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Tips on the most effective way to make a monthly food budget?

We seem to run out all the time and have to do mini shopping trips which is a waste.

A budget for biweekly shopping...

Fridge items are hard like veggies that don't last long in the fridge... We have a 4 year old, and a 4 month old. two adults?

Suggestions anyone? How do you shop? How much do you spend for what family size?


Asked by Anonymous at 2:43 AM on Mar. 28, 2010 in Food & Drink

This question is closed.
Answers (8)
  • The easiest way I have found to shop honestly is by stocking up and following sales. When pantry items go on sale (canned goods, rice, pasta,soup, cereal etc) I buy as much as I can, normally enough to last us 4-6 weeks that way I am only buying when its on sale and i dont normally run out, by the time i get low on those items again another sale happens. I buy produce and dairy weekly and I have a budget small budget for that.

    At first you have to spend a little extra to get started and take the time to follow the sales at your stores. I use coupons to help me out also that makes a huge difference.

    to start, save the ads each week for 4-6 weeks, make a list of what you use and how often you use it, then figure out how often things go on sale and how much you need to buy to last till the next sale. do the same with meats so you stock your freezer properly. it takes some effort to start but pays off big time.

    Answer by 3_ring_circus_ at 2:51 AM on Mar. 28, 2010

  • well i do it weekly and i write down what i wanna make and then i go and buy only that,but i odnt always do this

    Answer by BUSYLOVINGHIM at 2:47 AM on Mar. 28, 2010

  • ALso learn what time of year certain items go on a big sale like, canned goods, baking items normally during the holidays, frozen foods in march. meat sales seem to rotate on a 3-4 week basis while most other items including produce are more of a 2-3 week rotation.

    Sounds like a lot of work but if you save your receipts and start adding up your savings you will be amazed how much you save by stocking up, watching sales and using coupons.

    Answer by 3_ring_circus_ at 2:53 AM on Mar. 28, 2010

  • Make at least some of your own cleaning products. This has the added bonus of bringing fewer toxins into your home
    This is what we use for most cleaning (initially used as part of my daughter's 6th grade science fair project). It is cheap (my favorite) and non toxic.
    ¼ cup white vinegar
    ¾ cup warm tap water
    1 tablespoon baking soda
    10 drops of tea tree oil (antibacterial, antifungal, etc.)
    2 drops oil of lavender essential oil (antiseptic and smells nice)

    Stop buying paper towels and napkins. Cloth napkins are more fun! Pick up cheap cotton towels at your favorite second hand shop. Save money and trees!!

    Past the age of 2, the only beverage that humans need is water. Stop buying juice and sodas; buy milks only for cooking and cereal. You can liven up water with slices of fruits and vegetables; make ice cubes with blueberry eyeballs for the kids.


    Answer by rkoloms at 7:19 AM on Mar. 28, 2010

  • Replace meats with beans, lentils, tofu, seitan, etc. You can save even more money by using dried beans and lentils and making your own seitan.

    Cook from scratch! Home cooked foods taste so much better than the nasty boxed stuff, and you will feel better because you are eating healthier foods.

    Replace simple grains (white flour, white rice, white pasta, etc.) with whole grains (brown rice, whole wheat pasta, whole grain breads, etc.). While whole grains may cost more, they have more nutrition and are more filling, so they really are the better value.

    Frozen fruits and vegetables have a longer shelf life than fresh and retain their nutrition longer; they are often a better, less expensive option than fresh.


    Answer by rkoloms at 7:20 AM on Mar. 28, 2010

  • Once or twice a week have breakfast for dinner. Popular options at my house are: yogurt parfaits with frozen berries and whole grain cereal; veggies omelets with a bit of cheese and whole grain toast; whole grain pancakes with fruit.

    Instead of baking a whole batch of cookies, make and freeze cookie dough balls. No one will be tempted to sneak a cookie (you know who you are) and when you do have cookies they will be fresh baked.
    Only go to the grocery store every 8 days. Before you shop, plan all of your meals and snacks for the next 8 days. Write your list, based on what you need to complete your meal plan. Pull any necessary coupons; eat before you go (never go to the grocery store hungry). Most important, buy only what is on your list. The specials at the store are not to save you money; they are to get you to buy items that you don't need. If you won't use it in 3 week, don't buy it!

    Answer by rkoloms at 7:21 AM on Mar. 28, 2010

  • I go twice a month, every pay day. I write down what we are having for dinner for that 2 weeks, write down weekend breakfast items, and some lunch stuff. Then going off that I make my list. I usually do end up picking up some cookies, or something of the sort, but usually the snacks I pick out are healthy. I get WIC right now so that helps.....When DF is home from deployment it is him, me, and our DD (who is currently 17 months). We will have another little one in about 3 weeks though, but Bfing I won't have to pick up anything extra. I would spend about....180 every 2 weeks, but I had a welll stocked fridge and cubbards, so there were times where we would only have to go pick up a few things to supplement. With just DD and I right now I spend about 120, and the same goes, we are well stocked :)

    Answer by Sparta. at 11:25 AM on Mar. 28, 2010

  • I shop anywhere from once a week to 3 times a week - depending on who has what sales going on. I only shop the sales. I stock up on my basics when they are on sale. I rarely pay full price for anything. I spend $200-$300 per month for 6 of us. I buy almost no meat at the grocery store - we butcher whole animals - buy them directly from the farmer, bring them to a locker to be butchered, and fill the freezers (we split an animal between 2-4 families, half a big beef feeds my family for a good year and it's a LOT cheaper than buying a few pounds a week from a store). We have a garden - in the summer I buy no produce, we eat it all from our garden. These are just a few of my biggest money savers.

    Answer by Anonymous at 11:32 AM on Mar. 28, 2010