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View Full Version : Grocery Bills/Eating out etc....


panfan
06-23-2004, 10:26 AM
Just really going over my family's spending habits and have decided to really cut back in some areas. We usually don't hold back at all at the grocery store and eat out several times a week ( a budget killer, I know!) We have been doing better on the eating out part, but I would like some ideas of what is a "normal" amout weekly at the grocery store for a family of 4. If any of you might be willing to reveal what you spend and what your going out to eat habits are, I would appreciate it!

Thanks a head of time :)

tar heel
06-23-2004, 11:33 AM
It makes a lot of difference what ages your children are. I have two teenage boys plus a 10-year-old on a growth spurt -- that might be scary to someone with little children. I can feed us well on $100-$125 a week IF I do all the grocery shopping by myself. If anyone goes with me, especially dh, the bill goes up. That may sound like a lot of $, but when you consider that I spend about $30 on just milk . . . I don't have time to be a fanatic about saving but here's a few things I try to do regularly:

Clip coupons each Sunday
Go over the sale flier for each of the two stores I shop at regularly and make a list of the really good buys
Plan meals around what's on sale and go to the grocery store with a list -- I mark beside the item if I have a coupon or its BOGOF

There are things I just plain don't buy unless they are on sale -- specific brands of cereal, namebrand ice cream, soft drinks, etc. I buy things we really like that I would never pay full price for when they are on sale. For example, we cooked babyback ribs for Father's Day. I spent about $25 for them (two meals) but the regular price was twice that much.

I pretty much know what Target, Walmart and the two grocery stores charge for the things I buy regularly. If you have no idea, you might want to keep a notebook for awhile.

We eat out less than once a week -- it's just way too expensive for four "adults" and a child. We went out for a birthday celebration last weekend and it was $115! My boys love Pizza Hut pizza, so I do that once in a while -- either on Monday when a large is $6.99 or using the best coupons I can find at pizzahut.com -- I'm proud to say my 16-year-old even has his friends going to the website to get coupons before they order pizza.

swilshire
06-23-2004, 11:37 AM
We only eat out once or twice a month and then at inexpensive restaurants. I order lunch out from work two - three times a week. Usually fast food.

I shudder to think what our grocery bill for six would be, but my guess would be we spend $700 - $800 a month at the grocery. Of course, there are some non-grocery items such as paper products, diapers and the like.

I shop the store ads and clip coupons, so I stock up when things are on sale. We spend an awful lot on sodas and chips. I have one kid who swore off the Cokes. If I could get a few more to do it, that would be great.

It will be interesting to see the responses to this thread.

Sheila

Keli
06-23-2004, 11:38 AM
I have a family of three (but my college age dd doesn't spend too much time at the house and eats away from home at least 3-4 times a week). We eat dinner out once or sometimes twice a week right now. I spend 30-40 dollars a week on groceries if we aren't eating out much, a little less if we are. My dh does take his lunch to work most days but he often eats leftovers from dinner so I don't have to buy a whole lot of items just for his lunch (I buy bread, lunchmeat, and soups for his lunch). I tend to shop carefully, often buying the generic brand on items and we have a large garden that provides a lot of our food in summer especially (I can some veggies so it does provide for winter months too but not nearly as many items). I shop at a cheaper grocery store first (Aldi's) and the items I can't find there I go to Walmart's grocery and pick up.

gigi1313
06-23-2004, 12:02 PM
we are a family of four w/dd9 and ds7, and spend at least $100-150 per week on groceries... we used to spend less at the grocery store but ate out more which resulted in actually spending more, so we've cut down... most of our money is spent in the produce and deli aisles as i pack the kids' lunch 5 days/week and we are big fruit/salad eaters... of course, with milk at $4+ per gallon our grocery bills have gone up recently...

i realize we also live in a high cost area, so that may affect spending as well...

karemore
06-23-2004, 12:17 PM
You can save SO much money on groceries by learning how much everything costs and buying items on sale.

I had no idea until I married my DH.

Each store has it's own sales and promotions, but they tend to follow a pattern.

We stick to one store for most of our groceries because they offer buy one get one free sales on many staple items and also have 1/2 price sales.

We buy all our chicken, frozen ravioli, bagels, breads, baked goods, paper products, cereal, shampoos, soaps, vitamins, etc this way.

It's much easier than clipping coupons.

I did have to learn to eat what was on sale, rather than buying whatever I wanted.....but once you get into it....it's fun to see how much money you save and how quickly!

Fruit and veggies are a big way to save too.

Buy what is on sale. You can save a ton of money eating what is in season or on special.

Store brands are just as good on some items...but not on others. You need to experiment a bit with generics.

Make it a family project, and let them see the money that is saved. I put mine in a special Disney envelope in the safe at home, it helps keep me on track!

Good luck.

Karen

StephMK
06-23-2004, 01:05 PM
That's exactly what I have been thinking about the last day -so glad you asked the question! I spend about $600 a month on food. $100 a week at the grocery store, once a month it may be less than that. Plus avg. 1 Costco trip a month - $150-200. That's without coupons & trying to buy things on sale but not tracking prices like I used to. DH & I both drink sodas instead of coffee. We spend a bunch on bread, milk, lunchmeat & sodas. My kids are 10, 4, 2.

We usually do take out pizza or fast food once a week or so. Our restaurant bill has gone way down since the kids are just too awful to take out to eat in peace! :p

I would love to participate in a food saving thread & see what we can add to a Disney fund.

beansmom
06-23-2004, 01:13 PM
Panfan,

I only feed two of us now but I used to feed 5.

A great idea for not eating out is to do once a month cooking---buy whatever meat is on sale, cook 3-4 different dishes with it and freeze them. Easy to pop in the oven any evening.

I do clip coupons...my bathroom is full of free or cheap razors, toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo, beauty items. My pantry is stocked with free or super cheap pasta, salsa, ketchup, rice, veggies...what ever I can get cheap.

I would suggest a website called www.frugal-families.com It's got great forums on how to make the most of your money in all aspects. I don't do everything they suggest, of course, but I have learned enough to save plenty.

momtofour
06-23-2004, 03:04 PM
I shudder to think how much I spend for our family of six! Between Costco and almost daily trips to the grocery store, it would have to be at least $1000.00 per month. I know I buy all the wrong things, lots of prepackaged items, and impulse selections. Often, I take one of the kids with for some alone time so that always results in a higher bill. Also, I tend to have lots of "inventory" at home. If I would just live off of that for awhile I know I would see significant savings!

sln88
06-23-2004, 04:53 PM
Great site to learn how to get groceries cheap and free!

mrsboz
06-23-2004, 08:12 PM
There are five of us and I usually spend $200 - $225/week. I'm not careful at all I buy whatever I want. Recently I realized that I should start watching what I buy and try to shave a little off of this total. I go to the store and don't even check to see what I still have at home. When I return home I would see four jars of mayonaise, three bottles of ketchup and so on. I've been getting much better and am amazed at the savings. It would be really neat to see what people can save. Also, we eat out at least once a week. Too much money spent on food. I notice that the soda and junk adds up fast.

crazelion
06-23-2004, 09:25 PM
I saved alot money only buying the things i like to eat and not trying anything new unless I a coupon for the product being free.

I eat at home alot in the winter because it's cold outside.

In the summer I eat at work alot because I eat for free. Plus at the baseball park they hand coupons for free a local food places for free food.

panfan
06-23-2004, 11:15 PM
Thanks for all the input and suggestions on the other websights to check out !! I appreciate everyone sharing!!

Thanks again :)

sarahsmom73
06-24-2004, 06:38 AM
I have become the coupon clipping BOGO (buy one get one free) shoppin' Mama! I have saved an amazing amount of money each week at the grocery store. I too tend to stick with what is on sale and what I have coupons for.. I never used to be that way but hold a Disney Trip in front of my nose and I'll do just about anything!!!

Let's keep this thread going!:)

mudnuri
06-24-2004, 07:10 AM
We're a family of 4, and eat out 2x per week (fri and sat nights).

I spend about $350 per month on groceries. I do not clip coupons, however I do start at a discount warehouse first, and by all non-perishable food items there.

The kids eat the quaker cereal in a bag, instead of the box, I buy smashed boxes of fruit snacks. (the snacks are fine)...

We do not drink soda, and 99% of the time only drink water from our dispenser in the fridge.

Generics on some stuff, but others I will only buy a certain brand, and I stock up when they are on sale.

If I do a Costco trip- usually every 2 months or so, I spend about $400 there, and buy enough meat to fill the freezer, and paper products etc.

I don't buy lunch meat, the kids prefer pbj/fluff sandwiches over anything else. I try not to buy anything that's prepackaged, like lunchables, etc...(VERY high in sodium), those are a maybe once every 2 month treat for them.

for snacks the kids get the generic brand of crackers, generic fruit snacks, and pudding.

My biggest expense is fruits/veggies. We are huge salad eaters, and the kids love snacking on grapes, apples, baby carrots etc...

We only use milk in cereal so I buy the generic 2%...

I just dont have time to clip coupons however I'd say almost all of the time I shop at the same major grocery store after the discount, which has a lot of b1g2 free....on staples etc.

Brandy

Taja
06-24-2004, 08:54 AM
I'm a family of one and spend about $60 per month on food only groceries. I try to eat fairly healthy stuff for the most part, and seasonal produce helps keep the bill down! I eat much smaller quantities of food than growing children (particularly teens), but I eat six or seven times each day and consume about 1200 to 1500 calories throughout the day. Although I like meat and fish, I limit consumption to about 4 times a week, which also helps to reduce the monthly costs. I watch the weekly ads at four nearby grocery stores, although I usually shop at only two each week (take a cooler for perishables for the second stop), unless one of the other stores has a particularly good value on a significant item (i.e., roast or chops to be frozen for future use, etc.). Then I purchase just that item. I also use the "loyalty" programs at all four stores--I am loyal to my budget!

I carry my lunch (heaviest meal of the day at about 400 calories on average) and snacks most days, with an occasional lunch out ($8 to $10) or fast food, which comes from my weekly cash "allowance". It's amazing how much you can save on dining out when you limit your cash on hand and dine out only when the cash is available!

Actually, I started this programme for health reasons, but it has developed into a nice way to save $50 to $100 per month on groceries and dining out! And yes, I do eat junk food. I just try to limit the daily quantity!


__________________
Taja http://www.click-smilies.de/sammlung0304/natur/nature-smiley-016.gif

crisi
06-24-2004, 09:26 AM
We have the oddest shopping and dining out patterns.

Both DH and I work outside the home. And we both have "don't really have to worry about money too much" kind of incomes. But I'm fairly frugal naturally and he is a spendthrift. Our kids are 4 and 5.

Since the kids were born, we buy most of our groceries from an internet based grocery delivery service (www.simondelivers.com). We spend about $80 a week. But the kids get two meals five days a week at daycare, and DH and I eat all our lunches out - these tend to be the big meals of the day. DH doesn't get home most nights until after seven, so I feed the kids a lunch-like dinner - mac n cheese, peanut butter, chicken nuggets. I usually just have a snack (last night, fried tofu - night before peaches and cottage cheese) and finish off theirs.

Once a month or so we end up at the grocery store - either looking for things simondelivers doesn't carry, or because we missed our order or forgot something. We tend to spend more at the grocery store than when we shop over the internet. More browsing. For the most part, we shop pretty high end luxury markets - it adds about 15% to the grocery bill, but they bag and take your groceries out to the car for you - which is really important to me when I have two preschoolers along to watch in the parking lot. Also, the produce is better - simondelivers doesn't have great produce (you don't pick it yourself, so you don't get to decide if the plums are the right ripeness, and sometimes things are a little more bruised than I'd choose) - and the produce is really nice at the markets I shop at (so is the meat).

If I don't have kids along, I shop the discount grocer. I also do Sam's Club on occation - milk there is a dollar a gallon cheaper than I can get it anyplace else - and probably spend another $40 at Sam's Club over the course of the month (excluding gas, which is why I have a Sam's Club membership). I buy things like laundry detergent there or at Target.

We do a lot of dining out and pizza on the weekends.

sap1227
06-24-2004, 02:25 PM
We have our grocery bill down to $150 most months (me, DH, DS 2--other DS is nursing).
We use coupons like crazy. I used to think that coupons were not worth it, but I have had a huge change of heart. It makes me sick to think how much money we have wasted over our marriage buying groceries and health and beauty items.

Here are 2 of our best savers...
If you have a Walgreens near you, buy the Free After Rebate items. This month one of the free items was V05 Oasis Shampoo--there was also a coupon in the paper for Buy the Oasis Shampoo Get One Free. So we got 2 things of shampoo for free.

Right now they have Gilette Deod for 99c each. There were coupons for $1.25 off Gillette in the paper, so I made .26c on each thing of deoderant I bought.

If you have an Albertsons near you, check their 10 for $10 items (you do not have to buy 10 of each thing--they ring up $1.00 a piece). Last week they had Capt Crunch for $1, I had coupons for .70c off. I got each box for .30c. You can not beat that!!

They also had Eggos 10 for $10 last week--I had a coupon for 50c on 2 boxes. And I only bought the boxes with Kellogg Kash on them.

My favorite website for coupons savings is
http://www.Fatwallet.com (there is a forum on grocery coupons)

Christy