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Is it really that hard?

Posted by on Apr. 9, 2013 at 10:02 AM
  • 30 Replies

To spend less than $100 per person in any given month on food? I'm getting flack because I spend $250-ish a month on food for my family of three. Not only that, but the only food we don't get from the market is crackers, cheese and milk.  

My system is buying veggies in bulk ONLY when they're in season and buying fruits fresh in season. The veggies then get blanched and frozen for later. I can get green beans at as low as .29 a lb, locally grown organic. If I get a few lbs, they can last a few months. I barter for meats and sometimes cheeses. Where I shop, coupons don't exist. These are people in a community helping other people in their community. Some months I can go as low as $100-$120 in groceries. For three people. We grow our own herbs fresh and our friend freeze-dries them. Our market has whole grains, pre-ground flour, home-"grown" yeasts, veggies and fruits by season, red meat, pork, white meat (Like rabbit), poultry and fish. We have seasonings, herbs and yarns. 

I couldn't fathom spending more then $300 in a month for three people, and $300 is cringe-worthy. 

What are your methods of saving money on groceries?

by on Apr. 9, 2013 at 10:02 AM
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by on Apr. 9, 2013 at 10:09 AM

Something for me to work on.....I hear that couponing can be helpful.

by on Apr. 9, 2013 at 10:14 AM

I run a home-based child care, so I pay for the groceries for my family as well as my child care kiddos out of the same account.  Depending on the week I spend anywhere between $150-$225 a week on groceries for the child care as well as a family of four.  We have a garden in the summer for our fresh fruits and veggies, I also coupon and save between 30-35% of my grocery bill through that.  DS (2 next month) will be potty trained this summer, so I won't have the cost of diapers for much longer.  I don't ever expect to be an "extreme" couponer - but if I can consistently save 50-60% using coupons I would consider that a success; so I still have some work to do!

by Ruby Member on Apr. 9, 2013 at 10:18 AM

We spend around $600 a month on our family of 5, but that includes food, household stuff, pet food, buying a little extra food for my brother, and things like that. I do shop sales, shop clearance, price match, use coupons, have a small garden, and shop farmer market when we can.

by on Apr. 9, 2013 at 10:33 AM

I meal plan, clip coupons, and shop sales only. I have a great post in Frugalistas on how I spent $135 to feed a family of 4 for 1 month.  Check it out HERE


by on Apr. 9, 2013 at 10:49 AM

I shop sales and use coupons

by on Apr. 9, 2013 at 10:51 AM
I meal plan and shop sales
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by on Apr. 9, 2013 at 11:10 AM

I haven't tracked my monthly food expenses... We are a family of three, and we spend a little more than that, I'd say. My bill is between $60-$75 per week, but that's what I've budgeted. So I will sometimes buy out of season or other "treats" because I have room in the budget.

Good for you, though! It sounds like you are really being frugal in ways that are quite effective for your family. I have never thought about freezing my own veggies, though I do a lot of canning... Maybe I should look into that more. It would certainly save a bundle over buying frozen veggies throughout the year.

by on Apr. 9, 2013 at 11:18 AM
It sounds like your market and community are fantastic. I don't know of any options like that near me. Just regular chain grocery stores. Luckily, I have Wegmans which not only has a big organic/gluten free/all natural section, but also a line of their own brand of foods that has no preservatives or artificial ingredients so they are rather inexpensive. I think a lot of people pay more for what is convenient, especially if it is healthy. And there is often a struggle between feasibility of making more foods from scratch, which is cheaper and healthier, and the need to have things be quick and easy. My farmers market actually tends to be more expensive for produce because they are not selling it in the quanities that grocery stores do. I don't mind paying more to support local farmers, but that definitely ups the grocery budget during growing season. We are actually in the process of overhauling our whole diet since my husband was recently diagnosed with diabetes and put goodson high blood pressure meds. My goal is $100 per week for our family of 4 (baby is only 9 months though and mostly breast fed) and in 2 weeks, I have done ok, but we'll see as we go on. But for a chain grocery store and avoiding too many over processed foods, while maintaining some level of convenience (not that mind learning to do more cooking/baking from scratch,but still making things easy for my husband to bring along to work), I think $400 per month is pretty reasonable.
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by on Apr. 9, 2013 at 11:29 AM

Always a work in progress for that,
Coupons help :)

by on Apr. 9, 2013 at 11:31 AM

For us, yes.

I'm super picky about the food we buy. All of our meat is organic (no red meat, though - just chicken and turkey) and so are our eggs (as well as free range and local). I will only buy Pacific wild caught fish, for the most part.

We are gluten free, and very limited dairy. Nothing processed or artificially sweetened.

Our grocery bill is around $1600 a month.

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