What does your family spend a week for groceries, how many people are in your family, are you a stay at home parent? Do you have small children and do you make a lot of your own baking/meals, etc.?
By Chrystal from St Paul, Alberta
My family consists of myself and both of my elderly parents, we spend anywhere from $140 to $200 a week on groceries. We all stay at home (my kids are in another state with my Ex). Baking is done on a rare occasion (maybe for a church function and always for Christmas) and is done by my mother. Most of the meals are made at home, the exception being an occasional night out about once a month.
That answers your questions but now to elaborate.
We occasionally skip grocery shopping during the week and only pick up a few essentials: orange juice, eggs, milk. We shop at Kroger and utilize coupons, their saving plan and their senior day (which is an extra 10% off everything). So we actually buy between $160 and $250 when we shop. Sometimes more if something is priced well and would be a good "stock" item (good shelf life like peanut butter). On occasion my father and I might be in town running errands and we stop at McDonald's for a $2.00 lunch ($1 sandwich and a $1 drink) each. Baking is done rarely because we are all trying to cut back on our calories.
I live alone and my average weekly food budget is about $38.00 a week but that includes sharing a meal or two each week with a neighbor friend of mine and about $3.00 a week of bulk shelled peanuts for the squirrels and birds; they are one of my few splurges of joy.
What I do is keep an eye out for good sales on pantry items to remain stocked up and purchase dairy, fresh fruits, veggies, vinegar for cleaning, etc. as needed but try to always buy those on sale too.
I absolutely love cooking but what with the disability I've learned to make the 'main meals' twice a week on days I have the energy and make double batches and freeze what I won't eat in a couple of days in individual servings and freeze. Sometimes my neighbors and I do meal exchanges and that's really fun.
Non-food grocery items is another story and based on a separate budget that changes from month to month depending on need. ;-)
My "family" includes 3 cats and 2 dogs (13# and 52#). I budget $225/month. Because I can't drive, I enlist a friend once a month and make the bulk of my purchases all at that time. The bus restricts the number or bulk of your packages. Besides "The BIG Trip," I usually pick up fresh produce and milk on a second trip by bus. I spend about $60 on dry and canned critterfood, buy paper and cleaning products in bulk, and make nearly all my meals at home (I go out for lunch twice a month--different budget item). Getting to the store just twice a month limits my exposure to items I would probably "impulse-buy" otherwise. My actual grocery expense for 2010 was $187/month. --shoe
I am semi-retired, I have a 19y/o and a 44y/o both males all of the time and a 17 y/o male approx 1/2 the time. My monthly grocery budget is 250.00. I cook almost everything from scratch, bake my own bread, and have a small garden.
It is not as hard as it may sound to have a good diet on a limited budget if you try. I seldom spend more than 30min hands on time preparing a meal. I stockpile 3 months worth of staples and have a system in place to constantly rotate what I use so food does not spoil. I have 2 large freezers and keep them full for the most part.
After all how hard is it throw a few cups of flour, some oil, some yeast, some milk in the bread maker and a few hours later have fresh, warm, whole wheat bread for supper. A few minutes prep and crockpot chili, pot roast, soups, stews and even peach cobbler is waiting on you when you get home from work.
With a large pantry I buy almost nothing unless it is on sale. Most sales rotate about every 6-8 weeks so when I find something on sale I buy in bulk and keep it on hand.
For instance a grocery chain near me has chicken leg quarters in 10 lb bags on sale for $0.69/lb buy one get one free about every other month, I will end up getting 60lb of chicken for about $21.00 and then divide it into one meal servings and repackage it an put it in the freezer. That's 4 meals of fried or baked chicken for 4 big eaters for $3.50 and you can't buy a single hamburger for that any more. They do the same for beef roast, mis-cut chicken breasts, etc. A few minutes of time to repack earns me 1/2 off the price of the meat.
For staples I shop once a month, for meat specials I check the weekly ads and go directly to the meat dept, get what I came for and directly back to the check out. If you stroll around the store you will invariably end up with impulse buys, that is what they are counting on when they run the ads.
Milk can be bought and frozen when on sale and will be perfectly fine if used in a month and thawed completely and shaken well before using, as can bread, and eggs can be taken from the shell stirred gently and frozen in ice cube trays for cooking or scrambled eggs.
I never used prepackaged mixes a tiny box of rice-a-roni costs $ 2.29 and will feed one of my teens in a feeding frenzy. For less than a dollar I can brown reg. rice, angel hair pasta, and add a few spices and have enough to feed 8 people or 2 normal people and 2 teen boys.
If hard times come, I can easily skip 2 weeks shopping to pay for car repairs etc because we have plenty on hand. An added bonus is I'm not paying for that $60 tire for 6 months on a credit card @ 16% interest.
Several. Planning and putting a list together up front will prevent impulse shopping and overspending. I shop for sticker (manager) specials, generic products, other sale items.
I preplan our meals for the week to help put my grocery list together.
And of course, coupon grocery shopping is a big money saver as long as you don't fall into that impulse shopping trap.
Thanks for all the feedback! We run on a $320-350/month grocery budget!, not even trying to get it lower but enjoying being creative keeping under control. We started baking our own bread and making all the treats like bars muffins, cakes (fruit leather) and meals! Teaching my DD how to get more without spending a small fortune or running to the store for every little thing. Today i mended her snow pants (free) and made a $2.50 meal! like it doesn't get much better than that keep up the good work! Hugs to all. Chrystal
Hi Chrystal Thanks for the thanks to we fellow ThriftyFun family members but you do know the curiosity is piqued now as to how many people you are feeding on your monthly $320-350 budget after asking about everyone else's, right? ;-) Please do share.
We have 3 people in our family and two cats. I like simple things and always thought I would be a stay at home wife/mother, so I do what I can to promote it, healthy living, less spending and an overall sense of pride, knowing that I am saving my DD from economic greed! LOL.
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