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The Family Piggy Bank The Family Piggy Bank

I seek your wisdom...(grocery budgeting)

Posted by on Aug. 12, 2013 at 2:19 AM
  • 25 Replies

Hello,

I'm a stay at home mom of a nearly 2 year old. It's just us 3 and it's a ridiculous situation...

I budget $200 every two week pay period for groceries. I should be able to make this work. But I can't. I always overspend and wind up needing to rob another "envelope". Do I just need to get better at cooking so I can do more with less or is spending 30 hours a week on couponing the only answer? I don't need to buy organic but avoiding all boxed food would be nice. Is it simply because I lump household and personal products into the groceries category? Should I *sob* dump Costco?! Maybe it's all of the above but I need to hear from someone other than myself or the lovely product advertisements that will make it "all better".

I never learned how to run a house so now I need a crash course. If you have any ideas or support, I could sure use them!

Thanks ladies :)

Amanda

by on Aug. 12, 2013 at 2:19 AM
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Replies (1-10):
michiganmom116
by Gold Member on Aug. 12, 2013 at 7:22 AM
2 moms liked this

Actually, $400 isn't that bad with prices the way they are.  That's close to what I pay.

First step:  plan meals.  This way you won't buy things you don't need and you can maybe reuse leftovers in other meals...you'll see where your food is going.  Sit down and make a list of all meals your family will eat...including breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  Then, you can look at what you already have and what is on sale and see if you can make meals out of that.  Then make a grocery list for what you need to buy.

Another thing to think about is pricing out the cost of making those meals.  You'd think, for example, that taco salad would cost more to make than a meal of lasagna and garlic bread, but I found that taco salad was cheaper. 

www.5dollardinners.com is a great place to get more help.  Erin Chase has done the hard work by creating printable meal plans and coupons lists to help keep dinner costs down.  She's got recipes, too!

Costco isn't bad for prices on non-food items, but if you have an Aldi or Save A Lot within driving distance I think you can do better.


QuiltLover
by Jocelynn on Aug. 12, 2013 at 8:35 AM

I agree with meal planning is the key to saving money. When we had the kids at home I would fix a chicken in the oven, save the broth, cut off 1/3 of the chicken and another meal would be shredded chicken and noodles and mashed potatoes with veggie on the side or chicken pot pie,homemade.  Buying a whole ham is expensive at first, but when you think how many meals you would get from that one piece of choice meat, it is way cheaper. Also with buying a whole turkey, many meals. And who says you have to only have turkey once a year....lol...we would also have one night a week where we would clean out the fridge and eat all or any of the leftovers...potluck at home. Planning is a time sucker but it really is the best way to get the most from your money. I think $100 a week for three people is very doable...

KLove_Mom
by Member on Aug. 12, 2013 at 9:05 AM

With a 2 year old, maybe you need a separate envelope for her things... diapers, wipes, snacks...

I know our budget can get blown easily when I buy lots of boxed snacks for my kids from the baby section. They are expensive. 
Look up recipes for graham crackers, fruit snacks, and other treats you could make on your own.

The next couple times you get your grocery receipt, you could sit down and see how much fits into different categories.

Meals, fruit, snacks, milk and juice, household, bathroom, diapering supplies... then you'd know what the breakdown is. 

Ariellasmom
by Member on Aug. 12, 2013 at 8:43 PM
I like the meal planning idea but also think you should coupon as well. coupons really do come in handy
cjsmom1
by on Aug. 12, 2013 at 8:47 PM
Coupons and shop sales. When things go on sale I'll buy a little extra to last me until it goes on sale again. I shop for discounted meats at the supermarket since meat is so expensive.
clairewait
by Member on Aug. 12, 2013 at 8:59 PM

I'll be honest. 

I am a SAHM of 3 kids, one is a baby in diapers. Between the 5 of us, I spend $80 a week on ALL food, paper products (including diapers), medicine, beer/wine, and toiletries. I tend to avoid the middle of the grocery store, so most of my couponing is done in drug stores and is probably used on food only about 30% of the time.

I've been actively maintaining this budget for about 3 years, by couponing and sale shopping. I do not spend more than about 2 hours a week getting my shopping trips planned, but I admit that there was a bit of a learning curve. The first year took a little longer. But it was worth it for us, because we really needed to cut back on our grocery budget. I sort of made it my job to figure the whole thing out.

I live in NC. Average price on a gallon of milk down here is $3.59. A dozen eggs is about $1.50, just to give you a non-sale comparison.

$100 a week should be doable for a family of three almost anywhere (maybe not Hawaii or NYC).

Not sure how much advice you want, but I'll give you a quick-list that might help get you started:

  1. Learn what you are spending per unit. Stock up when you see something at a great deal. (If you can start paying attention to sales, you'll quickly realize that Costco prices are never the best deal. CVS almost always beats Sams prices when they put stuff on sale, and the sales rotate with enough regularity that you can always get enough of whatever until the next sale. Sam's is cheaper than Costco. So, yes, I think you could probably ditch Costco.)
  2. Shop more than one store. Shop more often. I get great meat and produce sales by catching things in the discount bins. I don't meal plan way in advance. Instead, I cook whatever is on sale or discounted.
  3. Milk and eggs are almost always on sale SOMEWHERE every week. This week it happens to be Walgreens. Kind of weird buying milk and eggs at Walgreens, but for $0.99 a dozen, whatever. 

For more in-depth advice, I wrote an article about this, if you want to check it out:

How To Lower Your Grocery Budget Without Using Coupons

Claire Wait

My blog: TheUnderToad.com

1BFingmomma
by New Member on Aug. 13, 2013 at 10:56 PM

Thanks everyone, I really appreciate the information :)

eevers55
by Member on Aug. 14, 2013 at 9:12 AM

I meal plan & coupon (when I can, one day I will get a printer and look out lol)
One little trick I've found that works for me is getting to know my grocery store. If I can sit at home and write my list of what I need, then go back and write it in the order of how I walk through the store, I've found I rarely impulse buy anymore, if ever. It's much easier to stick with the "if it's not on the list..." rule. I'm not wandering up and down random aisles, I'm just going from one end to the other, picking up exactly what I need and I don't need to go back through for anything.
I also got my store's weekly flyer emailed to me by signing up at their website. That way, when I meal plan, I already know what meats are on sale and what meats I should hold off on or even stock up on. Sometimes a whole chicken is .89 cents a pound and I get one to freeze because it makes a good roast chicken, chicken salad leftovers and my own chicken broth later. I won't necessarily do it all that week, but when it's THAT low, it's good to have it in the freezer for later.

Debmomto2girls
by on Aug. 14, 2013 at 5:29 PM

Meal planning saved me a lot of money.

I do not coupon much.  I honestly never saw any savings with couponing.  I but store brand which is cheaper than name brand even with a coupon.  I coupon a little for non-food items...ex. shampoo, etc

3mom627
by Member on Aug. 25, 2013 at 8:58 PM

 I am no one to talk about budgeting, but I have to agree with the turkey thing.  One year we had Thanksgiving in July. I had got a turkey for free at the local grocery store and since we spent Thanks giving at my sister's, I didn't need to use it, so I cooked it in July. My kids still talk about that. They loved it.

Quoting QuiltLover:

I agree with meal planning is the key to saving money. When we had the kids at home I would fix a chicken in the oven, save the broth, cut off 1/3 of the chicken and another meal would be shredded chicken and noodles and mashed potatoes with veggie on the side or chicken pot pie,homemade.  Buying a whole ham is expensive at first, but when you think how many meals you would get from that one piece of choice meat, it is way cheaper. Also with buying a whole turkey, many meals. And who says you have to only have turkey once a year....lol...we would also have one night a week where we would clean out the fridge and eat all or any of the leftovers...potluck at home. Planning is a time sucker but it really is the best way to get the most from your money. I think $100 a week for three people is very doable...

 

3MOM627

have a nice day

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