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Food budget

Posted by on May. 8, 2014 at 8:13 AM
  • 15 Replies
1 mom liked this

I know, I know....this has been done to death. 

But, I am desparate to cut down on my food bill.  I do not coupon because I buy a lot of store brand stuff.  I buy my meats at an Amish market which saves money and is better.

I have started meal planning which helps.

However, I cannot get my bill below $250 a week for a family of 4 (2 adults, 2 teens).  This includes everything...cat food, cosmetics, etc.

My first step is to get it below $175. Small steps.

I work full-time and I am in a PhD program...I'm extremely busy.  My dh works 60 hours a week. Both my girls are very active.

So, making things from scratch isn't easy.  I live in the city so growing my own foods isn't going to work.

The best grocery store near me is Giant.

Anyway, any tips within my ability would be great.

by on May. 8, 2014 at 8:13 AM
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chicken13
by Silver Member on May. 8, 2014 at 10:43 AM
3 moms liked this

Keep track of what you're throwing out. Tape a piece of paper to the fridge and write down what you toss.  That's the first place you can easily cut back. A gallon of milk may seem cheaper until you realize you're pitching half of it. 

Look at your grocery receipt and take the 5 biggest ticket items.  Are there things you could buy as an alternative? Do those items periodically go on sale, should you stock up more next time?  Sometimes you're utterly shocked...sure grapes were on sale, but did you realize that the pkg you bought cost $8? Could you have gotten less grapes and more of a cheaper fruit?

Debmomto2girls
by Bronze Member on May. 8, 2014 at 10:55 AM

 That is a good idea.  We do waste a lot of food. Thanks

Quoting chicken13:

Keep track of what you're throwing out. Tape a piece of paper to the fridge and write down what you toss.  That's the first place you can easily cut back. A gallon of milk may seem cheaper until you realize you're pitching half of it. 

Look at your grocery receipt and take the 5 biggest ticket items.  Are there things you could buy as an alternative? Do those items periodically go on sale, should you stock up more next time?  Sometimes you're utterly shocked...sure grapes were on sale, but did you realize that the pkg you bought cost $8? Could you have gotten less grapes and more of a cheaper fruit?

 

  No human race is superior; no religious faith is inferior. All collective judgments are wrong. Only racists make them. By Elie Wiesel

RonaH
by Bronze Member on May. 8, 2014 at 11:46 AM

I know you say you don't coupon but how about couponing toiletries and pet food. most of that you can get free therefore freeing up the money for food. serving less also works I find that automatically putting aside something before cooking it seems to feed everyone just as well as making the whole thing. Especially with meats. Now I half them and we seem to get by just as well.

chicken13
by Silver Member on May. 8, 2014 at 11:48 AM

You've got to be....or eating filet every night.  Lol.  I feed a family of 3, including 2 athletes, for $60 a week.

Quoting Debmomto2girls:

 That is a good idea.  We do waste a lot of food. Thanks

Quoting chicken13:

Keep track of what you're throwing out. Tape a piece of paper to the fridge and write down what you toss.  That's the first place you can easily cut back. A gallon of milk may seem cheaper until you realize you're pitching half of it. 

Look at your grocery receipt and take the 5 biggest ticket items.  Are there things you could buy as an alternative? Do those items periodically go on sale, should you stock up more next time?  Sometimes you're utterly shocked...sure grapes were on sale, but did you realize that the pkg you bought cost $8? Could you have gotten less grapes and more of a cheaper fruit?

 


XOXOnBubbles
by Bronze Member on May. 8, 2014 at 12:02 PM
1 mom liked this

One way to save time and money is to make some freezer meals.  If you dedicate a day (probably on a weekend) for cooking, and make several meals that all you have to do is pull them out of the freezer and put them in the crock pot, or in the oven, making meals from scratch would be more doable.  I LOVE crock pot meals for days that I am super busy!  

Look for ways to make things that are more expensive (like meat) stretch.  I love stir fry.  A little meat goes a long way when you add it to some veggies and rice.  Plus rice is cheap too.  Soups and stews are also great for making a little meat go a long way.  You can chop veggies etc. the night before, then put it all in the crock pot in the morning and let it cook all day.  

michiganmom116
by Rhonda on May. 8, 2014 at 2:06 PM

I work.  I meal plan.  I cook from scratch by using crockpot meals or else quick things like stir fry or skillet meals or grilled meals that the kids can make.  I agree that it isn't easy, not at all, but it can be done.

Weekends:  do you have time to prep for meals for the coming week?  I make pancakes/waffles/muffins, sometimes even a casserole or two or even side dishes that can be frozen then popped in the oven later.

For example, tonight's dinner:  grilled chicken (DS is best at that), sweet potatoes (baked in the crockpot all afternoon), and green beans (steam and serve).  I won't be getting home until the dinner hour, so I did as much prep as I could and kept it simple yet nutritious.

lillucky8
by Jen on May. 8, 2014 at 3:44 PM
1 mom liked this
I agree with another reply. I would suggest couponing for personal care products, paper products etc. I dont save as much on groceries like fresh veggies etc bc there are no coupons for it, but i do get free hair products, free paper products etc with couponing and it really doesnt take that much time to do that. I sit weekly and look at sales, order the coupons i need more than one of and then have a list for when i hit the store. Id say i spend about an hour aweek planning.

For groceries, buy on sale, buy a few to last until the next sale, like if a certain cereal is on sale you eat regularly, buy three or four boxes and put them up, then you dont have to buy that cereal again until it goes on sale again. Make your list around the sales, meal plan if you can around the sales.
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Debmomto2girls
by Bronze Member on May. 8, 2014 at 4:57 PM

I've never really froze meals before. What is the best way to store food? 

Quoting michiganmom116:

I work.  I meal plan.  I cook from scratch by using crockpot meals or else quick things like stir fry or skillet meals or grilled meals that the kids can make.  I agree that it isn't easy, not at all, but it can be done.

Weekends:  do you have time to prep for meals for the coming week?  I make pancakes/waffles/muffins, sometimes even a casserole or two or even side dishes that can be frozen then popped in the oven later.

For example, tonight's dinner:  grilled chicken (DS is best at that), sweet potatoes (baked in the crockpot all afternoon), and green beans (steam and serve).  I won't be getting home until the dinner hour, so I did as much prep as I could and kept it simple yet nutritious.


michiganmom116
by Rhonda on May. 8, 2014 at 6:46 PM
2 moms liked this

Well, in the example of pancakes/waffles/muffins, I make them, freeze them individually then stack in a resealable baggie and put them back in the freezer.

With casseroles, I prefer to freeze before baking...most of them are cooked anyway and just need to be heated through.

Cook rice, freeze in meal size portions, then reheat, bag and all, in boiling water.

Meatloaf: freeze raw, but don't use raw onions in it...use the dehydrated onions for that.

taco meat/sloppy joe meat:  cook, add seasonings/sauce, then freeze.

homemade pizza:  bake the crust for 4 minutes, then add the toppings.  Wrap and freeze.  They can be stacked.  Bake as for a frozen pizza from the store, on a pan.

Potatoes don't freeze well unless they're fully cooked, and even then they will turn mealy.  Pasta just isn't the same after frozen, although it does well in casseroles for some reason.

Quoting Debmomto2girls:

I've never really froze meals before. What is the best way to store food? 

Quoting michiganmom116:

I work.  I meal plan.  I cook from scratch by using crockpot meals or else quick things like stir fry or skillet meals or grilled meals that the kids can make.  I agree that it isn't easy, not at all, but it can be done.

Weekends:  do you have time to prep for meals for the coming week?  I make pancakes/waffles/muffins, sometimes even a casserole or two or even side dishes that can be frozen then popped in the oven later.

For example, tonight's dinner:  grilled chicken (DS is best at that), sweet potatoes (baked in the crockpot all afternoon), and green beans (steam and serve).  I won't be getting home until the dinner hour, so I did as much prep as I could and kept it simple yet nutritious.


M0M0F3B0YS82
by on May. 8, 2014 at 8:44 PM
2 moms liked this

A friend of mine works alot as well and she spends Sat morning prepping and making the next weeks meals most are crockpot, worst part is the shopping on Fri night lol she hates that part 

I personally meal plan I also look at the sales ads and within 5m I have 4stores that are competitive with each other so I can get some good deals. I feel a family of 6 we do produce weekly but I do big shopping bi-weekly, the boys hate it when I go past 2weeks they get creative with snacks haha

I would just start small and go from there pick one thing to start doing get that down then add another, I once got so overwhelmed it was making me nuts 

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