How do you stay on your food budget?
MOST HELPFUL POSTS
Michelle - posted on 09/22/2010
As I was raised by my grandmother who lived through the depression we were always taught to make the most of a grocery budget. First start with the sales, then match up every coupon you can then decide what meals you can make with those items and see if there is anything you need to complete the meal. I also plan my meals where I use ingredients from the meal before. IE: Sun: roast, potatos, carrots, 1/2 onion Mon: fajitas (steak or chicken, green pepper, r pepper, y pepper, onion, tortillias, cheese) Tues: chicken enchaladas (chicken, green pepper, salsa, cream cheese, shred cheese, tortillias)
Ok, not to go on too long but you get the point. I only had to buy 1 onion and used half on sun then the other half on mon. the green pepper only bought 1 and used slightly less of it in my mon meal since I could use more of the other two peppers and used the rest of the green pepper on tues. On a tighter week I would also make up all the chicken and split it up between what I would need for mon and tues meals and you get double bonus because tues the chicken is already cooked :) as you can see by this week's meal plan I also carried over the rest of the shred cheese and the tortillias.
I typically feed our family of 4 on about $30-$50 a week :)
Heidi - posted on 10/18/2010
Check out onceamonthmom.com. You cook the food for a month all in one day, then have frozen ready to eat meals in your freezer. I found that I could not cook them all in one day, but did several each Friday, and now I have a freezer full of choices. My husband can even cook them as directions are on the out side of each bag. With these meals in the freezer it makes fast food less tempting on crazy school/ activity nights. With several months of meals on line I can choose the things that I want to make.
Gabrielle - posted on 09/26/2010
Some find this difficult to do, but it has worked in the past for myself. I literally make up a calendar for the week of what we will eat. Breakfast, morning snack, lunch, afternoon snack,and dinner. And then I create each meal, after that you write a food list of the things you need in order to accomplish the food chart for the week. Post the chart on the fridge and go shopping. For the most part I stick strictly to the food list when I go shopping, but sometimes you see an awesome deal, or see something that your really craving, and even when I have gotten those few things off the food list, I still have stayed under budget. It's the only thing that has worked for me personally so far. I love it.
Another thing to, if it's packaged food I'll buy the store brand instead of the brand names. No sense in paying extra for a brand name if your getting the exact same thing in the store brand.
Sara - posted on 08/19/2011
I shop bi-weekly. I like to keep a running list on the fridge of staples that we run out of. I'm not compulsive about it, but if I notice I just used the last of the tea, I'll jot it on there. I take a quick visual inventory of what we have in the house and make a two week meal plan using up what we already have first. Then I make my grocery list from that. If my brain is fried, I'll just use a formula for the week (1 mexican dinner, 1 Italian, 1 breakfast for dinner...). Then I go down my list and jot down the price (or estimate) next to each item, and add them up. If I go over our budget - I adjust. I also bring my menu list with me to the store so I can switch things up if I can't find the cut of meat I want or an ingredient is way more than I expected. We feed a family of 4 for $200/bi weekly. That doesn't include supplies or food for our 2 dogs. I stay as far away from Walmart as humanly possible (don't get me started) and shop Martins (Giant) for my meat and specialty items and Aldis for the grocery isle staples.
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We do similar, we do up a fortnightly menu and shop to that menu. We have a list of essentials that we have run out of ie deodorant etc. I also buy when things are on special ie cheese, pasta etc. We always seem to stick to our budget as we also have a couple of more expensive meals on the menu and some cheaper ones to balance them out. We manage to live on $ 400 AUD a fortnight.
We have 2 adults 1 teen and 2 smaller kids.
Valerie - posted on 10/16/2010
Angel Food Ministries is a good option. Items somewhat limited but good place to satrt. I prefer eating more whole foods,kefir, organics, etc.
Farmers market good place for fresh choices and helps support local community. Coupon clipping once I have made my grocery list works best.A friend just told me about a way to spend $200 on a shopping voucher thru a network home shopping service where you can earn referral bonuses...I have just joined MPBToday.com/sharefreegroceries looking forward to the bonus checks!
Erin - posted on 10/15/2010
A lot of these comments sum up what I do for my household. First and foremost, draw up a plan for the week. It's not that difficult. Sit down one day with your family and list all of your favorite meals. Second, look through your flyer and match up ingredients from what's on sale to those recipes listed on your family favorites list. Third Plan a few meatless meals. It never occured to me that my family liked tofu or how painful it is watching my 4 yearold try to gnaw on a peice of steak for 10-20 mins. Buying a brick of Tofu is cheaper than buying a brick of cheese the same size! It takes on the flavor of whatever you're cooking it with kind of like mushrooms. We were'nt even meant to eat meat in the first place. Look at our teeth compared to a cougar's or a wolf's, just not meant for it. Fourth, Okay so now you're heading off to go shopping, ditch the husband and the kids, they'll add at least $25-$50 more onto your bill at the end, and you'll get some mommy time to yourself too. If it's just you and the list, it's just you and the list :) Fifth, buy no name, buy no name, buy no name. It's all the same when it comes down to it. They just spend less on packaging and there's no advertising, that's why they're so much less expensive.
Here are a few extra pointers...
-always check your pantry and fridge/freezer before making your grocery list.
-buy in bulk, that's what a freezer was made for in the first place.
-Treats are treats. They're not mandatory to buy every time. Children are just as easily pleased with popcorn the odd day of the week. They can't grow or function properly on sugar/fat crap. Just by picking up a bag of chips, chocolate bar, pop and some icecream easily adds $10 onto your bill. that's $520 a year.
-eat more veggies. They're good for you, they're what is meant for our boddies. Read the book Skinny B***h, it goes over all that. Grow your own and freeze/can them, that will save you even more!
-coupong clipping is only good on the products you always buy. Though most of the time even with a coupon and a sale, going no name is almost always cheapest.
-shop at a Wholesale store. I'm not sure what they have in the states, but it's costco, superstore or wholesale for us up here.
I can get away spending between $40-$80 a week for a family of four in canada following this routine.
Jane - posted on 10/15/2010
I put this one on another conversation but will do it here too. Shop for 8 meals with meats and frozen/cupboard stuff especially if it is on special or you have coupons and after 7 weeks there is a weeks worth of stuff in the house apart from perishables - milk/bread
Lora - posted on 10/12/2010
I'm actually getting ready to enroll in a program that provides healthier snack alternatives delivered to your door. If I enroll 4 other families, I get all my snacks for free! We spend a lot of money on snacks so I am looking forward to eliminating that part of my monthly grocery bill.
Kym - posted on 10/12/2010
Omg I so need to do some of these things.. There is some really good ideas!! I write a shopping list (I do my shopping every fourtnight) for 3 people and spend about $300 on everything a fourtnight... I've gotta do my shopping tomorrow so I might go write a meal plan for 2 weeks and see what I already have. Thanks everyone for their ideas :)
Heidi - posted on 10/12/2010
I shop at Aldi for $150 or less we can make it about 2 1/2 weeks or more with my husband, myself and our daughter. Plus i make all my baby food which saves a ton! Also local small bulk grocery stores for flour, sugar, rice etc. Meat I get on sale when I see sale flyers. i do prefer organic when in my price range I watch whole foods sales which sometimes can be better than Aldi/Target/Walmart but as its not located everywhere its not always easy to do. I don't like to go into target or walmart you always walk out with more than actually needed which is my main reason for preferring Aldi. plan meals and shop for just what you need. the formula at target is the way to go my daughter had no problem switching over from similac and its 8 dollars cheaper or more depending on sales. Alot of people have also suggested freezing but it really does help on those days where you just don't have the energy. And soups are nice now that the weather is changing and easy with whatever leftovers you have. I have a garden and can which helps and my husband hunts so for the winter it saves us a lot of money. I use cloth diapers but when i have bought for friends I buy bulk and off brand with coupons. I make my own cleaning supplies so i just buy large amounts of vinegar and baking soda. I have been reading the tightwad gazettes which were big in the 90s and it gave me a lot of ideas!
Ashley - posted on 10/12/2010
We shop at the local military commissary, so we get a lot of deals,already. But I try and only shop for meat when its on sale ... or in the exact portion that we are going to need for a meal. I meal plan a week ahead of time, and get only what I need for those meals. Breakfasts usually are pancakes or oatmeal, maybe cereal and bagels. So I make sure we always have those things in the house. And lunch is almost ALWAYS leftovers. For two adults and an 11-month-old, I can almost always shop for the week for under $65.
Also -- I make almost everything from scratch. It really cuts cost. Pre-packaged artificial crap gets expensive!
Denise - posted on 10/11/2010
lets see for one thing i go to the store with a shopping list and most of the time i only get whats on that list, unless it's the beginning of the month when i do the bulk of my grocery shopping i get enough foods including meats 4 the month, i buy the family packs which i break down into meals making sure that i have at least 30 days worth of meat, starches, vegs, and then during the week i buy our weekly necessties like milk, bread, etc and i always seem to have leftover from the month b4 but all 2gether for my family i spend about $700 monthly for food and taxables
Krystal - posted on 10/10/2010
Sam's Club for GAS!, carpet cleaner for shampooer (compare 5$ to 30!), and tampons! (100 in a box for 10$!). Dollar store for sponges + bleach spray. Aldi's for most of groceries (+paper towels!)! Giant Eagle for lunch meat + upromise items, especially ones with coupons... this helps us rack up fuel perks there as well.
Mandy - posted on 10/10/2010
If you join http://www.hotcouponworld.com/forums/ind... , they post the upcoming sale flyers for most grocery stores and drug stores, and the members also match upcoming coupons and sales to get the best value.
There are some really good mommy blogs that help you cut costs, my favorite is http://moneysavingmom.com/ (very religious, but really good info).
If you want to learn how to save money on baking basics, I love http://www.thefrugalgirl.com/
Michelle, there are too many variables on how much each family should spend, because it depends on the cost of living where you are, any special dietary needs you have, etc.
But there are always ways to cut back , just depends what you are able to do :)
Michele - posted on 10/10/2010
What is a reasonable amount to spend for a family of three per WEEK, Two adults and a 3 year old. Just food, including snacks, lunch, dinners, breakfasts and family beverages..7 days of food. Do not include diapers, wipes, paper towels, etc., in your dollar value. I do look for deals and use coupons but I always spend more than I think I should. I'm looking for a ballpark of what could be spent. Thoughts?
Amy - posted on 10/08/2010
We are on a cash system, that way we have a certain amount for food. If we don't have cash for it, we don't buy it. We also shop at different stores for things, Save-A-Lot for boxed goods, usually Walmart for meat, and there's a little produce stand where we buy our produce from local farmers at a lower cost than at the store. It's kind of a pain, but soooo worth the savings. Plus it makes for a fun family outing!
Kelly - posted on 10/07/2010
With a famiy of seven, we have to keep our food on budget. I finally came up with system. I use to just pan 1-2 weeks of dinners at a time, but sometimes that was not enough planing. This took a bit a work, but set a spread sheet and started tallying up how much everything cost. eventually I got good enough to est pretty closely the cost of most items. Then I started figuring what it actually cost to make each meal. I made macros on excel to pull ingredients from the meal i add to list, with the price and presto!! I now can go over my montly budget, and pick the correct meals that wont bow my budget. It is a lot work to start, but once you get it in, making the mea plan and staying in budget is a breeze. Just start out by keeping reciepts and recording them.
Aicha - posted on 10/07/2010
we buy our meat from a farm my husband slaughters it and it only cost about 60 dollars for a whole goat or lamb and it lasts for 4 or more months also we have a vegetable garden and we shop in bulk making alot of foods from scratch I use to be a chef and baker until I retired in 2002 so I know how to make almost anything from scratch, we have to eat a special diet due to food allergies so cooking at home is quite easy and a lot healthier
Heather - posted on 10/07/2010
I have ad matched a few times at walmart but truthfully it is such a hassle at least at the walmarts around me. They are always understaffed and there is always such a line. And it takes the ringer a long time to sit there and take care of it all. I do go to walmart for certain things. Personal items and household cleaning are usually going to be cheaper and pet. Unless you can finnd it on sale at the grocery and they double coupons
Heather - posted on 10/07/2010
one good thing about walmart is that they will match the sale prices of the other store if you bring in a ad you just have to make sure to get the exsact item thats on sale and then show the cashier the ad and she will honor the sale price so you can shop at one place and save on gas
Heather - posted on 10/07/2010
That is exactly what I do. I have a really good store here by me that has really good meat and good meat prices so usually I look first at their sale add and see what I might get. Then I look at the kroger ad. I have been trying to make a list and stick to it. And I try to put every little thing i could want on the list. I clip coupons. And kroger will let me load e coupons on my plus card. I just recently found a great list website called ZIPLIST and it will let me show what is at what store and list my coupons and make notes by my items.
Heather - posted on 10/07/2010
i coupon shop all the time i hit up all the sales and i plan a menu i have 8 people in my house and i only spend around $60 a week and we eat good i have stopped buying jared spagetti sauce its cheaper to buy a can of seasoned tom. simmer them and add tom sauce and seasoning you save like $1 or more a jar that way i have substituted ground turkey for hamburger its so much cheaper and you cant tell the difference if its seasoned right and always use the leftovers for lunch the next day or to make a new meal out of them i bought a deep freezer so i could stock up on big sells i hope it helps
Jill - posted on 10/06/2010
all these ladies have fantastic ideas...
i was shopping at Aldi's thinking i was saving money... but in reality Walmart seems to be the best for prices... you can get Everything you need there in one trip and if you compare prices you might bet one thing cheaper at Aldi but you can get two cheaper at Walmart ... so it saves you the trip... i always make a list and stick to it ... don't go to the store hungry ... i always go right after breakfast and i make my list in order of how the isles are stocked ..it makes it quicker.. i always know what meals i want to make for the 2 weeks i shop for... i shop 2 times a month...so it is 2 cartfulls for me( my husband has to come with me). we are a family of 5 and for two weeks our bill is around 350.00 that includes all paper products, diapers,cleaning supplies,etc... i don;t use coupons much unless they come in the mail i don;t get the newspaper ...
Elizabeth - posted on 10/05/2010
I make a menu (but I don't always go by it) I just fill in meals that I will be making. Its just me and my son so its not too bad. I buy a jar of spaghetti sauce, 5 links of italian sausage and pasta thats two meals there. I usually don't shop at Aldi's but I'm going to start again. if meat is on sale you can buy it than find a recipe for it later. Bake your own cookies and snacks if you can. I have a recipe for brocolli and cheese quiche that is pretty easy and yummy. Also you can go to http://www.hillbillyhousewife.com/catego...
Elizabeth - posted on 10/05/2010
I do coupons now like crazy. I joined BJ's and they take both manufacture cupons and competitor coupons together. That really helps! I just saved $12 on a pack of diapers because of that. I also look online before going shopping to see what store has what on sale (ie: publix B1G1). Everything is about .5 miles from me so I may make a trip to Walmart, Publix, BJ's, Target, and/or Winndixie just to save money. Just found out a few weeks about out "market ground" at Publix for meat. It's just the left over meat that didn't fit in the packages that were made that morning. I just got 4lbs of the good stuff for $10!!!!
I also make up a list of what I need before going to the store. Only the items on the list get purchased. When items are on sale for an amazing price than I stock up on them.
Back on our farm we have a garden and my parents bring us fresh items when they are in season. I get corn and peanuts from my aunt as she married a farmer...
Rebekah - posted on 10/05/2010
I usually go to Aldi's for I would say 90% of my groceries...every 2 weeks is about $150, plus a trip to Wal-Mart for my meat (hamburger) and cat litter/food. Dollar General is the place I head to get Toilet Paper, paper towels and other items here & there. I watch for sales. There is a Truckload sale at my local store for 2 weeks every fall. I stock up on cases of canned veggies...wish I had enough sunshine in my yard to grow my own..but I've got trees & deer so I buy most of my veggies. I also freeze bread when it's on sale & don't mind buying store brand. If you don't already know the majority of store brands items are manufactured by the name brand companies with less packaging & marketing...same quality - less cost. There are some things my family won't use/eat store brand - so waste not want not..buy the name brand & use it. Coupons are awesome, but really I watch for sales & thank goodness my family likes most of what I cook & my 6 yr old's game plan is if he doesn't like it - he wants cereal...as long as he eats it all & drinks his milk I don't mind...
Jessica - posted on 09/30/2010
We keep a tally of our budget on the fridge. We allot a certain amount of $$ each week and then count down as we spend. It works really well and is a good visual to keep us on budget. We budget tightly as we pay a little more to use organic produce and products. So we keep ourselves on a tight leash and share a kiss when we are successful each week! To our health and happiness and savings!
Kimberly - posted on 09/27/2010
I buy most of our food from Angel food ministries. The idems I don't get through them I try and find coupons for or pick up the cheapest priced idems. If it cost a couple of cents more even with the coupon I go for the cheaper one. I shop for price before brand.
Lady Heather - posted on 09/27/2010
Menu planning is key for me too! I scan the fridge and pantry and plan meals based on what I have first. Then I consult the sales flyers and fill in the blanks. Another great way to save is to get into vegetarian meals a couple nights a week. Dried legumes are CHEAP. We'll make a lentil curry with brown rice or a black bean veggie chili. Super cheap and super healthy if served with a whole grain to complete the protein!
Lanie - posted on 09/25/2010
i make meals that can be turned into something else even better the next day.. like making hamburger meat.. first tacos.. then in a salad.. or in mac n cheese.. or mix with rice.. i do the same with chicken.. there are alot of possibilities. they help me conserve alot of my food to stay on track
Trisha - posted on 09/25/2010
I have a family of 5: 2 adults, a 16 year old, a 6 year old and a 2 year old...though there are usually more eating with us. I average about $150 a week and that includes food, household items like detergent and cleaners, dog/cat food, etc. We eat well too, not just soup and sandwichs or hotdogs and mac and cheese every night too (please do not think I am bashing anyone who makes that for dinner either. I'm just trying to point out that there is a big cost difference in eating those type of items on a regular basis versus steak/pork chops, etc.). I use to try to save money on groceries, but when the economy tanked I got really serious about it and changed the way I do things. I have a garden and can most of the items so I save a lot of money on vegetables. I make out a meal menu for the week, go thru the pantry to see what I have and make a list of items I need to fill in the blanks to complete the meal menu I've made. I subscribe to the local paper in order to get the ads and the coupons and I am a member of several free coupon sites online. I plan my trips to the grocery store and attempt to make my list go in order of the store, that way I'm less likely to just toss something in that is not on the list. I am open to buying almost any brand, store brand included, at least once to see how my family likes it. I buy what they eat...no point in buying the store brand if it does not get eaten. I try to shop when I am kid-free and not hungry, I tend to spend more when they are with me or it is almost dinner time! :) I also try to shop Tuesday thru Thursday evenings because it is after our weekly ads start, but most people in my area do their shopping on weekends ad I can avoid the mass of people by doing that. Sometimes I will try to meal plan about what is on sale that week too and try to hit several different grocery stores...I'm fortunate that they are all within a very short distance from one another...driving 5 miles to save $1 on a gallon of milk isn't very cost effective. I occassionally hit discount grocery stores, but realized early on that they are not always less expensive. I sometimes buy meat in bulk and break it up into packages when I get home. Another way I save money in general is a group of friends and I swap kids clothing on a regular basis in order to save money. I recently got back articles of clothes that my 16 year old wore and now my 2 year old is wearing them! LOL I really like Goodwill too, the have some excellant items! If you shop on Wednesdays and know someone over the age of 55, you can ask them to come with you or meet you there and give them the money to pay for you and they get 30% off the total purchase. A lot of the things I do save money, not tons, but a little here and there does add up over time. It does take some time and planning, but I have more time than money so I do it. :)
Mary Jane - posted on 09/24/2010
i grow my own vegetable garden in our backyard especially those veggies that are quite costly in the market. then i do preserve some of them and store them in the refrigerator for those times that money is hard to come by. this way i save on my food budget.
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