Are You Having a Hard Time Trying to Stick to a Grocery Budget Now?

Are You Having a Hard Time Trying to Stick to a Grocery Budget Now?


Have you left the store without everything on your list recently but still spending way more than you planned? It's not because you didn't want to but because some of the items weren't in stock and/or the price increased. Making it too expensive to justify purchasing it. I've been there with honey. At $7.99 $8.29 for 24 oz. of honey from Aldi, it is an item I don't need to buy. Maple syrup is an excellent substitute when I make energy bites.

Almost halfway through 2022 and prices continue to rise at the grocery stores. Has that made it harder for you to stay on budget? As we head into summer, I am planning on a $600.00 budget for June. Once school is out after Father's Day, it's back to making daily lunches for summer camp the next day.

My June 3 Grocery Haul

My Large Grocery Haul Shopping List

I wanted to show you how I grocery shopped with a list that changed once I got to the stores. I use SuperGroceryLists to make my shopping list. Click here for my final shopping list with the adjustments.

  1. Before:  Check out the original list created prior to shopping.
  2. In the Store: as I was shopping, I checked off the items when I put them in the cart. I added some of the substitutes without adjusting the prices in the store if I had time.
  3. At Home: when I got home, I added the remaining items I substituted to the list. I purposefully did not adjust the prices in the store. I wanted to see how much the prices changed since the last time I updated each price. Check out the lists below.

List 1 - Before I Shopped...

Here is my original list before I started shopping.

List 2 - As I Shopped...

I added items to the list as a I shopped when items were not purchased. Notice that my subtotal increased when I added some substitutes and additional purchases.

List 3 - My Actual Purchases...
This is my final list of the items I purchased for this grocery haul. Look below for the price adjustments.

Note: I added the peanut butter to the final list.

Price Adjustments to the Original List

The following are the products and prices that contributed to the difference in the final items purchased and the amount actually spent. Normally I update the list as I shop but wanted to see how the numbers varied.


My List Price: $2.89
Store Price: $2.69
Difference: -$0.20

My List Price: $4.29
Store Price: $3.99
Difference: -$0.30

Greek Yogurt:
My List Price: $3.25
Store Price: $3.39
Difference: +$0.14

Pasta Sauce:
My List Price: $1.19
Store Price: $1.39
Difference: +$0.20

Lunch Meat:
My List Price: $4.35
Store Price: $4.69
Difference: +$0.34

Total -  + $0.18

Trader Joe's

All the prices on my Trader Joe's list were correct. Knowing that I had room in the budget because there were several items we did not get at Aldi, our previous stop, I added a few items that were not on the original list:

  1. Green Cabbage - $1.99
  2. Peanut Butter Cups - $4.49
  3. Chocolate Syrup - $3.99

Total -  +$10.47


Apple Sauce:
My List Price: $12.99
Store Price: $11.69
Difference: - $1.30

My List Price: $11.49
Store Price: $9.99
Difference: - $1.50

Potato Chips:
My List Price: $6.79
Store Price: $6.99
Difference: + $0.20

Greek Yogurt:
My List Price: $5.69
Store Price: $5.79
Difference: + $0.10

Butter Lettuce:
My List Price: $5.49
Store Price: $5.79
Difference: + $0.30

Spring Mix:
My List Price: $3.79
Store Price: $5.79
Difference: +$2.00

My List Price: $2.45 (1 dozen, planned on purchasing at Aldi)
Store Price: $9.29 (5 dozen)
Difference: +$6.84

My List Price: $1.39
Store Price: $2.29 (organic bananas were chosen)
Difference: +$1.80 (for 2)

My List Price: $4.49
Store Price: $5.49
Difference: +$1.00

Ciabatta Rolls:
My List Price: $4.29
Store Price: $4.89
Difference: +$0.60

Skinny Pop:
Not on my list -
This was an impulse purchase for movie night.
Store Price: $6.69
Difference: +$6.69

Peanut Butter:
Not on my list -
Actually, I thought this was on my list until I went to check it off and found I didn't add it, even though this is a staple.
Store Price: $9.99
Difference: +$9.99

Total: +27.02

Please note that some prices may vary by location and/or have changed since publishing this post.

So, I made a few additional purchases this week that I added to the total below. I did not plan on shopping until the Friday. However, I did pick up a few items that were out of stock get on my June 3 grocery haul when I ran a few errands on Monday and Tuesday.  On Monday I spent $7.28 at Whole Foods on crackers for our extremely selective snacker who doesn't eat any sweets (more cake and cookies for me). On Tuesday I went to Target in search of much-needed pants for our high schooler. To avoid an extra trip back to the store on Friday, I picked up raw nuts (our family's preferred brand) for $14.99.

Final Total - $249.87  $264.86

Why are You Having Trouble Grocery Shopping on Budget Even with a List?

Don't worry you are not alone in finding it a bit of challenge getting everything on your grocery list. Below are some reasons why it can be hard sticking to a shopping list in 2022 and some suggestions on how to avoid them, if possible.  

  1. Product Availability: whether it's cream cheese, saltine crackers, or eggs, some items you have on your list may not be available when you shop.
  2. Increased Prices: so, you made your list, and headed to the store, but wait... the cost of what you wanted went up, again. What to do? Either add it to the cart and increase your total, shop for a cheaper substitute, or skip the item that week.
  3. Quality of Produce: some fruits may be overly ripened, or the vegetables are too small for their price (i.e., lettuce or cauliflower)
  4. Impulse Purchases: I am guilty of this on occasion. Adding extra items can throw off your budget.
  5. Forgetting an Item: try starting your shopping list early. Review your list before you shop. Double check your meal plan and your pantry to make sure you haven't forgotten anything.

Tips for Shopping with a List in 2022

Have you left the store without everything on your list recently? Or did you put way more items in the cart than you planned?

Here are some tips to successfully navigate the supermarkets:

  1. Let's Assume:  I hate to be so negative but, depending what is on your list, assume you will not be able to get everything at one store. Plan to shop a second store if the items you could not find are needed for that week, like things for a child's school/camp lunch or a specific food for a party or special celebration meal.
  2. Find a Substitute: Some of us may be shopping for very selective or picky eaters that have their favorites. But what happens when that favorite is not on the shelf this week or even last week? Cry out of frustration, just for a bit, then try to find a reasonable substitute that picky eater may like. This may result in shopping a second store. Check with the staff and ask them if and when the item you want is expected in the store. If the item is in the next time you shop, buy more than one.
  3. Meal Plan for Substitutes: Have an alternative meal on the list in the event you can't get everything for the original meal. If you are planning spaghetti and meatballs, shop for turkey if ground beef is not available.
  4. Leave Placeholder: Often I put a generic item and dollar amount for meat when I am not sure what to get. Since I don't eat meat and was shopping with a meat eater, I put 3 meat items on the list totaling $18.00. That total gave me enough wiggle room to let them decide what they wanted for dinner while we were shopping.