budget for groceries weekly.  It's much easier for me to keep track of it that way and then I don't end up surprised and spending extra money at the end of the month.  This month though, I went and messed everything up with my system that had been working so well. 

This month I decided to go to GFS.  If you have never shopped at GFS before, it's a store that sells items in bulk and there is no membership fee.  I saw an ad and they had some pretty good prices on frozen boneless, skinless chicken--both breasts and thighs.  I always have or can find coupons for $5 of $50 at GFS, so I decided to shop at GFS this week. 

Shopping this way always throws a wrench into the whole budgeting thing though.  I end up having to separate out packages and "extend" them into the next several weeks and then rework my budgets for those weeks.

For instance, I bought 21.5 pounds of lunch meat today.

 I figure if I usually buy around 2 pounds of lunch meat a week, the meat I bought today should last me 10 weeks.  I'll keep two pounds out for this coming week and then freeze 9 more packages for the next 9 weeks.  Consequently, I would subtract the amount of money that corresponds to that 2 pounds of meat out of my budget for those weeks.  The lunch meat cost me around $30 (29.34).  So, each pound cost $1.37 each.  If I make packages around 2 pounds for each week, I'll need to subtract $2.74 for each of the next 9 weeks from my original $75 weekly budget.

All packed up and ready to wait their turn in the freezer. . . .brrrrr. . .

Also, I got a 5 lb. bag of frozen chicken breasts, a 6 pound bag of frozen chicken thighs and a 5 pound bag of beef meatballs.

 I figure I can eek out 3 dinners from the chicken breasts, 4 dinners from the chicken thighs and 6 dinners from the meatballs.  That would be 13 dinners in the next couple weeks.  Here's the really tricky part.  I probably will only do meatballs once a week since they're beef and we really shouldn't even be eating beef that often.  Since the bag should last 6 weeks and it cost me around $10, a deduction of $1.67 would need to be deducted in each of the next 6 weeks' budgets.  Make sense?  See how it becomes tricky now if I really want to try to stick to my budget?  But, you just can't beat those prices per pound.

I also got a 10 pound bag of popcorn that should last at least 6 weeks.  So that's $1.67/week.

I also got (4) 1 1/2 pound packages of cheese slices.  I divided those packages up into 3 or 4 sections, wrapped each section in foil and placed back into the packages to freeze. 

That way I know which cheese is which.  I figure if I use 1 1/2 of the new portions per week (on average), they'll last me 8 weeks.  So, I'll need to deduct $1.50/week for the next 8 weeks (after this week~~ I didn't include this week's cheese)

So far this week (I buy a week ahead of time), I have spent:

$40 on vegetables from Blue Sky Green Fields (I had 10% off for Mother's Day)
$91 at GFS (I had a $10 off $100 purchase coupon)  and
$23 at Giant Eagle

At $154, that's twice my weekly budget.  That's why I need to figure out which weeks to allocate some of the overage to.  The overage that will be divided is $70.54.
I also had some extra things to buy this week that wouldn't normally be in my food budget like:
$3.50 for Oreos for a school project for The Builder
$5.99 for a snack for one of the soccer games this weekend
$3.39 for drinks for soccer this weekend.
I'm not going to punish my budget for these things this week!  I'll subtract out that amount, too.

After all the deductions, I've spent $70.58 out of my budget this week.  So, if I need extra bread or milk, I'll be good still and I don't have to take any more away from next week's food budget.  As it looks right now with the deductions for the chicken thighs and breasts, lunch meat, meatballs and cheese, I'll have a budget of $58.59 next week.    Then, because of the deductions, the next 10 weeks' budgets look like this:

Budget for week of May 24 - May 30~~  $58.59
May 31 - June.6~~  $67.42
June. 7 - June 13~~ $67.42
June 14- June 20~~ $67.42
June 21 - June 27~~  $67.42
June 28 - July 4 ~~ $69.09
July 5 - July 11~~ $69.09
July 12 - July 18~~ $69.09
July 19 - July 25~~ $70.59
July 26 - Aug. 1~~ $73.33

Of course, this will get all screwy for real. . . .. so I should just give up!  The kids and I will be in FL for 3 weeks right in the middle of this list and my hubby will be left to fend for himself.  The budget will get all summertime wacky!  We'll just have to stick to the budget in the weeks that we're all here together.  At least I have a list in front of me to try to help me reach my goal.

I know it seems like it takes a lot of time and effort budgeting this way, but for me it's worth it to save money up front and it really doesn't take me that long.  Plus, it's nice having some stuff in the freezer with summer break coming up.

Do you have a food budget that you try to stick to?

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