Grocery Budgets Anyone?

Discussion in 'Family Life - Stories, Pictures & Updates' started by SunChick, Jun 25, 2010.

  1. SunChick

    SunChick Songster

    Feb 23, 2007
    Bel Air, Maryland
    As we are tightening our belts so we can get some things paid off one of the things I need to tighten down on is the grocery bill. Its amazing how quickly it can get out of hand and how many times a quick trip to the store adds up [​IMG]. Does anyone keep a strict budget? I've heard of people who can get by on $200 month or less but not sure how they do it. None of our stores do double coupons. I try to hit up the buy one get one free sale items, buy cheaper cuts of meat, use the crock pot etc. I don't like buying things we don't usually buy and sometimes it seems more often than not that's what is on sale. Any tricks or tips ya'll can share? I don't want to over obsess on the groceries but I do want to save money and still have a variety to feed my family. [​IMG]
  2. We are doing the same. We can get by on $400-600 a month with the 5 of us, without feeling like we are sacrificing any more than impulse buys.
    We do our shopping by the week, planning out dinner for each night before the trip and writing on the list the ingredients we need. We try to make at least 1 1/2 times what we will eat, and package the leftovers to freeze and eat them for lunches at work.
    We get as much of our fresh produce as possible from the local growers market. It is often cheaper, and even when it isn't, we know it is fresher, tastier, better for us, and we get the added morale boost of knowing we are supporting local farmers and reducing our carbon footprint.
    We also have a garden. Isn't paying off much just now, but give me a month till my tomatoes and squash start doing their thing... Right now is an EXCELLENT time to buy a tomato plant or two. Most folks already have planted, so growers have to get rid of their extra stock, and they do it cheap! For less than what you would spend on 3 pounds of tomatoes, you can get a plant that will make you 30 lbs. If you don't eat many tomatoes, I bet you still eat pasta/pizza sauce. Easy to make with just a big pot and a few herbs. Water bath canners run about $5 at the local thrift stores around here, and canning lids to jars you probably already have are cheap too. A few years ago I was flat broke- and I lived for over a month using just things I had in the kitchen (including a 50lb. sack of flour), things I grew in the garden, and fruit I picked along the bike path. All I bought was a bag of dog food and one gallon of milk. You would be surprized at how much you can do with what you already have.
    Good luck!
  3. Elite Silkies

    Elite Silkies Crowing

    Jun 17, 2009
    My Coop
    Right now, since it's summer and all the kids are out of school, I am spending around $1200 a month. But, I also had 2 extra mouths to feed, that I normally did not have. Older kid has been very lazy and living off of others. He is 20 now and has a baby with his girlfriend. He finally got a job 3 weeks ago, so we decided to help them until they got their first paychecks. They have gotten their first paychecks, so now they are on their own. So, my grocery bill should go down to about $1000 a month or less.

    When the younger kids go back to school my bill usually runs around $800-850 a month. That's feeding 6 people. I have started looking for coupons, but I also find that everything that is on sale, I don't use.

    Do you have a Sam's? I hear you can buy more meat in bulk than you can at Walmart, etc. So, I have thought about going to Sam's and check it out. The nearest Sam's is about 35 miles from me, but if I can save enough, then I could benefit from it. Also, there is no tax in Texas on groceries. So, that would save some also.

    There are also places online that you can print out coupons, but I can't get my computer to print them out. I downloaded the coupon software, but it still will not work. Sometimes, they have some really good coupons for stuff on there.

    Also, instead of Coke, we have started buying Sam's Cola, it's actually pretty good. I actually like it, and it's only .66 a bottle. I make alot of Tea and Kool Aid too. I also put a lock on my icebox that I put all the Soda in. Too many people at my house to leave it open. My son and his girlfriend emptied it in a week, and it was completely FULL!! The last draw was when they came over and took my husband's last 2 Mt. Dew's and left. I guess that is the only reason they came over. He was furious. So, he went to Walmart and bought a lock. and we locked it up. I know that sounds mean, but they are getting paychecks now, so they no longer need to be mooches.

    If you find a coupon source, I would love to know. With the economy and low paying jobs now, we could use the extra savings. We are also going to start processing our birds. I hate to do it, but I need to.
  4. Fat Bottom Farm

    Fat Bottom Farm In the Brooder

    I used to clip coupons like mad, until I realized that most coupons are for cleaning products and store brand items, ie Walmart's GV, is still cheaper than brand name with coupons.

    My family is a huge followers of Dave Ramsey and a friend bought tickets to see him live, there we were told about a shopping/meal plan that will feed a family of 4 for under $100 a week, been using for about 4 months and most bills are around $75 and best of all it gives you menus and a shopping list for that weeks menus. It costs $5 a month and each week it gives you 7 meals with menus and shopping list. Click on the link below and see for yourself. I love it and the recipes are easy and good, no more hamburger helper for us, we have been eating better, feeling better and have lost some weight. I love the shopping list, no more complusive buying, just stick to the list and you are in and out in a jiffy, so you save time which saves money.

  5. Boyd

    Boyd Recipient of The Biff Twang

    Mar 14, 2009
    my grocery budget is something like $650 a month. Thats with supplemental meat, and anything I can grow.
  6. toletiquesbysam

    toletiquesbysam Songster

    Sep 19, 2008
    I plan weekly menu's, anywhere from 7-10days out at a time. If it's a tight week then I try to make each dinner meal under $5 but otherwise I average about $10 p/dinner. We always have cereal or toast for breakfast and I purchase name brand cereal when it's on sale and stock up or buy store brand ones that we know are good. Now with the kids out of school, I have to have lunches for them and that's usually hot dogs, peanut butter & jelly, meat & cheese, ramon noodles, or they are old enough to make panini's, fry up a hamburger & mac n cheese. Those things can last for more than one week when you have enough options for them to choose from. I make my own laundry soap, which I love. I make all my meals homemade, I don't use the hamburger helper/tuna helper but sometimes those are the cheapest route to go if they are on sale.
    We purchase 1/2 cow & a whole pig and have them processed and so we have meat on hand for a constant meal, this is a big purchase upfront but it saves me alot through the year.
  7. I try to spend about $800 a month on food, gas, and impulse buys. I take 800 directly from my DH's army pay, most of the rest of it goes to mortgage and bills, and whatever bit is left over goes to his savings account (that I can't touch) so when he comes home, there'll be a bit o' cash to help if we need it... ie: he's damaged and can't find a job... I spend about $180 a week on groceries, for a family of 4 (he's deployed, or there'd be 5). We eat cereal or EGGS for breakfast, and pasta and veggies (I buy canned organic green beans on sale, and sometimes have 3 or 4 cans a week!) we like fresh organic broccoli, which is often on sale too. We go through about 2 gallons of milk per week, including using it to cook pancakes or waffles with on the weekend. We buy whatever fruit is on sale at the grocery, usually strawberries or blueberries, and can't wait to buy from the farmer's market. Our FM sells heads of lettuce for 1.50, and they're HUGE. When we're FLAT broke, which isn't real rare, I buy bulk flour, and make pancakes and eggs for dinner... or box (organic) mac and cheese, with a little broccoli mixed in. If there's Ben and Jerry's in the freezer, we're doing okay, when we're broke, we make juice pops.
  8. katheria

    katheria Songster

    Apr 8, 2010
    average a week $25 for three of us........

    i have been doing this for over 18 years.....

    and we dont eat badly...

    some hints:

    #1 Learn to use non name brands....this is the number one thing....

    del monte canned veggies average $1 here
    discount stores/Walmart sales: $.55c a can
    most non names brands are made by brand name companies..

    Ex: alberstons bread is actually Mrs Bairds Bread in the store package....

    #2 Stock up!!!: when something is on sale for a incredible price stock up big time, if you use it always

    example: around thanksgiving a store ran canned veggies for .20c a can...
    I brought home 5 cases of canned veggies.... Last 7-8 years at room temp..
    ( only thing is: anything with tomatoes in it average life span 2 years)

    #3 Have a deep freezer

    #4 Buy Markdowns

    example: dented cans, veggies, personal products ect, nothing wrong with them....

    Markdown meats, ok some people may go EWWWWW
    i used to work in the meat dept of a main chain grocery store...

    By FDA the sell by date on packaged of meat has to be 2-3 days in advance... most people buy a package take it home and let it sit in the fridge.....

    Aged Beef you get at fancy food joints: Beef is aged for normally 3-12 weeks at 65-70 Degrees, and then the outside is cut off... and incredible prices are charged..

    There is nothing wrong with buying marked down meat on that sell by date...avoid greenish colored. sweet smelling meat is perfectly ok...

    i just got 5 family size packages of Rib Eyes at $1 pound....and ten pounds of 80% ground beef at .75c a pound... last night...

    be careful thou, be sure you use it that night, or freeze the same night....

    #5 buy a vacumm machine

    foodsaver, rival ect... freeze things first in plastic wrap, and then seal up with vacumm machine, reuse bags over and over

    to freeze all that markdown meat/veggies...

    #6 Use Coupons!!!! and Try me Free Rebates, and Winetags

    Winetags are put out by wine/beer companies..look for them hanging off bottles of wine
    no wine/beer purchase needed
    you will find some incredible ones:
    $5 off any ham, $2 off ground beef ect...

    make a coupon binder, keep all coupons..even stuff u think u will never buy...
    you never know. a store maybe getting rid of a item, and you can get it for FREE!
    get coupons from friends, family ect...
    check out coupon trading boards on the web

    I saved some $1 off kelloggs cereal coupons for 3 ran a sale...cereal for $1.25 a box if you bought 8
    needless to say 8 coupons later, and 8 boxes of cereal= $2 that i paid, cereal taken out of boxes and put in freezer...
    we have cereal for a few months now for $2.....

    #7 Learn Your stores and prices at different stores there can be a huge price difference

    most grocery stores (except walmart) run on a 6-8 week add cycle..
    every 6-8 weeks they will put the same items on sale

    Most stores also have a reset 2xs a year, they get rid of items they are not going to carry anymore...= cheap!

    Dont get drawn in by sales: otherwise go get the sale items you want, and nothing else
    stores run sales like this to draw you into their store, then most people just buy everything they need at one store...= you loose the savings on those items...

    shop multiple stores if possible, in cities this is easy! i have 8 stores within 5 miles...

    #8 Shop Discount stores

    what ever you have, dollar tree, family dollar, big lots, aldi, 99c Only, what ever store you have..and shop them all

    #9 Plan Your Trip in Advance!

    only get what you need... those big showy end caps ect are there to temp you...

    if you want make a list of what you have at the house, this helps big time, i can open my excel doc, and know exactly if i need to buy anything for a meal...

    tonights dinner: Rib eyes on smoker, with fresh corn and one of those .20c cans of green beans...garlic toast

    total coast for all 3 of us tonight......
    $3 Ribeyes (each 1lb)
    .20 green beans...
    .60c corn (on sale for .20each)
    .40 garlic toast ( plain bread, butter, and powdered garlic)

    = $4.20 for 3 of us...
  9. RedfogsFlock

    RedfogsFlock Songster

    Jan 17, 2010
    Wittmann, AZ
    OMG What are you all eating T-bone? lol I feed a family of 4 on $60 a week. That's two kids, & two adults. Occasionally our older son comes home & we have 5 to feed. Here I'll try my best K?

    1. Any money I save at one trip I put to the side for those $dollar days sells. You know the kind where everything is 10 for $10? Then when I hit those sales I buy extra.

    2. I do use coupons, BUT only for things we eat. I buy two sunday papers, and ask everyone I know for their coupons. Then for example...

    Gogurts great frozen treat for kids. Usually have coupons for .75 off one box in paper. I hold coupon till they go onsale for 1.88. I have a Frys (kroger in some areas) that does all coupons are $1.00 well it makes the Gogurts .88 cents after coupon. Now I buy these instead of ice cream!

    3. Eat before shopping, and always take a list. Your list should include things you need, and a seperate list of things you want. I always let everyone in the house choose one item they want, and I buy that.

    I always hit up the managers specials. you know the discounted meats? If frozen by the sale by date they will keep for up to 6 months in a deep freeze. Milk I buy when on sale for dirt cheap & get enough for a few weeks, freeze it all!

    I hold coupons for cereals, t.p., dogfood, yogurts, cheese, sweets, etc till they are on sale. If you watch your local papers you will find that if a coupon goes out one week & it's not on sale, it will be on sale in another week or two.

    Instead of buying already made treats I buy cake mixes, etc. Cake mixes are on sale ALL the time! With a coupon of .25 on a cake mix that's on sale for 1.00 it only cost you .75 cents instead of what $2.00 for an already made box? Plus you get a whole lot more for your money!

    Now low cost meals......

    Chili beans in a crock pot

    put one roast, (we use a pork roast) in the bottom
    top with 4 cans of kidney beans, 2 cans of stewed tomatoes
    1 tablespoon of chili powder
    Chop up onion, bell pepper, any veges you like in your chili.
    Cook on low 6 to 8 hours.
    Jiffy cornbread on the side tastes awesome!
    Now lets price the meal
    roast 5.00, beans 3.00 (on sale), tomatoes 2.00, chili powder 1.00 (at dollar store), jiffy 2/ .88 making the whole meal about $12.00 feeds a family of 5 or 6

    Cake as a treat....

    One can of crushed pineapple
    Once can of pie filling
    One cake mix (dry)
    butter or margarine

    dump into a 13X9 cake pan

    dump pineapple into pan first & spread out to cover bottom
    dump pie filling on top of pineapple and spread best you can
    open dry cake mix and dump into pan being sure to cover all the fruit
    Next cover the dry mix with softened or melted butter (you can use the squeeze kind too)
    Bake according to cake instructions It's important that you DO NOT grease or flower the cake pan, & DO NOT MIX THE CAKE MIX use it dry!

    cost of cake... pineapple 1.50, cost of pie filling (if on sale) 1.00, cake mix 1.00, total is $3.50 and everyone gets a piece!

    I hope this helps some of you!
  10. Elite Silkies

    Elite Silkies Crowing

    Jun 17, 2009
    My Coop
    If I didn't have such big meat eaters, I could spend a lot less. My husband will eat 4-5 pork chops by himself!! He is skinny as a rale, just has a high metabolism. But, he eats alot of food.

    I have to buy 2 roast to feed everyone.

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