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Oh my gosh. $865 on groceries in two weeks. Big families, how much do you spend?


Janie Grace
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I'm having a heart attack. I know I haven't been doing well at planning meals and doing a big once-a-week shop, but I never dreamed running out a couple times a week would add up to that much. I do have five kids, and three of them eat as much as or more than I do. So that's about five "adult-sized" appetites, plus two little ones, plus a large dog. Our area is expensive. But still. I"m flabbergasted.

 

I try to get pasture-raised meat. I don't always get organics otherwise... just if produce is on sale. I don't get a lot of processed stuff. As processed as we get is granola bars and maybe a frozen Trader Joe's lasagna now and then.

 

HELP! What's my problem?!?!

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I'm having a heart attack. I know I haven't been doing well at planning meals and doing a big once-a-week shop, but I never dreamed running out a couple times a week would add up to that much. I do have five kids, and three of them eat as much as or more than I do. So that's about five "adult-sized" appetites, plus two little ones, plus a large dog. Our area is expensive. But still. I"m flabbergasted.

 

I try to get pasture-raised meat. I don't always get organics otherwise... just if produce is on sale. I don't get a lot of processed stuff. As processed as we get is granola bars and maybe a frozen Trader Joe's lasagna now and then.

 

HELP! What's my problem?!?!

 

 

Five kids here and my DS 14, just this month, hit his "eating-us-out-house-and home" phase. We normally spend around $1200/month on food. It sounds like we eat much like your family.

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Five kids here and my DS 14, just this month, hit his "eating-us-out-house-and home" phase. We normally spend around $1200/month on food. It sounds like we eat much like your family.

 

How are you filling him up?!? My oldest is 13 (dd) but it's the 12yo ds that's scaring me... he eats easily three times what I eat.

 

I'm thinking I need to get up and make eggs for breakfast more often, or some other cheap, filling alternative. They eat cereal every day. I just got a bunch of boxes on sale for $1 a box, but they ate a WHOLE box this morning. Sheesh. I know, cereal isn't the most nourishing anyway. I just hate starting my day in the kitchen, since it feels like I spend my whole life there (if I'm not at the school table).

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I cook for seven adults and one 14-yo. Our permissible "processed foods" are dried pasta, cereal and occasionally ice cream. The "financial danger zone" processed foods for us are the less-common dried herbs and spices, sauces and marinades, baked goods (when lack of time rules out baking), and some of the vegan analogues (e.g. "hot dogs"). Perhaps if you scrutinize your cooking style, some of these type items may pop out for notice, and perhaps you can cut back on them. Another cost-control which I implemented a few years ago is to abandon the concept of "meat as centerpiece" for a meal. Meat now is "just an ingredient", and much less is needed.

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How are you filling him up?!? My oldest is 13 (dd) but it's the 12yo ds that's scaring me... he eats easily three times what I eat.

 

I'm thinking I need to get up and make eggs for breakfast more often, or some other cheap, filling alternative. They eat cereal every day. I just got a bunch of boxes on sale for $1 a box, but they ate a WHOLE box this morning. Sheesh. I know, cereal isn't the most nourishing anyway. I just hate starting my day in the kitchen, since it feels like I spend my whole life there (if I'm not at the school table).

 

 

If they will eat eggs, do it! They are super healthy and filling. And cheap for protein, even if you're getting free range.

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How are you filling him up?!? My oldest is 13 (dd) but it's the 12yo ds that's scaring me... he eats easily three times what I eat.

 

I'm thinking I need to get up and make eggs for breakfast more often, or some other cheap, filling alternative. They eat cereal every day. I just got a bunch of boxes on sale for $1 a box, but they ate a WHOLE box this morning. Sheesh. I know, cereal isn't the most nourishing anyway. I just hate starting my day in the kitchen, since it feels like I spend my whole life there (if I'm not at the school table).

 

 

It's hard because I won't buy carb-y things to snack on. I cook sausage and eggs, oatmeal for breakfast, or they will eat my homemade granola with almond milk as cereal. I buy cereal very rarely because it's gone in one sitting, like you said.

 

I make refried beans once a week or so. They will eat those for breakfast or lunch. Very filling. Fried rice is also a good breakfast item, using leftover rice.

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I'm thinking I need to get up and make eggs for breakfast more often, or some other cheap, filling alternative. They eat cereal every day. I just got a bunch of boxes on sale for $1 a box, but they ate a WHOLE box this morning. Sheesh. I know, cereal isn't the most nourishing anyway. I just hate starting my day in the kitchen, since it feels like I spend my whole life there (if I'm not at the school table).

 

Oatmeal. (pull up that marvelous thread about toppings!) Cook the oatmeal in milk and it is more filling.

Polenta with maple syrup.

French toast.

Congee (that rice porridge from Asian cultures)

Beans/rice. (breakfast does not have to be sweet)

Homemade muesli

. . .

 

A crockpot can prepare things overnight, too.

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It's hard because I won't buy carb-y things to snack on. I cook sausage and eggs, oatmeal for breakfast, or they will eat my homemade granola with almond milk as cereal. I buy cereal very rarely because it's gone in one sitting, like you said.

 

I make refried beans once a week or so. They will eat those for breakfast or lunch. Very filling. Fried rice is also a good breakfast item, using leftover rice.

 

Good advice here, thanks. What do they snack on? I'm always trying to only offer protein snacks (cheese slices or sticks, yogurt, nuts, etc) but so many of my kids claim not to like that stuff. "Peanut butter on a spoon" is a favorite, but I wish there were more good options. They'll do fruit as a snack but it doesn't fill them up (the bigger ones).

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I have two HUGE teen boys who are eating 5000 calories EACH a day. (They are athletes - they row upwards of 4 − 5 hours/day.) My 12 yo is catching up. I also have a 7 yo daughter. She doesn't eat much. So, four kids.

 

I try to keep my weekly grocery budget under $200. I plan dinners and make enough that it doubles as lunch the next day. Breakfast is always a choice of eggs, potatoes, toast with butter/peanut butter/jelly/or cream cheese, or oatmeal and any number of fruits.

 

It's their snacking that kills me!!! The oldest eats 6 − 8 eggs a day. A can of tuna. Peanut butter and jelly. Nuts. Etc.

 

My trick is shopping at 4 different stores. I have a meat store where they sell grass-fed Amish raised meats. I spend about $200 every eight weeks. (We eat meat about 3x/week.) Veggies are bought organic from Trader Joes or Kroger. I buy the clean 15 from a local produce store that is CHEAP!!!! Aldi is where we buy our snack foods - chips, salsa, some cheeses, crackers (we buy very little of this - maybe $10/week). It takes a while, but it's worth it!!!

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I have two HUGE teen boys who are eating 5000 calories EACH a day. (They are athletes - they row upwards of 4 − 5 hours/day.) My 12 yo is catching up. I also have a 7 yo daughter. She doesn't eat much. So, four kids.

 

I try to keep my weekly grocery budget under $200. I plan dinners and make enough that it doubles as lunch the next day. Breakfast is always a choice of eggs, potatoes, toast with butter/peanut butter/jelly/or cream cheese, or oatmeal and any number of fruits.

 

It's their snacking that kills me!!! The oldest eats 6 − 8 eggs a day. A can of tuna. Peanut butter and jelly. Nuts. Etc.

 

My trick is shopping at 4 different stores. I have a meat store where they sell grass-fed Amish raised meats. I spend about $200 every eight weeks. (We eat meat about 3x/week.) Veggies are bought organic from Trader Joes or Kroger. I buy the clean 15 from a local produce store that is CHEAP!!!! Aldi is where we buy our snack foods - chips, salsa, some cheeses, crackers (we buy very little of this - maybe $10/week). It takes a while, but it's worth it!!!

 

Thanks -- that's inspiring. I'm guessing your prices are better than ours (east coast college town) but still, that is REALLY impressive! I still have a little one (preschooler) so getting out to lots of different stores is a challenge, but I think I could do it if I had a plan. Right now, I think my randomness is costing us money. I also need to figure out how to use less meat. Our meals always have meat. My dh and boys expect it. What are some of your fav meatless dishes?

 

I need to hard boil eggs. That would be a popular snack.

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Good advice here, thanks. What do they snack on? I'm always trying to only offer protein snacks (cheese slices or sticks, yogurt, nuts, etc) but so many of my kids claim not to like that stuff. "Peanut butter on a spoon" is a favorite, but I wish there were more good options. They'll do fruit as a snack but it doesn't fill them up (the bigger ones).

 

 

I offer the same things you do, lol. They are also welcome to eat any leftovers in the fridge, quesadillas, make popcorn. Peanut butter on a spoon is better with chocolate chips. :)

 

What else? Fruit, but yeah, doesn't fill them up. Bananas with peanut butter. They always say our snacks are boring!

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I offer the same things you do, lol. They are also welcome to eat any leftovers in the fridge, quesadillas, make popcorn. Peanut butter on a spoon is better with chocolate chips. :)

 

What else? Fruit, but yeah, doesn't fill them up. Bananas with peanut butter. They always say our snacks are boring!

 

Do you do popcorn on the stove? That's how we do it, but I don't let them do that themselves yet (the hot oil kind of scares me). I don't want to stop and make popcorn in the middle of the day! Maybe I could make a batch ahead for snacks... hmmm. This is helping, thank you!

 

Glad I'm not the only mom with boring snacks. :rolleyes:

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We spend around $1450 and that includes diapers, toiletries, etc (we have 3 in diapers). I am ashamed, lol. But we are not careful and we eat out a couple times a week also. We have 6 children. I was feeling REALLY badly until I checked out the USDA average food budget plans and we are actually doing pretty good. We also have many allergies and my dh is a big eater.

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Do you do popcorn on the stove? That's how we do it, but I don't let them do that themselves yet (the hot oil kind of scares me). I don't want to stop and make popcorn in the middle of the day! Maybe I could make a batch ahead for snacks... hmmm. This is helping, thank you!

 

Glad I'm not the only mom with boring snacks. :rolleyes:

 

The 16, 14, and 12 year old can all make the popcorn. I have a Back-to-Basics popcorn popper.

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We spend around $1450 and that includes diapers, toiletries, etc (we have 3 in diapers). I am ashamed, lol. But we are not careful and we eat out a couple times a week also. We have 6 children. I was feeling REALLY badly until I checked out the USDA average food budget plans and we are actually doing pretty good. We also have many allergies and my dh is a big eater.

 

That actually doesn't sound like a lot, given six kids, THREE in diapers (ouch!) and the fact that you eat out a couple times a week. It's better than I'm doing this past month and I have no one in diapers and we rarely eat out. Sheesh.

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Thanks -- that's inspiring. I'm guessing your prices are better than ours (east coast college town) but still, that is REALLY impressive! I still have a little one (preschooler) so getting out to lots of different stores is a challenge, but I think I could do it if I had a plan. Right now, I think my randomness is costing us money. I also need to figure out how to use less meat. Our meals always have meat. My dh and boys expect it. What are some of your fav meatless dishes?

 

I need to hard boil eggs. That would be a popular snack.

 

I bet our prices are cheaper.

 

Meatless meals:

 

Beans and rice - I buy beans/rice in 25 pound bags from a food coop and they are CHEAP! Served with salsa, sour cream, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, chips, tortillas etc, etc, etc. Anything I have on hand, I throw on this meal. Cheap and easy too!

 

Pinto beans and corn bread - I use Ree's recipe (Pioneer Woman) for the pintos. Yummy! I usually cook up some rice or pasta with it to add a filler for the boys.

 

Quinoa Lentil Pilaf - All my kids eat this!!! If you want the recipe, I'll type it out later. I need to head to the grocery store soon!

 

Homemade pizza - again, the wheat berries are bought in bulk from the food coop, so the crust is practically free. I make my own sauce and throw cheese and whatever veggies/toppings I might have on hand. (Feta is a HUGE favorite here!)

 

Split Pea Soup - (Peas bought in bulk!) - I do use a chicken broth made from the bones after I roast a chicken, so it's not completely vegetarian. Celery, carrots, onions, soy sauce, olive oil - sauté. Add the peas and broth and cook until peas are soft. I'll add homemade rolls or rice to this meal.

 

 

You might want to check out the food coop. My mom and dad are actually the members, but I order from them once/year and they will deliver to your house if the order is over $400. It's Country Life Natural Foods. See if they deliver to your area. We order SO much from them and store it in tubs in the basement. We get our beans, rice, oatmeal, wheat berries, quinoa, couscous, nuts, raisins, etc. Check out their prices on line. I think we save a TON.

 

Oh - and when I said that we spend around $200/week, that includes the $25/week for meat and $15/week for the coop foods, $18/week for eggs (delivered to our house from a farmer!), and $8/week for milk (also delivered to our house - we get the non-homogonized). I usually spend less than $135 or $140/week on everything else. I really think planning makes all the difference for us!!

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I have the same problem...

Our total groceries to date for the month of January is an shocking embarrassing $1246.49 :scared: . That is about $40 a day for a family of 4.

 

That includes paper products, and personal care items, but not eating out. (We barely eat out, but do order the occasional take out pizza and hit a drive through here and there when busy.)

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Ds-15 y/old can easily eat all day long and is still very thin. I try to provide good healthy choices with plenty of protein, but he is just growing and almost always very hungry.

 

 

I have noticed the items shrinking at the grocery store. We bought nuts the other day; I nearly freaked at the price increase and then about had that heart attack when we got home. The new can was soooo much smaller than the one on our shelf. I've noticed this all over the grocery store on items from toilet paper to cereal.

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One of our favorite cheap, yummy, healthy, quick staple meals is: Stir fry with lots of veggies (whatever's on sale or needs to be used up in the fridge) with some bite sized pieces of meat or tofu (tofu's really yummy this way), flavored with soy sauce, garlic, ginger, all poured over whole wheat noodles or brown rice.

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This thread is downright frightening. Is it evil that I'm feeling glad my eldest is petite - and that I only have girls?

 

I was going to chime in, but I don't have any kids in the "big eater" stage, so that wouldn't really be fair. The only thing I'll say is that I agree with getting rid of the idea that meals are built around meat. There are so many affordable, healthy sources of protein.

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Do you do popcorn on the stove? That's how we do it, but I don't let them do that themselves yet (the hot oil kind of scares me). I don't want to stop and make popcorn in the middle of the day! Maybe I could make a batch ahead for snacks... hmmm. This is helping, thank you!

 

 

It is SO easy to make popcorn in a brown bag in the microwave. I put 1/4 cup into a lunch-sized bag, fold it over twice and microwave for about a minute and a half. I put any unpopped kernels in for another minute. You might have to play around with the times for your particular microwave. I've seen recipes where people add oil, but I just do it plain because it's healthier, and I think it's delicious that way. Sometimes I sprinkle on a little popcorn salt (finer than regular salt, so it sticks to the popcorn better). Also, since I'm cheap, I re-use the brown bag until it tears.

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This thread is downright frightening. Is it evil that I'm feeling glad my eldest is petite - and that I only have girls?

 

I was going to chime in, but I don't have any kids in the "big eater" stage, so that wouldn't really be fair. The only thing I'll say is that I agree with getting rid of the idea that meals are built around meat. There are so many affordable, healthy sources of protein.

 

 

It's hard when your dh "hates legumes." :glare:

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Yep, the shrinking sizes on packages are really annoying. How stupid do they think we are? And how stupidly wasteful are they? The packaging to contents ratio is getting worse. Yep, I'm really annoyed. (This last week it was cookies--did you think I wouldn't notice, Ch*ps Ah*y, that your package was three ounces smaller? Huh!?)

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I am lucky enough to live in a lower cost area with access to an Aldi so our total monthly cost for 9 is about $700. Snacks are inexpensive fruit or veg with hummus or nut butter or same as a sandwich. Popcorn is also a go( home popped, dirt cheap). Meals include meats in stir fries on brown rice, whole chicken roasted (then turned into soup), beans, eggs, fajitas, or meat in some combo with the beans and eggs. We fill up on lots of veggies with meals ( mostly frozen) and some whole grains ( brown rice, barley, wheat berries). I make sure water is mostly what we drink. Milk is for dinner. Juice is a Sunday morning treat. I also make homemade muffins or whole wheat pasta for my kids which are a little carb heavy but they are very active .

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QPalenik I had no idea! Does it scorch frequently?

 

 

When I was trying to figure out my microwave, I had some burnt kernels. That's why I don't try to get everything popped all in one go. Once I figured out the right times for my microwave, it's turned out perfectly every time.

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I have noticed the items shrinking at the grocery store. l.

 

 

Months ago I noticed this "dirty trick" at Kroger. I like to stock up on the "!0 for $10" bags of frozen vegetables there. The store, however, shrank the content from 16 oz. to 12 oz. A 12 oz. bag of vegetables feeds only three people when a major element of a meal. With all the "health push" for people to eat more vegetables, this seems a truly stupid marketing move.

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Our monthly grocery budget usually runs about $1400, including cleaning supplies and toiletries. We buy beans, rice, wheat and spices in bulk from Azure Standard. My kids have been eating a lot of cold cereal for breakfast (I was exhausted during my pregnancy and they could get breakfast ready without me) but that was really not budget friendly, one box would be one meal.

 

For popcorn, I just use the microwave. A quarter cup of popcorn kernels in a paper lunch bag, fold the top over a few times (narrow folds) and put it in the microwave for 2-2.5 minutes. Just like storebought microwave popcorn, listen for the popping to slow and pull it out when it does. Quick, no oil (which makes it a good snack for me as I try to lose the baby weight) and just add whatever toppings you want. For the kids I'll toss with some melted butter and salt. For myself I'll sprinkle it with some lime juice, chili powder and salt.

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I feel much better now, I budget $650-$800 every two weeks with five children, depending on my DH's paycheck. That is all food and all household things like TP, garbage bags, cleaners, personal products, etc. that we use. We are building some household stores in that budget, so it could be cut if it needed to be. I think I used to spend about $500 before I switched and began building stock. I shop once every two weeks at Sam's Club and Meijer and then have an allowance for fresh fruit at the local grocery for the second week. I buy beef and pork in bulk from the butcher. I have supply lists that I have created for Sam's Club that I add to my cart as I go each week so I'm only buying what we need.

 

I probably pay more than I could but I choose not to shop at numerous stores, am picky about brands, and I am willing to pay for it.

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I am lucky enough to live in a lower cost area with access to an Aldi so our total monthly cost for 9 is about $700. Snacks are inexpensive fruit or veg with hummus or nut butter or same as a sandwich. Popcorn is also a go( home popped, dirt cheap). Meals include meats in stir fries on brown rice, whole chicken roasted (then turned into soup), beans, eggs, fajitas, or meat in some combo with the beans and eggs. We fill up on lots of veggies with meals ( mostly frozen) and some whole grains ( brown rice, barley, wheat berries). I make sure water is mostly what we drink. Milk is for dinner. Juice is a Sunday morning treat. I also make homemade muffins or whole wheat pasta for my kids which are a little carb heavy but they are very active .

 

 

Great ideas here. I need to start making my own hummus. I bet that would save $. I do the whole chicken thing, too. I should do stir-frys more -- that's a good way to make beef go further. What cut of meat do you get for stir-frys?

 

Juice once a week... wow, that would help. We keep it breakfast-only, but still... 4-6 cups of juice a day adds up.

 

Homemade muffins is a good idea (snacks).

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I don't have a large family and my husband makes breakfast for the kids every day so we don't exactly have this issue, but I was just reading this for ideas. Anyway, my thought is, even though they ate the entire box, if you paid $1 for it... that is pretty cheap to feed 5 kids for one meal. I guess you have to factor in milk as well, though, but really not so bad considering you'd probably have to spend that much on eggs and sides anyway (though that would be healthier and more filing, I would think).

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Great ideas here. I need to start making my own hummus. I bet that would save $. I do the whole chicken thing, too. I should do stir-frys more -- that's a good way to make beef go further. What cut of meat do you get for stir-frys?

 

Juice once a week... wow, that would help. We keep it breakfast-only, but still... 4-6 cups of juice a day adds up.

 

Homemade muffins is a good idea (snacks).

 

I use the cheapest thing I can find for stir fry :-). Look at legume heavy cuisines too - ham&beans, rice & beans, pasta and beans, dal, moroccan stew with chick peas. The neighbors think we eat adventurously but really we eat cheap LOL.

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It is SO easy to make popcorn in a brown bag in the microwave. I put 1/4 cup into a lunch-sized bag, fold it over twice and microwave for about a minute and a half. I put any unpopped kernels in for another minute. You might have to play around with the times for your particular microwave. I've seen recipes where people add oil, but I just do it plain because it's healthier, and I think it's delicious that way. Sometimes I sprinkle on a little popcorn salt (finer than regular salt, so it sticks to the popcorn better). Also, since I'm cheap, I re-use the brown bag until it tears.

 

 

Just be careful. I did that once and it caught on fire.

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That's what our budget was. Now it's shrunk to $400 feeding 7 people a gluten free diet (health required) whole food diet. Hahahahahahahah. In other words, starvation. Food is twice as much as it was last year and our Walmart doesn't price match like they used to. I started shopping Aldi's and we might get a Sam's Club membership when we get our taxes. If they have any gf or whole foods, that is. I need to find out. There is no Costco or anything here, we are very rural and would have to travel to Sam's. I only buy humane chicken ($8/3 lbs at Walmart) and free range beef ($6/lb and ~2 lbs. a week).

 

I had a thread about this recently, too. My 10 yo son hit a growth spurt and my dh eats at least three times the rest of us combined. I have no idea how to fill these people up! We've been making lots of popcorn for snacks.

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There are 8 of us and we spend $900-1000/month. That's what we've got so that's what we spend. It's difficult sometimes, but if I am careful about meal planning and shopping sales, we do OK.

 

Towards the end of the month we're eating pretty lean and usually don't have fresh produce for 7-10 days, which is frustrating. We're doing meatless Mondays now, which *I* like, but everyone else needs to be convinced. They don't like beans and a few don't like rice, either, so it's very limiting. We are doing more strict portioning and that has been a BIG help. I'm even considering scheduling snacks for each day...foraging does NOT work in our house. lol

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We spend an anywhere from $500 - $1000 per month for our family of 11 and a cat. That includes diapers, eating out a couple of times a week, and household. We generally eat meat at every meal. Now it may not be steaks, but it is a satisfying portion of meat.

 

We purchase in bulk. I go to Sam's Club and purchase a 20 lb. chuck roast every couple of months. I have them cut it into four 5 lb. roasts. They sell it to me for the 20 lb. price and cut it for free so it is generally $0.50 - $1.00 cheaper per pound this way. We have it for Sunday lunch as roast with potatoes, carrots, onions, and celery. The leftovers are tossed into a crockpot for Monday lunch. Once a week is Mexican day. We have tacos for lunch and enchiladas for dinner with generous sides of beans and rice. Once a week is stir fry and once is a soup with beans like white chicken chili or minestrone.

 

To eat out we will hit the dollar menu for a burger or two a piece, take it home and eat with a bag of chips and some fruit to the side. We also go to Subway and get four foot longs, have them cut them into thirds. After grocery shopping I call home and have dh start rice then I will pick up veges and cooked Chinese chicken from the deli area at my local grocery. All of these run under or around $20. Not cheap or necessarily healthy, but a spectacularly affordable way for my large family to eat out.

 

Groceries vary greatly by area, so I don't think you can accurately compare $. You can, however, compare meals and methods of cooking to see how everyone can reduce their particular grocery bill by area and meal preferences.

 

 

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Meat and packaged goods are the two things I think hard about. I plan at least two non-meat dinners per week, and stretch other meat meals with lentils. I buy few packaged goods. I buy veg in season, so that means a lot of brassicas and root veg at the moment. Anything out of season I'll buy frozen rather than flown in. I can get a kilo of frozen sliced bell peppers for £1. They work really well stir fried.

 

Breakfast is usually one of the following with fruit and orange juice: banana smoothie with toast; 'Spanish' omelette (eggs poured over fried up leftover potatoes and veg); scrambled eggs and toast; veg and leftover cold meat wrap.

 

I spend about £80 a week for four adult-sized appetites, so about USD126, with UK prices being a good bit higher than US ones. That includes most non-food items but not dog food (she's on a special diet). I spend 3/4 of my money at Aldi, only topping up on a few things at a regular supermarket. This is half what I was spending a year ago.

 

Laura

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I go to Sam's Club and purchase a 20 lb. chuck roast every couple of months. I have them cut it into four 5 lb. roasts. They sell it to me for the 20 lb. price and cut it for free so it is generally $0.50 - $1.00 cheaper per pound this way.

 

I never thought to even ask about this, we don't end up with enough chuck roast when we get portions of a cow, so I always end up getting more from Sam's Club, along with any chicken. I also would like a little bigger roast, they seem to keep them around 3-4 pounds. Thanks!

 

I need to get up the energy to cook more breakfasts in the morning (we do breakfast for dinner at least twice a month). I have been cutting way down on the amount of cereal we buy. I'd like to eliminate it, but I'm not there yet. This last year I did stock up on Turkey when the stores were offering all the deals for 50% off, I will do that again next year. I have enough Turkey for the year. :)

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We have a family of six, eat some organic (the dirty dozen), eat conventional meat (mostly) and eat gluten free. I have access to a local salvage grocery store at which I buy food items (many organic and/or gluten free) for a fraction of the typical retail cost. (a case of 12 organic yogurts for $3 and a loaf of gluten free bread for 50 cents.) We eat out about twice a month, using groupons when possible. We spend about $600-$700 a month on food, toiletries and paper products. We do have two small dogs, a parrot and two hamsters, but they don't eat much. I am very fortunate to be in an area with many competing grocery stores and the salvage store. I have found that meat is the most expensive of our food purchases, even conventional meat. I have thought of buying a side of beef, though what I really would like is a side of chicken. lol (Yes, I know chickens don't come in "sides". )

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There are 8 of us and we spend $900-1000/month. That's what we've got so that's what we spend. It's difficult sometimes, but if I am careful about meal planning and shopping sales, we do OK.

 

Towards the end of the month we're eating pretty lean and usually don't have fresh produce for 7-10 days, which is frustrating. We're doing meatless Mondays now, which *I* like, but everyone else needs to be convinced. They don't like beans and a few don't like rice, either, so it's very limiting. We are doing more strict portioning and that has been a BIG help. I'm even considering scheduling snacks for each day...foraging does NOT work in our house. lol

 

 

Yep, we're scrounging at the end of the month, lol. DH gets paid once a month.

 

I have always had an open kitchen, eat when you're hungry, etc. I am finding with 5 kids, four of which can cook/heat up things themselves, that the kitchen is always a mess and someone is always eating/just ate/is preparing to eat.I created this mess. I want to schedule snacks, too, but I feel silly telling my 16 year old that it's snack time! hahaha

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Does your cost include non food items (soap, etc.)?

 

Honestly it doesn't sound totally out of line to me. I buy mostly produce, meat, dairy, and nuts. My bills run around $200 per week for a family of 4 with 2 younger kids who don't eat a ton. That includes some non food items, but not all. Plus I admit that I consider cooking as also a hobby so I like to try new/unusual ingredients.

 

I do buy cereal for the kids sometimes, but it's the same deal. They can finish off a box in a day. Which is ridiculous.

 

Edited to say produce this time of year is very expensive. I buy some frozen to lower the cost, but yeah even a stupid head of lettuce can run $3.

 

 

I agree about the produce; I don't make a lot of salad this time of year because of that! (Well, also it just feels weird to me to eat lettuce in the winter.)

 

Yes, that amount includes toiletries, cleaning supplies, paper products, etc. I'm glad it doesn't sound crazy. It didn't to my dh either. I guess I just haven't been paying attention...

 

I *have* been spending the afternoon assembling potential meatless recipes and making plans to buy some things in bulk! I am excited to not be seat-of-my-pants about this anymore.

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