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QueenT
06-20-2006, 12:57 PM
I am trying to teach myself how to make & stick to a budget. I have so far been keeping track of how much we are spending. Now I need to know a good target amount. It would really help me out to get some baseline data from others who are actually able to budget effectively.

My food budget pays for all groceries, but not fast food or restaurants or school/work lunches (should it)?

I am supporting a family of 5.5, 3 adults, ds17, dd11, dgd 13 months (1/2 time).

I am operating on the premise that if I control my spending better, I will have more $$ for things I like to do, for example vacationing at WDW.

DawnM
06-20-2006, 01:37 PM
Well, it all depends.

I have discovered a couple of good ways to cut my food bill WAY down. We have a discount grocery here in Charlotte that I try to go to once a month.

I also use Angel Food Ministries for food. It is not needs based. It is for anyone who wants to save on groceries. Go to AngelFoodMinistries.com and click on "Host Sites" to find a location near you. There are several TX places listed.

My friend does The Grocery Game and loves it. I haven't tried it yet.

It might take a little more effort but you really can save a bundle in the food dept.

Dawn

disneysteve
06-20-2006, 01:58 PM
I have so far been keeping track of how much we are spending. Now I need to know a good target amount.
I think comparing your food budget to others is difficult due to lifestyle, likes and dislikes, regional variations in price, different stores, etc.

Now that you have tracked your spending and know what you've been spending, I think your target should be to spend less. Rather than using other people's spending as your guide, use your own spending as your guide. Set an initial goal based on your current spending, perhaps 15% less and then explore ways to meet that goal. Comparison shop at various stores, check out discount stores like Aldi's, do more cooking from scratch and buy fewer prepared and packaged foods, do more bulk buying to take advantage of lower unit prices and sales, use coupons when appropriate (I'm not much of a coupon fan as they are generally for the most expensive brands of the most processed foods).

wrldpossibility
06-20-2006, 02:08 PM
I was just discussing this with a friend, as we're trying to see if we spend too much or are on target too. I know it varies from area to area, and what your particular needs are (for example, we have to buy diapers and someone else may not), but...

We spend $500 a month. I don't break it down weekly, since I only shop every 10 days. In a month, we do one big Costco run, and then shop at the discount grocery store (it's huge) for everything else. I DO NOT include eating out, but my grocery budget includes everything else, from household goods to diapers to cleaning supplies.

Oh, and we are a family of 5 (with three boys who seem to eat constantly!) I buy few processed foods, but we do spend more than the average family on vegetarian foods like soy protein and veggie dogs/burgers since we're vegetarian.

Our budget used to be $400 before the newest member of the family started eating solid foods, but he seems to have made it go up $100 between all the foods he likes to eat and the fact that I prepare simpler (somewhat premade) dinnners lately since he won't cooperate when I try to fix dinner these days! :rolleyes:

wrldpossibility
06-20-2006, 02:09 PM
I was just discussing this with a friend, as we're trying to see if we spend too much or are on target too. I know it varies from area to area, and what your particular needs are (for example, we have to buy diapers and someone else may not), but...

We spend $500 a month. I don't break it down weekly, since I only shop every 10 days. In a month, we do one big Costco run, and then shop at the discount grocery store (it's huge) for everything else. I DO NOT include eating out, but my grocery budget includes everything else, from household goods to diapers to cleaning supplies.

Oh, and we are a family of 5 (with three boys who seem to eat constantly!) I buy few processed foods, but we do spend more than the average family on vegetarian foods like soy protein and veggie dogs/burgers since we're vegetarian.

Our budget used to be $400 before the newest member of the family started eating solid foods, but he seems to have made it go up $100 between all the foods he likes to eat and the fact that I prepare simpler (somewhat premade) dinnners lately since he won't cooperate when I try to fix dinner these days! :rolleyes:

One other factor: we're in a somewhat expensive area in Oregon.

runwad
06-20-2006, 07:46 PM
We are a family of 5, dd10, dd8 & ds5, I spend anywhere from 260-360/mo. I shoot for 300, but sometimes things go on sale and I stock up and that will drive up my average monthly spending. We rarely eat out so this is not included in this average, but paper products and cleaning supplies are. Hope this helps.

kldmom2000
06-20-2006, 08:04 PM
I too will also say it all depends where you live.... we took a similar poll on my other board and the range was anywhere between $50 a week to $200 per week..... we are a family of 4-2 adults and 2 kids. Our average weekly grocery bill (not including toiletries which are purchased separately at Target) is generally around $150 per week-so about $600 per month. We eat out about once a week (That $$ is not accounted for in the $150 per week) and the rest is home cooked for the most part. Over the past 2 yrs, I've been buying more organic fruits/veggies/hamburg/milk which sends the cost up (we've had a few too many health scares as of late so the fewer pesticide/antibiotic/hormone I serve, the better.) I try to clip coupons whenever possible. My DH is skinny as anything but eats enough for 3 people :rotfl: :rotfl: so that adds quite a bit to the cost too :rolleyes2

mommyceratops
06-20-2006, 09:17 PM
Dont want to hijack a thread here.

But HOW do you do it? I have DS3 and DS6, DH, my mom and I that I buy groceries for. I have a budget of $275 twice a month and I hardly ever make it!

I have learned to buy generic only and cut back on other stuff.

But any tips would be nice. This is our 4th month on this budget and it is tough!!

By the way what other budget boards do you go too??

TIA

mamalle
06-21-2006, 07:01 AM
its very hard for me to stay within the $100 a week for our budget. I just spent $200 at costco on friday and will most likely spend around $80-$100 this week on odds and ends- milk, lettuce, yogurt, etc. I wait for the sale adds to come out but my albertsons is closing so it will all be publix and costco for me from now on.. I'm going to have to raise my budget to $150 and see if that one is more realistic. I have to to a big run once a month usually to costco for the dog, food, laundry detergent so I think thats why my bill goes up.. :confused3 there are 4 of us btw. dh always needs stuff for the fire dept, dd takes her lunch to school and I always take my lunch to work so even though we are spending money on that- I still need the food to take..

mommiepoppins
06-21-2006, 07:24 AM
we are a family of 6 and we do 175 for the first week of the month and then 75 a weekfor the rest = 400 for food and 50 for house hold products = 450 for the month :p

mommiepoppins
06-21-2006, 07:33 AM
Dont want to hijack a thread here.

But HOW do you do it? I have DS3 and DS6, DH, my mom and I that I buy groceries for. I have a budget of $275 twice a month and I hardly ever make it!

I have learned to buy generic only and cut back on other stuff.

But any tips would be nice. This is our 4th month on this budget and it is tough!!

By the way what other budget boards do you go too??

TIA
well this is what i do
generic everything except for mayo
i stock pile on my ketchup; jelly; fluff; penutbutter; mac cheese, soups, canned veggie , cake mixes, panacke mix ect
I buy the meat early in the morning when it is marked down and i freeze it - that i only buyfrom a certin store
i also shop aldi for bread, soup ketchup ,
walmart for snacks which I spend about 100 for the month
Once a week we do an egg night ( my brother has hens so I get about 24eggs a week free) I might make omlets , scram eggs, keesh.
:hippie:

Good Ol Gal
06-21-2006, 07:44 AM
we're a family of 6 and I try VERY hard to do it on $100 a week! It gets tough at times as I have 4 kiddos, 11, 9, 7, 5.

I can buy 6 gallons of milk in one week! I plan our meals, the best I can with picky eaters, and what is needed for the meals.

I shop weekly, so that we can make sure we eat it all up. I used to do big shopping trips, but found that we would just be stockpiling our pantry and never eat it all.

We do have one dining out meal planned once a week, usually pizza or drive-thru.
If we can afford it, we may go to an actual restaurant, but that can cost us over $40 for one meal! I just can't get past that that is 10% of our grocery budget.

I shop at the discount grocery store so that saves money. We eat alot of chicken and hamburger. Tacos, spaghetti, hamburgers, baked chicken, etc.

We have lost of pets, so sometimes I do end up going over. This cost also includes all household stuff. detergents, tp, soap, etc.

Last month we spent $477 total, in April it was $347.

This month we've seemed to splurge a bit :blush: as we've already spent $300. But the kids have had lots of friends over now that it's summertime and I see a trend going here..... Now I'm feeding 6-8 kids instead of just 4 :rotfl:

I shop mostly at Marcs or Aldi's. I will go to Kroger's if they're having a great sale or something, but I really don't need to spend the $$ on their overpriced staples.

I've been doing it this way almost 6 months now. I started with the Dave Ramsey envelope.

I put our $100 in CASH in an envelope and when it was gone for the week (spent only on groceries) it was GONE. It was hard at first, but boy you sure learn quick how to make it last :teeth:

Good Luck!

hollyb
06-21-2006, 07:58 AM
Here in NJ everything is so crazy high. We are a family of 4. DS is almost 9 and he eats all the time!!! LOL Our bill is about $700 a month. That includes everything but eating out once a week. We get a pizza and garlic knots total is about $11.00.

I buy alot of fresh fruits and veggies, that hads up fast. I just can't tell the kids no "sorry you can't have the berries because they are 5buck a pop"

Now that school is almost out (2days left :sunny: ) The bill go higher with all the neighbor kids here playing.

chattyann
06-21-2006, 08:02 AM
We are a family of 5. DH, myself, ds14, ds8, and ds5. Who all have healthy appetites.
We have a Meijer store locally who has double coupons every week and about once a
month has triple coupons. That really helps,that is when I stock up. I also shop at a
discount butternut bread store and we have a little Mom and Pop grocery that has the
best meat at very reasonable prices. Always, Always I ad shop checking best prices at
the local stores then when I leave work I will hit one or two of those places for the cheap deals and it saves gas instead of having to run in later to get what we need. Our Budget is usually about 300 monthly.

DawnM
06-21-2006, 08:12 AM
It depends on your priorities. For us, food is the one thing we can cut down on right now.


We spend around 250 mo. for a family of 4. We stock up at a discount grocery here in Charlotte. We didn't have that in CA. They have snack foods from the health food store for a fraction of the price.

We have started using AngelFoodMinistries.com. You get a box of food with everything except milk and produce for $25 ($75 worth of food). It is NOT needs based. It is for anyone wanting to save on groceries. The only thing is, if you are picky, it won't work. They have a "menu" and you get what is in the box!

I buy produce during the summer at the produce stands and can/freeze for winter.

My friend spends less than $200 month for a family of 3 and uses "The Grocery Game" and Sunday's coupons. She sometimes spends $100 month! I have been amazed. It is just a lot of work!

I am also now mostly vegetarian. I buy quality rice and lentils and even though they are more than reg. rice or lentils, they are still way less than meat or junk food.

I used to spend over $600 month, so this is a HUGE change for us.

Dawn

lnh'smom
06-21-2006, 08:31 AM
I don't know how you guys do it. I usually spend $130-$150/wk on groceries and that doesn't count little trips where you run in and get milk or something. I did have a daycare in my home so I had 5 extra kids to buy breakfast, lunch, and 2 snacks, but they are all gone now so the bill will go down a little. Family of 4 by the way DS6 & DD3. I could shop at Walmart but they don't double any coupons and I won't buy their fruit or meat. URGHHH! I use coupons(although Meijer doesn't double anything over $.50 anymore), I use other store adds, I look for stuff on sale and stock up, and I buy generic whenever I can. I have heard about the grocery game and that everyone loves it. What kinds of coupons do they have? just wondering if it is worth it for us. Will Meijer take them and what is it exactly? Thanks for any info.

Tigger1
06-21-2006, 09:01 AM
I figure about 100 per person per month. I am very careful on what I buy. It is going to be on sale or at th least price I would find it if it were on sale. We buy alot at Sams club. Our beef is bought by the case.

I suggest you include eating out on your budget. Some would be surprised just what they spend eating out. We rarely eat out except at Disney. When we eat out at home it is usually take out chinese which is cheaper to buy than to premare frm scratch. Also we will go to Sonic on tuesdays for 1/2 hamburgers. We do not get anything else with it. The Popeyes in are area also has 89cent 2 piece chicken on Tuedays. The only other prepared food we buy is Sams club pizza $7.99.

PigletFairy
06-21-2006, 09:30 AM
I guess i am just a spender. There is DH, me, a pup and an adult dog. We average 350 on groceries including toiletries n cleaning supplies, lunch and dog food. We eat out dinner about once every two weeks if in the budget. I freeze all my meats and some veggies. I have frozen bread before but usually we eat everything. If I have something in the pantry that hasnt been used, i find a recipe to use it. big spenders for us is lactose free milk, dog food, gallon tea and drinks in general. I am sure there are ways I can cut my cost down but like i said i am a spender.

Plantlady
06-21-2006, 09:49 AM
We are a family of five, two adults and 3 sons, 9, 7, and 4. We spend $45 a week on groceries, and $5 a week on household supplies. There is a seperate fund for pets (two dogs, three cats), they eat $25 worth of food a month.

We don't buy any prepackaged foods. We're vegetarians, so, we don't buy meat. I prepare almost everything from scratch.

I also shop at four different grocery stores on each trip. I scan the flyers, and make a specific list of what I want to get from each store, based on the sales. Mostly this is covering our produce purchases.

I do clip coupons, but don't use them very much, unless they match up with a sale item, and make it cheaper than generic items.

I also have all of my grocery money in cash. Once its gone, I'm out. So, I better make it work.

leight
06-21-2006, 10:20 AM
We are a family of four 2 adults two kids 6 & 8. The kids are very picky and because of my work schedule Dh cooks 4 nights a week for them.

We have looked to cut household costs and right now we are looking at $100 a week in grocery/house items to $75 so I am in the stock up stage. I do have to buy things that are more easy to prepare due to me not being there to cook. But I also buy meat in bulk - go to Sam's on a friday am when they mark down meats and buy that way then separate and freeze. I do this primarily with things like boneless chicken breasts and chopmeat. I will make the effort to spend the extra time in trimming the breasts into filets and breading/frying them then freezing them in small servings so DH can just pull them out as needed for a quick meal. We're italian so I also make meatballs in bulk and freeze-as well as making sauce in large amounts once a month so we can defrost every sunday and when needed. I just bought 10 boxes of hamburger helper (yes it is prepared but it is for when dh cooks on his own) at 10 for $10. I used 3 coupons for this ($0.75 off purch of 3) so it came out to 10 for $7.75. I am also making sure that I buy milk and sale items at either walgreens or CVS- their sales are often better than Walmart and milk for a gallon is almost always cheaper than a half gallon at the supermarket.

My main complaint is that since we moved to Tampa- I can't find one grocer who doubles coupons! I have been diligently cutting coupons and use when I can but no one here doubles. I spent less in NY because of the double coupon and discount grocer for great prices on produce. Anyone else face this? I go to different grocery stores- and use Walmart for alot of generic items depending on the sales. I try to make sure that I stop on the way to or from work so as not to use any extra gas. But I am still spending way more here than I did in NY. We no longer buy lunch at work- so I am having 3 meals at my desk 4 days a week and dh is bringing his sandwich from home too. We have cut back dining out to maybe twice a month- and then that is usually a pizza night that we order in with another family so it is only $10 for that night.

Any other suggestions on how else to cut down?

dvcgirl
06-21-2006, 10:36 AM
I am trying to teach myself how to make & stick to a budget. I have so far been keeping track of how much we are spending. Now I need to know a good target amount. It would really help me out to get some baseline data from others who are actually able to budget effectively.

My food budget pays for all groceries, but not fast food or restaurants or school/work lunches (should it)?

I am supporting a family of 5.5, 3 adults, ds17, dd11, dgd 13 months (1/2 time).

I am operating on the premise that if I control my spending better, I will have more $$ for things I like to do, for example vacationing at WDW.

Well, for one thing, if you're looking for ways to save money, cut out the fast food and restaurant trips.

Our grocery budget is the one place that I really don't bother trying to trim any longer. We are just two adults and I spend anywhere for $700-$800 a month just on groceries (not including toiletries). We tend to eat out 3-4 times a month, and that is also not included in that figure.

The only way that I can see substanitally cutting back on our food budget would be to totally change our diet which we're not willing to do. Our health is the most important thing to us. Unfortunately, cutting way back on the food budget would mean eating mostly processed foods laden with empty calories, refined carbs, high frutcose corn syrup and trans fats. And we're just not willing to do that.

It's really tough to measure your food budget against another similar sized family's budget unless you know what they are eating from day to day.
I often see food budgets here for families with an additional 2 to 4 people who feed a family for literally 1/2 of what we spend on just two of us. I don't know how that's possible. I've tried to learn from those threads, because I'm always looking for ways to save money. But in the threads where folks give the recipes that go along with those frugal grocery budgets, well, the quality of what most of them are eating is not ideal. Yes, you can get five pounds of ground chuck on sale at BJs for next to nothing, and sure, it will make nearly 20 meat servings in some meal. But it's just awful for you. In the end, some things aren't worth the sacrifice.

hollyb
06-21-2006, 11:56 AM
It depends on your priorities. For us, food is the one thing we can cut down on right now.


We spend around 250 mo. for a family of 4. We stock up at a discount grocery here in Charlotte. We didn't have that in CA. They have snack foods from the health food store for a fraction of the price.

We have started using AngelFoodMinistries.com. You get a box of food with everything except milk and produce for $25 ($75 worth of food). It is NOT needs based. It is for anyone wanting to save on groceries. The only thing is, if you are picky, it won't work. They have a "menu" and you get what is in the box!

I buy produce during the summer at the produce stands and can/freeze for winter.

My friend spends less than $200 month for a family of 3 and uses "The Grocery Game" and Sunday's coupons. She sometimes spends $100 month! I have been amazed. It is just a lot of work!

I am also now mostly vegetarian. I buy quality rice and lentils and even though they are more than reg. rice or lentils, they are still way less than meat or junk food.

I used to spend over $600 month, so this is a HUGE change for us.

Dawn

Your right about prioritys. I refuse to serve food to my family is less then the best quality. I have 2 growing children who need it and my husband who works hard everyday for us. I will not give any of them food that is old, discounted or however we can save cents.

I would rather cut back on cable, internet, eating out. Instead of good food.

MEM
06-21-2006, 12:20 PM
We spend about $125 per week, about $22 of that is school breakfasts and lunches for DS11 and DD10. We are a one-income family with Mom (me) as the bread-winner and DH as the SAHD looking for a job with Mother's hours.
DH does all of the grocery shopping since he has more self-control than I do. We buy groceries on a cash-only basis and are very careful at the beginning of each week to make sure the money lasts until the end. We joined Costco this year but the only item they sell cheaper than the grocery stores is milk - we will not renew. We buy loss-leaders like solid white albacore tuna (no "catfood-grade" tuna for us). We stopped buying soda except for birthdays and purchased an iced-tea maker that will make a pitcher of decaf tea for 50 cents. When buying produce we always buy what is in-season. I work in Boston's Chinatown and there are often good deals to be had in the Asian markets on fresh produce and 25 pound bags of Jasmine rice -- I just have to be flexible. We have at least one vegetarian meal per week and that is pasta with jarred sauce. Meat and fish are used more as condiments than the main entree and I will pay more for lean meat and boneless, skinless chicken since there is less waste. A pound of salmon will feed the four of us.

We rarely eat out, except on vacation and buy less and less junk food and prepared food each time. I bring my breakfast and lunch to work and can often get a free meal here at work from business meeting leftovers - better than it sounds!

Decent coupons are rare here so I no longer bother buying the Sunday paper. Darling Dachshund eats prescription food from her vet but that comes out of the "dog" budget.

Disneymaniacs
06-21-2006, 02:39 PM
Well, for one thing, if you're looking for ways to save money, cut out the fast food and restaurant trips.

Our grocery budget is the one place that I really don't bother trying to trim any longer. We are just two adults and I spend anywhere for $700-$800 a month just on groceries (not including toiletries). We tend to eat out 3-4 times a month, and that is also not included in that figure.

The only way that I can see substanitally cutting back on our food budget would be to totally change our diet which we're not willing to do. Our health is the most important thing to us. Unfortunately, cutting way back on the food budget would mean eating mostly processed foods laden with empty calories, refined carbs, high frutcose corn syrup and trans fats. And we're just not willing to do that.

It's really tough to measure your food budget against another similar sized family's budget unless you know what they are eating from day to day.
I often see food budgets here for families with an additional 2 to 4 people who feed a family for literally 1/2 of what we spend on just two of us. I don't know how that's possible. I've tried to learn from those threads, because I'm always looking for ways to save money. But in the threads where folks give the recipes that go along with those frugal grocery budgets, well, the quality of what most of them are eating is not ideal. Yes, you can get five pounds of ground chuck on sale at BJs for next to nothing, and sure, it will make nearly 20 meat servings in some meal. But it's just awful for you. In the end, some things aren't worth the sacrifice.


I totally agree. Just last month, I began to monitor my food budget. I found that the best way for me to save money is to plan meals and make a detailed shopping list. I also try to shop without the kids. By doing this I am saving at least $200/month but my food bill is still $200 week. This thread was making me doubt myself until I read your post. I buy organic vegetables and low fat hormone free meat and limit processed foods to one sweet and one salty item per week excluding cereal.

RADOPT
06-21-2006, 04:02 PM
We are not a good sample but - For my daughter and I, we spend $25.00 per week for food only (no soap, etc.) except cereal (I buy that only when it is on sale and stock up). We do everything from scratch. She doesn't like sweets and isn't a snacky person so we don't buy cookies, chips, soda or make cakes etc. Everything canned or bottled we get at a grocery outlet store. We have a large backyard with fruit trees (apples, oranges, peaches, persimmons and plums) and grow our own veggies (we freeze the extra). She eats only homemade soups for breakfast and loves veggies, we eat what is in season.

Like I said - we're not a good sample. But we do save a lot on food while eating well.

golden1
06-21-2006, 04:19 PM
I used to be in the $700-800/month range for our family of four but have cut back a bit. I am generally running about $600/month now. The biggest change for me has been changing the grocery store I shop at. I used to shop at our brand new Shaws store which is very nice but now I drive down the street to Market Basket and can get mostly the same items for about 25% less. Seriously, they will sell the same items for $1.00 less sometimes. I have been cutting back on the snack items which is better for my diet and my budget. ;) I also have been planning out meals a week in advance and being more disciplined about eating leftovers for lunch. I used to throw away a lot of food. I guess I could cut my budget further by shopping at multiple stores and clipping coupons but I just can't bring myself to do that work. My other tip is to keep a running tab in your head of how much you are spending. I do this so that if I am getting close to $100-150 I can take things out of my cart or decide not to buy something I don't need.

punkin
06-21-2006, 04:25 PM
We are not a good sample but - For my daughter and I, we spend $25.00 per week for food only (no soap, etc.) except cereal (I buy that only when it is on sale and stock up). We do everything from scratch. She doesn't like sweets and isn't a snacky person so we don't buy cookies, chips, soda or make cakes etc. Everything canned or bottled we get at a grocery outlet store. We have a large backyard with fruit trees (apples, oranges, peaches, persimmons and plums) and grow our own veggies (we freeze the extra). She eats only homemade soups for breakfast and loves veggies, we eat what is in season.

Like I said - we're not a good sample. But we do save a lot on food while eating well.

I am impressed. I have wanted to start a veggie garden for years, but I am a born and bred urbanite (currently living in suburbia with a back yard) and I have no idea where to start. Frankly gardening scares me, but I am willing to try anything for tomatoes that don't taste like cardboard. Any suggestions?

RADOPT
06-21-2006, 04:51 PM
I am impressed. I have wanted to start a veggie garden for years, but I am a born and bred urbanite (currently living in suburbia with a back yard) and I have no idea where to start. Frankly gardening scares me, but I am willing to try anything for tomatoes that don't taste like cardboard. Any suggestions?

We live in Silicon Valley - little house, big backyard.

You can grow tomatoes in the ground or in a pot. We do them in the ground with a cage and plant marigolds around them to keep away the bugs - especially the tomatoes bug - uck! Also, plant them where they will be the warmest - most if not all tomatoes like heat. There are a hugh number of different tomatoes. I would go to a nursery near you and ask for help. We usually do 3 - 4 different types and have them all year (fresh all summer into the fall and frozen the rest of the year) They are not hard to grow but you need to pick the right type for your taste and area. Green beans are also easy to grow and you can grow them upright which saves space - wonderful fresh! Watch out for squash - you will have more then enough. We do two plants - cook with them, give them to friends and still have enought to donate to the food pantry!

Be warned - once you have backyard fresh the stuff in the store is awful and will be a waste of money for you. I NEVER by tomatoes in the store anymore - they never taste like tomatoes. good luck!

donnajon
06-21-2006, 05:42 PM
I have to respectfully disagree that TheGroceryGame is a lot of work. I spend maybe one hour per week to clip and sort my coupons - I use a binder and the thing that takes the longest time is filing my coupns in the binder. But, with the GroceryGame, it tells me what is on sale at the rock bottom lowest price, what coupon I need to have (so I have my coupons pulled before I go to the store) and how much I am saving. We're a family of 5 and I might spend $60-$65 per week and this includes toiletries and cleaning supplies. I always thought I could get that stuff cheaper at Target or Wal-Mart. That was before I learned how to buy a large bottle of Spray N Wash for $.45 or Edge shaving gel for $.35. I recently paid $.35 for a for pack of razors that retailed at the same store I bought them at for $6.69! I actually enjoy going to the grocery store now that I have learned to play the game. If you have any questions, feel free to PM me. I just figure that hour of clipping coupons is worth the $100 or so that I save at the store.

dvcgirl
06-21-2006, 07:54 PM
I totally agree. Just last month, I began to monitor my food budget. I found that the best way for me to save money is to plan meals and make a detailed shopping list. I also try to shop without the kids. By doing this I am saving at least $200/month but my food bill is still $200 week. This thread was making me doubt myself until I read your post. I buy organic vegetables and low fat hormone free meat and limit processed foods to one sweet and one salty item per week excluding cereal.

I do this too....make a list, and buy organic. It's expensive, but so worth it. Forget even eating organic, it's expensive just to eat well. Fresh veggies, fruit, whole grains....all expensive. Healthy food is considered a "specialty" it seems. We pay nearly $5.00 for our Nature's Path cereal! It's crazy!

Good for you for limiting the sodium and sugar content for your kids. The diet for many children today is totally out of control. I was just reading an article recently that stated many physicians believe that our children today will be the first generation that will not live longer than their parents did. That's amazing when you factor in the medical breakthroughs we've had. Think about when we were kids (I'm 38). There was always one or two heavy kids in your class right? Look at classrooms today....*way* more kids are overweight. Go anywhere and look at kids. There are just a lot more kids today with weight issues than there were thirty years ago. Too much fast food, processed foods, sugar, empty calories....it's frightening. Have you ever seen "Honey we're Killing the Kids" on TLC? Watch that sometime if you haven't....it's eye-opening.

dvcgirl
06-21-2006, 08:11 PM
We are not a good sample but - For my daughter and I, we spend $25.00 per week for food only (no soap, etc.) except cereal (I buy that only when it is on sale and stock up). We do everything from scratch. She doesn't like sweets and isn't a snacky person so we don't buy cookies, chips, soda or make cakes etc. Everything canned or bottled we get at a grocery outlet store. We have a large backyard with fruit trees (apples, oranges, peaches, persimmons and plums) and grow our own veggies (we freeze the extra). She eats only homemade soups for breakfast and loves veggies, we eat what is in season.

Like I said - we're not a good sample. But we do save a lot on food while eating well.

That's very cool. We had another poster around here who was a SAHM...I think her DH was military...and she made everything from scratch as well. Baked all of the bread for the family...made pasta from scratch, everything. That's great if you can do it...nothing better.

shaylahc1
06-22-2006, 06:59 AM
Wow some of these costs seem really low!!! $5 a week for household supplies? I couldn't even get a box of tampons for $5 where I live! :rotfl2: Seriously, we are a family of 6 and we spend about $200-300 a week for ALL food & non-food groceries. That does NOT include pet food :blush: I live in an area where groceries are very expensive....the cheapest gallon of generic milk is $4.80 a gallon. Produce is very expensive as well. 1 lb of chicken breasts can easily run $7-8 a pack :confused3 I HATE spending so much money on food, but we eat well, buy organic when we can and load up on fresh produce.

I am curious as to how many of these low grocery budgets include things like buying lunch and eating out? When my kids are home for the summer all 6 of us eat almost every meal at home. I estimate the average cost to feed my family 1 meal (made with good meat and fresh produce) is at least 10-15 dollars.....

CJRN
06-22-2006, 07:02 AM
shaylahc1: What state/country do you live? Are the incomes high there as well?

shaylahc1
06-22-2006, 07:04 AM
shaylahc1: What state/country do you live? Are the incomes high there as well?
We are in Apex, NC (about 20 min outside of Raleigh). I do think the cost of living here is high. When we lived in Columbus in 1998 our grocery budget for 3 people was $50 a week :rotfl2: One of the first things we noticed when we moved was how expensive food was.

I wanted to add that I do shop sales and clip coupons...but it's never enough or so it seems!

marthachick
06-22-2006, 12:29 PM
I also use Angel Food Ministries for food. It is not needs based. It is for anyone who wants to save on groceries. Go to AngelFoodMinistries.com and click on "Host Sites" to find a location near you. There are several TX places listed.

Dawn


Hi Dawn,

Another NC'er here. From north of you... we recently started hearing about Angel Food Ministries. What is some of the food you get? Is it good quality? TIA!
Lisa

lindakmonty
06-22-2006, 12:52 PM
I have to respectfully disagree that TheGroceryGame is a lot of work. I spend maybe one hour per week to clip and sort my coupons - I use a binder and the thing that takes the longest time is filing my coupns in the binder. But, with the GroceryGame, it tells me what is on sale at the rock bottom lowest price, what coupon I need to have (so I have my coupons pulled before I go to the store) and how much I am saving. We're a family of 5 and I might spend $60-$65 per week and this includes toiletries and cleaning supplies. I always thought I could get that stuff cheaper at Target or Wal-Mart. That was before I learned how to buy a large bottle of Spray N Wash for $.45 or Edge shaving gel for $.35. I recently paid $.35 for a for pack of razors that retailed at the same store I bought them at for $6.69! I actually enjoy going to the grocery store now that I have learned to play the game. If you have any questions, feel free to PM me. I just figure that hour of clipping coupons is worth the $100 or so that I save at the store.

Sorry... What is the grocery game?? :confused3 Sounds like a great way for dh to save us some $ :) he retires in a few days so he'll have plenty of time to save us $ w/things like that. That sounds great! :) TIA

mom2my3kids
06-22-2006, 01:11 PM
We spend about 500.00 a month on grocery's, this is a family of 5 my children are 12,8,3.

mudnuri
06-22-2006, 01:37 PM
$400.00 a month including household supplies. Well, thats the budget but I usually end up between 325 and 350. Family of 4, 2 DD's 10 and 8

What I do-
discount food for canned and boxed foods- cereal, ketchup, condiment types
I also clip coupons and our price chopper doubles up to 99 cents. They also have triple coupons every now and then up to 4.00 face value..

I buy meat from a butcher. Usually $100.00 box at a time. There are some items in it we dont eat, so we swap them out for Chicken breast with him. I freeze the meat.

I use a monthly menu- it is basically a 10 day menu that rotates. We have breakfast dinner every 10 days or so, when we have pancakes or omelletes,
DBF's father gets eggs at work- so those are free

I'm a diet coke freak, so I wait until they are on sale- 4 12 packs for 9 and I generally have a coupon and stock up.

In general I dont buy generic foods, for the simple fact that I dont like them. I have signed up for just about every national food companies newsletter on line and recieve coupons and idea's from them monthly, generally with expiration dates 6 months out. I save those until they are on sale.

I go to the gas station across the street on Monday and take the coupon flyers out of the recycle bin. That way I dont pay for the paper I'm not going to read.

Very seldom do I buy a product without a coupon, except maxwell house smooth roast coffee. The big can is only 4.97 at our walmart- thats 4 bucks less than anywhere else so I always grab it at walmart.

Household items I get when I have coupons and they are on sale. Most of the time they end up being closer to free!

We do not eat pre-packaged food very often. And I cook at home every night except Sunday- DBF and I go out to eat on Sundays.

Brandy

DawnM
06-22-2006, 03:02 PM
Lisa,

I am not sure. This is my first month to try it! Now, my friend who have used it say it is great. The food is just like you would get in a supermarket and as long as you aren't too picky, you can eat well off of it.

How far North are you? My friend 90 miles away comes up to Charlotte once a month to go to the Discount Grocery Store and stocks up. She says she finds it well worth it. If you want more info email me: KenyaMK@aol.com.

Dawn

Hi Dawn,

Another NC'er here. From north of you... we recently started hearing about Angel Food Ministries. What is some of the food you get? Is it good quality? TIA!
Lisa

DawnM
06-22-2006, 03:07 PM
Ah, well, you see.....it is probably mostly laziness on my part! My friend tells me the same thing....that it is NOT time consuming.

I just really need to figure out a way to get the paper delivered for less $$. We don't currently get it.

Thanks. You are most likely right and I just need to start DOING it!

Dawn


I have to respectfully disagree that TheGroceryGame is a lot of work. I spend maybe one hour per week to clip and sort my coupons - I use a binder and the thing that takes the longest time is filing my coupns in the binder. But, with the GroceryGame, it tells me what is on sale at the rock bottom lowest price, what coupon I need to have (so I have my coupons pulled before I go to the store) and how much I am saving. We're a family of 5 and I might spend $60-$65 per week and this includes toiletries and cleaning supplies. I always thought I could get that stuff cheaper at Target or Wal-Mart. That was before I learned how to buy a large bottle of Spray N Wash for $.45 or Edge shaving gel for $.35. I recently paid $.35 for a for pack of razors that retailed at the same store I bought them at for $6.69! I actually enjoy going to the grocery store now that I have learned to play the game. If you have any questions, feel free to PM me. I just figure that hour of clipping coupons is worth the $100 or so that I save at the store.

LoveWDW
06-22-2006, 03:27 PM
I am amazed at $40 a week for a family of 4! $40 wouldn't cover produce and milk for me. I'd say for my husband and myself I spend $120 a week, including cleaning supplies and paper goods. We don't eat out much, once every few months, maybe. Now that we are eating reduced carb, the price has risen- no bread, potatoes, rice, noodles.

QueenT
06-22-2006, 04:41 PM
OP here - Thanks for all the great responses, this is so helpful. What I have found is that I do a pretty good job in my initial grocery shopping, but then I go back to the store almost daily, by the end of 2 wks I have spent quite a bit. Right now we are spending about 200$ a week, so there is a lot of room for improvement.

I can see, like DisneySteve & others have mentioned, that it is difficult to make comparisons, since preferences, lifestyle, family size, and geography all play a part. I am fortunate to live in a metro area w/ several stores nearby, so I can shop sales.

We do a lot of cooking, but also seem to grab fast food often enough, I am the biggest culprit for that with work lunches.

I think I will plan a few changes & see how they work out:

1) I will include all food, including school lunches, work lunches, restaurant food, etc in my budget. That way I can adjust my choices & see the impact on my budget.

2) Make 1 week menus based on sales. DH is pretty choosy about quality ingredients so sales are important. I can do w/o meat but he can't.

3) Bring my lunch at work 3/4 days, or at least buy in bulk diet coke etc instead of getting it out of the vending machine

4) Use coupons. I may try the Grocery Game thing, not sure what it is but sounds interesting.

I am shooting for 150$ a week first go-round. I just paid for my plane tickets so I need to get thrifty!!

nbodyhome
06-22-2006, 04:57 PM
I agree that it is hard to judge based on others. I used to spend less, now I'm sometimes as high as $100.00 a week for the two of us including pet food and household supplies (I try to budget $80 though). Though really, I could stop buying for a couple of weeks and we'd have plenty to eat. I am looking forward to buying a house next year and having a freezer to put larger items in.

On the average week, we really don't eat out at all - maybe we can average once a week, which might include a slice of pizza at the Boardwalk for me when I go down to GKTW to volunteer and stop on Disney property. But I don't buy lattes, coffee, rarely fast food, etc. I make my own smoothies, and have plenty of produce and such for myself on hand, as well as snacks for my husband. I do pay a little more for some items - like pistachios in a large box of 24, instead of just a canister, but I think it saves money (and calories) in the end.

Actually, I could probably go 3 weeks and not have to buy anything, though I'd run out of smoothie stuff pretty quickly. :) And I'm stocked on feminine products with all the great deals I got at BJ's until 2007! And I do use the food budget sometimes for other items like cards and a shirt or something if it's on a very, very deep clearance - so $80 might be about right per week. Not bad for essentially 42 meals and snacks, drinks, and such (though I actually eat 6 times or so per day). I do shop the warehouse clubs and sales (like buy 1 get 1) at the store, so I get great deals on lots of what I buy.

nbodyhome
06-22-2006, 05:02 PM
Oh...I forgot to mention that there are things I do, like buying enriched breads that do cost more as well. I could certainly get cheap bread, but I'd rather get it with more fiber and such.

Eating healthier may cost a little more, but should save lots of money in the long run.

Tink-n-Belle
06-22-2006, 06:19 PM
I spend about $450 a month on food and cleaning supplies. I buy most stuff on sale and stock up. (if cereal or toliet paper is on sale I will be 3 or 4 and stock up) We go to BJ's where I buy all my meats and cleaning supplies/tissues etc.

I have been using a monthly budget for 15 years and it works really great for me. One thing you need to remember is that if you go grocery shopping every week- Every 3rd month there is an extra week. For example Jan has 4 Fridays, Feb has 4 Fridays, but March will have 5 Fridays, so your budget for that month will be $125 higher just because of the extra month so instead of spending $450 that month I will be spending $525 to make up for the extra week. Also when you think of July (31 days) & August (31 days) you have 9 weeks. ( but also remember that you get an extra payday every 3rd month too (or every 6 months if you get paid bi weekly).

I also spend $175 on dinners out and me and DH get $100 each of whatever money that we spend on "whatever" we want-- DH usually buys lunch with his. The $450 doesn't include school lunches which will be about $80 a month next year.

The best advice I can give anyone about a budget is to use it as a GUIDE. Some months you will be under /some over. You need to have a realistic amount- if you can't do groceries for $100 a week increase it to $110 or $120. Use an average. If more of the things I buy are on sale in any given week I will be spending more at the market, but it tends to even out over the month so I wont be buying alot of stuff the following weeks! I find working with a monthly budget is easier for me. However, there are times when I do overspend-- but I brush myself off and restart.

Good luck. It doesn't come over night!!