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What is your grocery budget?


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Do you live in a high , medium, or low cost area? 

How many people do you feed? 

How much do you spend a week or a month? 

Does it include your cleaning and personal supplies for people too?  

 

I post this because I have always followed Money Saving Mom.  Back when she was starting out they always had a low budget.  But now she is back to doing a weekly $70 grocery budget for her family of 5.  

Could you do $70 a week?  Would it work for you?

 

We have a family of 7 and I would say live in a medium cost area for food.  The problem is that we have only one store in our town (walmart).  Things are not that cheap since they have no competition.  Deals just don't exist like Money Saving Mom gets at her store.  Aldi is a 40-60 min trip.  We do try to go sometimes, but don't all the time.  I don't think that we could make $70 work without really changing everything we do. 

We normally are at $140-240 a week

Family of 7

We eat all our meals at home everyday. 

Includes all our cleaning, paper products, all personal supplies for everyone.  Sometimes shoes and clothes too.  Everything. 

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I haven't looked into this gal's work at ALL, so this isn't an accusation, but here's something we used to discuss on these boards sometimes: It's not uncommon for these experts on high carb/junk food

Yep.  I can't tell you the number of times over the years I have seen a woman post oh-so-many-places-online saying she only has $(Insert some tiny amount) to feed a family of 6 for the month but

Because she's posting foods on the menu that aren't on the shopping list.  There are clear discrepancies. as I already said I have an issue with this stuff because unrealistic expectations about

$70 per week would not work for us. We're at about $200 per week for a family of 5 (2 adults, 1 teen, 2 tweens) and that's with me watching the budget with a hawkeye. That is all in for everything "household" - groceries, water softener salt, pet food & litter, OTC medicines/vitamins, paper products and toiletries. Medium to medium-low COL. I wish I could get it down, but I can't.

I shop a bread outlet store monthly, Aldi & Walmart weekly, and random orders from Zaycon and Amazon. 

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I live in a high COL area, though there are higher areas than mine. Family of five, four of us gluten free, three of us dairy-free, one of us lots of other food allergies/sensitivities, three of us with diabetes. I spend more freely than I did a few years ago, but I’m still very careful. It averages to $350 a week including all personal items (except nighttime underwear and medications). We eat all but perhaps one meal a month at home. $70 a week is absolutely laughable for my family. 

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I could do it if couponing is as effective as it was when I was really into it in 2008.

I had access to many computer workstations, so I could easily evade the 2 coupons per computer limit on internet coupons. So, I'd be able to print 30-50 coupons for every item I wanted, and so I could mass-purchase the super good and even money-making deals. I was able to feed 5 (including ALL groceries/etc other than RX meds) on about $80/week and after a year, had at least $1000 in extra staples (pastas, cereals, canned goods, etc) on hand when I stopped hard-core couponing. I probably spent 3-5 hrs/wk printing coupons, planning deals with the sales flyers and couponing websites, and actually shopping. More the first months when I was learning the ropes and schemes. I was probably using $200-300/wk of groceries and donating another 100-200/month in excess and too-good-to-pass up deals. (I.e., there'd be a deal where I could make a 20c profit per mayonnaise purchased, so I'd buy 40 and donate 30 of them . . . Or maybe I could buy a cake mix and make 10c, or maybe I had to buy frosting to save $2 on a jug of milk . . ., so I'd buy as many as I could and donate the extras.) It was actually quite fun as a hobby, so I didn't mind the time commitment, and we were really tight on money and I like to have a full pantry and never feel stingy on food, so it was worth the effort to me at the time. I pretty much was able to purchase cleaning supplies and basic sanitary paper goods insanely cheaply or for free, so you can get that part of your budget down to a few dollars a month if you need to. 

I'm not sure if couponing is as effective now, but if it is, I could feed my family healthily and pleasantly on 50/wk if I had to. At 100/wk, it was actually easy, even when still buying all the expensive produce and meats that we like to eat. 

Also, it takes a couple months to build up your pantry and cleaning supplies, etc, so those first couple months it'd be much harder and much less effective to stay to a super low budget. I'd say 100/wk for 2 months of serious couponing and THEN it'd be much easier to cut back to 70/wk, because you'd already have a year's worth of cleaning supplies and paper products on hand (except maybe TP, which I was never able to get much cheaper than 50c/4 pack, and I'd only be able to buy maybe 3 months supply at a time due to the limit of coupons available). Anyway, once you've got a good supply of staples built up, then you just need to buy whatever is the week's BEST deals (along with your perishables), and so it becomes much easier to stick to a low budget.

Although my crazy couponing days are in the rearview mirror, the one habit we've retained that is VERY helpful on keeping our grocery expenses reasonable is really, really stocking up when staples are on great sales. Even without couponing, you can get most basics nearly half price on the occasional great deals. When canned corn is on sale for 50c, I might buy 20 cans. When cereals are on a great (say half price) sale, we buy 20-30 boxes at a time. Same with pasta. Etc. Makes a huge difference in our overall expenses. Just paying attention to what your "normal" vs "good" vs "great" prices are for your larger grocery expenses and buying more when it's a good deal makes a huge difference. I.e., if peanut butter is on my shopping list, I will buy one jar if it's a normal price, maybe 2 months worth (2 jars) if it's a good price, but if it's a great price, I might buy 6-12 months worth. Also, if I happen to notice peanut butter is on a great sale, I'll buy a bunch even if it's not on my list. 

 

 

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I might be able to do it for a week or two, in an emergency situation, but not long term. To do that we’d eat a lot of starches like beans and rice.  We generally eat a lot of fresh food and a small amount of meat, but quality meat. $70 a week for five people would be $2 a day per person and we would have to radically change our diet to keep costs that low. 

 

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I was motivated to figure out what we spend a week.  it came out to approx. $150 a week for a family of four with specialty foods due to dietary needs.  But that did not include a month where I stocked up on specialty gf things at Whole Foods. . . .   (Which only happens every three months or so. . ) 

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Can I do $70 a week?  Yes.  Do I WANT to right now?  No.  We do most of our meals at home, mostly from scratch, and in an effort to continue our debt repayment, we have very little budgeted for entertainment.  So, eating well, grilling good food, it’s important to us.  So we buy things like pork back ribs, lobster tails, etc.   We go and play at the free splash pad, then come home and grill a “fancy” meal.  We spend way less than if we went to a water park and out to dinner, but, it costs more than if we were eating more bare bones.  

So, our grocery budget.  It is $700 a month.  This includes all food, but also toiletries, like toothpaste, shampoo, and also other household stuff like trash bags, to, etc.  

 

Eta: there are 5 of us living here.  

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Around $250 a week for a family of five, two teenage girls. I also have a big family dinner once a week where we have a couple other guests usually. We live in a low cost of living area.

Could I do it for $70 a week? I kinda doubt it. I mean, you do what you have to do, right? So I guess if it was a matter of feeding my family or going hungry, I'd figure it out. But it wouldn't be fun, that's for sure.

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I just pulled up the Money Savings Mom site and looked at the menu for $70. I don't think my family would appreciate waffles, pancakes and cereal for dinner in 1 week. I could do it, but I prefer a little more variety and less carbs (although we eat a lot of carbs here for budgetary reasons). http://moneysavingmom.com/2018/04/70-grocery-budget-challenge-bought-menu-week.html

Monday: Pancakes, Eggs, Fruit
Tuesday: Smoked Sausage, Mashed Potatoes, Roasted Broccoli, Berry Cottage Whip
Wednesday: Meatballs, Homemade Bread or Muffins, Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Salad, Fruit
Thursday: Waffles, Turkey Bacon, Fruit, Scrambled Eggs
Friday: Sausage/Peppers/Peas/Onions, Rice, Fruit
Saturday: Dinner out (not included in our grocery budget)
Sunday: Snack-y dinner (popcorn, cereal, etc.)

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45 minutes ago, beckyjo said:

I just pulled up the Money Savings Mom site and looked at the menu for $70. I don't think my family would appreciate waffles, pancakes and cereal for dinner in 1 week. I could do it, but I prefer a little more variety and less carbs (although we eat a lot of carbs here for budgetary reasons). http://moneysavingmom.com/2018/04/70-grocery-budget-challenge-bought-menu-week.html

Monday: Pancakes, Eggs, Fruit
Tuesday: Smoked Sausage, Mashed Potatoes, Roasted Broccoli, Berry Cottage Whip
Wednesday: Meatballs, Homemade Bread or Muffins, Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Salad, Fruit
Thursday: Waffles, Turkey Bacon, Fruit, Scrambled Eggs
Friday: Sausage/Peppers/Peas/Onions, Rice, Fruit
Saturday: Dinner out (not included in our grocery budget)
Sunday: Snack-y dinner (popcorn, cereal, etc.)

Yikes. That is diabetes waiting to happen. 

Make sure you budget for an endocrinologist. 

Edited to say that this isn’t directed towards Beckyjo. 

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I track all of our grocery spending (including cleaning, most toiletries, not including pet food) and we're at $850 per month which averages out to about $196 per week to eat the way we want to eat (5 people). We eat out a few times per month, sometimes more often during really busy kid activity months. We could go lower than $196 but I don't know think we could do anything close to $70. Would not want to try.

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I could not do $70 a week.  I try to keep it is $150-$200 and it is hard. We are a family of 5 with three teenagers.  One is 12 but has hit a big growth spurt.  We also have some dietary needs (allergies) that make it so we have to get particular brands and stuff like that that can be more expensive.  I have been trying really hard the last couple of months to really be strict about what I buy for food and cooking more from scratch to save money and it is still usually closer to the $200 per week.

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If you have breakfast for dinner that many times a week what do you have for breakfast? 

I get the concept of breakfast for dinner, but it seems like in our house that would mean having the same meal twice in one day or the same thing for breakfast that we are for dinner the previous night?

Maybe that is because I can't handle pancakes/waffles/French toast more than one meal a week. Sooi much syrup!

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2 minutes ago, SusanC said:

If you have breakfast for dinner that many times a week what do you have for breakfast? 

I get the concept of breakfast for dinner, but it seems like in our house that would mean having the same meal twice in one day or the same thing for breakfast that we are for dinner the previous night?

Maybe that is because I can't handle pancakes/waffles/French toast more than one meal a week. Sooi much syrup!

I can't speak for others but we never have pancakes, waffles or french toast for breakfast.  They are way too time intensive for this not-a-morning person.  It takes about 2 hours to fry enough pancakes for my crew.  Breakfast is bagels, fruit and yogurt, oatmeal or leftovers, basically things they can grab that require no involvement from me. 

Also we don't use syrup at all.  I just can't handle that much sugar.  Applesauce is the most common topping but sometimes I will make a fruit 'syrup"  with  a fruit cooked with a small amount of sugar and a little water or fruit juice.

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3 hours ago, StephanieZ said:

I could do it if couponing is as effective as it was when I was really into it in 2008.

I had access to many computer workstations, so I could easily evade the 2 coupons per computer limit on internet coupons. So, I'd be able to print 30-50 coupons for every item I wanted, and so I could mass-purchase the super good and even money-making deals. I was able to feed 5 (including ALL groceries/etc other than RX meds) on about $80/week and after a year, had at least $1000 in extra staples (pastas, cereals, canned goods, etc) on hand when I stopped hard-core couponing. I probably spent 3-5 hrs/wk printing coupons, planning deals with the sales flyers and couponing websites, and actually shopping. More the first months when I was learning the ropes and schemes. I was probably using $200-300/wk of groceries and donating another 100-200/month in excess and too-good-to-pass up deals. (I.e., there'd be a deal where I could make a 20c profit per mayonnaise purchased, so I'd buy 40 and donate 30 of them . . . Or maybe I could buy a cake mix and make 10c, or maybe I had to buy frosting to save $2 on a jug of milk . . ., so I'd buy as many as I could and donate the extras.) It was actually quite fun as a hobby, so I didn't mind the time commitment, and we were really tight on money and I like to have a full pantry and never feel stingy on food, so it was worth the effort to me at the time. I pretty much was able to purchase cleaning supplies and basic sanitary paper goods insanely cheaply or for free, so you can get that part of your budget down to a few dollars a month if you need to. 

I'm not sure if couponing is as effective now, but if it is, I could feed my family healthily and pleasantly on 50/wk if I had to. At 100/wk, it was actually easy, even when still buying all the expensive produce and meats that we like to eat. 

Also, it takes a couple months to build up your pantry and cleaning supplies, etc, so those first couple months it'd be much harder and much less effective to stay to a super low budget. I'd say 100/wk for 2 months of serious couponing and THEN it'd be much easier to cut back to 70/wk, because you'd already have a year's worth of cleaning supplies and paper products on hand (except maybe TP, which I was never able to get much cheaper than 50c/4 pack, and I'd only be able to buy maybe 3 months supply at a time due to the limit of coupons available). Anyway, once you've got a good supply of staples built up, then you just need to buy whatever is the week's BEST deals (along with your perishables), and so it becomes much easier to stick to a low budget.

Although my crazy couponing days are in the rearview mirror, the one habit we've retained that is VERY helpful on keeping our grocery expenses reasonable is really, really stocking up when staples are on great sales. Even without couponing, you can get most basics nearly half price on the occasional great deals. When canned corn is on sale for 50c, I might buy 20 cans. When cereals are on a great (say half price) sale, we buy 20-30 boxes at a time. Same with pasta. Etc. Makes a huge difference in our overall expenses. Just paying attention to what your "normal" vs "good" vs "great" prices are for your larger grocery expenses and buying more when it's a good deal makes a huge difference. I.e., if peanut butter is on my shopping list, I will buy one jar if it's a normal price, maybe 2 months worth (2 jars) if it's a good price, but if it's a great price, I might buy 6-12 months worth. Also, if I happen to notice peanut butter is on a great sale, I'll buy a bunch even if it's not on my list. 

 

 

 

I used to be into using coupons too.  I feel like there are not as many good deals these days after the coupon shows came out.   

I do miss it though.  It was fun. 

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I spend $60-$90/week and feel like I can buy whatever I want (if it’s available here, that is), so $70/week wouldn’t be difficult if I trimmed a bit in a couple of places. But this country has a low cost of living, even in the most expensive city.  

I looked at the current $70/week budget on the website mentioned in the OP and it’s all about buying whatever is marked way down at the grocery store. That isn’t doable for most families. She’s shopping nearly every day and never knows what she’ll find at the grocery store. That actually is how I have to shop in most countries, but most US families need to spend less time on shopping and cooking that than allows.  I think it’s smart to figure out where clearance items are at the grocery store (can food be on clearance or is there another word?) and check what’s available, but not all grocery stores do that. It would be a fun challenge to cook decent meals based on clearance food for a little while, but not something I’d want to do long term.

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4 hours ago, mommyoffive said:

Do you live in a high , medium, or low cost area? 

How many people do you feed? 

How much do you spend a week or a month? 

Does it include your cleaning and personal supplies for people too?  

 

Could you do $70 a week?  Would it work for you?

 

We normally are at $140-240 a week

Family of 7

We eat all our meals at home everyday. 

Includes all our cleaning, paper products, all personal supplies for everyone.  Sometimes shoes and clothes too.  Everything. 

We live in a low-cost of living area in the south.

We feed 5 people -- all with different dietary needs. DH needs low-cal, low sugar; DD16 is a vegetarian, and the boys (DS9 and DS6) are ASD with sensory-related food aversions. Then there's me, and I just don't really care much about food, lol. 

We have budgeted about $1100 / month (which includes toiletries, paper products, and personal bathroom supplies -- but not clothing).

We do not eat our meals at home every day. DH eats out most days for lunch, either solo or with friends from the office; I typically eat lunch out with the kids (or order lunch in) a couple times weekly, and we (either DH and I for a date night, or all of us as a family) eat dinner out about twice every month. Eating out is not included in our grocery budget, typically. 

$70/wk would be very difficult for us. I imagine if I needed to, I would try my very best to make it work. 

Admittedly, at this stage in our life, I am more concerned with making it out of the grocery store with everything on the list, and less concerned about shopping around for deals. I typically just hit Costco (for meats and toiletries, plus a few frozen items and staples like peanut butter) and Publix. We do have an Alid's and a Lidel's within a few miles of us, but they aren't my go-to shops. Lidel's has, in my experience, been really hit or miss regarding consistency in products and quality.

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Family of 4, low cost of living area- about $600 a month or $150 a week including most toiletries. 

But we have a big advantage in living on a farm and we get a large amount of beef for only the cost of processing every two years.  That helps a lot.

I do still think I could trim it down, but it would require more time which I don't have.  If I made more snacks from scratch and cooked more meals altogether it would be cheaper.  Snacks and convenience foods cost so much.  If I made homemade granola bars, did not use instant packets of oatmeal, etc..my cost could go down.

But I really don't have the time or desire to be in the kitchen that much.

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I wouldn’t even know where to begin to get us down to $70 a week.

I include everything that I can buy at Aldi and Walmart as my groceries, barring things at Walmart like clothing or DVDs.  So, if you can buy Clearasil for the teenagers at Walmart, then it’s included in the grocery budget.  If you can buy 90 pounds of kitty litter at Walmart, it’s included in the grocery budget.

Including things like kitty litter, Clearasil, tissues, and laundry detergent, etc, I spend between $150 and $200 per week for 4 humans and 5 felines.  Medium COL.

Unfortunately, we have a number of picky eaters in the house and after 13 years, we finally have settled into a rotation of foods that we can all agree to eat. There’s no way I’m upsetting that apple cart now.  I can’t figure out where to cut costs at this point, so we pay what we pay.

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3 hours ago, beckyjo said:

I just pulled up the Money Savings Mom site and looked at the menu for $70. I don't think my family would appreciate waffles, pancakes and cereal for dinner in 1 week. I could do it, but I prefer a little more variety and less carbs (although we eat a lot of carbs here for budgetary reasons). http://moneysavingmom.com/2018/04/70-grocery-budget-challenge-bought-menu-week.html

Monday: Pancakes, Eggs, Fruit
Tuesday: Smoked Sausage, Mashed Potatoes, Roasted Broccoli, Berry Cottage Whip
Wednesday: Meatballs, Homemade Bread or Muffins, Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Salad, Fruit
Thursday: Waffles, Turkey Bacon, Fruit, Scrambled Eggs
Friday: Sausage/Peppers/Peas/Onions, Rice, Fruit
Saturday: Dinner out (not included in our grocery budget)
Sunday: Snack-y dinner (popcorn, cereal, etc.)

Unless they have superhealthy Lunch at breakfast that is not a healthy diet.  I'd save on the meal out and spend on some veges!  There are three meals without any vegetables!

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Here in Aus food is expensive.  Ours includes food for a dog a cat and quite a lot of birds at least some of the time, cleaning stuff and the occasional pair of undies.  Also Tupperware type stuff.  Generally around $300 a week for a family of 5.  I do buy free range chicken and Australian grown over imported produce from areas with lower production and food safety standards and we eat lots of fresh real food.  I can't afford organic though.  We eat meat at least once a day.  I buy better quality milk that pays a fair price to dairy farmers not the store brand.

we have our own chickens for eggs and frequently eat game meat or our own and also feed the dog a mix of kibble and wild game.   We have an orchard close by and quite a lot of fruit trees so we save on fresh produce.  Some years we produce our own olive oil.  Even with all that it adds up pretty crazily. 

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6 hours ago, mommyoffive said:

Do you live in a high , medium, or low cost area? 

Seattle, fifth highest COL in the US, in the top 20 worldwide.

How many people do you feed? 

6 on average, stepkids aren't always here but we also feed friends occasionally

How much do you spend a week or a month? 

Including homemade food and snacks only, about $900, so $30/day or $5/day/person, but kids lunches are about $60 per kid per month, and he eats out for lunch (I get free food at work). We probably average $10/day/person all told (yes, $1,800 per month) with eating out, alcohol, teen-purchased fast food, etc. So yeah, $3/person/meal.

We eat well. Salmon, cod, organic beef, organic milk, organic hot dogs when we grill. We drink wine. California rice, not Vietnamese. We work our butts off, 100 hours between the two of us, and we got so tired during the recession. We are enjoying ourselves. We eat out sometimes as well (about 1x/mo, twice a month during high sports seasons). The oldest works and spends some of her money on fast food as well.

Does it include your cleaning and personal supplies for people too?  

No, those are vanishingly small compared to food.

I post this because I have always followed Money Saving Mom.  Back when she was starting out they always had a low budget.  But now she is back to doing a weekly $70 grocery budget for her family of 5.

Could you do $70 a week?  Would it work for you?

That is less than a dollar a person per meal.

I've gotten close, during the recession, when I was underemployed and he was unemployed we got by on much less. You make bread, you make tortillas, you eat a lot of leftover rice and beans. Frozen spinach is your friend. Almost no alcohol. No juice. No granola bars. No cookies, no sweets. Repetition. Scale. Lentil soup. More lentil soup. Salmon once a month if that. No shrimp, no shellfish. No lamb. Almost no beef. No cereal, oatmeal only. Clearance peanut butter and if it's not on clearance, too bad, you get a jam sandwich with clearance peanuts in the shell on the side. Salad dressing is olive oil, salt and pepper. Frozen broccoli sauteed with white beans and generic Italian herbs, tossed with whole wheat pasta, again. Quesadillas with baby carrots on the side. Grilled cheese sandwiches with tomato soup. Snacks are apples, apples and more apples.

Right now, convenience enables us to bring in thousands of dollars more per month by working more hours in management. But I can definitely get down to $1/person/meal, which for our family would be $1*6*3*30=$540/mo. For a family of five, that's $1*5*3*30=$450/mo or $112/week. 

https://www.thesimpledollar.com/using-the-1-per-meal-strategy-to-save-big-time-on-food-costs/

Below that seems to me to be diminishing returns. How many hours do you have to spend in order to achieve those savings? And could you not, say, get a job caring for other children or secret shopping or whatever, and eat things like fish, say, or barley instead of the cheapest rice? What about eating walnuts?

 

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12 hours ago, mommyoffive said:

Do you live in a high , medium, or low cost area?  Not sure. There is little competition here and it's a wealthy area for the mid-west so probably medium

How many people do you feed? 4 plus 2 cats, 2 rabbits and some chickens (they are all included in the budget)

How much do you spend a week or a month? 800 a month but I've done it as low as 360 but that was really hard ideal would be about 1000

Does it include your cleaning and personal supplies for people too?  Yes. It includes everything.

 

I post this because I have always followed Money Saving Mom.  Back when she was starting out they always had a low budget.  But now she is back to doing a weekly $70 grocery budget for her family of 5.  

Could you do $70 a week?  Would it work for you? No. We wouldn't be able to eat a balanced diet and would end up getting sick which would cost us more money.

 

 

Our budget also includes everything. I go shopping every 2 weeks on payday. By this time everything is pretty bare and down to nothing. We came up with this strategy because of the really bad year when we had no money at all. My meager paycheck paid for groceries, gas and anything extra.

Shopping goes like this:

Kroger--matching coupons and sales, meat & dairy

Aldis--fresh foods, boxed, canned and treats (chips or something to make us feel less poor)

Walmart--anything I can't buy elsewhere cheaper (personal care, pet food, goldfish crackers, frozen pizza, cleaning & paper supplies)

Save-a-lot--a special place for cheap treats like ice cream bars and nacho cheese sauce

Rural King--supplies for rabbits and chickens

Dollar tree--during the bad year we got our cleaning supplies here

It's a lot of work to shop so many places but I take one day every two weeks to do it. 

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I average about $250/wk for 6-7 people, including pet food, paper products, and other types of odds and ends. That's also used to stockpile some staples.  About 2 or 3 times a year, I'll spend some extra on a big sale or warehouse haul.  Because of that, I can easily do $70 here and there.  Or $0, if there's a really awful weather week or illness going through the house.  But not as a regular budget.

My "town's" COL index is 88.5, but that's all about our housing.  The other factors are near or at 100. (Groceries are at 98.4.)

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I’m so jealous. I’ve been tracking our grocery budget and my new goal is to get it under $1500 a month. We are in a high COL country. We go to the open air market for produce, order things on Amazon and Costco that are cheaper than buying local, and we do receive a COL allowance to offset that amount somewhat. Family of 7. We eat very little meat, cook everything from scratch, and don’t have dietary restrictions other than two vegans. 

ETA my high COL country is not the UK. 

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7 hours ago, Carrie12345 said:

I average about $250/wk for 6-7 people, including pet food, paper products, and other types of odds and ends. That's also used to stockpile some staples.  About 2 or 3 times a year, I'll spend some extra on a big sale or warehouse haul.  Because of that, I can easily do $70 here and there.  Or $0, if there's a really awful weather week or illness going through the house.  But not as a regular budget.

My "town's" COL index is 88.5, but that's all about our housing.  The other factors are near or at 100. (Groceries are at 98.4.)

We are similar.  Our index is 83, but groceries, health, transportation, and misc are all over 100.  

I spend between $150 and $200/week locally just on food, plus I make several trips out of town a year to buy bulk items. I can get groceries much cheaper in a town with with a higher COL.  The bulk stuff is more than just groceries.  Toilet paper, laundry detergent, etc. are  just too expensive to buy in town.  We buy beef in bulk, too.

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8 hours ago, Ausmumof3 said:

Unless they have superhealthy Lunch at breakfast that is not a healthy diet.  I'd save on the meal out and spend on some veges!  There are three meals without any vegetables!

 

I agree.  My dh grew up with a terrible diet - lots of processed food, ramen noodles every dinner.  In his 30s, he had cancer removed in 16 places in his colon.  He has to go back every two years and make sure it doesn't come back.  He also now has diabetes.

I understand wanting to save money, but groceries are probably the last place to cut your budget unless it's an emergency.  We drive two older, used vehicles and have never taken a vacation...but I refuse to put my kids on a carb-filled or processed-food meal plan to save money.  (Trying not to sound judgmental, but we've BTDT.)

And to answer the OP, we spend $300 a week total.  Family of 7 (usually guests on the weekend, so 8-9).  One diabetic.  Three guys in the house.  Three teenagers - all athletic (one training for football season).  Average to lower cost of living area. I usually cook all of our meals (even breakfast).

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I consider myself to live in a high COL area. I budget about $200 a week, but I end up over $800 most months. I have 4 in the family, one 15yo ds that eats constantly! I buy grass fed dairy products and pastured beef (usually 1/8th of a cow at a time, which is less expensive) and organic chicken and apples. Other than that, mostly regular stuff. I make almost everything we eat so no processed foods, no soda, etc. The $200 figure includes all cleaning products, health/beauty items, beer for dh, and paper goods such as tp and paper towels.

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Family of 6-3 teens, 1 low carb adult, 1 adult with food allergies who needs special foods, HCOL. 

I think we spend around 1100 a month-includes cleaning, cat and paper goods. 

There is no way we could do $70 a week. I think I could maybe do $200, maybe. We can't do high starch bc I'd have nothing to eat and presumably my kids are high risk for insulin resistance. I also can't eat many beans bc of the carbs. Dh must have organic fruits and can only eat certain brands (and no high fructose corn syrup--so even if I was willing to have the rest of us eat it, he would not get to eat).

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I have 7 big people (and a baby).  We eat all meals at home, and I budget $300 per week on food.  This does not include beef we get from our farm.  I can spend that $70 just on fresh produce!   I have to shop an hour away, But Aldi is around 50ish, 10ish at the produce stand, and hopefully less than 150 at Walmart. ... and we do Sams club every 6 to 8 weeks, which usually figures to 100 per week.  I think we eat pretty healthy, I cook mostly from scratch.  We eat a lot of fruits and veggies.  Our lunches are usually left overs or the girls cook pasta or something fast.  Our dinners are meat, starch and veggies- znd hopefully there will be some left over.  Breakfast varies, but there are always eggs, toast, and sometimes cereal.  My kids don't eat a lot of cereal, though.  Some of us are dairy free, so we do use soy milk or coconut milk yo bake with.  Snd if I buy premade, those Lara bars are expensive!  Baby is usually in cloth diapers, so that saves.  She also doesn't eat much yet, do I didn' count her in my totals.   

 

I would consider the meal plan above to be very unhealthy!  Too many carbs and so much nonfood.   If I served my kids popcorn and snacks they would be hungry again in a few hours!  

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Between $200-250 a week these days.  Medium-low cost of living area, family of five, occasional bonus kids, and an adult with celiac.  We never eat out, except I get the kids pizza at the Costco food court maybe once a month, and DH brings lunch to work every day.  That's for all grocery and toiletries and charcoal and random non-food stuff you find at Costco and Aldi.  My mom will often give me cash to pick up things for her at the store and that just gets folded into the monthly "grocery expenses", and I keep the cash for allowances and concession stand treats and whatnot.  I don't bother separating it all out anymore.

That being said, we are apparently quite light eaters.  I had coffee and a handful of Cheerios for breakfast, a salad and watermelon and leftover hamburger for lunch, and I'm probably done eating for the day.  DH eats a bit more, but not much.  My kids almost never ask for food, unless they are trying to weasel out of a writing assignment.  We've cooked twice since last Wednesday, because the leftovers are taking forever to get through (three badly scorched burgers to go!), although I do have ten different types of fruit in the house right now.

I think we could cut that way down if we took out the non-food items, didn't have to go anywhere in the evenings, didn't make sure to have emergency packaged food on hand for the car or "mom feels like garbage" days, and didn't try to recreate our favorite meals from our restaurant-dining days.  Sometimes you just want a juicy grilled hamburger on a toasted bun with seven toppings and non-American cheese and spicy pickles.

If I could get Taco Bell mild sauce in bulk gallon buckets, we'd be better off too.  One of my kids puts that on everything.

ETA:  If there's any one thing you can do to save money and be healthier, don't eat food other people prepared.  No restaurants, no potlucks, no Costco samples, no drive-thrus, no donated meals.  I'm serious, partly because of cost and part gluten and part "I don't want to be hospitalized with digestive ailments anymore", we gave up other people's food completely for about a year and finally felt like we could make commitments to things without having to cancel every other time due to illness.  Even if we were just trading restaurant junk for homemade junk.

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We’re in a low COL area, but food is a little higher because most of the grocery stores are unionized. It’s a good thing, not a complaint. Many members of my dh’s extended family were able to support or almost support their families working in grocery stores their whole lives. I just put it in for context. We are 5-6 depending on college kid. We spend $1000-1100 a month on food alone. Could we eat less expensively? Yes, but I won’t do that at the cost of our health. We don’t eat a lot of processed anything, so our food costs are higher. That menu sample from the website is a disaster health wise. Sure it’s cheap now, but they’ll all pay later.

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Well to be fair to that menu, that’s for a single week.  I don’t think she is proposing that anyone be eating like that long term.  And if she is buying mostly mark down stuff, the next week, she may have a whole bunch of other stuff. This week might be heavy on waffles and pancakes and sausage.  But maybe next week she finds a lot of chicken on mark down and the discount produce bin is full of parsnips and carrots.  The week after that might be full of ground turkey, shrimp, and cheese lol.  One week full of pancakes and smoked sausage isn’t going to give anyone diabetes or heart disease .

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Our budget right now is $200/week for 4 of us in a moderate/high COL area (it's tourist season here).  That's 90% perimeter shopping, with a stop at the local coffee shop for a bag of beans to grind at home.  We eat well, with a wide variety of fruits and vegetables and a focus on simple foods (our in-aisle shops are baking needs, beans, and grains).  Dh and I usually make things from scratch and I garden, so there is that bit of help.

I have done a $70/week budget.  It's not as pleasant.  It requires a lot of willingness to eat whatever is on sale and search the clearance racks and being really creative with meals.  I don't mind looking over the ads/racks and fitting them in to our already designed menu, but I really like the flexibility that we get by having a higher budget.  Dh and I both came from homes with very small food budgets and it was interesting to see the contrast in what our parents did to make it work.  They got inventive with canned vegetables and lots of starchy foods like potatoes and rice to stretch it all out.  My mom cooked from scratch and we ate a lot of beans and gardened/canned.  The only boxed foods in my house came from the discount bread store and really, really generic staples.  Together we've been able to sort out the best of their ideas and make a realistic food plan for our own house.

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We spend ~$300/week for 7 people (3 of the kids are teenagers and eat adult+ sized portions). We don't eat out much and DH takes leftovers most days for lunch so that includes 3 meals a day for all 7 of us plus snacks. That does include household stuff and we also eat a lot of fresh produce but does not include meat. We get our meat from family members and friends who are farmers so it's in large amounts all at one time like a half a steer and a half a hog and is probably an additional $1500/year.

$70/week would barely cover my milk and produce and TP bill lol

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15 hours ago, heartlikealion said:

$70/week... but are they eating at home or spending money out on lunches? Does she homeschool or pack lunches or send money? Many factors I'd be curious about. 

I told dh tonight he's "fired" from shopping. I keep trying to take control over the shopping because when he sets a low budget we spend money quite differently. He's going to try to pass the reigns to me which means I guess I can't ask him to pick up just a few items (which is what I did while they were out).

I'm trying to be a savvy shopper, but it's HARD when grocery shopping can literally take hours + the drive to/from the stores is not short. My family wonders what happened to me ha. I think a lot of "smart" shopping requires time. If you aren't willing or able to do it, it's going to cost more. And that's okay, just gotta decide what works for you. I browse coupons pretty much daily online. I get points for prints and points for redemption. ibotta has a deal for a pack of free hot dog buns right now at Walmart or Target. I suggested we get those, but dh didn't want hot dogs because he's trying to eat healthier. If I had gone to the store I probably would have bought it for me and the kids lol. I think I have a hot dog coupon, too. 

Right now Walgreens is my jam. I'm learning how to earn points there. There's a whole chart with the breakdown. In the lower dollar amounts, 1000 points = $1, but in the higher amounts it shifts, like 1800 = $20. So I went there recently, did a money making transaction, built up points and then last night when I needed easy ups I went in there and redeemed my points. I also follow several facebook couponing sites. They gave me the heads up that the Calcium version of Simply Orange was ringing up .45 at some WAGs. I got a bottle and price checked it because it was not labeled. That's how much it rang up, but I wasn't lucky with the other items! It's all a big game to me. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. 

 

She doesn't homeschool any more.  Family of 5, I think he kids are tweens and teens.  I think she packs lunches for the kids. 

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Here is her sister's list for low budget shopping for a bigger family feeding a family of 6 on $72

Aldi

1 bag Frozen Raspberries – $1.79

4 ears Sweet Corn – $0.80

1 3-lb bag Pink Lady Apples – $3.39

1 3-lb bag Gala Apples – $2.65

1 Seedless Watermelon – $2.99

1 10-lb bag Russet Potatoes – $3.89

1 pkg Zucchini – $1.49

1 head Cauliflower – $1.85

1 bag Lemons – $2.69

1 16-oz jar Pure Olive Oil – $2.49

1 pkg Radishes – $0.45

2 pkgs Baby Carrots – $1.18

2 pkgs Blueberries – $3.38

1 pkg Baby Lettuce – $1.89

1 pkg Fresh Garlic – $0.79

1 pkg Broccoli Crowns – $1.45

1 large pkg Organic Spring Mix – $3.79

1 16-oz pkg Mini Cucumbers – $1.69

1 pkg Strawberries – $1.39

2 4-lb bags Sugar – $2.38

1 bag Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips – $1.55

1 bag Mini Marshmallows – $0.89

2 gallons Whole Milk – $2.72

1 box Graham Crackers – $1.09

4 dozen Eggs – $4.96

1 pkg Hot Dog Buns – $0.55

1 32-oz carton Half and Half – $1.59

1 16-oz carton Heavy Whipping Cream – $1.55

1 2-lb bag Shredded Mozzarella Cheese – $4.89

1 jar Strawberry Jam – $1.49

1 box Rice Squares – $1.79

1 box Honey Nut Oats – $1.15

1 64-oz carton Coconut Milk – $2.39

Total: $69.03

 

Harris Teeter

2 loaves La’Brea Petite Sourdough Bread – $2.98, used 2 $0.75/1 printable (doubled) – FREE after coupons

1 pkg Sargento Cheese Slices – $2.50, used $0.75/1 Sargento Blends Slices – 4-8-18 SS (exp. 06/03/18) (doubled), plus receive $0.75 back from Checkout 51 – $0.25 after coupon and rebate

2 pkgs Butterball Fully Cooked Sausage Patties – $5.00, used 2 $0.75/1 printable(doubled), plus receive $0.75 back from Ibotta – $1.25/2 after coupons and rebate

1 carton Juicy Juice – $2.00, used $0.75/1 Juicy Juice Product – 5-5-18 SS (doubled) – $0.50 after coupon

5 bottles Ken’s Salad Dressing (B2G3) – $5.98, used 2 $0.75/1 Ken’s Dressing – 5-6-18 SS; Includes 16 oz or Larger Only (exp. 06/15/18) (doubled), plus $0.75/1 Ken’s Simply Vinaigrette – 5-6-18 SS (exp. 06/15/18) (doubled), plus $1.00/2 Ken’s Dressings – 5-6-18 SS; Includes 16 oz Only (exp. 06/15/18) – FREE after coupons

2 cartons Florida’s Natural Lemonade – $4.00, used 2 $0.55/1 Florida’s Natural Lemonade – 5-20-18 SS; DND, Includes 59 oz only (exp. 07/14/18) (doubled) – $1.80/2 after coupons

Total after Coupons and Rebates: $3.80

 

 

Grocery Total for the Week: $72.83

Weekly Menu Plan

Breakfasts

Everyone is responsible for making/cleaning up their own breakfast. Choices include:

Cereal, Fruit, Oatmeal, Fried/Boiled/Scrambled Eggs, Veggie Omelets, Toast

Lunches

PB and J (on Hot Dog Buns), Carrots/Cucumbers, Apples

Build-Your-Own-Salad Bar (Lettuce, Chopped Fresh Veggies, Chopped Apples, Craisins, Hard Boiled Eggs, Shredded Cheese, Dressing) x 2

Baked Potatoes with Cheese, Blueberries, Carrots/Cucumbers

Leftovers x 2

Dinners

Crockpot Italian Chicken, Creamy Milk Rice, Broccoli, Watermelon

Grilled Cheese Sandwiches on Sourdough Bread, Apples, Green Beans (My husband will be gone at a work party, so the kids and I will have a simple dinner!)

Build-Your-Own Burritos (Refried Beans, Seasoned Ground Turkey Meat, Salsa, Shredded Cheese, Lettuce, Tomatoes, Cilantro from a Friend’s Garden, Homemade Tortillas), Strawberries

Breakfast for Dinner: Pancakes, Scrambled Eggs, Sausage Patties

Homemade Cheese Pizza

Hamburgers, Corn on the Cob, Watermelon, Baked Potato Wedges

Meat Potato Quiche (I found one more bag of diced ham in the freezer that needs to be used up), Tossed Salad, Roasted Cauliflower

We also have several end-of-the-school year parties/recitals this week that I need to bring food to. I’ll use the lemonades and juice I bought, as well as make S’mores Bars and Angel Face Cookies

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Here are a few more of her weekly plans on $70

 

This Week’s Super Simple Menu Plan

This menu is subject to change a little if I find some great deals or markdowns! ?

Breakfasts

Cereal, Baked Oatmeal, Eggs, Fruit, Toast

Lunches

Ham & Cheese Sandwiches, Chips, Fruit, Veggies, Capri Sun, Cream Cheese Blueberry Muffins, (for the kids) Leftovers, Eggs, Yogurt, Pita Pocket Sandwiches, Salad (for me & Jesse)

Snacks

Whatever I Find on Sale/Marked Down (That works for snacks!), Ice Cream (our friends left the rest of the ice cream at our house from the ice cream social!), Yogurt, Cereal, Fruit, Popcorn

Dinners

Monday — Homemade Chicken Salsa Pizza, Apples
Tuesday — Spaghetti Casserole, Peas, Naan
Wednesday — Meatballs, Corn on the Cob, Homemade French Fries
Thursday — Haystacks
Friday — Picnic at Kathrynne’s School — we’re supposed to bring enough of a side dish to feed 15 people — I’m thinking of doing Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes since those always seem popular at potluck style dinners and I have all those potatoes that I got marked down. I may change my mind depending upon what markdowns I find.
Saturday — Takeout Pizza (we’re having friends over for dinner but we’re going to be gone all day long so I’m keeping it crazy simple!)
Sunday — Snack-y Dinner (fend for yourself — cereal, leftovers, etc.)

 

 

 

This Week’s Super Simple Menu Plan

This menu is subject to change a little if I find some great deals or markdowns! ?

Breakfasts

Cereal, Baked Oatmeal, Eggs, Fruit, Toast

Lunches

Ham & Cheese Sandwiches, Chips, Fruit, Veggies, Capri Sun, Banana BreadCream Cheese Blueberry Muffins, (for the kids) Leftovers, Chorizo Breakfast Burritos (for Jesse) Leftovers, Eggs, Pita Pocket Sandwiches, Salad (for me)

Dinners

Monday — French Toast, Bacon, Oranges
Tuesday — Southwest Rollups, Fruit, Rice
Wednesday — Meatballs, Corn on the Cob, Homemade French Fries
Thursday — Haystacks
Friday — Steak (We had some in the freezer that I need to use up!), Mashed Potatoes, Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Saturday — Dinner Out
Sunday — Snack-y Dinner (fend for yourself — cereal, leftovers, etc.)

Total spent so far this week: $36.18

Total left to spend: $33.82

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