Jump to content

Menu

Argh! I can not get our grocery bill down!


Recommended Posts

I bundle our food and household goods, pet food (3 pets), cleaners etc into one cost - We are averaging $300 to $400 a WEEK for all of the above - for a family of 6 grown people with healthy appetites.

Is that insanely high? I have tried once a month cooking, once a week cooking, daily cooking - doesn't matter what I do the cost is about the same.

Maybe I am too picky about what we eat - nearly no red meats (only deli slices for treat sometimes), soy milk, wheat bread ...

We have lived all over the states and the $$ really doesn't change a whole lot.

How do you big families limit your household spending?

I would love to hear some ideas - or else I may have to get a job lol!

Edited by 5KidzRUs
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oh my goodness that isn't high at all, I spend about $150 a week in food and household stuff a week! I am currently *trying* to get it down to $100-$125 a week but I can't buy in bulk because I don't have any storage or a second refrigerator.

 

ETA: I limit by asking myself if I really *need* it. Foodwise I don't restrain *too* much but I don't buy much:

 

Chips (once every 6 months or so no kidding)

Soda (Only have this when we eat out or when we are in the mood for ice cream floats!)

Prepackaged Cookies (with the exception of vanilla wafers for banana pudding!)

Crackers (again the exception is graham crackers for pie crusts!)

Prepackaged foods

 

I make a lot from scratch and we have been trying to cut back on the amount amount we eat. We were eating large portions and I have slowly made them smaller and asses healthy snacks like yogurt and fruit. I also quit making as much, I came from a family of 6 and learned how to cook for an army, I quit cooking for an army and only cook for a troop now ;)

Edited by Mynyel
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Honestly, I would love to know how you keep it that low. I have 3 very young boys and spend more than that every month. I went to the store yesterday and spent $250 for just 2 weeks and then I will probably have to buy millk, eggs, bread, and fruit again to last the whole 2 weeks. It is really frustrating.

 

I just quit working (part-time) after our last baby was born, so i am still new to having to be really careful with our pennies-I may just need more practice.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't think that is high either. On my low weeks I spend around $200 a week on that kind of thing for a household of 8 people. Some weeks I spend closer to $300. If I'm really watching it I can get it to $150/wk but I really have to shop sale flyers and match coupons.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think you're probably having trouble getting it lower because it's just not possible to go any lower than that for that many people without sacrificing nutrition. I spend around $400 a month for just myself, my husband, and our daughter. We do buy a good deal of our food organic, but I don't think I could get it too much lower than that without resorting to a bunch of processed food. $300 to $400 for that many people is fantastic, in my opinion.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

Chips (once every 6 months or so no kidding)

Soda (Only have this when we eat out or when we are in the mood for ice cream floats!)

Prepackaged Cookies (with the exception of vanilla wafers for banana pudding!)

Crackers (again the exception is graham crackers for pie crusts!)

Prepackaged foods

 

We don't do soda or many prepacked foods either - and I just cut sugar and coffee out too.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

TYPO!! I meant a WEEK - not a month! Trying to cook yucky veggie and bean soup and type at the same time LOL!

 

Ah, that makes a little more sense, lol. I was thinking, "My gosh, how low does she expect to get it?" :tongue_smilie:

 

The biggest help for me was obsessive planning. I plan out every meal, how long the leftovers are going to last, how much can be frozen, etc. And if dh or dd try to eat any of my ingredients before the meal is made, they get a stern scolding and a short lesson on budgeting. I also buy a newspaper every Sunday, and clip only the coupons for things I was already planning on buying. I make everything possible from scratch, and nothing goes to waste. After somebody eats a chicken leg, I snatch the bone and put in in a freezer bag to use for stock.

 

I also make my own cleaning products with water, vinegar, etc. That saves a ton- a jug of vinegar is a little over a buck and lasts forever. And I buy our pet food in bulk with coupons.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, we are working on our grocery budget as well, but ours is already much lower than yours.

 

I don't know what you are buying that makes it that high. I am TRYING to get to the point where 90% of the food in our house is ingredients only and not prepared foods. Also no prepared items like bisquick or taco seasoning or even bottles of sauce or dressing.....make my own!

 

I have learned a lot from this website and e-book (free to download)

 

http://www.budget101.com/budget101-free-ebook/free-ebook-groceries-200-month-2547.html

 

I don't do the meat she does because we too don't eat much red meat.

 

No, my budget is not $200 and she had 2 toddlers when she wrote it and it was 10 years ago, BUT, the ideas in there are good and I gained some insight from reading it.

 

Dawn

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Seems like every time I am at the store either prices are up or the package size is smaller. Yesterday it was kitty litter - over a DOLLAR more for the 14 lb jug, across the board (brand name and generic). Geez. How do I train four pampered indoor-only cats to use the toilet????

 

I never, NEVER plan meals in advance - I look and see what is on sale and if it is a chicken or lump of meat to roast, I cook it that night or the next (I hate trying to thaw a large lump of meat) and use leftovers for several days. If pork chops or ham or ground meat is on sale, I get some to use AND to freeze. Weeks when nothing we like to eat is on sale I use what we have frozen at home. Veggies - I do need to get lettuce and/or sprouts and some broccoli each week, plus apples....otherwise it is what is on sale and/or frozen spinach/peas/corn.

 

I stock up on our favorite pasta when on sale - always have pasta/rice/couscous/polenta/kasha/taters on hand so can vary the starch to go with whatever the meat is.

 

The only soda I buy is Splenda-sweetened Diet Rite stuff - SillyAutismMan gets one can a day. No one else gets soda here. Or chips. Cookies, etc. are made from scratch if desired.

 

I think, for a family of six (youngest is 14) plus a large dog and four cats I am spending at least $200 a week. I need to keep better track and figure it out exactly - SAM is getting SSI soon (he is 19 now and we are supposed to be charging him rent) and I was asked what I spend on groceries each month.

Edited by JFSinIL
Link to comment
Share on other sites

buy petfood at costco. The kirkland brand is really good quality and a fraction of the price. I have a membership just for dishwasher detergent and pet food!

 

The nearest Costco is about 40 minutes away. I am afraid I would end up buying stuff we do not need just to justify the trip.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm sure you already do these things but a few things I've done to save money include:

-I watch for sales and buy meat/veg and meal plan according to what I can get for a good price.

-When you find a great price on meat, stock up and freeze the extra.

-Use coupons and find out what stores will double them This typically only works for processed foods but sometimes you can get grains, cereals, eggs, and dairy products as well as household with coupons. Use the coupons on items that are already on sale.

-Buy whole chickens and/or bone-in meats. Have the chicken/roast/ham for dinner one night and use the bones to make broth for soup the next day.

-Dried beans are inexpensive, healthy and versatile.

-Grow your own vegs in the summer. Can or freeze for the winter. Similarly, if you get a great price on produce you can freeze them as well.

-Vinegar is a great cleaning product, inexpensive and better for your health than all the chemicals

Link to comment
Share on other sites

With our son developing a severe peanut allergy, we finally made the jump into making all of our food with minimal pre-packaged goods. Snacks are all fruits or veggies, not store bought crackers or things of the like. We don't eat breakfast cereal anymore, but have oatmeal, eggs, cream of wheat, etc. We make all of our bread, and I don't meal plan at all. That might end up being the number one reason why we don't spend so much. I use the things I have in the house, so a lot of the food is a once in a lifetime experience--never able to be duplicated again! We are part of a CSA, so the variety of fruits and veggies that come in each week are what drive a lot of what we eat. I have 1/4 cow in the freezer, and I think that helps a lot too. Oh, and we keep household cleaners to a minimum and get detergent and paper goods (toilet paper, paper towels) from Costco.

 

All of that rambling to say, maybe it is best to try and cook with the odds and ends you have on hand and to try and cut back on the prepackaged snacks and pantry items?

 

Good luck! I am excited to hear what you might end up doing that works for you! I am always looking for good ways to spend more reasonably.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I plan our meals based on what's on sale, and I try to stock up when I can. I don't like to pay full price for anything, so by stocking up I usually don't run out of something and end up having to pay full price.

 

I recently bought a lot of national name brand pasta for NINE CENTS a box by matching a sale with printable coupons. I won't need to buy pasta anytime soon, and have time to collect coupons for the next time I do need to buy it. Chicken breasts were recently $1.99 a pound, which is amazingly low in my area, so I bought as much as we could afford.

 

I don't like the style of once a month cooking where you cook and freeze the dish. To me that just tastes like reheated leftovers. Instead I prepare foods for freezing, like those expensive meal prep places do. For example, with the chicken I just bought, I made several different marinades and froze the chicken in freezer bags in the marinade. I can pull out teriyaki chicken, savory chicken, or tex-mex seasoned chicken for a meal. I even left a few breasts plain in case I want to do something different. When fruit is on sale, I freeze it for smoothies. Sometimes I put all of the smoothie ingredients in a bag and freeze it.

 

Like Mergath, I make a lot of things from scratch. I currently have chicken bones and vegetables in a crock pot to make chicken broth. I'll freeze it in one and two cup batches and will have broth for a while. We eat a lot of vegetables, and meat is not the biggest thing on the plate. This wasn't an easy change for my dh, since he grew up in a meat-and-2-sides family. I did it gradually, and he doesn't even seem to notice. He doesn't get hungry and snack later, so apparently I still make enough to fill him up. It's just that he's filling up on more healthful food than he used to. We rarely buy boxed cereal, and when I do, I don't pay more than $2.00 for a large box of some national brand. I just got a box of Kashi cereal free thanks to a coupon and a Target sale price.

 

My son is 13, and his appetite is steadily growing, so I'm always trying to be creative in stretching my grocery dollar. We don't buy sodas except for special occasions. We drink mostly water (none of us are really milk drinkers), and I make iced tea several times a week. Tea bags are much cheaper than a bottle of tea that usually doesn't even have much real tea in it. Snacks are popcorn when we want something salty, and homemade banana bread or cookies for sweets. We splurge on ice cream now and then because we're all ice cream fiends.

 

We have 2 cats and a dog, so I also look for coupons for the kinds of pet food we use. Again, if it goes on sale and I have coupons, I'll buy as much as I can.

 

We shop at a warehouse store (BJ's) for paper goods and it works out cheaper for us that way.

 

I average $70-$80 a week, but it's not the same each because of the way I shop -- by stocking up. Some weeks I spend several hundred dollars, other weeks, all I need to buy is fresh produce.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I bundle our food and household goods, pet food (3 pets), cleaners etc into one cost - We are averaging $300 to $400 a WEEK for all of the above - for a family of 6 grown people with healthy appetites.

Is that insanely high?

 

 

That is high.. but not that high.

 

I have 9 people (5 adults, 2 teens, 2 kids), a 110lb dog, a cat. I spend about $1000 a month. But I don't buy high quality and healthy foods. I do buy a lot of "crap"... processed foods, easy stuff to make. If I went with shopping what I should do... I would be spending $1500+ a month and I just can't afford that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Our budget for hh cleaners & toilet paper, food and pet food is $650/month. That often includes any eating out. We used to spend $900, but cut back about a year ago b/c of a paycut. It's amazing how it really can be done. Here's what I do:

 

*Breakfast is generally oatmeal (bought in bulk), homemade bread or muffins. I've just about eliminated cereal except for a treat and then I put it at the back of the pantry for a busy morning. Cereal = lots of sugured food with little to no staying power. Kids will be hungry again in a an hour.

 

*Price book. Compares what your spending now to the best prices so that you can always purchase at the lowest price(read how to create one in Tightwad Gazette). Absolutely a must if you want to get your grocery budget at rock bottom.

 

*Lots of meatless meals and very little red meat (I saw deli meat on your original post. I rarely buy deli meat, though I will cook a large ham or turkey.) Deli meat per pound is outrageous compared to cooking a ham or turkey from scratch.

 

*breakfast for dinner once a week. Eggs (cheap protein) & sausage or whole wheat pancakes and sausage.

 

*beans and rice once a week. We usually eat it once every 2 weeks, but if I needed to, we could easily do it once a week.

 

*Cook a large meat and get many meals from it. From a large turkey (bought at .39 lb at Thanksgiving and kept in deep freezer), I can get LOTS of meals. Hot turkey one night, turkey for sandwiches, turkey for casseroles, turkey broth (no need to buy canned) and a large pot of soup which alone can be served for several meals.

 

Look at everything you buy. Analyze the cheapest way to get that ingredient. For example, frozen pancakes are expensive; pancake mix would be less but from scratch at home is dirt cheap. SO much so, that you can afford real maple syrup.

 

I have to head out. There is so much more. I would highly advise you to check out some books at the library. Tightwad Gazette is the best IMO, and Miserly Moms is also good.

 

HTH,

Lisa

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm sure you already do these things but a few things I've done to save money include:

-I watch for sales and buy meat/veg and meal plan according to what I can get for a good price.

-When you find a great price on meat, stock up and freeze the extra.

-Use coupons and find out what stores will double them This typically only works for processed foods but sometimes you can get grains, cereals, eggs, and dairy products as well as household with coupons. Use the coupons on items that are already on sale.

-Buy whole chickens and/or bone-in meats. Have the chicken/roast/ham for dinner one night and use the bones to make broth for soup the next day.

-Dried beans are inexpensive, healthy and versatile.

-Grow your own vegs in the summer. Can or freeze for the winter. Similarly, if you get a great price on produce you can freeze them as well.

-Vinegar is a great cleaning product, inexpensive and better for your health than all the chemicals

 

 

With the exception of coupons, all this is what I do, too. :)

 

We eat eggs almost every day for lunch or supper.

 

I never buy meat full price.

 

After I cook chicken or a roast in the crock pot, I'll throw lentil and/or other beans in the broth for the next few meals.

 

No poo here.

 

I also use baking soda for toothpaste and deodorant. No one else is on board with that, though.

 

Absolutely no bread, chips, cokes or crackers. If ye want a snack, have fruit.

 

With the exception of spinach, all other produce I buy is on sale. What we can't eat goes to the chickens and goats, though, so nothing is wasted. I don't compromise on spinach because we eat so much of it.

 

This isn't food related, but I hang dry almost all our laundry. I schedule wash around sunny days.

 

We have room/space heaters so we don't have to heat the entire house.

 

We have rain barrels with which to water the gardens.:001_smile:

 

No cable, either. We have the cheapest Netflix plan, and a cheap rental place here.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, I look more at how filling a food is than how healthy it is, really. We don't do organic (I would like to) just because of the cost. I make a lot of starchy things from scratch, like bread and muffins and baked goods. Having a couple thick slices of homemade bread with a meal makes the meal part stretch further, at least at my house. I make a lot of bread and if some gets to be a couple days old I freeze it and use it later for homemade stuffing to stretch a different meal.

I make homemade pizza with my bread dough so that it is a big, thick crust and not so much of the more expensive ingredients. I make a lot of oatmeal, for breakfast and sometimes for lunch too. Hillbilly Housewife has a recipe for oatmeal pancakes that really stick with you. I make stir fries with lots of rice, a little bit of veggies, and a couple eggs, that seems to stretch too. I make a lot of things with potatoes, like potato pancakes and baked potatoes with baked bean toppings. I don't make a lot of pasta unless it is the thicker, homemade noodles because they are more filling. I have found that even the simplest meal is very satisfying if you have enough of a starch in it, so even if it isn't the healthiest thing I could do at least every one is happy and full.

We make homemade popcorn on the stove for a snack, or a big hit at my house is the Hillbilly Housewife's recipe for peanut butter oatmeal cookies. Oh, and no-bakes are really cheap to make.

I wish we could afford to have fresh fruit and veggies more often, but we are full and healthy enough and no one is fat (except me!).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You are feeding a lot of adults so you need to take that in to account.

We were (2 years ago) spending $100 a week (zero tolerance for overage) for food, household products and pets. How we did it:

No butter or margarine, or olive oil.

No liqued milk- only powdered.

Tons of eggs.

Bread- only what we made. We did have a client provide us with hard winter wheat berries and already had a bosch so we made muffins and bread weekly. Or french bread loaves at Sams.

Meat= hamburger and chix- on sale.

No packaged cereal- oatmeal or eggs.

 

I bought almost everything (95%) of items at Sams. And we bought the same thing almost every single week.

One tray of chix, one tray of beef, veggies and fruit - apples and carrots and anything seasonal that was cheap. On weeks when we needed T.P ($18) or dog food ($18) we'd bite the bullet and get it box at Sams anyway (leaving on ly $82 for food) because over the long haul we saved purchasing that way.

 

We drink water, tea and coffee.

Bake everything and cook everything from scratch.

 

Our oldest is no longer living her and we are up to $150 a week so it feels like we're living in the lap of luxery these days.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

To me that seems high! :001_huh:

 

However I'm a couponing mama. I use to spend $700/mo on groceries. Including dog food and cleaners.....which I make most of what we clean with. We don't do napkins, we use cloth. We don't do diapers from the store, we do cloth. Back in October when I began to learn the ropes of how to coupon our grocery bill has cut immensely!! We now spend on average $350-$400/mo for a family of 5 and 2 dogs.

 

I use to meal plan and then I learned that it's best to meal plan when you have the sales ad so you can base your menu off what's on sale that week. Also I learned to stockup on products that are free or pennies so you don't have to pay full price later. I haven't had to pay but tax for toothpaste, toothbrushes, butter, dental floss, batteries, freezer foods, cheese, puffs tissues and medicine in the past 2 months..because I matched the store sales with my coupons and then added the stores coupons on top of that and paid tax...and even some placed paid ME to take it out of the store!

 

We have shelving units in our kitchen and I stockpile only 4-6 months worth of foods...and some canned goods a year supply if the price is right...last month I got 80 Libby's canned vegetables for ..... TAX only! So I don't have to buy canned veggies for MANY months! And the expiration dates are good until 2012 and some are even as far out as 2013. Just yesterday I got Green Giant Valley Fresh Steamers (frozen veggies) for $0.49/bag...because I matched the store deal with coupons. I also walked out with 20 lbs of chicken quarters for $9.80....and this amount of chicken will feed my family of 5 for 3 weeks. Plus I purchase ground turkey at Aldi's and instead of cooking it up and tossing into the dish directly...I cook it..then run it through my food processor and make it really fine...so it goes farther :D

 

I pay name brand and that's because they are cheaper with stores sales and coupons...than store brand...I use to buy store brand everything, but rarely anymore.

 

Thankfully I won't be buying shampoo, conditioner, body wash, soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes, cold medicine, tape, ziplock bags, trash bags, pasta, gravy, canned soups, canned veggies, cereal and many condiments for 9-12 months. I pass on deals if I already have the stock..I refuse to purchase more of ANYTHING I already have a stock of even if it's free..so I'm always rotating my stock..and when it gets to the point of only having a month supply then I restock...otherwise I will use it until it's about a month out of needing a restock.

 

We eat alot of bread with our meals to make them stretch. We always have a main dish and 2 sides and a bread...or 1 side and a small dish of fruit. We eat fresh fruit and veggies because there's no reason if you have a good Aldi's near you that you can't get some good produce..Now I know alot of places don't get a good Aldi's and have alot of icky produce....but for those that have a decent Aldi's....get your produce there. They have weekly produce deals! Also I make our cleaners including laundry detergent.

 

Coupons are a families best friend if you can learn to use them the best.

 

And if you're not someone that has the time for couponing..then just watch store sales and shop Aldi's and other discount stores :) Also if you get the weekly store flyers...know that Walmart does price match!

Edited by mamaofblessings
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Making household cleaners can be cheaper. Borax, baking soda, vinegar, etc when used in various cleaner "recipes" can be cheaper.

 

We use brown rice, potatoes, beans in almost everything at the moment. That is great because it is very cold outside and "stewy" things are appealing. It will be more challenging this summer I think.

 

We have a baked potato night each week. I cook the potatoes in the crockpot because gas is so expensive. I serve it with shredded cheese, sour cream, broccoli, butter, etc.

 

We also have a soup night (and leftovers for lunch) each week. Baby lima bean soup is good. Tomorrow, I'm making chicken noodle. Dh made spinach soup tonight. White bean chicken chili is very good. The trick is to use less meat and more beans but lots of seasoning. Dh loves french onion soup with grilled cheese sandwiches. Soup and sandwich night is popular.

 

I do a beans and rice night too. We have tacos the following night so the beans are either a nice side or a nice filler for tacos.

 

We have not started "breakfast for dinner" yet, but I have friends who swear that lowers their food bill too (as long as you don't buy bacon!) Pancakes and eggs are filling and hearty.

 

I make my own oven baked "french fries" and "chicken strips". Healthier and cheaper than prepackaged varieties.

 

Pasta dishes are popular at our house too. Pasta and canned tuna, pasta and red sauce, pasta and pesto, pasta and steamed veggies,are all popular. In the summer, I make a big batch of elbow noodles and everyone adds to it as they see fit.

 

For breakfast this morning, I made a big batch of oatmeal and everyone could sweeten it or add to it as they please.

 

One of my dc has a diary allergy so that eliminates some other options for us. Macaroni and cheese can be very economical. The More with Less cookbook has great ideas, but again, many involve dairy so I do not use it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Honestly?

 

I used to wonder how people could have such HUGE food budgets. I lived in the midwest.

 

Moved to the PNW. Our grocery budget made a $400 per month immediate jump. Be very careful when comparing budgets. It would be vital to know the costs of various things when you see someone with an insanely low budget.

 

It's less important what you're spending vs. WHERE you're spending it.

 

If you're in the OUTSIDE aisles of the store - produce, meat, and SOME dairy (like butter or yogurt - not milk) then it's money well spent. If you're in the inner aisles.... Cut it. You might want to divvy your grocery list up by aisles and then REALLY closely examine the inner aisle stuff.

 

We don't buy much for cleaners. We don't buy paper towels. We have our garbage bag useage down to TWO garbage bags per week and I really think we could get it down to one. We don't buy bread except on rare occasion - about a loaf per two weeks. We don't buy much milk - about a gallon every week to two weeks. We spend a small fortune on meat. But we do it wisely - we use it with TONS of vegetables or in stews or something where it's stretched with whole grains or legumes and lots of veg. It is a rare treat to buy juice. We drink water. We don't do soda or cookies or crackers, etc.

 

NO vitamins - herbal teas only. A fraction of the cost and they're actually utilized by the body instead of (literally) flushing it into the toilet in waste.

 

Dog food - we buy raw for our 120lb german shepherd - chicken backs, forty pound cases, from the packer @ $0.39/lb. and a beef mix.

 

No diapers - cloth.

 

We've found Scott tissue is more expensive but has MUCH more on the roll so it's actually cheaper. We've found the BioKleen laundry soap goes much further and does a good job plus it's phosphate free and the container is readily recyclable.

 

We try hard not to sacrifice healthy for cheap but we are careful to spend that budget where it counts.

 

Hope some of that helps!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I choose to drive an hour to Costco, each way, once a month, for the cost savings. I do a monthly stock up there. I buy enough milk & produce while I'm there for the first two weeks of the month, and then use my local stores for the last two weeks for my perishables.

 

Here are some differences in prices, to give you an example:

milk: Costco: $2.15/gallon (last week); local stores: $3.49/gallon

spinach: C: $4/1lb; local stores: $3.50/6 oz

chicken (frozen breasts): C: $2.29/lb; local stores: $3.29/lb.

whole wheat, HFCS-free bread: C: $1.85/loaf; local stores: $2.89/loaf

 

If you are trying to cut back generally, my best tips are:

1. Make a menu, plan everything

2. Eat in season, where possible

3. Plan a few inexpensive meals: stir fry over rice, soup, etc. where meat is a "garnish"

4. Ditch the pre-packaged foods

5. Buy organically "wisely"; as an example, it's easy enough to peel a banana--berries, on the other hand, are hard to wash well

6. Keep a price book; it will allow you to figure out sale prices

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you are trying to cut back generally, my best tips are:

1. Make a menu, plan everything

2. Eat in season, where possible

3. Plan a few inexpensive meals: stir fry over rice, soup, etc. where meat is a "garnish"

4. Ditch the pre-packaged foods

5. Buy organically "wisely"; as an example, it's easy enough to peel a banana--berries, on the other hand, are hard to wash well

6. Keep a price book; it will allow you to figure out sale prices

 

This is good advice. While it's true that prices are different depending on where you live, it's the style of shopping and eating that will save you money.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

For my family of 5, we spend about $1,200/month. I do all my shopping at Whole Foods and Costco. It's expensive to eat healthy for sure. I do buy some packaged food, but always check ingredients. For example, tonight we had homemade ham, bean, & onion soup, deviled eggs, and hame & biscuits. The biscuits were from a can, but I get them from Whole Foods and the ingredients are not nearly as bad as other brands, so I have to pay a lot more. I would love to make them from scratch but have yet to get them to turn out right.:001_huh:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Four things have brought my grocery budget under control:

 

1.) Know how much things should cost. For instance, I know that Spanish olive oil from Trader Joe's is 5.99 for 1 L. That way, when I run across a sale somewhere, I know whether it's a good deal or not. Also, I know if I'm at Kroger and I need olive oil and it's not on sale, it's worth it to run by TJ's and get some. Also, I keep my grocery receipts in my wallet so I can check things I haven't memorized.

2.) Use coupons when you can. Make sure you grab and organize the coupons the store prints out for you and make sure you cut any coupons from your local paper. Compare these to your store's weekly ad and start building your grocery list from this. I don't buy a whole lot of stuff that I can find a coupon for. Most of what I buy is fresh, organic produce and whole foods and it's hard to find coupons for those. But...cat food, toilet paper and shampoo are.

3.) Meal planning. I'm not a monthly planner, just a weekly one. I plan meals that people will eat, that I can cook enough of to have leftovers for my dh, and that are healthy and budget friendly. When I have a menu for the week, I have a grocery list and I stick to it. Then, I stay away from all stores. Especially Target. I can get suckered into thinking I need things like candles and picture frames.

4.) I bake all our bread. I don't eat gluten, but everyone else does and this one thing has cut our bread budget down to nothing. We had a really expensive bread habit. My kids hated sliced bread so I was buying artisan bread every week. Then it would go bad because I could never time it perfectly so that we had enough not to run out, but no more. Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day is a great investment.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just a question?? I have 6 kids in my house plus my husband and I. Ages are 18, 15, 7, 4, 4, and 2. We spend about $700 a month on groceries that includes cleaners, paper towels (that my DH uses like crazy) etc. Is that to much?

 

I make all my own bread, make a lot from scratch, buy a few snacks like goldfish, cheez-its, graham crackers, for the kids to snack on cause I have one 4 year old who refuses to eat fruits veggies or drink milk.

 

My DH thinks I spend WAY to much for food and this month we are VERY short on cash and he limited me to $250 for the month (until the 2nd week in Feb).

 

What do you think? Sorry not trying to hjack the thread.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We are a family of 4 and one kitty, and last year our average monthly grocery expenditure was $500. We are on track to get it to $300 a month this year, using couponing, stockpiling, and cooking from scratch: bread, soup, meatloaf, stews, chili, muffins...very little pre-packaged food. Lots of leftovers. Shop the sales WITH coupons.

 

Keep in mind, when we lived in Manhattan our average monthly grocery bill was...wait for it.....$1000. Yes, one thousand dollars. So location does matter.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

But you are feeding 6 adults, 3 dogs, and buying all of your cleaners/paper goods? I think you are doing fine. It is very easy to keep the food budget low when the children are small and eat 1/3rd of what the adults eat. Six adults (frankly, teenagers eat MORE than the average adult) eat a LOT of food!

 

You could switch to cloth napkins and make most of your cleaners to save a bit. I have found soup with homemade bread or biscuits to be a very economical way to feed a lot of people.

 

My weekly budget for food, paper goods, cleaning supplies, and clothes is $300/wk. I belong to a co-op and buy almost everything in bulk. And I still have a couple who don't eat very much! Don't beat yourself up, I think you are doing fine!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I spend $70/month to feed 17 of us due to my extreme skills with coupons, gardening, and making absolutely everything from scratch. NOT really! I just wanted to be that perfect homemaker for one little minute. lol There are usually only 3 of us left at home with one ds home from college here and there and friends over at other times. I have a freezer full with 1/2 cow and 30 lbs of chicken breasts I bought on sale. I am trying hard to coupon and look for sales but we do not to eat a lot of processed foods so the coupons can get limited. I like purchasing things ahead that I know we use often but we do run out of space. I buy our personal care items (shampoo, etc) and a few grocery items like milled flax seed, pumpkin seeds, etc from Vitacost. We signed up for Target's debit card and now save 5% every time we go to our Super Target. Overall I would say we spend about $150-$200/week. I work at keeping it down to the $150 level.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Instead of buying cleaners, I just get the least expensive bar soap I can find and use that for everything. It works really well, and I don't have to listen to DH complain about smelling vinegar all the time (mostly in his imagination, in my opinion, but still a complaint). It is pretty frugal too, in the long run.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I spend $70/month to feed 17 of us due to my extreme skills with coupons, gardening, and making absolutely everything from scratch. NOT really! I just wanted to be that perfect homemaker for one little minute. lol

:lol:

 

Well, I could make you all feel much better about your food costs. Ours are In. Sane. Fortunately we're not on a very tight budget, so it's okay, but I still think it's way too much, even given our location AND the limitations of shopping on foot instead of by car. However, my DH gets extremely agitated if I start making noises about cutting the food budget -- he loves his food. Honestly, the biggest thing I do in keeping our food costs down (with "down" defined broadly here) is to never ever have him do any grocery shopping.

Edited by JennyD
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am loving reading all the responses to this thread. I am learning so much!

 

We currently spend about $150 per week for a family of 4 (and our kids are little) and two cats so I don't think your expenses are totally out of line. We do, however, have some dietary issues we have to contend with here (i.e no dairy, beef, or corn for dh) and I try to buy organic when it's not totally outer limits price wise so I think we spend a little bit more here than other families with the same amount of people and pets.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Raw meat for the dog.... And... I bought some stuff at the specialty pet store to sprinkle on top... just to make me feel better... So, I feed him for about $1.00 a day.... which... he's suppose to be around 65 lbs... (oops... let him gain a bit too much... he's on his way back down :)

 

That's where I see you might save a bit of money... Depends on how much your dog weighs... to what you would spend/save :) At least probably a little less $$$ and more healthy ;)

 

I'm surprised you can do it for the amount you are..... I have 2 adults... and 2 or 3 kids... (depending on the week) I don't wanna know how much I'm spending right now... and I've been not feeling well for a few weeks... so more Baja Fresh than I'll admit :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

Making household cleaners can be cheaper. Borax, baking soda
You can get a 50 lb bag of feed grade sodium bicarbonate at a feed store for about $10. This is fine for cleaning and "no poo" regimens.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just a question?? I have 6 kids in my house plus my husband and I. Ages are 18, 15, 7, 4, 4, and 2. We spend about $700 a month on groceries that includes cleaners, paper towels (that my DH uses like crazy) etc. Is that to much?

 

I think about $100 per month per person is about right. You're a little under that, but you do have 3 under 5yo. You're right on target for what I like for a food budget.

 

Of course, because of other bills going up we only have $500 a month for food, toiletries, paper products... That's just our luck. Can't ever quite have what would be comfortable.

 

To keep it under $500 per month I look at what is most filling for the least amount of money. It's not always the most healthy but it's not junk food either.

 

We bake all our own ww breads, muffins, etc. My teen boys prefer ww so that they don't have to eat as much to get full. We're definitely high on whole grain carbs, use meat sparingly and eat fruits and vegis in season.

 

ETA: I also do not buy paper towels. In our house that is a luxury and food comes first.

Edited by stansclan89
Link to comment
Share on other sites

That doesn't seem like a lot for a family your size. What you need to look at is what percentage of your monthly income do you spend on food? Today, Americans spend less than 10% of their disposable income on food. 30 years ago it was 15% and in the 1930's it was 25%. If you're spending under 10%, you're pretty typical (though again, you have a large family).

We spend about 13% of our income in food. There are 3 (and a half) of us, plus 3 small dogs. I almost never buy red meat, but I do buy loads of seafood, fruits and veggies, non-dairy yogurt and rice milk for Indy and Lactose free milk for me and James Bond, which is $4.20 a HALF gallon. One of our dogs has a wheat allergy, so I have to buy expensive wheat-free dog food. I buy natural cleaners (James Bond hates the overwhelming smell of vinegar when I use that) and recycled paper products. I do a lot of shopping at Aldi (it's actually a German chain and they are everywhere here). Their fruits and veg are usually much fresher and cheaper than what I can get at the commissary (military grocery store).

Of course our budget will go up when Han Solo comes along. I cannot do cloth diapers. There's the ick factor for me, plus the fact that our w/d are in the basement, four flights down and are shared by 5 other apartments (we live in military housing in Germany). Due to medication issues, I will not be bfing, so we will have to buy formula too. Sigh.

Indy also eats a TON. I swear I don't know how one child can eat so much. He's only 8 and weighs 78 pounds (not much for a kid who's 55" tall), but eats like his whole body is hollow. It is astounding to watch him eat. He eats more than I do and I'm pregnant! I can only think of a handful of times I've ever seen him full and not able to finish his food. James Bond and I joke that he needs to become a General in order to keep Indy fed. I don't know what we're going to do when he's a teenager. :D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oh my gosh. I haven't even finished my first cup of coffee and I thought, "Good grief! $70/month for 17 people?"

You had me!

 

Dawn

 

I spend $70/month to feed 17 of us due to my extreme skills with coupons, gardening, and making absolutely everything from scratch. NOT really! I just wanted to be that perfect homemaker for one little minute. lol There are usually only 3 of us left at home with one ds home from college here and there and friends over at other times. I have a freezer full with 1/2 cow and 30 lbs of chicken breasts I bought on sale. I am trying hard to coupon and look for sales but we do not to eat a lot of processed foods so the coupons can get limited. I like purchasing things ahead that I know we use often but we do run out of space. I buy our personal care items (shampoo, etc) and a few grocery items like milled flax seed, pumpkin seeds, etc from Vitacost. We signed up for Target's debit card and now save 5% every time we go to our Super Target. Overall I would say we spend about $150-$200/week. I work at keeping it down to the $150 level.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...