It All Begins With The Letter B; Budget & Bread.... and a Good Cup of Tea!

After moving to a suburban area where we needed a car to shop, I felt like I was constantly going to the store.

In June 2015, I decided to count how many times I went shopping for groceries that month. I went 11 times to the stores! Although it was a birthday month for our youngest, totaling the days spent shopping confirmed how I felt. I shop too much! Then, I totaled all the receipts for groceries for the months of May, June, and July, to see how much I actually spent. Here are the numbers for a family of 6 in 2015:

May 2015 - $991.55
June 2015 - $937.23
July 2015 - $884.89

That was a montly average of $937.89.

Where did the money go...

I then totaled the receipts based on traditional grocery store categories like bread, dairy, etc. So, the challenge of finding ways to save began as I started adding up how much and how often we ate certain foods. As with the most mornings, it began with bread and a cup of tea:

The Bread Challenge

Our family loves bread. In 2015, I would buy, on average, 16 loaves of bread a month for a family of 6. Most days we would have toast for breakfast and sandwiches for lunch. The loaves went quickly and the money spent on bread ballooned. Before the challenge, I spent approximately $40.00 or more a month on bread at various stores. I wasn't freezing extra loaves of bread. So if I ran out of the bread from Costco, I would pick up loaves at the store I was shopping at that week. I reduced the number of loaves to 12 a month, saving approximately $12.00/a month.

Bread Challenge 2015

Store Brand Number of Loaves Cost Monthly Cost
Costco Schmidt Old Thyme 2 $4.19 $8.38
Costco MultiGrain 1 $4.49 $4.49
Trader Joe's White Whole Wheat 3 $2.49 $7.47
Whole Foods Market 365 1 $3.49 $3.49
Shoprite Nature's Own 1 $2.49* $2.49
Target Nature's Own 1 $2.49** $2.49
Totals 12 $28.81

RETHINK. RECALCULATE. 2017
I reduced the number of loaves I buy a month at Costco to 10. Now, I buy 4 Schmidt Old Tyme Bread at Costco for $3.99 (2 loaves) and 1 Arnold Omega 3 at $5.99. That totals $21.95 a month.

Bread Challenge 2.0

YEAR Number of Loaves Monthly Cost Yearly Cost
2015 16 $40.00 $480.00
2016 12 $32.00 $384.00
2017 10 $21.95 $263.40

By reducing the amount of bread we eat daily and buying them at Costco, we've saved almost $216.60 in 2017 compared to 2015!

NEXT UP:


Tea Challenge

tea-pict
I am a tea drinker and love a great black tea. My favorite tea is Tazo Awake Tea but that comes with a high price tag, especially when it's not on sale. The best price, in my area was at Target for $2.99 each when on sale. I would stock up on tea when shopping there but run through the boxes quickly. I drink an average of 3 cups a day. That's $.1495 a cup totaling $13.64 a month spent on Tazo Awake Tea. I started looking for cheaper alternatives as a way to reduce our monthly grocery shopping budget. Below is a price list for the tea I buy and how a simple change can lead to big savings:

Prices for Tea

Brand Store Size Price Per Cup Total Monthly Yearly
Tazo Awake Tea Target 20 $2.99 $.1495 $13.64 $163.70
Tazo Awake Tea Target/Shoprite 20 $3.49 $.174 $15.92 $191.08
Tazo Awake Tea Walmart 48 $5.98 $.1495 $13.64 $163.70
Trader Joe's English Breakfast Trader Joe's 48 $2.29 $.047 $4.35 $52.24
Newman's Own English Breakfast Shoprite 100 $3.49 $.0349 $3.18 $38.12
Newman's Own English Breakfast Shoprite 100 $3.99 $.0399 $3.641 $43.69
Newman's Own English Breakfast Shoprite 100 $4.39 $.0439 $4.01 $48.07
Price Updates:

The regular price for at a 20 pack is $3.49 at Target and higher at our local Shoprite and Whole Foods Market. Trader Joe's price went up from $1.99 to 2.29. Also the price at Shoprite for Newman's Own English Breakfast Tea went from $3.99 to $4.39 (To find my total, I multiplied the per cup price by 3, then multiplied the product by 365, and divided by 12.)

Something New to Me...
  • At the end of June 2017, I went to our local Walmart in search of the latest Skylander game for our youngest son's birthday. Since I had the time I roamed the small grocery department of our local store. I was surprised to find Tazo Awake Tea in a large box, 48 teabags/ $5.98. On a recent shopping trip to Target I also found the larger 48 count box there.

  • I did not realize that Newman's Own has a line of tea until it was on sale at our local Shoprite for $3.49/100 tea bags. The regular price was $3.99 and is now $4.49.

How much am I really saving?

Looking at the numbers overall, there is a significant savings by switching tea brands. However, in my pantry, I have all three brands of tea. I still drink 3 cups a day. So, realisticly, the numbers are:

Brand Price Per UP
Tazo Awake $ .1495/cup
1 Trader Joe's $ .047/cup
1 Newman's Own $ .0439/cup
Averagae Daily Cost $ .24
Monthly Cost $7.31
Yealy Cost $87.70

Monthly Savings: $6.32
Yearly Savings: $75.89

I based these numbers of the lowest price I paid for Tazo Tea in 2015, since most of the time I purchased the tea at the sales price.

Quick Tip:
I received an L.L.Bean travel mug for Christmas a few year ago. I bring that everywhere to avoid buying tea. On the rare occasion I buy tea at a coffee shop, I order a medium/grande and I ask for the second tea bag on the side instead of in the cup. It's my own BOGO thanks to the cafe worker at Whole Foods Market. I ordered a medium tea and was asked if I want 1 or 2 teabags. I said one and was given the extra without asking since I was paid for a medium.

Read this post to learn how I saved more money!

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About TJ