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I seek your wisdom...(grocery budgeting)

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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 :)


by on Aug. 12, 2013 at 2:19 AM
Replies (21-25):
by Member on Nov. 19, 2013 at 7:16 AM

I separated the diaper/wipes/formula from the food grocery budget when my son was a baby.  Then for 3 of us I made due on about $100 a week. 

I make one meatless meal a week (like homemade macaroni & cheese), it's about $6 for a huge casserole dish.  Then I will sometimes make a salad with cut up chicken breast in it (small amounts of meat, I usually use the rotisserie chicken already cooked).  I do look for big hunks of meat to cook in my crock pot (pot roast) - it gives a few meals.  I am using more fresh veggies and fruits, and less processed foods.  I don't buy soda.  Hubby buys it if he wants it.  I try to buy store brand if I know they taste just as good.   When I get home from the store, I make a dinner menu for the week based on what I bought that was on sale or stuff that looked good.  


by Member on Nov. 20, 2013 at 11:48 AM

Meal planning is what saves me the most money. We've cut back on red meat because chicken is much cheaper.
I use the site allrecipes to help me with new recipes. It has a great tool that you can input what you want and don't want in a meal (perfect for the night before shopping and the pantry is low)
I just got this book from the library, "Cut Your Grocery Bills in Half" by Steve & Annette Economides. It has a few tips I can't use (like a lot fo the freezer section since I live in an apartment and don't have room for a separate freezer right now)
But there's a LOT of good advice for how to shop, what's in season, what to look for for deals, the best way to chat with grocery staff to get deals, etc. One I've utilized is buying chunks of ham and turkey and asking the meat counter guy to slice it for me. It's WAYYYY cheaper than buying pre-packaged lunch meat, and I try to do it when there's not really a lot of other shoppers around so I'm not holding anyone up. I've also learned that some of the guys won't do it, but one of the guys is actually my neighbor (I didn't even know until I chatted with him lol) and he always slices my meat for me.
I definitely recommend finding this book. The people in it are far advanced in their grocery savings (meal planning and grocery shopping ONCE A MONTH, insane.) but with their tips, I've already cut out about $10 on my regular shoppping trip and I haven't even finished reading. Ten may not seem like much, but I go once a week and that's 40 a month, or 180 a year, enough for at least two more shopping trips. (Or good gifts for christmas lol)

by New Member on Nov. 20, 2013 at 12:05 PM
I pay $250 for an entire month. I have a stock up envelop of cash for when staple foods with long shelf life is on an awesome deal.

First, I check the ads and make an ad match list, for each store. Then I make a master list of who has the cheapest ad that week.

Second, I meal plan for a month. I use a calendar to do this.

Third, I clip coupons for ONLY things we used or need.

Fourth, I price match and use coupons at Walmart. (We live in a rural community, our Walmart gets fresh fruit and veggies from our local farms nearly daily.)

Fifth, I buy in bulk from Costco, like tp, hygiene, soda (unless there is a better sale at another store.) Gold fish, basically boxed food, or food with long shelf life.

Sixth, I buy items in bulk quantities if on sale, with a separate budget. Things like if canned tuna is .15 cents vs normal .49 cents. Rice, noodles, sauce, etc.

Seventh, I know when to shop at what stores. 3rd week of the month, Albertsons does buy 1, get 2 on almost all of their meat. Walmart will not price match, you have to go to Albertsons. It's better to price match at Walmart the second week of the month, that's when they drop the prices of their brand food to compete with the other stores ads, because that's when food is the highest in volume in a store. Bulk buying at Costco is best on the fourth week of the month, because that's their best coupon book week.

I have four shopping budgets, 1 for groceries, 1 for hygiene, 1 for cleaning/bulk/other needs and 1 for perishable short shelf life items, like milk, produce, etc.

I hope this helps. We are a family of five, almost six. My hubby, two boys (soon three boys) and my disabled vet dad lives with us.
by New Member on Jan. 13, 2014 at 8:17 AM


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