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Frugalistas...help me slash my grocery bill in half


How much do you spend on groceries a week?  

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  1. 1. How much do you spend on groceries a week?

    • $250 a week
    • $175 a week
    • $125 a week
    • More or less then any of those options


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Help! My grocery bill is out of control! We are a family of five, with children ages 3, 5, & 8. We are currently spending about $250 a week on groceries on average. This includes household items like cleaning products, sanitary products, hair care, pet food, etc., but does not include eating out. We typically eat at home and probably eat out maybe once a week. I would really like to spend say $500 a month. Is this doable? Right now, I don't do coupons, I typically shop at Safeway, and we also have a Costco membership. If I shop at Costco once a month, I will still end up spending about the same amount of money overall at the end of the month. My only concerns with this plan are that my family eat healthy foods and are able to have a reasonable amount of food (not to excess but satifisfied). Additionally, I am considering going back on weight watchers and so would be concerned that food was fresh, not a lot of processed stuff. My kids are very slender and active, but my husband and I could stand to lose about 40 pounds each, or well, ok, at least 20. I would like to move out of neighborhood to a nicer one, but we'd need to have about $250 a month in rent, so this is part of my motivation. I also would like to be able to afford a gym membership and the monthly pass to go to WW meetings and have online tools. We could probably do this, but things would be tight. So, is it possible to cut the grocery bill in half, or at least significantly. We do live in a part of the country where the cost of living is high- the Silicon Valley in California, but in the suburbs.

 

Couple questions:

How much do you spend on groceries and what's your family size?

What would be realistic budget be for a family of 5 in your opinion?

What are ways you use or resources you use that have helped your family save on groceries?

What other things do you do to stretch a dollar?

If you live in a part of the country where the cost of living is high, how do you save on groceries and other necessities?

 

In addition, I'd love to hear tips from moms with larger families, because I would love to have more kids, but finances worry me, so we have held off.

Edited by lea_lpz
Didn't think of area and cost of living there
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We're a family of four, but two of us are teenaged boys. We call the boys black holes--they walk through the kitchen and all the food disappears into them. Our grocery bill (including household cleaning supplies, paper towels, toilet paper, personal care products, pet supplies, etc.) runs at least $250 a week. I do use coupons, but nowhere near the point of being an extreme couponer. I buy store brands for things that I can't tell a quality/taste difference, and we've found that we actually prefer some store brand products over brand names. I'd love to cut our grocery bill, but I don't see any way that's going to happen until oldest DS heads off to college.

 

So no real advice, but I can definitely relate.

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Couple questions:

How much do you spend on groceries and what's your family size?

 

I spend about $125 per week (about $540 per month) for my family of four, not including cleaning supplies, toiletries or pet food. Both of my kids are teens, meaning they eat more than either of the adults.

 

What would be realistic budget be for a family of 5 in your opinion?

 

With little kids like yours? I don't see why you couldn't shop for under $150 per week if you worked at it.

 

What are ways you use or resources you use that have helped your family save on groceries?

 

We're vegetarians/vegans, meaning we don't buy meat or milk. (After I typed this, I realized I should mention that my husband does eat cheese and sour cream now and then, and I do buy a little of that for him. But the other three of us don't eat it.)

 

We don't eat that way to save money. It's an ethical/spiritual choice. However, it does have the handy side effect of keeping food costs down. Many new veg people don't find their grocery spending decreases, primarily because they switch from animal products to packaged items intended to mimic animal products. But we don't eat much of that stuff.

 

The only vegan "specialty" items I buy regularly are soy milk, soy-based margarine and vegan protein powder. I have no idea how much a typical family spends on meat and milk in a month, but my hunch is that our items cost less.

 

I try to always make a list before I go shopping. I check the ads on the websites of the three stores at which I usually shop and note who has which items on sale. I buy extra to stock up when things I know we'll use are at an especially good price and try to stretch those until the next sale cycle.

 

I buy most things as "ingredients" rather than in packages. So, for example, I buy dried black beans instead of a can of seasoned, cooked beans. And I buy yeast (in a jar, instead of little packages) and flour and bake most of our bread.

 

I don't do much couponing, because the majority of foods we eat are coupon fodder. I'm not against using them, when I stumble upon one, but it's not a good use of my time to put a lot of energy into that process.

 

I try to avoid waste.

 

That's pretty much all.

 

What other things do you do to stretch a dollar?

 

For groceries or just for life?

 

In terms of general savings, I buy virtually all of our educational materials used and write most of my own lesson plans. I make liberal use of resources available online for free.

 

We don't have a lot of clothing, and I take good care of what we do have so that it lasts a long time.

 

I drive the most fuel-efficient vehicle I can that serves our needs, and we bought it used.

 

We don't eat out often at all. And we might go to a first-run movie two or three times a year.

 

We're big theatre lovers, but we search out the least expensive way to buy our tickets. For example, one local theatre has single tickets for their performances priced at $40. To attend all six shows in a season would cost $240 per person. A season ticket brings the cost down to $160 per person, but their special preview night package (usually the weeknight show just before the official opening night) costs only $96 per person.

 

I use both PaperbackSwap and BookMooch (in addition to the library) to keep myself and my son in books. We're both big readers and could spend rather frightening amounts of money on books if we weren't careful. We do still buy an occasional book new just because, but many fewer than we would if we weren't thoughtful about it.

 

In general, I just always assume there's a less expensive way to get something, and I try to always research the options before we spend.

Edited by Jenny in Florida
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I have been able to get down to $500 including toiletries. It is not how I prefer to do things, but I did it for a few years while we needed to. Family of 5.

 

Here are a couple of books that might help:

 

How to Feed a Family of 10 on $500/month

 

http://www.amazon.com/Family-Month-Without-Coupons-ebook/dp/B008QQ9VHI/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1344798043&sr=8-3&keywords=feed+family+of+10

 

How to feed your family of 4 for $250/month

 

http://www.amazon.com/Family-Guide-Groceries-under-ebook/dp/B00703HTGS/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1344798079&sr=1-1&keywords=feed+family+%24250

 

We currently spend between $700-$800 but I have been thinking I need to do a few frugal months to catch up with some expenses coming up.

 

Dawn

Edited by DawnM
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These threads always drive me nuts. How much you spend is so dependent on where you live and whether or not you follow a certain diet. And inevitably someone says, if only you did it this way you could spend this little. Come live where I live and we'll see about that.

 

But there are a lot of good food budget stretching ideas on this board and those can apply anywhere. Your mileage may vary though.

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How much do you spend on groceries and what's your family size? We spend about $600 a month on just food, and we're a family of 5. Our oldest daughter though eats more than my husband and myself combined at most meals though.

 

What would be realistic budget be for a family of 5 in your opinion? Realistic and ideal are two different things entirely and it really depends on what area you live in. Food seems to be more affordable in my area than in other areas. I think ideally I would love another $100-$150 a month...however the $600 I have is very reasonable. I don't see being able to cut your budget in half and still wanting healthful and adequate food.

 

What are ways you use or resources you use that have helped your family save on groceries? We cook almost everything from scratch. We are vegetarian though and really love some of the meat substitute products, which sucks a lot of the budget. Everyone in the family, with the exception of dh, only drinks water during the day and the kids get to have some juice in the evening with dinner. We use frozen concentrated juice and water it down quite a bit...I think at least 4 times what it calls for. We buy in bulk a lot. Sams is helpful as is the bulk section at Earthfare. I also buy a month's worth of groceries at a time, ALWAYS with a meal plan for all meals, and shop for dairy and produce every week. I make all of my own breads and we don't use a lot of pre-packaged and processed foods. We spend a couple of afternoons a month baking (pancakes, granola, banana bread, chocolate chip muffin bread, granola bars...so on) and we make lots and freeze it.

 

What other things do you do to stretch a dollar? We stay content with what we have and don't buy things that are not on sale. We also try to use things until they are no longer usable. We also stay home a lot instead of going out for entertainment and using gas. We do a lot of games, movies, puzzles, playing outside and reading at home.

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We budget 300 a week for the grocery store, and then a monthly costco trip that averages around 250. So, 1450 all together for a month.

 

We don't eat out. We have a set list that are excellent buys at Costco, and we stick to them.

 

I make things from scratch. I bake a lot, we eat simply through the week, and on my big, huge special meal is on Sunday.

 

I don't use coupons as much, but I ONLY buy when stuff is on sale. This week Marcal TP is hitting 8 bucks for a 20 pack, and I'll buy 4. I'll buy 20 pastas when they hit 88 cents.

 

Know your sales and buy double. Stock up the pantry. I still save tons of money shopping this way.

 

I live in NJ though, and prices here are very high.

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We have a family of 6 (no babies so they are all eating) and we spend approx $100-$125 a week for food and household items. I use a chain grocery store and Trader Joe's and produce market for most of my groceries. Though we do use Costco for some things too, that's only a 1x a month stop for things like kleenex, TP, Goldfish, and meat.

 

I used to rely heavily on Aldi's which is a midwest chain that saved me tons of $$ but we don't have that here in CA.

 

I buy generic, use coupons (but not a lot), watch for sales, and stock up on sale items I know we'll use a lot such as cereal, soup, pasta, etc. I catch store brand cereal on sale for $1 or $1.50 a box and I buy 10 boxes or more!

 

I don't buy a lot of prepackaged snacks or chips or cookies.

 

I shop the outer edges of the store and skip a lot of the frozen foods, snacks, and prepackaged meals.

 

A lot of our meals include ground turkey or hamburger for things like spaghetti, sloppy joes, hamburgers, or tacos. Chicken breasts are great for salads, marinated with a side of fresh veggies, and chicken and rice casserole. Shrimp is good grilled, with salads, or with pasta.

I guess we eat lots of basic foods but try to use them in different ways.

We eat a lot of raw veggies and fruit as sides too.

I just watch for these things to be on sale or buy in bulk if the price is really better (it's not always a better deal!)

 

I also find that trying to stay OUT of the stores is a good way to save money ;) I try to limit going to the chain grocery and Trader Joe's 1x every 2 weeks. I hit the produce market 1x a week. We'll sometimes have to get milk more often but I will make my husband pick it up after work when he's in a hurry so he won't shop for other things.

The more you shop, the more you grab impulse items or items you don't really need but can't recall if you need them KWIM?

 

Good luck!

Edited by Ann in IA
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We're a family of 7. We have an almost 18 yr. old boy, and two pre-teens that have recently hit growth spurts, so they *eat* like teen boys. The 6 yr. old and 1 yr. old can eat quite a bit too! Including toiletries and the like, I used to spend about $150-200/week. I've *had* to cut this back very recently though. So, for the past two weeks, I've spent $214 total.

 

I guess, I've just made more of an effort to shop more frugally b/c I've HAD to. Dh is going to be laid up from work for 2-3 months, so we can't afford much.

 

The kids also get two snacks/day as well as three meals. I try to cook from scratch more often and REALLY watch meat sales. We don't have much junk food in the house. I don't use coupons b/c we normally buy generic brands anyway.

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We live in the Silicon Valley, so prices aren't cheap. We also avoid processed foods as much as possible, I cook mostly from scratch, and my daughter has allergies. That said, I budget about $400 a month to feed me, DH, DS almost 7, and DD 4.

 

We eat a lot of legume-based meals (lentils, split peas, beans) and lots of soups. I rarely cook more than a pound of meat for a meal, making things like tacos and sloppy Joe's with a mix of beef and beans or lentils, stir fry with lots of veggies and rice, stew or soup, casseroles, etc. We don't have a lot of meals that are just a piece of meat on the plate. We do lots of egg-based meals like quiche, frittata, huevos rancheros, curried eggs, breakfast for dinner, or gado gado.

 

I shop seasonally for fruits and veggies and don't pay more than $2 a pound for produce.

 

Also, I shop at a grocery outlet, bread outlet, independent ethnic markets, Trader Joe's, and only if I can't get what I need at those will I go to a regular grocery store! Twice a month I do a big stock up trip, and in between I go for milk, eggs, bread, and fresh fruit/veggies. Staying out of the store helps me save money!

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I reduced my grocery budget by 25-30% last year by starting to seriously use coupons. I don't consider myself an "extreme" couponer, but I do have 4 subscriptions to the Sunday paper and follow several coupon blogs to maximize sales with coupons.

 

There was definitely a bit of a learning curve, but after the first month or two I now spend about 30-60 minutes per week planning my spending, and I shop at ONE grocery store each week. I buy meat in bulk about once every 2-3 months at Sams, and occasionally buy things at Walgreens or CVS.

 

We do eat healthy, although we are not vegetarians nor do we follow a special diet. I make our bread, yogurt, laundry detergent and dishwasher detergent from scratch, and we try to avoid processed foods. I do pass up some really good deals on processed foods that I just don't want to feed my family.

 

So I want to encourage you that it CAN be done, and it CAN be done while eating healthy. Even if you pass on processed food, if you use coupons to buy deodorant for 25 cents and shampoo for less than $1, that frees up your budget for more healthy food.

 

Some blogs I use (I live in FL, so these may be no help to you, but this is what I would look for locally) include...

 

True Couponing (local to the Tampa area) www.truecouponing.com

 

I Heart Publix (local to metro Atlanta, but has sales for all Publix locations) www.iheartpublix.com

 

Coupon Mom (national) www.couponmom.com

 

The Krazy Coupon Lady (she has an excellent "getting started" section, although I do NOT cut all coupons like she recommends. I file my coupon inserts by date, then pull out what I need and cut only what I plan to use when I need them. Takes about 20-30 minutes before my weekly shopping trip.) www.thekrazycouponlady.com

 

I hope this helps!

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$500 a month for a family of 4-5 (depending on who's away at college). I cook everything from scratch, coupon, only shop at certain stores, stock up during sales, have food storage (I'm LDS), and plan every meal. We don't eat out...maybe once a month I'll get a pizza from Papa Murphy's. That's it. We like to take very expensive vacations, and I'm happy to save on food in order to spend ridiculous amounts of money without giving it a second thought a couple times per year on a holiday.

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I'm sorry, I didn't factor in cost of living as in influence. But have added this. And although I don't use coupons, I do buy generic brands if they are available. Every penny helps :). I used to spend about $500 a month about 3 years ago, but we only had two kids then, and they were younger, and it was pre-recession, beginning of it. I have chalked it up too the bad economy, but with it my grocery bill hitting about $1,000 a month, I wanted to consider if I was also at fault.

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Thanks for all the good ideas.

 

See if there is a local chain nearby that sells dented and slightly expired things. Often they are of perfect quality but you also have to be sure you are not buying things you wouldn't ordinarily buy.

 

Also, keep an eye on the trash can for four kinds of food waste:

 

1) "Yucky" food. Don't put food on the kids' plates that they are likely to not want to eat. Why bother. And, if something is unpopular (though a terrific bargain) with most of the family, don't buy it.

 

2) Excess food on the plate. Encourage kids to take smaller servings and go back for more if needed. I started to notice that when we eat sandwiches, often 1/3 of several of the sandwiches (often crusts -- ugh) would end up in the trash. So, we started eating half sandwiches, and the kids can have more if still hungry. Train the kids to take what they'll eat and no more. Often they come to the table hungry and their eyes are bigger than their stomachs and they take a huge helping that is too much in the end. With a little practice they can learn to take smaller servings, then wait a few minutes before puttnig seconds on the plate.

 

3) Excess food that is trimmed. Save slivers of broccoli stems, for example for stews and such. Eat the apple down to the core. Encourage that behavior.

 

4) Food that stayed too long in the refrigerator. The other day, I boiled up too much corn on the cob and we had extra. What wasn't eaten in two days, I cut off and froze. When the weather gets cooler, that corn will go into soup, chili, or stew. If I get lazy, stuff will go bad in the refrigerator. So I try to keep an eye on it. Similarly, make sure your kids close pretzel bags and cereal inner liners immediately so that that food doesn't go stale. And if it does go stale, look for ways to still use it. Stale bread makes great croutons. Stale cereal can be crushed up and added to homemade granola or fed to pets.

 

Oops, time to go ... We've got something this afternoon.

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How much do you spend on groceries and what's your family size?

We have a family of 4, 2 kids and 2 adults. We spend about $400 a month including detergents, paper products, etc.

 

What would be realistic budget be for a family of 5 in your opinion?

If it were me and I had another kid then I could get by with somewhere in the range of $500-$600

 

What are ways you use or resources you use that have helped your family save on groceries?

Coupon if you can. We shop at Aldi. These 2 things combined have really made a huge difference for us. I have no paid 'normal' grocery prices in a year. Aldi has GREAT prices on produce and meat so we eat really well.

 

What other things do you do to stretch a dollar?

Make your own stuff whenever possible. We make our own laundry detergent and hand soap. I spend about $35 on these things and it lasts me about 8-9 months. Reduce your paper product usage. We don't buy paper towels any more. We use kitchen rags. Chicken drumsticks are great. I can get a package of 10 of them for $3 at Aldi and it feeds us all plus my husbands lunch the next day. I buy frozen chicken breasts by the bag at Aldi for $5. It gives us 2 meals. We don't eat out. DH takes leftovers for lunch and I eat whatever is left from the kids. I plan meals exactly. Down the the sticks of butter. I go grocery shopping once a week. If I forget something I send DH back out to get it because he won't be tempted to buy anything extra.

 

If you live in a part of the country where the cost of living is high, how do you save on groceries and other necessities?

I don't think the cost of living is too high here so I probably can't answer this one. I'm in NC.

 

In addition, I'd love to hear tips from moms with larger families, because I would love to have more kids, but finances worry me, so we have held off.

Only 4 of us so this doesn't apply to us either. :)

Edited by MiniBlondes
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How much do you spend on groceries and what's your family size?

What would be realistic budget be for a family of 5 in your opinion?

What are ways you use or resources you use that have helped your family save on groceries?

What other things do you do to stretch a dollar?

If you live in a part of the country where the cost of living is high, how do you save on groceries and other necessities?

 

In addition, I'd love to hear tips from moms with larger families, because I would love to have more kids, but finances worry me, so we have held off.

 

I spent $130 last week at Aldi and that is for two weeks worth of food. We are a family of four. I try to make everything I can. For example, I have a 12 pound bag of baking soda I bought from Sam's last year for around $6.00 so I use it to make my own toothpaste and clean stuff.

 

I also try to use what I have around the house rather than buy something. When I'm forced to buy something I shop the thrift stores first. My gym shoes have a big hole in them so instead of buying new (and I can't find any used at the moment) I will go to the dollar store and buy super glue to repair them so they last longer.

 

It's all about changing your perspective. We just came off of the Hillbilly Housewife's Emergency Meal Plan because I wanted to save money after we came home from vacation, as well as to teach my kids about Depression-era food. No meat, just beans, and we did add in more fruit and remove the orange juice. My kids learned a lot, and so did I. They love Hoe Cakes now BTW!

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We are currently averaging about $430 pr month for this year iirc. We are also gluten/soy free and dairy lite, w/ no preservatives/colors etc. 3 kids, who are small but ds 8 literally eats as much or more than dh, he has the metabolism of a cheetah I think. We eat grassfed/local meat and buy a fair amount of staples organic. I cook from scratch. I buy in bulk from a food co-op (Azure Standard), we buy meat by the half and help butcher and I shop for other staples in various places. Currently I do weekly shopping at Aldi's(for produce and a few canned goods- like tomatoes and some odds and ends) and my monthly order of staples to Azure.

 

I don't consider our budget to be optimal though and do plan on increasing it, especially with being gf there aren't as many cheap meal stretching options and I'd like to buy more organic produce and have some more variety than we've had lately.

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I buy in bulk and make in advance as much as possible. A couple of weeks ago I walked in as the store was marking ground turkey down to $1.50 a pound. THe cheap ground beef is $3 a pound on sale right now so I bought all the turkey he marked down, around 17 pounds. I came home and turned several pounds into meatloaf, more into portions that will work well for spaghetti or tacos, cooked some burgers that night, and then even made a couple of lasagnas. Almost all went into the freezer for meals later. If I can catch chicken marked down, I buy a bunch, add different marinades, freeze, then cook in the crockpot for a meal later in the month. I rarely pay full price for meats. I always check the markdowns first and go from there. I also plan my meals from what I already have in the freezer.

 

I also only cook one portion of meat per person per meal. 4 people means 4 chicken breast halves. My dd eats less than one so my son or dh can eat the rest of hers. They will have plenty of side items to fill up on that are cheaper to buy.

 

We have leftover night at least twice a week. If I see leftovers piling up, then I just refuse to cook something new. Small amounts of leftover veggies I save in the freezer for soups in the winter. I save meat bones and make my own broths as well.

 

I do coupon some, but for me the real key is to simply stay away from the grocery store in general. If we are just needing milk, I have dh stop on the way home from work. He isn't one to buy extras so that works out well.

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We have 5-6 people eating (baby doesn't eat a lot yet, but I try to get organic for him as much as possible, and theoretically nursing means I eat more), and $150 a week doesn't quite cover it, since we tend to eat more on the paleo/primal side of things. A few years ago, I could get away with $100-$130 a week for lots of organic, pastured meats, raw dairy, etc. I miss those days. Now, I really need more like $175 a week. I've had to cut out organic and grass-fed quite a bit, unfortunately, but we still eat pretty much real food. It's hard if you don't eat a lot of grains or legumes.

 

I try to leave room in the budget to stock up on stuff that's on big sale. I cook from scratch as much as possible, but that only saves so much if we're just not eating a lot of baked goods, y'know? We eat salad a lot of nights a week, but it gets expensive. We eat a lot of peanut butter -- even good peanut butter is still fairly inexpensive for the protein it packs; we eat some sandwiches but will also eat PB on apple or banana slices. We eat a lot of apples and bananas and other fruit generally only if it's on a big sale (or if it's very local; local peaches are a big yummy treat). I stock up on frozen veggies when they're on sale (and I generally buy fresh veggies to eat raw for lunches when they're buy one get one free), and I can add another pound of them to a meal for way less than another pound of meat. We eat a lot of eggs and oatmeal for breakfast.

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We have 5-6 people eating (baby doesn't eat a lot yet, but I try to get organic for him as much as possible, and theoretically nursing means I eat more), and $150 a week doesn't quite cover it, since we tend to eat more on the paleo/primal side of things.

 

We try to eat more primal as well, although we are not 100%. Usually if I make baked goods they are grain free. We have ate more legumes and grains this year but still not near as much as many people, although I know we could save a lot more if we did I don't feel it optimal for us.

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These threads always drive me nuts. How much you spend is so dependent on where you live and whether or not you follow a certain diet. And inevitably someone says, if only you did it this way you could spend this little. Come live where I live and we'll see about that.

 

But there are a lot of good food budget stretching ideas on this board and those can apply anywhere. Your mileage may vary though.

 

:iagree:

 

My budget stats wouldn't help you much. They won't be comparable to a family with half as many kids, none of which are bottomless teenagers with celiac disease. :tongue_smilie:

 

Check the standard answers to curbing the grocery bill. Cook from scratch, buy in bulk or stock up during sales, make friends with a super couponer who will hand you coupons with instructions when she runs across something she knows you can use, check out farmer's markets for inexpensive produce, freeze or can cheap produce for the off seasons, and consider growing your own.

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These threads always drive me nuts. How much you spend is so dependent on where you live and whether or not you follow a certain diet. And inevitably someone says, if only you did it this way you could spend this little. Come live where I live and we'll see about that.

 

But there are a lot of good food budget stretching ideas on this board and those can apply anywhere. Your mileage may vary though.

 

 

This is so true. Whatever dollar amount you spend, someone will do it for less, whatever grocery list you post someone will tell you to change/eliminate something.

 

The best thing you can do, is save your receipts for a month, see what things you are spending your money on. Look at each item/category. Which items were splurge items, which items could do make do with less of? Really pay attention to where you money is going and what each thing costs makes it much easier to make changes.

 

Another thing, consider the going out to eat. You said you don't eat out much and then said about once a week. For me this is A LOT. We have 1 take-out meal a month budgeted but many months we don't spend it and save it up for a really nice sit down meal. So you have to think about the reason why you are dining out, is it because it's something you enjoy. Then keep it and look elsewhere to cut costs. If it's because you failed to plan/too tired to cook, then work on the reasons behind the emergency meal out.

 

The lessons apply to clothing, groceries, any other discretionary money you have. Decide what is the most important to you and fund those areas. If you don't have enough for all the areas, then you either need to learn how to live without/less or you need to adjust your priorities.

 

While it's good to re-evaulate what your spending on groceries, don't forget to look at other areas of savings as well.

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Help! My grocery bill is out of control! We are a family of five, with children ages 3, 5, & 8. We are currently spending about $250 a week on groceries on average. This includes household items like cleaning products, sanitary products, hair care, pet food, etc., but does not include eating out. We typically eat at home and probably eat out maybe once a week. I would really like to spend say $500 a month. Is this doable? Right now, I don't do coupons, I typically shop at Safeway, and we also have a Costco membership. If I shop at Costco once a month, I will still end up spending about the same amount of money overall at the end of the month. My only concerns with this plan are that my family eat healthy foods and are able to have a reasonable amount of food (not to excess but satifisfied). Additionally, I am considering going back on weight watchers and so would be concerned that food was fresh, not a lot of processed stuff. My kids are very slender and active, but my husband and I could stand to lose about 40 pounds each, or well, ok, at least 20. I would like to move out of neighborhood to a nicer one, but we'd need to have about $250 a month in rent, so this is part of my motivation. I also would like to be able to afford a gym membership and the monthly pass to go to WW meetings and have online tools. We could probably do this, but things would be tight. So, is it possible to cut the grocery bill in half, or at least significantly. We do live in a part of the country where the cost of living is high- the Silicon Valley in California, but in the suburbs.

 

Couple questions:

How much do you spend on groceries and what's your family size?

What would be realistic budget be for a family of 5 in your opinion?

What are ways you use or resources you use that have helped your family save on groceries?

What other things do you do to stretch a dollar?

If you live in a part of the country where the cost of living is high, how do you save on groceries and other necessities?

 

In addition, I'd love to hear tips from moms with larger families, because I would love to have more kids, but finances worry me, so we have held off.

 

This sounds normal. We have a household of six + pets and our weekly bill is around $300 (including miscellaneous and household items). That averages out to $50/person/week, which is reasonable, IMO. We spend an additional $100/week on eating out, the bulk of which is Sunday lunch.

 

The best way to reduce your bill is to cook everything from scratch, buy foods and household items in bulk whenever possible and to repurpose leftovers for other meals. (e.g., set aside some chicken from Monday's chicken soup to be Tuesday's fajita meat.) When absolutely necessary, I have reduced our bill to about $200/wk by having oatmeal/toast or eggs/toast for breakfast with no meat and having beans & rice a couple of nights per week. My family likes beans and they don't mind going without meat. Even if I add andouille, it's still a meal for 6 for about $10.

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Family of 3, 2 adults, 1 teen, living in the rural midwest.

 

I spend around $75 per week for food and household items, paper products, etc.

 

I try to extend our basics. For example, I almost never cook just ground beef. I mix it with a pound of venison, elk, or moose, so it is healthier (those are very low fat meats) and will go farther. So while I do buy good quality beef from the farmer next door, by the time it gets to the table, it only costs me about half price due to my "additives". If I am in a really frugal mood, I will add some bread crumbs or oatmeal to stretch it even further. No one outside my family has ever noticed a difference, other than to compliment me on how it tastes.

 

I always try to "major with the minors" by making the largest dishes the

non-meat side dishes. And I usually serve at least two, sometimes three side dishes with the meat portion being rather small.

 

I rarely even serve single pieces of meat. I usually include them in another dish, casserole style, which enables me to use much less meat and still makes each diner feel that they have gotten plenty of meat during the meal.

 

Another example of this is that when I make tacos, I start with a large skillet of whole kernel corn and black or kidney beans, then add my cooked "beef" mixture and the seasoning. So the filling is at least 50/50 meat and non-meat, perhaps even more weighted toward the non-meat side. It tastes great and is very filling, not to mention bright and colorful. While my family was surprised at first, now they think plain meat tacos are boring.

 

I use lots of legumes and whole grains, especially in soups. In many of them, I only use a small amount of meat, just to help flavor the pot. We also try to have at least one vegetarian meal per week.

 

I buy in bulk, either from Sam's Club or Aldis, or from the Mennonite and Amish bulk dried goods stores around here. We do try to grow some of our own vegetables, but lately have been losing the war against the deer and rabbits, so I spend money on vegetables and during hunting season, stock the freezer with venison and rabbit meat! (So there! Eat my bean vines in broad daylight, will you?....:glare:)

 

In general, I think the main things that help keep our grocery budget in check are: meal planning in advance, buying in bulk, lowered meat consumption, and using less expensive items to extend the more expensive ones. HTH:)

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I put 125, although that is not really the whole story. recently because of budgetary restraints we've been really cutting back. The kids and I have hated it. We've pretty much cleaned out all the lingering odds and ends in the pantry and freezer.

 

The reason that is not the whole story is that I live on a farm. Fresh milk and eggs are as simple as going to the barn. I have 1-200 pounds of ground beef in the freezer (we've eaten all the other cuts of meat, and that's all that's left) and 40-50 lbs of pork sausage.

 

Therefore, we eat lots of ground beef meals.

 

I cut back by

 

1. Stop buying breakfast cereals. Oatmeal, eggs, homemade pancakes are cheaper and more filling

 

2. Stop buying crackers, chips and other salty snacks. (buying traditional popcorn rather than microwave helps)

 

3. If you want dessert (may want to cut to once or twice a week) it is made completely from scratch

 

4. When I was buying milk, I bought whole milk and diluted it with water by 1/4. Even then I rationed it.

 

5. Learn to love to drink water

 

6. Lunch is leftover or sandwiches. No chef boyardee or frozen pizzas.

 

7. Eat lots of soups and casseroles. Make double the normal amount so you can have leftovers for lunch.

 

8. Reuse leftovers in tomorrows dinner. For instance, night 1--beans and rice with cornbread. Night 2--Bean burritos using some of the leftover beans night 3--chili using leftover beans

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I think you can economize a bit but food prices will be sharply rising very soon- severe drought and other crop problems around the world. So try to buy cheaper but know that it will only keep you from spending more than you already do in the coming months. Thought I would warn you because otherwise you could do economizing things and feel like you aren't helping anything.

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.

 

Another example of this is that when I make tacos, I start with a large skillet of whole kernel corn and black or kidney beans, then add my cooked "beef" mixture and the seasoning. So the filling is at least 50/50 meat and non-meat, perhaps even more weighted toward the non-meat side. It tastes great and is very filling, not to mention bright and colorful. While my family was surprised at first, now they think plain meat tacos are boring.

 

 

 

We're kindred cooks. :) I made Barbecue Sloppy Joe's the other night with corn, black beans, tomato, green pepper, onion, ground beef, barbecue sauce, and a bit of sharp cheddar. We got 8 servings out of a pound of meat and everyone was happy with it.

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4. When I was buying milk, I bought whole milk and diluted it with water by 1/4. Even then I rationed it.

 

 

We did this when things were really tight. I would also mix with reconstituted dry milk - 1/2 whole milk, 1/4 water, 1/4 reconstituted dry milk. Any more water and the family noticed, but this mix worked out just fine.

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We have 6 at home- 3 adults, 2 teen boys and a 9 yo girl. We spend far less than you do. Some of what we buy is very expensive (olive oil) and some dirt cheap (oatmeal).

It's up from what it was a couple of years ago when we spent $100/ family of 7 (3 adults, 2 teens, 2 kids). You can eat well and far more cheaply.

 

I would 2nd what you've already heard so far.

Cook from scratch and get some good cookbooks that talk about frugal eating. Start wtih The More With Less Cookbook by Doris Longacre.

 

We garden and put up food. Also, if anybody else gardens/ has windfall apples or whatever, I take whatever they don't want and dry/can/sauce it and store for winter. We put in 4 grape vines 7 years ago and last year canned 70quarts of fresh grape juice, several jars of jam/jelly, etc. Fresh juice, practically free all year, plus gifts that everyone loves. Rhubarb and asperagus grow like weeds in most places; along with raspberries and strawberries. Invest in an edible landscape and eat from it. Herbs are very easy to grow and dry, along with tomatoes.

 

We eat the same basic diet all the time- buying food seasonly. We cook and eat simply. My kids know how to cook and they help with coooking, shopping, gardening, putting food up (inlcuding boys) This might seem like a simple thing but each one of them KNOWs the value of the food that they consume. They don't waste food. They don't stuff themselves either, but if they are full and still have food left, they put it away for later, or ask if someone else wants it (with the boys, someone always does).

 

Many Americans throw away pounds of food a week. Don't. Eat it up- make soup, bread (you can make a zillion kinds of bread), souffle, frittata, etc to use leftovers. I don't really like left-overs myself, so I try to plan to avoid them or send them with dh or oldest dd for lunches. We pack lunches.

 

True throw-aways (peels, etc) get composted.

 

OAMC can be a real, true blue money and time saver. There are tons of recipes out there- some of them are not inexpensive, so price it out. Make your own bread. Super easy. Tassajara Bread book (another oldie) will teach you everything you want to know about bread making and various kinds.

Make a study of frugal/simple living.

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We're 5 in San Francisco, so our food prices should be similar. We currently budget $700 per month and that's with 3 teenagers who are bottomless pits. What works for us:

 

1. I cook from scratch. Few, if any, processed foods.

2. I shop farmer's markets for what's in season and base my meals around that.

3. We're not vegetarian, but we don't eat meat at every meal.

4. Popcorn is a staple snack : ).

5. Breakfast cereal is a treat--we do oatmeal, homemade granola (cheap!), pancakes, crepes, homemade bread, etc.

6. We don't waste anything if we can help it.

 

I could do it for less if the kids were younger and not eating as much. This is fairly comfortable for us. We could do less, but I'd have to work harder at it. We could spend more, but it's not a burden at the current budget.

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We're a family of 3, 4 for groceries if you count the cat, who can't eat cat food. We average 150.00 per week, more if dh goes. :glare: One teen boy who is never full. We live in a low cost of living area, but prices have jumped so much this summer. I'm spending at least 20-30 more per week than I did this spring.

 

One way we've cut back is dh fishes, which he loves. For the price of a fishing license we've eaten fish at least twice a week all summer. He brings home bass or catfish and I have some in the freezer. Where we used to live he had to go to a Catfish farm and pay a lot per pound for catfish. Here he has found a few well-stocked ponds owned by a local person who lets anyone fish. I don't clean them :ack2: but they taste good.

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I think you can economize a bit but food prices will be sharply rising very soon- severe drought and other crop problems around the world. So try to buy cheaper but know that it will only keep you from spending more than you already do in the coming months. Thought I would warn you because otherwise you could do economizing things and feel like you aren't helping anything.

 

:iagree:

 

OK, I cannot *imagine* being able to feed my family on 400-500 *a month*. I can't imagine stuff being that cheap.

Edited by justamouse
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When our food spending gets out of control, I employ a weird method to get it back to normal. I buy ONLY what we need for the week. I plan every meal and buy only what we need. I find that the kids eat leftovers better if there aren't other things temping them. They eat the fruit I cut up because there aren't six other snacking options. At the end of the week, we don't have food leftover. After a month of this, we no longer have half eaten bags of chips, three opened boxes of crackers, or other things going stale.

 

They get back into the routine of not opening the new bag of chips until the last bag is finished, even if the new bag is the flavor they prefer. We all find that we eat more simple dinners- usually two chicken breasts split, pounded, and sauteed, with a veggie or two and a bit of rice or starchy something. For four adults, that's not ton of meat.

 

We have to do this once or twice a year and we're all guilty of contributing. Dh and the kids like the new stuff and don't always love leftovers. I'm aiding them when I buy food even though we have things still in the fridge or cabinet.

 

We do have a deep freezer filled with veggies and fruit, and some meat. But what seems to ruin our budget are those luxury items that we THINK are vital but aren't.

 

Good luck with your endeavor. It's tough to cut back but once you do, you won't miss it.

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I hit enter too soon.

 

 

With food cost rising....I can't make my grocery bill lower than $400 a week. I used to be able to buy a full cart of groceries 4 year so for $150 at Walmart. Now I have 4 bags of stuff for $150. Rising food cost have quadrupled the last four years.

 

Holly

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:iagree:

 

OK, I cannot *imagine* being able to feed my family on 400-500 *a month*. I can't imagine stuff being that cheap.

 

I think it truly depends on where you live. Food in Utah is relatively cheap. I pay $2.49 for a gallon of name-brand skim milk, for example. Bread is $2.28 per loaf for whole wheat...again, a good brand. I shop at Winco and get GREAT deals, plus I coupon.

 

I also get my produce from a local farm near us all summer long and I can every single thing I get my hands on, plus we have our own garden. I have shelves of jam, salsa, spaghetti sauce, fruit, etc. I freeze peaches, blueberries, zucchini (shredded) and cherries.

 

Plus, I have food storage. I buy in bulk all year long, and rotate it, but at any given moment, I have enough stored to feed my family for a year if I had to.

 

So, very often, half the food items I use in a month are coming from my pantry, freezer, garden or food storage. It takes time to build it up, but once you do....your food bill drops like a rock.

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These threads always drive me nuts. How much you spend is so dependent on where you live and whether or not you follow a certain diet. And inevitably someone says, if only you did it this way you could spend this little. Come live where I live and we'll see about that.

 

But there are a lot of good food budget stretching ideas on this board and those can apply anywhere. Your mileage may vary though.

 

:iagree:

 

Not to mention that barring financial peril, I have no desire to feed my kids as cheaply as possible. I want to feed them as healthfully as possible. I can spend less than I do but I am attached to lots of fruits and vegetables. Cheap can be expensive in the long term when considering health.

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We spend about $175 a week. I buy mostly organic and I buy... gasp .... wine and beer along with that. I do mostly buy whole foods and prepare everything. The only "convenience" foods I buy are veggie chips or gold fish, sometimes croissants. :)

 

ETA: That includes toiletries and sundry items as well.

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These threads always drive me nuts. How much you spend is so dependent on where you live and whether or not you follow a certain diet. And inevitably someone says, if only you did it this way you could spend this little. Come live where I live and we'll see about that.

 

But there are a lot of good food budget stretching ideas on this board and those can apply anywhere. Your mileage may vary though.

 

:iagree: I live in a very, very cheap area for groceries and gas, etc. I buy organic wine, beer, fruit, veggies, and milk.

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How much do you spend on groceries and what's your family size?

We spend $500 a month for a family of 6 (including all household needs)

 

What would be realistic budget be for a family of 5 in your opinion?

Around here - $500-600 a month. $700 would be heavenly!

 

What are ways you use or resources you use that have helped your family save on groceries? Buying whatever fruit and veggies are on sale. Evaluating everything in the cart to see what we can do without. Just because a recipe calls for an ingredient doesn't necessarily mean you HAVE to put it in - especially if said ingredient costs a dollar or more. Shopping at the old bread store and the reduced for quick sale rack at the grocery store. Not buying much in the way of snacks. Stocking up on good sales - but no so much as to break the current month's budget. Planning meals and only buying what's on the list.

 

What other things do you do to stretch a dollar? Don't buy disposable things. We use rags - not paper towels. We use cloth diapers. No fancy cleaning supplies - I have vinegar, so I don't need to buy windex. The best thing for our budget was when we lived in a place where getting to the store was difficult. We learned how do do without a lot of things I previously considered necessities because getting them was such a pain.

 

If you live in a part of the country where the cost of living is high, how do you save on groceries and other necessities? We live in the midwest - so things here are much cheaper than the coasts.

 

In addition, I'd love to hear tips from moms with larger families, because I would love to have more kids, but finances worry me, so we have held off.

Extra kids don't cost that much more. Especially if you still have things from previous kids. No need to buy new cribs, clothes, toys, etc if you already have them. Freecycle is also your friend! Foodwise - as long as you're not buying super-fancy foods it doesn't cost much extra to feed another child - especially when the are small. DON'T buy babyfood! Just stick regular food in the blender or mash it with a fork. So much cheaper! Nursing is also much cheaper than formula feeding.

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I also have a family of 5, but our kids are 14yo, 16yo, and 19yo. I spend about $250/week on groceries. There won't be a really big reduction in cost until the 16yo goes to college. The unlimited meal plan is going to be a HUGE savings for us.

 

My 16yo eats a ton of food. I have no idea where she puts it. She is 5' and weighs just 100 pounds. She just has a really high metabolism. She doesn't eat junk either. She regularly eats a big bowl of frozen peas for breakfast. She will sit down and eat an entire head of lettuce for a snack. Then she'll bake 2 or 3 chicken breasts. Then she'll eat a cantelope. Then she'll have a flat iron steak. Then she might eat a can of bbq beans. She might have an apple, orange, plum, or nectarine after that. Then she'll have several celery sticks stuffed with peanut butter. She actually has to watch her vegetable intake because she has turned herself orange several times, so she rarely eat carrots anymore. She eats as much all by herself as all the rest of do together and this has been going on since she was 11yo.

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~ We drink water. Not bottled water, but tap water. It makes a huge difference. I do not buy juice, soda, or other drinks. We have nice water bottles that we take with us when we go out or travel. I made this decision because it is both healthier and cheaper. Win-win.

 

~ Before I even think about price, I ask myself - will this product be a healthy choice for our family? Will it nourish our bodies? If no, then I don't buy it, no matter how cheap. I know this sounds simple, but it eliminates a ton of things.

 

~ I buy healthy basics. Brown rice is more expensive than white, but more filling too - you'll eat less of it and get more nutrition.

 

~ We minimize waste. I cooked from scratch for many years, so I can wing it with leftovers. Give me a few odd bits of veg, a protein and a grain, and I'll give you dinner. Dh takes leftovers to work for lunch, and often others have them as well. Often I make more than we need for dinner so that there is extra for lunch.

 

~ We shop at the cheap produce store. They buy what is cheap at the bulk produce market, then sell it in smaller quantities. They carry all kinds of exotic veg that mainstream stores do not - 4 or 5 varieties of eggplant, parsnips, ethnic foods like jicima, and so on, plus the basics. Sometimes the apples, bananas, and onions are smaller, but they are *so* cheap. You have to use them promptly, but that's good as it's incentive to eat lots of fruit and veg. You might want to look around to find one in your area.

 

~ We use meat as an accent, and have many meals without it. Beans & rice are staple foods.

 

~ We use very few disposable products. Cloth "paper towels", napkins, and mama pads make a difference in the budget. You don't have to be rigid about it; even a 50% reduction is worth it.

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How much do you spend on groceries and what's your family size?

 

i spend 400-500 per month, on average for a family of 5: me, dh, 7.5 yo ds, 5 yo ds, and almost 2 yo dd. this includes all "household" items as well.

 

What would be realistic budget be for a family of 5 in your opinion?

 

i feel like our budget is "realistic" however, i'll admit that there are times i wish i could just spend money and not worry about meal planning and figuring out exactly what i'll buy and make to keep myself in budget. then again, i'm so practical that i'd probably still do it - even if i had an endless supply of $. and i do not sacrifice health for price. i am not buying junk just to fill tummies....i'm sure i could shop cheaper if i made different choices, but there is a limit. for me, it's more of the idea of having cabinets and fridge full of good food that i brought home at a good price or grew myself.

 

What are ways you use or resources you use that have helped your family save on groceries?

 

i meal plan. i think that's our biggest help. i'm considering moving into the area of planning snacks and lunches too...just to see if i can get it any lower. i only use coupons if i come across one that is for something i would have purchased anyway - which is rare. my planning goal is to not waste food. we eat leftovers and i keep an eye on the fridge and freezer to make sure nothing's getting shoved back and hidden. if i'm gonna buy organic berries - they'd better get eaten! right now, i'm not too adventurous in the kitchen. my children aren't the pickiest, but they definitely have their tendencies toward certain things so we repeat a lot of meals frequently. i figure if they are happiest having "veggie plate", then i'm gonna keep running with that. some may find it boring, but my kids eat it without a fuss and i rotate the veggies so that it's not always the same thing. and it's a very cheap healthy meal. i've done the cvs game in the past where i've been able to score some virtually free self-care/beauty products, but with three children, i've not had the energy to even try that lately.

 

What other things do you do to stretch a dollar?

 

we are vegetarian. our primary beverage is water. we have free-ranging hens for our egg supply. i buy milk and cheese in bulk at the beginning of the month (i freeze the milk and thaw as needed - it keeps me from running out just for milk and buying extra stuff). i shop once per week. we don't eat out too frequently - and i really plan ahead for outings/trips to take food and drink along. i don't use any paper products besides toilet paper and feminine hygiene. i make my own dishwasher detergent. i sometimes make laundry detergent,but right now i'm just experimenting with using less/watering down traditional detergent. i turn soap scraps into shaving/shower gel. we take care of our hair with shampoo and conditioner (the only extra hair product is dh's cream to make his flattop stand up appropriately!). i cut our boys hair at home. i have long hair that can go a l-o-n-g time in between cuts (i cut my bangs at home). we are not big clothes shoppers. we usually garden (though not this year b/c we are in the process of building a house and it was too much for us). we are not into the latest tech gadgets (i have a tracfone, we don't have flatscreens, no video games, our computer is newer but it's a regular ol' desk computer). i always "shop around" to make sure i'm getting the best price if i am going to buy something. and i justify every purchase i make (it's just who i am!) - my dh jokes that i can talk myself out of a pack of gum!

 

If you live in a part of the country where the cost of living is high, how do you save on groceries and other necessities?

 

our area is probably right about in the middle to higher end.

 

 

. Edited by jackson'smama
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Cheap can be expensive in the long term when considering health.

 

True, but it doesn't have to be that way.

 

Although we aren't poster children for healthy eating (said the woman enjoying her breakfast of white rice and Coke Zero), we actually do pretty well. (This is not a typical breakfast for me, and it's one I would never allow my children.)

 

The majority of our meals revolve around legumes, grains and produce. A typical dinner would be black bean burritos made with dried beans I cooked and then seasoned with onions and spices, along with home-made tortillas, corn, diced bell peppers, fresh cilantro and rice. Another night this week, we ate our favorite Indian-inspired meal of chana masala (curried chickpeas), curried potatoes, onion chutney, mint chutney, whole wheat flatbread and basmati rice, all made from scratch.

 

We live in Orlando, which is supposed to be higher than the national average for cost of living. And I'm spending $125 per week, which is less than the USDA's "thrifty" plan for four people of my family's ages and genders.

 

We're almost never sick. No one has any ongoing health issues of any kind.

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I have a budget of $1000(grocery and household) for a family of 8 where the kids are 16-3 and 4 of them are boys. I use coupons religiously. I shop sales only and stock up where I can. I avoid the big box stores since the "deals" are not usually as good as I can do with coupons.

Here are a few things I do:

1. Homemade laundry soap(mixed 4:1 with Tide that I get really cheap when I can)

2. Garden provides lettuce, cukes, tomatoes, peppers in the summer.

3. Never pay over $1.99 for chicken breast and 80/20 ground beef.

4. Shop midweek for reduced meat deals that I can freeze.

5. My go-to meals are tacos, breakfast for dinner, and pasta bar(make 3 variations for toppings)

6. Try to shop at a store that offers other rewards, like gas rewards, so that I can get double for my money.

7. Make homemade cookies

8. In a pinch I can make yogurt, bread

9. Use jello and pudding as treats since they are cheap

10. Freeze when I get a really good deal on berries and any freezable veg/fruit

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True, but it can also depend on your definition of healthy.

 

I don't buy 100% organic meats and vegetables and fruit. I don't think it is completely necessary, but I also don't have the funds for it. My friend buys 100% organic and spends $1400 on a family of 4 with two very young kids, one a toddler who barely eats.

 

Some people think ANY grains are not healthy, or only certain grains are healthy, etc....

 

Some think ANY meat is unhealthy.

 

We strike a balance of sorts and we are not 100% "healthy" We eat some brown rice and some white rice. We don't buy organic meat. We don't eat much beef, but we do eat poultry and fish.

 

We do buy some processed foods :001_huh:.

 

90% or so of our foods come from Costco.

 

We have baked potato night, spaghetti night, pizza night, and other pasta type meals on occasion. All with little to no meat and all with enough starches to put some people into an Adkins fit.

 

Dawn

 

:iagree:

 

Not to mention that barring financial peril, I have no desire to feed my kids as cheaply as possible. I want to feed them as healthfully as possible. I can spend less than I do but I am attached to lots of fruits and vegetables. Cheap can be expensive in the long term when considering health.

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Help! My grocery bill is out of control! We are a family of five, with children ages 3, 5, & 8. We are currently spending about $250 a week on groceries on average. This includes household items like cleaning products, sanitary products, hair care, pet food, etc., but does not include eating out. We typically eat at home and probably eat out maybe once a week. I would really like to spend say $500 a month. Is this doable? Right now, I don't do coupons, I typically shop at Safeway, and we also have a Costco membership. If I shop at Costco once a month, I will still end up spending about the same amount of money overall at the end of the month. My only concerns with this plan are that my family eat healthy foods and are able to have a reasonable amount of food (not to excess but satifisfied). Additionally, I am considering going back on weight watchers and so would be concerned that food was fresh, not a lot of processed stuff. My kids are very slender and active, but my husband and I could stand to lose about 40 pounds each, or well, ok, at least 20. I would like to move out of neighborhood to a nicer one, but we'd need to have about $250 a month in rent, so this is part of my motivation. I also would like to be able to afford a gym membership and the monthly pass to go to WW meetings and have online tools. We could probably do this, but things would be tight. So, is it possible to cut the grocery bill in half, or at least significantly. We do live in a part of the country where the cost of living is high- the Silicon Valley in California, but in the suburbs.

 

Couple questions:

How much do you spend on groceries and what's your family size?

What would be realistic budget be for a family of 5 in your opinion?

What are ways you use or resources you use that have helped your family save on groceries?

What other things do you do to stretch a dollar?

If you live in a part of the country where the cost of living is high, how do you save on groceries and other necessities?

 

In addition, I'd love to hear tips from moms with larger families, because I would love to have more kids, but finances worry me, so we have held off.

 

 

My kids are 9, 6, and 4. I voted more or less.

I am also on weight watchers. I do not live in a high cost of living area.

I spend $100/week on actual food. $25/ week on household non food and $25/week on pets (for 2 guinea pigs, a parrot, 4 cats and 2 dogs.)

 

I think you could do it on $150 a week because I do it, but you are in a high cost area...so maybe the $175. Also depends on how many pets you have.

 

 

I am making a notebook where I record costs of meals and then I am going to sort them into price ranges and make my meal plan from that and from sales ads.

I shop at Aldi and Kroger. I buy manager markdowns when I can.

I coupon. Not crazily or anything, just when I can. I always use them for pet food/litter.

Do a price notebook and find the cheapest place for pet food.

I just ran out of free laundry soap (I had a years supply from couponing awhile back) and now I am going to make my own.

I make my own...all purpose cleaner, shower cleaner, furniture polish, window cleaner, and febreeze. I hang dry when possible or cut dryer sheets in half when I use them.

MEAL PLAN!!! This is the lifesaver- I dont buy extra, we have what we have and there is less waste. I plan breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks.

I do not buy a lot of junk food and so we eat "real" food and thus less of it. I buy whatever produce is on sale and thats what we eat.

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