Hi to all! My name is Amanda and I blog at “Our Heart and Home”. Samantha asked me to write this post after a comment I left on her Facebook page. So I want to share with you all about my grocery budget. First thing, I should tell you that we are a family of six. It is my husband and I and our four children, ages 7, 5, 3, and 1. My seven year old can eat like a teenager some days and the three year old, our only son, can hold his own at the table if you know what I mean. So, while they might seem young they can eat!! So it requires quite a bit of food to feed all of us. Here is a little information on how much we eat. We can go through almost an entire loaf of bread in one meal. I buy our peanut butter (7lbs) and oatmeal (6lbs) in bulk and buy them at least every other month. We buy a side of beef at least once a year and a three pound bag of chicken breasts, when used in a casserole will only last two meals.
With all of that to put the amount of food I purchase into perspective, now let me say we live in the mid-west, in Missouri specifically. Around here, a gallon of milk costs between $2.50 and $3.20 and a 1lb bag of frozen veggies, at the warehouse store (Aldi’s), cost right at $1. Eggs sell for about $1.72 a dozen, and hamburger costs about $1.99/pound when on sale.
So, my grocery budget is $300 a month and I buy all of our food, plus cleaning supplies, personal hygiene items, and paper products with this budget. How do I do this? There are several things that I do to help cut costs.
Buy in Bulk – While not everything at “Sam’s” is cheaper, many things are. I can buy many spices, dry goods, and cheese, especially cheese cheaper there than anywhere. I buy our toilet paper, paper towels, cheese, milk, corn chips, raisins, oatmeal, peanut butter, and frozen and some fresh veggies from here. I have gotten these “big ticket” items on a rotation so I don’t have to buy all of them every month while others items we use quickly enough I buy them every month. I usually spend around $70-$90 here each month.
Cook from Scratch – I buy very little if any, boxes, mixes, or frozen foods. I can buy flour and sugar much cheaper than a cake mix or a box of Little Debbie snacks. I make sweet breads, oatmeal, granola bars, and homemade cereals for breakfasts. I use leftovers, beans (cooked from dry), peanut butter, nuts, fresh fruits and veggies, and popcorn for lunch. I pop my own popcorn which makes it a lot healthier and I season my beans while cooking which makes them a lot tastier. I make cookies, snack mixes, and cut up fruit for snacks. For dinner, we eat meat at almost every meal, but not always as a standalone dish. We eat a lot of casseroles and dishes that allow me to stretch meat further.
Garden – We plant a HUGE garden in the summer and I can and freeze a lot of produce for winter months. I haven’t bought a can of green beans in almost three years. I freeze zucchini for bread, okra, and peas. I can green beans, carrots, salsa, tomato sauce, and when we purchase our beef I use the soup bones and make gallons of beef stock with meat and can that as well. I can pickles, and relishes as well. So, the garden helps to reduce our budget throughout the year.
Organic – While I love the idea of eating organic and we garden organically, I cannot afford on our budget to feed my family only organic items. I try as often as I can but at times it just isn’t possible for me and I am okay with that. I am doing the best that I can to feed my family healthy and that is all I can do.
Coupons – I don’t use coupons often as I primarily shop at warehouse stores that don’t except them. But lately I have been messing around with using them for “on sale” items at the local stores and have been getting some great deals. But, I only use them for rock bottoms deals. Free cookies, crackers for $1 a box, granola bars for $1 a box and such. It has given us a little variety in our snack food selection and it has been nice.
Cloth Diapers – Even though we have one in diapers and have had a child in diapers almost constantly for the past eight years by using cloth diapers and making my own wipes, I save us hundreds a year!!!
I hope through this post that I have been able to give you ideas on how to save your family some money. For most of us even saving $20 would be nice. And I hope that I have inspired you to try something new, or to look at where you purchase items in a new light. I have found that with a little extra effort on my part I can shop three stores and save a ton of money. Shopping sales and comparing prices is the way to go. I would love to hear your frugal tips that are working for your family. Please head over to “My Community” and join in the conversation titled “Frugal Living”.
Thank you and God bless,