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Blissful and Domestic is now on Youtube!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Reader's Corner: What do I Budget for Groceries?

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"Hi. I simply love your blog, wish I had the time to read all of it. Would be great if you had a mailing list to send us weekly tips/etc. Anyway, my question is: how much should a family of two (adults) spend on groceries each month? I have been looking online and there is no exact answer.
Thank you so much!!!!"

-E

Thank you so much for your question E. I actually get a lot of questions very similar to this one. I wish I had an exact answer for you, but I can't give you that. A grocery budget is a personal decision. It should be made between yourself and spouse. You need to look at your bills and see what you can honestly afford on groceries. If you feel you can spend less, then try it out. Try to implement little saving techniques and see how your grocery budget will be transformed. Below are a few tips and tricks to help you reduce your grocery budget and get yourself on the path of saving and living within your means.

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Tip #1 - Only Go to the Store Once
Whether you grocery shop once a week, every two weeks, or every month. Only go once. Once you have done your shopping, don't go back to the store. Remember impulse buying is a given. We are humans and it is hard to resist those end cap deals or late night munchie cravings. It happens to the best of us, so stay away. Staying out of the store means less money spent and a happier bank account:)

Tip #2- Only Buy What is on the List
If you have meal planned and done your prep work then your shopping trip should go off without a hitch. You should feel the pure satisfaction of knowing that all your planning paid off, since you stayed within your budget. It is when we venture off of the grocery list, that our food budget can increase dramatically. Keep to the list. Go through the store with blinders on and only buy what you need for that week (two weeks, month, etc). Be diligent about it. Remember that if you over spend on groceries, then the money will have to come from somewhere else. Over spending on groceries means you may not have money for something else later in the month.

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Source HERE

Tip #3- Pick a Budget and Stick to It
Every month I know that I have $400 to grocery shop. Before I use to see this as a horrible challenge. I mean how the heck was I going to feed my family of four on $400? It seemed crazy. It was crazy because I didn't have a plan. I knew that the $600-$800 I was spending every month was a direct result of  my poor planning. I was out of control. I had no one to blame, but myself. My family was suffering because I was not doing my part. I needed to try harder. I knew that $400 is what was in the budget for groceries, so I had to make it work. I knew that I had to plan every single penny. It was a lot of work, but now it is second nature. After doing it for 4 years I have gotten pretty good at it. I walk through the grocery store with a calculator. I don't want to be surprised when I get to the check out. I want to know exactly how much my total will be. Before I got to the checkout, if my total is more than I budgeted, I put stuff back. Remember that once your budget is gone, it is gone. Pick a budget and stick to it NO MATTER WHAT.

Tip #4- Pay Cash
Paying cash is essential. It enables you to not over spend. Don't bring credit cards or debit cards, in order to "save you" just in case you buy to much. Only go into the store with what you are able to spend on groceries. Hold yourself accountable. Again use that calculator and put your math skills to work. This is the only way to stay within your budget.

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Source HERE

Tip #5- Make a Plan and Stick to It

This is the last one and is so very important. Make a P-L-A-N. This is is essential folks. If you have no plan, you will fail before you begin. You wouldn't build a house without a plan, you wouldn't make a cake without a recipe, so why grocery shop without a list? You need to have a purpose and have direction. If you don't have a plan, then you will wonder aimlessly only buying snacks and realizing you have nothing to feed your family. Meal plan for the week, two weeks, or month. Plan each meal and what snacks your family would like. Include a list of fresh fruits and veggies that are on sale. Look at the local adds. See what is on sale and try to only buy what is on sale or in season. Plan your meals off of the ads, what you already have in your pantry, and your meal plan. By having a plan, your grocery trip and budget will be transformed.

These 5 tips are ones that I follow every single month. These 5 tips help me keep to my $400 grocery budget. I promise if you follow these tips you will be able to cut your grocery budget and save your family money. Talk as a family and decide what budget is best for you. Communication is key ladies and gents. If you do all this I know you will reap the benefits.

If anyone else has some great tips for E, please share. I love hearing how you all are saving and making great changes.

Find more answers to your questions in past Reader's Corner Posts.

P.S.
The Blissful Exchange Topic for the week is up on the facebook page. Hop on over and give your 2 cents on how to save $$$ on dry cleaning. Any green cleaning options, DIY tricks, or tips would be appreciated:)


XO Danielle

48 comments:

  1. I grocery shop online here in the uk.
    Not only does it mean that I can see what I am spending as I shop,but I can also delete things if I think that I have over spent.
    I only buy the shops value brand,as this is usually lower in fat,salt and sugar ,from the good branded stuff.
    I do make a meal plan in advance,so only buy what I need from the list,and I usually spend around £45-£60 per week for a family of 5 plus a dog !!

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  2. GREAT tips!! And we follow all of those as well. I find it helpful to also have what we call a "clean out" night. This is every Thursday night. We eat leftovers and or clean out the fridge. It is not a favorite to my boys, but it helps with our grocery bill and lets be honest here, there is good food in the fridge most weeks we can eat. Another thing we do is having a few days with set meals every week. Tuesdays are breakfast food and Fridays are homemade pizza. Making a plan is the hardest part for me and having set meals on these nights really helps me with my lists. And one other I always make a BIG pot of something to have 2 nights in a row. And sometimes for lunch too. Soups go a l o n g way!

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    1. I love clean out nights. We make it into a movie night and then I actually clean the fridge once all the leftovers have been eaten. It keeps the fridge looking good:>

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  3. Thank you for this post. Currently, I live aboard my sailboat and going to the store once a week proves to be challenging - our fridge is small and our freezer, even smaller. Yet, I'm sure I can plan for the non-fridge/freezer groceries and maybe do two runs during the week for the things that need to be chilled?

    Thanks,
    alison

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  4. I shop for a family of 2 (me and my hubby), and my monthly grocery budget is $240. I stock up on all meat at Costco once every 3-4 months, I really try to stretch my meat so I don't use as much. It's healthier that way too. I've also found that having a few meatless meals a week saves a lot of money. Having a stocked pantry is a must, because then you aren't buy pantry staples all month. I make a weekly menu of the meals we are going to eat, and we stick to it. I'll plan it into the menu if the hubby and I are going out to dinner. I also clip coupons and use them when I can.

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  5. wow! $400/month is amazing. i am in awe! my family of 5 is nowhere near that number despite my following most of your tips (i don't use cash!!)way to go!

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    1. Thanks Tracy, but don't forget prices vary depending on where you live, which is why everyone's grocery budget is different.

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  6. I have started applying your ideas back in July and it saved us a lot of money since then. Now I have a feeling exactly how much we need, how many pork chops we can eat and how long bell peppers can stay fresh and usable. Not only that, it improved our quality of life, since we don't eat crappy food and there is always a cooked meal in our house. My boyfriend is also much happier bringing his lunch box and a box of fruit to work and not spending 8 euros for Pizza. I think that his programer coleagues get jealous when they see fresh cutted strawberies instead of snickers from the vending machine :)
    I myself lost 7 lb for 9 months of homemade food and I feel more efficient every day. I am a scientst and domestic life was very far away from my field of interest when I started, but now it makes me really happy and fulfilled

    Jelena
    http://www.fablifephd.blogspot.de/

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    1. Jelena that is awesome! I am so proud of you! You rock!

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    2. Thanks for the encouragement! :)
      Speaking about the exact budget, it is 300 $ with toilteries. I would still say that I have the feeling thathe food is a bit cheaper in Germany than the most of the USA

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  7. I feed my family of 4 on $260 a month. It was hard a first, but once I matched some coupons up with deals, an planned out my trip it was easy! Now I always have a list and I try to have a coupon for almost every item in the basket. And if you look in the fridge we always have fresh fruits and veggies! Thanks for the post :)

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  8. Great tips! i would add to shop the flyers and use coupons as well. Also look for ideas outside of the box that save you money. We make use of a local good food box that gives us fruit and vegetables at a lower cost plus we plant a garden in the summer. We also buy from a cold storage place that offers random sales on large quantities like 60 bagels for $5. Our budget is $500 for 3 adults and 3 kids.

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    1. Yes flyer's and coupons are great sources to save $$

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  9. Great tips! We follow almost all of them. Eating seasonally is important too. Out budget is $280 a month for a family of 4 with additional $50 if we need to stock up. I don't use coupons much but I plan our shopping trip and a weekly menu (huge if you want to save money on groceries) around store sales and what we already have on hand.

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  10. Good advise! I know our local grocery store VERY well (hey there fellow Las vegan!!)and I do our list according to the layout of our store, which REALLY streamlines my shopping time. I also do my list 3 times before I have a final one. I write the prices down beside each item (I do round UP) so I know before I go exactly what my budget is. I know that because I round UP the cost, say if something costs $2.60 I round it to $3. This gives me about a $5 cushion so I can treat myself to a candy bar at the end!

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  11. We grocery shop once every two weeks and only spend $120 a week or $240 a month for a family of 5. Sounds crazy, but we do it and never go hungry. We also try to pick healthier choices and make most things from scratch. Great tips...I think I do every one of them!

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  12. Danielle - I've just recently become aware of the LDS Home Storage Centers, we have one not far from us and they allow people outside the church to come in and can their items they would like to buy at the same price with an appointment. i was wondering your take on this as far as price point? I'm very excited to go and do this as it seems like a good price AND I've always wanted to can. For your reader question, we budget $50/wk (depending on the month it ranges 200-250 - i'm working on the 1/month shopping) for 2 adults and 1 kid. Fresh fruits and veggies, snackies (which I'm trying to get away from), toiletries (shampoo to trash bags to deodarent to toilet paper - they have the best price!) at the grocery store. BUT I know that I can do better than that since we do buy alot of snacky foods, but the toiletries and stuff will continue to come from krogers i spend more at walmart due to all the other items offered there, i try to resist but just can't seemed to sometimes!

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    1. I think the prices at the LDS cannery are awesome. I am LDS, but that is not why I shop there. I shop there because it is the best price to feed my family. Anything within the LDS church is priced so people can actually buy it. They are not trying to make money off of it. They want to be able to allow people to feed their families and live within their means. That is why I also love the LDS Cannery. I am excited for you to try them out. Let me know how it goes:>

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    2. i will! yes, i really enjoyed talking with the lady that runs it. she was explaining all that and how its a community outreach program no matter who you are. i want to go for a whole day so that I can can what I want to purchase and also more so that I can help their mission.

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  13. When I first started reading your blog, I had also found an idea on Pinterest to create a monthly menu plan on a dry erase board. I now budget just $300 for a family of 4 (plus one on the way), though that will go up as my toddler grows and this baby is born. I plan out dinners for the month and take leftovers into account (usually a leftover night once a week). I go grocery shopping once at the beginning of the month for everything I need after looking through my freezer and pantry to see what I already have. There is usually another trip mid month for more milk and fresh fruits/veggies. I also know that if I only need a gallon of milk, it is better to have my hubby get it on his way home from work than for me to make a trip JUST for that. Thanks for all the tips!!

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  14. I shop for 2 adults, and my budget is $300. BUT, I have a separate budget for Costco, and we go there about every 3 months and spend $200-250, for stuff like toilet paper, laundry detergent, and I buy a lot of beef there since it's much better quality than the grocery store for not that much difference in price. We eat at home about 6 nights a week, and I cook mostly from scratch (I do use things like jarred pasta sauce sometimes on weeknights). II also bring leftovers for my lunch 4 days a week, and try to have leftovers for him to eat at home (He works at home if he isn't traveling), but he still goes out, but that's out of his money, not the grocery budget. If I could kick my SO of his Keurig K-cup and soda habits, I bet I could do it for even less than $300 :)

    The biggest thing I do that helps (other than the planning and lists that are already covered here), is buy stuff like chicken breasts when they're at their lowest price, which is $1.99/lb here. I buy 2-3 packages at at time, which is 10-15 breasts. I freeze them in packages of 2. So, the bill is larger in the weeks that I do that, but then I won't have to buy them the rest of the month so my bill is lower when all I have to buy is perishables like produce. I do the same for pretty much all meats that I don't already buy at Costco.

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    1. Great tip on saving with meat:>

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    2. We do that as well with items from Costco! My vacu-sealer is one of the greatest things I've bought for the kitchen! :)

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  15. oh! also a garden - our little 8x8 framed with landscape timers yields enough for our family and friends too. this year I've challenged myself to learn to can so i dont have food waste there and maybe it can hold us thru the fall-winter months.u would be surprised how much cucumbers and tomatoes cost at the store after you grow them for your weekly salad.

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  16. OMG, I can't even imagine only spending $400. I'd love to though. I am currently spending $200/wk. on a family of 3. That seems crazy to me and I shop at Market Basket. We definitely stick to the list so I'm not so sure where I'm going wrong. I always pay cash too. We are not BIG credit card users. We believe in spending what we have only. I don't like to owe. This will be a challenge for me, but you've inspired me to make a plan. I'm going to figure it out. Even if I could save $200 a month, I would be happy :o)

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    1. I loved market Basket prices when i lived in mass. I didn't need a flyer for them they were and probally still are the least expensive place to shop. Even Walmart couldn't beat them :)
      My budget for a family of 3 living in mass(2adults and 1 child) was 270/m and now in texas it is 215/month with 1 adult and 1 child

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  17. I've been following you blog for about amonth. I lowered by grocery tab from about $550 in February to $456 in March. I was so proud that I only spent $405. Way easier than I thought when you plan it out! I went grocery shopping Monday and only spent $100(fun total)at Winco then $65 at Savemart. This was for 3 weeks of grocerys (including meat) minus the weekly produce and milk goods. Yoohoo ( I use coupons so this helped). I plan on using the savings for a frezzer ! Thanks for your great tips Danielle!

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  19. I have a family of 5 and I spend $500.00 a month on food. ($100.00 a month per person seems reasonable but challenging.) I have implemented many of Danielle's money saving practices; I feel a sense of accomplishment that I can make it work. We have decided in this past month to become vegetarians so I have taken my meat budget and upped my whole grains, nuts, legumes and fresh produce. I am going to try canning soon.

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  20. We've been working like crazy to try and reduce our monthly expenses and pay off debts. Our grocery bill was a huge part of the problem. Some weeks we were at Wegmans 5 or 6 times, mostly because it's so close to our home (I'm talking walking distance here!). I started implementing your tips on using cash, and only going once a week. I even have a separate wallet for grocery money and receipts. Because of this (and other things) we've paid down $1000 on a debt in one month!

    One of our biggest ways of saving money is on beef-we buy it direct from a farm in bulk. Last year we bought a half of a cow and split it between 4 families. We each got around 100lbs of fresh, organic and hormone free beef for about 3.99/lb including ground beef, stew beef, roasts, steaks-we even had a prime rib and a few sirloin steaks. Our freezer has gotten so much use this year! We also shop for vegetables and fruit at our farmers markets in the summer. Not only do we get the freshest selection while supporting our local farms. I'm already excited about pick your own strawberry season in a couple months!

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  21. I have a family of 8. A few of the things I do to stay under 500 a month are. the things you listed but also. I garden in the summer and bottle or freeze as much as I can. Buy hamburger when on sale and mix it 50/50 with either turkey burger (which is cheaper than beef)or deer or elk if someone donates some to us. I put in some onion and sage (helps pull the game flavor out of the deer) and some beef base into the pan when frying it up. Then I freeze it in portions for my family. It also helps when I need to get dinner on the table in a hurry. You can also add shredded potato to your burger to stretch it a bit further. We eat leftovers the next day for lunch. buy staple items. if you want a pasta dinner learn how to make it with out a box. same goes for potatoes. the thing we spend most on is fresh fruit and vegies. Also something that I have begun to love is bountiful baskets.http://www.bountifulbaskets.org/ it is available in most states. After I get it I plan my menu for the next 2 weeks using the fresh fruit and vegies I get in it. Since I have 6 kids we do go threw milk and bread fast so of I need more I send an older child in to pick up a gallon of milk or a loaf of bread with the right amount of money. that way I cant see a great deal or impulse buy. I hope that helps some.

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  22. The thing that has saved our budget and that we love is that we shop in bulk and make almost everything from scratch. We buy our meat from farmers and eat meat sparingly. We also garden and grow as much as we can. I have shared our family's process for shopping and saving that last two Mondays on my blog. I just love your blog and am so glad to see how well it has done :)

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  23. Great tips! I agree with every one of them, especially #1...that always kills me! I'm going to link this post on my blog for next week's grocery post. Thanks Danielle!

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  24. Great post. I am a cash only lady too and these are great tips to get people organized about their shopping.

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  25. Thanks everyone for all the great tips!!!
    We have always made meals from scratch but we are now trying to implement a strict budget and all these tips help so much!

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  26. Thank you so much to everyone for all the great tips and advice! I am glad to see I'm not the only one trying to stretch pennies and get the most for them while I'm at it! We are currently a house of two (the hubs and I)
    We currently plan our meals a month at a time, and by we, I actually mean myself, with the occasional request of a dish from the hubs. He is very good at volunteering to grill or smoke food for us, and believe me, this time of year as the weather improves, I am all about letting him take the reins for a change!
    Along with our meal planning, I also do a lot of "prep work" on my days off, or the weekends (whenever I squeeze it in). I like to have cooked meat, ground beef, pork, sausage, all cooked and put into one pound bags (only 1 kind of meat in a bag or reusable container) I also cook chicken in my crock pot and then shred it up and store it similar to the ground meats. THis makes week night meals so quick and simple!
    We both come from farming families, so we always have a steer in the freezer (butchered, not whole!) :) so beef is not a problem, we do the same with a hog. Chicken is our culprit at the store, I typically stock up when I can find it on sale, usually for about 1.77/lb for boneless, skinless breasts. I'll cook one package for shredded chicken, and separate the other into packages of 2 for other uses.
    I am a huge fan of coupons! I look for stores that have double and triple coupons, however, you have to be very conscious of prices, as some smaller chains are more expensive even with their "bonus coupons" than your big box stores. I also try to use the "stick to my list" method, but at times still get suckered in by an item or two! I like to coupon at target for bathroom products, soaps, shampoos, razors, etc, because target will let you use a manufacturers coupon and a target coupon on the same item, hello savings! (many times offer gift cards if you purchase certain items, which is then a double bonus!)In March alone this year, we saved $150 on just food groceries with coupons, and another $100 in household products (which obviously don't have to be bought every month!) Makes the grocery budget of $250 stretch much further and helps us stock our pantry for the unexpected guests, etc...love it!
    We use a ton of spices in our house (we avoid salt, but love flavor, so we use lots of other spices and herbs) but I have found a site to order my spices from that is phenomenal, and very reasonably priced! (Soulardspiceshop.com). I make my own taco seasoning, chili seasoning, ranch dressing mix, cream of something soup mix, you name it, we try to make it homemade in our house, and it has saved us lots of pennies!
    I love to can, my mom canned growing up, and we always had a huge garden, I now depend on a farmer's market, as we currently do not have a place for a garden, but I either go back home and help my parents in return for some canned goods, or hit up the farmer's market for great deals and put them up myself, it's such a great way to extend the flavors of the season, you can also freeze about anything to preserve it as well.
    Now that I've rambled forever, I hope that someone can use some of these tips to help save your family some money!

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  27. Since moving out on my own, I have always had a budget for food. I'm a student so I get financial aid and every semester, I sit down and budget out where all my money from financial aid is going. At the beginning of the month, I withdrawal money and put it in an envelope and when it's gone, it's gone. Recently I moved in with my fiancé so it has been a challenge to grocery shop together. We go grocery shopping together and I'm the one who usually makes a list and the past month have been making meal plans. I've learned however to budget below what I can afford for food because my fiancé tends to find goodies he wants. Since he doesn't have to live on ramen and hotpockets anymore, I don't have the heart to tell him "no" when he wants to get healthy food. I will tell him if it makes us go over the budget.

    I also found a couple weeks ago that the store we go to has a wonderful feature on it. I signed up for the store's website and I can go on and click on items in the ad and it will add it to a list for me. Then I can print the list (with quantities) and it categorizes it by produce, dairy, etc. The site also has coupons available to print. We went on a Double Coupon day which helped us save like $60!

    Another way I save money, is I don't carry my debt card with me. Especially to work because I always see things I want to buy at work! Also, my fiancé and I have a cat and instead of buying her small bags of cat food, we found a place that carries her food in large bags that are way cheaper then buying the small bags all the time!!

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  28. Thank you for all you amazing tips! I am looking forward to putting them into effect starting this month in our home. We spend a ton of money on groceries etc. One question I have though is in your weekly/monthly budget are you including toiletries, laundry items and such or just solely food items? Thanks and I'll pop back to let you know how I do! :)

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  29. my husband and i have a total of $210 for groceries/toiletries/household items every month. $20 of this i use for couponing, which gets us most of the household items and toiletries, leaving $190 for food. we live in a pretty rural area so we can't do the double and triple couponing thing at grocery stores. i rarely get coupons for food at all. and there is no warehouse store either. i thought we were doing great with our grocery budget until i read some of the other comments, people feeding larger families on less. except for one thing: my husband is a power-lifter. he lifts massive amounts of weights. he consumes at least 3500 calories a day. and we NEVER have meatless meals! so this fact combined with our lack of options for shopping makes me feel pretty good about our budget :) and i hope it can be an encouragement to others who claim they can't do it because they have a grizzly caveman must-have-meat-and-lots-of-it husband!

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  30. Great tips! Our monthly budget is $200 - $250 a month for two of us (and our dog)--and believe me, we eat very well on that. I totally agree with the going to the store just once, it is so easy to throw things in the cart every time that you go that you don't really need. It's easy for me to only go once because I don't really enjoy grocery shopping LOL. Aldi is a great place to get all of your basics and save a lot of money. I go there first, then get what I can't get there at other stores.

    Another good tip--only own one refrigerator. Statistics show that people who have that second refrigerator throw out way more in groceries because they don't have a good plan on how to use up leftover and such. Plus it costs more in electricity!

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  31. Thank you so much for all the tips. They have came in so handy and the idea of grocery shopping once a month is great. Not only is there the less stressful days, less running to the store, which means using less gas... with the prices of gas today, I like to keep my running to a minimum.

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  32. Thank you for all the great tips and advice. I really need it, and only going grocery shopping once a month, is really a great idea for me. Not only that, it saves on gas which prices are so high these days.

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  33. We took the advice on the bountiful baskets and we cut our food budget from about $125-150 a week to $47.00 a week. Gives you an idea on the junk we were eating. That's a huge savings all thanks to your blog.

    Evielynne
    MrsCraftyRVing

    A megga fan!!

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  34. Great tips. I use most of them. Juggling the budget is a big deal. There are only a few places that can actually be cut. While deep cleaning last week I found so much uneaten food in the fridge. Shame on us!

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  35. I love this website! I am a huge over spender, so only going to the store once a month is something I need to learn to do! However, one thing that helps me is to buy some things online! Wal-mart.com is wonderful because they usually already have the lowest prices, and on most items, if I spend $45, I can have it shipped right to my home for free! I buy all of my health and beauty items, baby items, and even some groceries from walmart.com. It really does save money making that one less trip to the grocery store, plus I have less to haul in my basket with my two little ones (hard to get a month supply in there with little ones when shopping on your own).
    If you have to purchase baby formula, I recommend Sam's Club. I don't have one in my area, but I buy online and take advantage of their free shipping. I buy their off brand of Enfamil and save $25 for every 48 ounce can. They are even cheaper than getting the wal-mart off brand, so the money I save, more than pays for my yearly $40 membership.
    I also think that if you had a teenager wanting to make some money that you knew from church, send them to the grocery store with your list. They may have to call you a few times to make sure they are getting the right thing, but eventually they will learn your staple items. And I think it's worth paying them a little extra if you tend to impulse buy because you'll be saving more in the long run! Plus, teens just like an excuse to drive and get out of the house, and if you give them coupons or admatches, they are learning important life skills as well!

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  36. My husband and I recently completed a Financial Peace University course (HIGHLY recommend it!) at our church and right after we completed it, I found this blog - great timing! We are taking back control of our money and rather than it telling us what to do, we are now telling it where to go for the needs our family has.

    During the class, I was amazed to see how much I actually spent at the grocery store vs. what I thought I spent for us and our teenage daughter! When I went back and looked at the months leading up to our taking the course I found in one month we'd spent almost $800 just at the grocery store! For THREE PEOPLE?!?!? NUTS! Part of our financial transformation has been creating and sticking to a very specific budget for everything - and food is a big one!

    We set our monthly budget for regular groceries and trips to Costco and Sam's Club and using the receipts from previous trips and after having taken a trip or two simply to note prices of items we regularly buy, I plan the shopping lists almost down to the penny and then we shop. We actually set a day each month for Costco/Sam's and my husband and I schedule time out of the work day to go together (he is much better at just getting what is on the list than I am!). Between the online coupons and weekly sales, we save at the grocery store and also earn money off gas for the car. SCORE!

    Careful planning really is key in making things work and after you get used to it, it's really just second nature and a part of what you just do. The tips I've been reading about on this blog combined with all we have learned from our class have really gone a long way to helping us get our finances in some serious order. Thanks so much for keeping this blog!

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  37. Danielle- You are doing so much good for so many! It feels like a movement is afoot. I started in with serious savings on the groceries in January of 2011 and oh what a difference in our lives it has made. We have been able to see other dreams come true instead of wasting money on expensive food that we don't need. It is all so amazing of so worthy of sharing! Great job!!!

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  38. I've gotten so many great ideas from this blog, I'm so excited but Wow reading some of the grocery budgets makes me feel like mine is nothing. We are a family of 3, one being a 2 year old boy and I budget $120 a month for groceries with an occasional $5 cushion for toiletries that are at a price too good to pass up. I am an avid couponer and generally save $15 or more each week in coupons alone. I shop the sale ads and stock up on items that are at their lowest price. I alot $10 of my budget to meat, which I only buy 1 kind each week and make sure to get a family size package. I only get the meat that is at it's lowest price during that week. I've been doing this for so long I know what prices are great & I won't pay more than I want. Buying the family size package (and us only having 3 people in the house) is enough for 4-5 meals depending on what I'm making. Menu planning is a must with a small budget. i use what I have and i've also learned to adapt alot of recipes and instead of going out and buying whatever ingredient I'm missing I make do, and rarely have something turn out badly.
    I utilize my local library for their cookbooks because I get bored easily when it comes to meals and I like trying different recipes.
    I generally break my days up on my menu plan to where I have 1. breakfast for dinner 2. meatless meal 3. pasta 4. leftovers 5 chicken 6. beef 7. pork. in the winter one of those days is a soup and I throw one in sometimes during the summer too. I base my meals off of what I have in the pantry/fridge/freezer and what's on sale that week. There is usually at least 1 week during the month where no store is having a good sale with coupons and that's the week I use to go to the discount store, Aldi, and buy the basics like cheese, canned tomatoes, canned veggies, sauces, flour, sugar, etc. However alot of the time I can get these items with coupons even cheaper than the discount store.
    I also do alot of freezer meals and freezing of veggies, broths, etc. I have a bag in my freezer I put all the leftover veggies from each night even if it's just a spoonful of pees. When the bag gets full I make a big pot of veggie soup. When I buy family size portions of meat I bring it home and immediately portion in out into 1 lb portions if its a ground meat. Chicken breasts I slice in half width wise (they are always too darn thick) then wrap each individually in plastic wrap so I can easily pull out as many as I need for each recipe. I do the same for ribs when I can get them on sale for $0.99/lb.
    I have a price limit for almost everything for example I don't pay over 1.99 for ground beef or boneless skinless chicken breast, no more than 50cents for pasta, normally no more than 49 cents for a box of cereal (however my husband was complaining I wasn't buying the "good stuff" so I splurged and spent 80cents on a couple boxes for him).

    I make my own liquid laundry detergent (recipe at livingonacoupon.com) in a 5 gallon bucket and last year mine lasted a year. I also make my own liquid hand soap, and dishwasher detergent. This all saves me a TON. I shop for things like body wash and shampoo only when it's at the right price. When I find it for $1 or less with a coupon I buy 4 bottles and that usually lasts me until the next sale. I've gotten many bottles for free. Deodorant I never pay more than 50cents and usually womens is free. Toothpaste I never pay for because there are always coupons that make it free. I spend about $10 a month (usually not even that much it depends how good the sales and coupons are) on purchasing coupons from a coupon clipping service. This allows me to be able to buy 5 or more of an item without having to purchase multiple newspapers. This is how I stock up on free items. Usually the coupons only cost about 8 cents a piece.
    I started a $30 grocery challenge on my blog lisasalwayshomemade.blogspot.com because so many friends and family members couldn't believe I only spend $30 a week.

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