One Mom’s Journey from Fat to Skinny to Confident

JUST TIPS

How much do you spend on groceries? with Tips!

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question of the weekLast week I asked what you would like to see featured for the Question of the Week series and I got some really awesome ideas! It gave me a chance to see what’s on everyone’s mind. And boy, you guys have some deeply involved questions in those head’s of yours!

The problem is I don’t have the brain power to deal with them right now. Boy, that sounds bad, doesn’t it? But it’s true. I have this Chicago trip hanging over my head, the last two days have had me all over town. Plus, of course, you know… other mom, wife and house stuff to attend to. *sigh* I can’t think about it. When I think about it I get overwhelmed I’m better just "doing it". LOL

I’m babbling again, this intro is all leading to the fact that I’m tacking one of the easier questions on the list. Both Biz and Amy where curious…

How much do you spend on groceries?

This is a great question. Especially because I think a lot of people believe that eating healthier costs more money. Which, is some aspects, it can. We all know organic produce is outrageously priced, a bag of soy crisps is about 1/2 the size of a bag of Doritos and twice the price and don’t even get me started on meats. Have you seen the prices on boneless, skinless chicken breasts! Yikes!

So I’m going to expand on the question a bit and not only ask how much you spend but also to share any tips you may have to keep the cost down.

For example…

I spend about $120 a week (that includes $20 of husband JUNK food ;~P) But I also stock up at Aldi’s or BJ’s onse every 6 weeks or so for a big shopping were I buy bulk meats and pantry items. That trip will replace my shopping for a week but it also costs me a couple of hundred. In the summers I also will shift my produce shopping from the grocery trip to the farm stand when I can.

SO.. What’s that? I’m looking at about $500-$600 a month. That does include some non-food items of course, cleaning products, toilet paper, and other household stuff on an as needed basis. Plus I’m buying some "Experimental" items for GreenLiteBites that probably wouldn’t be normal purchases.

I’m not sure if you guys will think that’s high or low, but I have some tips that work for us.

  1. I rarely buy 100 cal pack stuff anymore. I’ll buy the regular packaged snacks and if I’m worried about portion control I’ll come home and separate them into servings with baggies.
  2. I learned our unique produce schedule. Buying fresh fruits and veggies can be tricky at first. Things go bad, you forget you bought them, and then you just wasted money on rotten food. To help, I rearranged my fridge to showcase the fresh stuff and hide the junk. That helped immensely. I also, from experience, learned how much I can get away with buying for the week that we’ll eat. This will be different family to family.
  3. I buy meats in bulk and especially when it’s on sale. I routinely separate ground turkey and meats to freeze in easy to defrost baggies.
  4. When a pantry item is on sale I buy extra even if I don’t need them. If it’s a good deal I’ll go nuts! For example is whole grain Lipton sides are 10 for $10, I buy 10. I also do it with canned foods, soups, spices, and condiments. I’m definitely a sale girl.
  5. I avoid coupons for things I don’t buy. I used to clip everything in the Sunday paper and use the coupon as an excuse to buy something I normally wouldn’t. I started to notice my shopping trips were getting more expensive when I used coupons, not less! No more, if I don’t normally buy it I don’t even clip. It’s not worth it just because I have a coupon.

Alright, there you have it. I’m REAL curious to learn your shopping habits and tips!

So…

How much do you spend? and how do you save?




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Discussion

There are 56 comments so far.

    Giyen

    November 6, 2008

    I spend about $350 for my daughter and I. Our going out to eat budget used to be off the charts but we definitely have been more conservative in our spending habits with the downturn in the economy. I find when I have a menu plan I save so much money and eat healthier too.

    We spend a lot on organic and whole food products. You would think that less processing would be cheaper, but it seems to be the opposite. lol

    Tricia

    November 6, 2008

    I spend about $400 or so for our family of 3. I am bad about making “little” trips to our small town grocery store during the week. Those trips add up quickly. One of my goals is to plan ahead better and make bi-monthly shopping trips to Wal-Mart or HyVee to save money. The problem is that I am an hour from the nearest Wal-Mart and HyVee. Don’t you love small town America! ha ha

    Amy

    November 6, 2008

    Ok everyone- don’t pass out- I spend as much as $800 a month on groceries. Oh my goodness! I cringe saying it!

    I swear, I don’t go that crazy- I buy all healthy foods: veggies, fruits, lean meats, etc. That does include toiletries and baby items (baby food and diapers/wipes).

    What’s the deal?! I talk to so many people that spend way less, and every time I evaluate and re-evaluate my grocery list, there aren’t many places I can cut down. Cereal can be expensive, breads/wraps/thin slice bread etc. are expensive, soy products (like boca and morningstar) are pricey, healthy snack items cost a lot- but all of those are regulars on my shopping list. For example, regular Pringles are always on sale for $1 a can…..BUT fat free Pringles are always full price- $2-3.

    I wish I had tips to share, but I am failing at the cost management grocery shopping. I’m the Amy who asked this question along with Biz- and for good reason….I can’t get a handle on this~ I hope yall have better strategies than me! ;)

    Amy

    November 6, 2008

    Oh yeah- that’s $800 for my family of 4 (husband, me, Miles (3 years), and Mayer (10 months)).

    Ashley

    November 7, 2008

    My monthly grocery budget is $100 (I live by myself), but my boyfriend usually sends me a $50 gift card for a grocery store.

    I buy those huge bags of frozen chicken breasts or chicken tenderloins; I buy generic EVERYTHING, and I cut out probably close to $50-$75 a month by eliminating all snack foods (I’m not counting fruits as snack foods). I know a lot of people don’t like doing this, but I only cook what I’ll eat in one day. I tend to forget about leftovers, and I’ve wasted a lot of grocery $$ on food I didn’t eat.

    I’ve also learned to buy foods I like but that I won’t snack on. For example, I buy oatmeal instead of cereal, because I snack on cereal and go through it too quickly. Plus, since the oatmeal is in individual packets, I don’t have to worry about pouring too big of a serving size (like I do with cereal).

    Nikki

    November 7, 2008

    Amy, I wouldn’t be surprised if once your little one is potty trained and eating with the rest of the family, that number will go way down. Those items are definitely a budget killer, though necessary!

    Keri

    November 7, 2008

    For 4 of us, we spend $900/month. That includes toiletries, cleansers, paper products, and other random things. We buy lean meats, fresh produce, fat-free everything, and cereal that isn’t junky. I also gave up on the 100-calorie packs, and that helped a little. We buy a lot of diet soda and Crystal Light. Lots of milk. I don’t know..you would think that would be way more than enough, but we are always broke by the next shopping trip. Very disheartening.

    Michele

    November 7, 2008

    For my boyfriend and I spend about $100 dollars every two weeks. I found that going every other week seemed to make use spend less. But I plan out meals for every night of the week and and then base my grocery list off of that. I only buy whats on my list, and if I need cottage cheese for something and will have left overs I make sure something else that week also requires cottage cheese. I do get a little carried away with the planning but its the only way I can get it to work out so that we can afford it. And that 100 dollars every two weeks includes toilet paper, health and beautfy products and such. I cringe when the bill goes over 100 dollars so I try hard. I do buy when things are on sale even if we dont need them, like canned goods, or frozen veggies, and also try to buy generic when I can. I only buy meats that are onsale or close to the “sell buy” date so that I can just throw them in the freezer and use later. I found that when I first started to eat differently the price of groceries when up, but now that I am in the groove its sooo much easier and cheaper. It takes time and training!!!

    Michele

    November 7, 2008

    I spend about $75 – $80 a week just for myself. I figured out that it costs me about $30 a week just for the stuff I bring for lunch every day. Gosh, a loaf of bread is $3 and so is a half gallon of soy milk! I spend the majority of my money on produce. I don’t buy any 100 calorie packs either. My only “indulgences” are microwave popcorn and WW Giant Fudge Bars. Everything else is fresh. When the stuff I use every day goes on sale, (like Fiber One) I stock up on it. I also make stuff in big batches and freeze it in individual portions so I try to save there. I think I spend a lot for one person.

    Arlene

    November 7, 2008

    No wonder I have trouble … I’d say I spend about $30 to $40 a week — and then I don’t end up eating a lot of what I buy. It stays in the freezer or pantry and I go out to eat instead.

    nicole

    November 7, 2008

    My husband and i moved in together about a yr ago, and i couldn’t believe what we were spending on groceries. i found that since i worked next to a Safeway, i’d go in almost everyday on the way home to pick up fresh food for dins. as nice as fresh is, i’d drop $30-$40 about 5x a week!
    so in the last few months i’ve tried to go about every 10 days for a big load. i spend anywhere from $80-$130 each time, equalling about $315 a month. that includes paper products, cleaning products, but not all toiletries.

    i always buy fruit and produce that is on sale, and base our meals around it. ie. romaine was on sale “buy one, get one free” this week, so i bought them and we’ll be having chicken caesar at least once this week. i buy all my meat in warehouse size, bring it home and separate it out into meals in the freezer. when dealing with meat, if you can, do some of the work yourself. ie. today i bought whole chicken legs on sale for $3.49/kg. regular chicken thighs and legs, separately, were $5.29/kg. so i dont mind cutting them at the joint to help save some cash. we are not big “junk food” people, so usually our snack cupboard only has one bag of chips, and one bag of tacos. if the husband is craving cookies, i usually just make them from scratch.

    those are my tips, but most of all, cutting down on actual trips to the store saves big cash! it took me a few weeks to get it just right, but we almost never run out of necessities until a day before the next trip.

    Maggie

    November 7, 2008

    I’m not sure how much Bobby and I spend per month on groceries – probably $500-$600. And we eat out around twice a week in addition to that.

    This month we are doing this great challenge started by Kath of Katheats.com – our goal is to spend $126 on groceries between Nov. 1 and Thanksgiving (the 27th) – including Thanksgiving! So far we’re doing well – we only spent $30 this week. It’s pretty eye opening though. I can’t imagine always being so restricted.

    Great question :)

    Zoey

    November 7, 2008

    Hi Roni,

    We spend between $100-$150 per week on groceries for 2 people. We never eat out and luckily I love cooking so I enjoy cooking all our meals from scratch as much as possible. This number also includes cleaning supplies, health and beauty items and fire wood in the winter. We do a lot of our shopping at Whole Foods or at a local farm stand near our house.

    We don’t eat meat so that helps to keep our costs lower. I also noticed our costs went down when we decreased the amount of dairy that we were eating. Now we buy primarily grains, beans and fresh produce.

    The big money traps I see are packaged foods. I notice that we spend more on weeks when I buy anything that comes in a package with more than 1 ingredient. So one of my goals is to buy food in its most natural form as much as possible.

    This was a great question of the week, I love seeing everyone’s responses!

    Check out Zoeys last blog post..Roasted Squash Seeds

    Bethany

    November 7, 2008

    Roni, totally random question…isn’t there a place on this site where I can look at and purchase some of the foods that you often buy? I live west of the Mississippi and I really want to buy the Arnold’s sandwhich Thins. I remember navigating to a page that showed how to purchase some of the things you regularly buy. Could you link me to that page or tell me how to get there?

    Ashley

    November 7, 2008

    I’m another Ashley (that’s not me above!) who lives alone and spends about $100 a month on groceries. The main way I save on groceries is that I never buy meat. I will occasionally buy canned tuna if it’s on sale, but that’s it. I buy lots of dried beans and pasta, rice, and frozen and canned vegetables. I have a whole host of soups I can make for $3. My diet is based on economics, not health, but it’s basically ok health-wise other than the fact that I eat so many starches.

    Christie

    November 7, 2008

    My husband and I spend about $120-$150 (this includes things like dog food, toiletries, etc) every two weeks. We try to stick to a grocery schedule (go every other Wednesday when we get off work). I also try to find some recipes and make a list from what I want to cook. If I want to buy something we don’t normally eat for a recipe (like ricotta for your spinach ricotta pizza roll) I try to find another recipe that I could use the rest of it for.

    I also found that buying and cooking a whole pack of meat was wasting so much money and making us overeat. Now when I buy a pound of ground beef, I divide it into 2-8 oz servings when I get home and freeze them flat. This helps save money by make 2 meals from one pack, saves time with the defrosting, and we eat less because we cook less.

    We used to waste money on fresh produce that we wouldn’t eat so I learned only to buy things we are guarenteed to eat – like zucchini and fresh onion. Anything else I want that is produce, I buy frozen. Like frozen bell pepper and onion mix or frozen broccoli.

    One thing we do waste a lot of money on is diet soda. The husband drinks a 2 liter a day sometimes! It’s generic brand (about $0.60/bottle) but it adds up. So I started making tea and keeping that in the fridge to cut down on the soda consuption.

    Sorry to be so long winded but there are my tips!

    Christy

    November 7, 2008

    GREAT question!

    Ashley…those are some great tips…thank you. My husband snacks on cereal all the time. We buy whole wheat cereal so I have never really thought about it as being a costly or unhealthy snack. But he could eat some fruit or something other than his cereal and save some $$$.

    We do all our shopping on base at the commissary (we live in Germany). We are REALLY limited on the brands and produts we get over here. Most items are all brand name but cheaper than it would be in the US…but not as cheap as generic in the US. So I would say that we spend around $100-150 a week for the two of us and our two cats. The cats eat good quality treats and food because it helps with their coat and the smell of their litter box. My husband and I probably shop a little foolishly…cringe…Some months we might only spend $400 and others it could be close to $600.

    I use coupons if and only if they are for the specific amount needed and the exact product. If I only need 1 can of corn I am not going to buy 5 cans just to save 75 Cents. I can save the cost of the 4 cans buy only getting hte one can :-)

    Also I make a detailed menu for the week. I place it on my website, on our firdge and a copy in my purse. (obsessive, I know) It is on my site to help my mom/brother plan their meals and anyone else who might need it. I place it on the fridge so that my husband can see what meals are left through the week and then pick one for dinner that night. I also highlight the meals with lots of fresh foods so that we know to use them early on in the week so the produce is still good. **I shop right off my menu. If the store does not have one needed item for a recipe then I will not purchase the rest of those ingredients.

    I try to only buy the produce that I know we will eat. I stopped picking up huge amounts since most of it would go to waste. I have realized that if I run out of fresh veggies we can always walk to the german grocery store and pick up a couple of things to finish out the week.

    I try to buy the cheaper cuts of lean meat. Our fresh meat never goes on sale. We have one 20 foot stretch of fresh meat. If you cannot find it there you have to look in the frozen section. The choices in the frozen section are not that great either. A regular size bag of frozen chicken breasts cost between $8-10…which sucks!

    I try not to buy too many can goods because I find that I do not use them as quickly as I had hoped unless I am picking them up for a specific recipe.

    2-3 times a year the store will have a ‘case-lot sale’ where they sell certain items by the case. I try to only pick up stuff that I know we will use before it expires. One year I picked up a case of 94% FF popcorn for like $10 (big savings!) and it lasted for over a year.

    We splurge on our milk and purchase the organic milk that is $4 a 1/2 gallon. The milk cost more but it lasts longer than the regular stuff and tastes better. So I think it is worth it since we are not dumping milk town the drain each week.

    I do pick up some things that I think are stupid…my husband still eats poptarts, frozen pizza, tyson chicken nuggets, and some frozen entrees. I prefer him to eat healthier stuff…but at least he is not eating at burger king each day anymore.

    We might eat dinner out once a week…but we have cut back on that a LOT. Since I have started eating healthier and watching my weight.

    Christy

    November 7, 2008

    Oh…and we buy diet soda…I am proud that I have convinced my husband to mix his alcohol with diet soda…it still tastes okay.

    Lindsay

    November 7, 2008

    Last month I spent $500 for just two (adult) people. I think that’s a bit higher than usual, but to be honest, I’m bad at tracking it. So far this month I’m on track to get that number down to $400 – I wrote out a calendar for Nov, figured out which days we wouldn’t need dinner cooked, factored in a couple days for “we’ll figure it out when we get to it”, but otherwise planned out every meal for the month so that when I did see things on sale that I wasn’t planning on eating until the end of the month, I can get it, and just not buy it later. Seems to be a good way to do it for my little family.

    Annette

    November 7, 2008

    We spend about 400-500 for our family of 6 (but 3 of them are 2 and 3). I don’t buy junk and packaged stuff anymore. I make mostly everything homemade……….except the occasional fish stick ;) Hubby still loves his diet Mt. Dew and ramen noodles

    roni

    November 7, 2008

    Bethany…. IT’s on GreenLiteBites…. http://greenlitebites.com/the-glb-store/

    Didn’t you just ask that?

    Renee

    November 7, 2008

    Hi Roni,
    This is a great question! I love reading everyone’s responses to get some new money saving tips. We (3) spend between $500-600 a month, which is a lot, but we eat all meals at home and rarely go out to eat. My husband takes his lunch, and often takes leftovers. I do not buy a lot of snack foods, chips and crackers and we have stopped drinking soda. My son is on a Glutin/Casin Free Diet and some of the specialty products are expensive.

    What I really wanted to offer as a great money saving tip is to buy local and in season, which is something everyone is talking about these days. We belong to a CSA(Community Supported Agriculture). We pay $560 for a 20 week season. For $28/week we get a share(box) full of locally grown veggies and 1 dozen eggs. Not only has this been a great money saver, but it has forced me to be more creative in the kitchen and try new veggies.

    BethanyH

    November 7, 2008

    Oh my goodness, we spend $300.00 a month for a family of 4, and I’m hoping to bring that down to $200.00. I shop primarily at the commissary and wal-mart for extra goodies the commissary doesn’t have. I use coupons on everything that I can, and plan my meals around what’s on sale. I just broke out my bread maker about 6 months ago….I’ve had it for about 5 years and never used it….and making bread for my family has saved us tons of money. I make whole wheat/flax seed pizza crusts too. Being on weight watchers has helped me save soooo much money. We eat out 1-2 times a week and my hubby LOVES to take leftovers for lunch. I only buy cereal for $1.00 or less, and right now I have 17 boxes in my pantry, so my hubby said NO MORE! :) We eat alot of homemade items, lots of veggies and fruits, I love that I am feeding my family sooo much more healthy than what I ate as a child. I do splurge on Fiber one bars and low point english muffins, egg beaters, and diet hot chocolate….

    A very useful blog to help you save money on groceries is moneysavingmom.com
    I hope that’s okay for me to say….. I have saved thousands of dollars since finding this website in march. I pretty much get most of my toilitries for free or very reduced at cvs and walgreens using extra bucks and rebates. I will never buy makeup ever again! :)

    I totally agree with Roni that you can eat VERY healthy and still be on a budget.

    BethanyH

    November 7, 2008

    Wait….that last comment didn’t make sense….. :) I still BUY makeup, but I get it for free now. I made a dollar buying two mascaras at walgreens last week, and the week before that I got free foundation. Rebates have gotten alot easier now that they are all online… :)

    Mary

    November 7, 2008

    so I guess I am in the minority here…I feed a family of five on $400/month. We allot $200 per paycheck to groceries…and sometimes we have money left over! I do alot of price comparing between my grocers: Harris Teeter, Food Lion, Kroger, and I do bulk shopping at BJ’s (diapers/tp/produce when price is good). I think i do pretty well, its a good mix of mac and cheese and fresh meat/veggies. I try to buy my meat on sale…for instance, Food Lion will often have coupons for 55 cents off of ground turkey, jenni-o, and when it goes on sale, i can get a package for about a buck each….so i stock up! I get hamburger at BJ’s and repackage when I get home, and keep my eye out for steak and chicken sales. THis weekend, Kroger has some great sales where if you buy ten of the sale products you get five bucks off your order…so i am loading up on the quaker mini rice cakes…they come out to fifty cents each!!

    I DO make a menu before i shop…i try to use up what i have in the pantry and freezer, and then base my purchases on what i need to fill in the rest of the days.

    Great question of the week Roni!!

    Patty

    November 7, 2008

    I have a family of five and we usually spend about 100-150 a week. So that averages out to 400-600 each month. I have found I always do better without the husband and kids along. When they are with me we tend to buy too many extras.
    So my first piece of advice is to shop on your own. Also make and bring a list and stick to it!

    Second: Plan ahead as much as possible.

    At the start of each month I sit down and PLAN meals for the entire month. I write them on a calendar so I know what we are having each night for dinner, and we stick to it. This way if I see something I’m going to need later in the month let’s say pork loin, go on sale early in the month I pick it up and freeze to use later on in the month.

    Third: Use your coupons wisely.

    I have found that at my grocery store sales are cyclical, they seem to rotate items every few weeks, so if I find a coupon for something that I know I use (I totally know what you mean Roni!) I’ll hold it until the item goes on sale to save more.

    Some of these ideas may have already been expressed in all your comments, I only had time to skim through them. Thanks for the great and considering the econmomy, timely topic!

    Charlie Hills

    November 7, 2008

    Amy, although $800 sounds like a lot, if you break it down for four people for thirty days, that’s only $2.22 per meal per person. Doesn’t seem so bad when you look at it that way. :)

    Oddly enough, my blog post today is about the cost of eating as well…

    Check out Charlie Hillss last blog post..What Costs Less?

    Maggie

    November 7, 2008

    I spend about $160 a month just for myself. I don’t buy anything processed (except for veggie cheese), no meat or dairy. I buy cheap cereal by the bag and usually the biggest size container of things like oats to save money. I get all my nuts and dried fruits at Trader Joe’s every few months when I head through the city. I stocked up on apples and onions at the farmer’s market before it ended, and bought a ton of green peppers to freeze for the winter. Organic spinach is $5 for 16 oz but I buy the conventional stuff that’s marked down and get it for $2.39 for 24 oz. Even if I throw out a little bit it’s still much cheaper and will make me eat more to keep from wasting it. I limit my bread intake and don’t eat sandwiches every day anymore. If I want bread I’ll make my own in the bread machine but sliced bread is still the best for sandwiches. I don’t buy name brands at all. I drink store brand v8 but instead of buying it by the individual can or big bottle I buy the big can and pour it in the bottle to keep in the fridge. I add any water from cooking veggies in the microwave to it. For popcorn I just buy kernels and pop it myself. I cook all my meals and don’t eat anything packaged or processed, no soda or juice, no salad mixes, no snack bars, no baked goods or cookies, nothing from the snack aisle. It’s so much cheaper and healthier to make your own!

    Petunia

    November 7, 2008

    I live in the city and don’t have a car — therefore I tend to take lots of smaller trips and carry hand baskets in the supermarket — rather than one large, shopping cart-full weekly trip.

    I realized I had been spending a LOT. SO I recently cut back on:
    — Liquid Egg Whites in the Carton — So expensive! When not on sale they are about $6 or more near me. I switched to real eggs, and I just remove the yolks manually!

    — FAGE yogurt. I love, love, love this yogurt. But for the winter, I swtiched my breakfast to oatmeal instead. For $1.79 a container makes breakfast for weeks! I’ll switch back to the yogurt in the spring.

    — non organic (conventional) produce. Sorry, but in these times I just can’t afford to be fancy. ;-( I hate to say it, but it is what it is. Would I like to eat organic all the time? Of course, but for now I need to keep the check out price in check!

    Petunia

    November 7, 2008

    Whoops — in the comment above I meant to say I *have* cut back on organic produce.

    Jodi

    November 7, 2008

    We spend between $800 – $900 per month for our family of four (2 boys age 9 and 6). We almost never eat out, we cook all of our dinners (not pre-packaged) and we all bring our lunches (and even breakfasts) to work and school. We’ve evaluated over and over – but really – we don’t buy “extras”.

    Kate

    November 7, 2008

    It’s just my husband and I, we typically spend approximately 100$ a week on groceries. I used to spend so much more, but limited our buying through trial and error. I can think of two tips that really save us money:
    1)First, we were spending a crazy amount of money on bottled water. We bought a Brita water cooler, its bigger than the pitcher and sits right in your fridge, it’s awesome (recommended for small families). We buy bottled water only to take with us on the run.
    2) Also I buy my produce seperately at a produce store. The prices for produce in the grocery store are just getting too insane, its worth the extra trip to a seperate store.

    shannon

    November 7, 2008

    I live with my boyfriend and our budget is $200 every two weeks so monthly it could be around $400-$450 just because sometimes we’ll hit up the store once more to get stuff we forgot or if we want to do something special and are just sick of what we’re eating. We don’t go down the snack/chips aisle or the soda aisle unless I am buying Fritos for chili ;) or sprite (my slurge soda) for the weekends. We don’t buy what we don’t “need” and one night out of the week we’ll do grilled cheese (I’ll have tomato soup w/it) or just throw something together that’s small. Eggs is a really good example of a cheap meal we’ll have for one night out of the week. I make killer egg and grilled cheese sandwiches that my bf absolutely loves. It sill amazes me and makes me sad how we have to restrict so much and watch what we buy. I wish I could cook full healthy meals every night but it’s just not possible. Most nights are chicken and a veggie (canned). Last night I got so sick of eating that though I experimented and took the cooked chicken cut it up, cooked brown rice w/chicken broth (always keep on hand), threw in peas (steam frozen in the micro), scrambled up 4 eggs and threw all of that in a big pan…I call it the poor man’s chicken fried rice. Anyhow, that’s how we do it. :)

    Amy

    November 7, 2008

    Hey Charlie~ thanks for looking at it that way…that makes me feel alittle better~ ;)

    Amy

    November 7, 2008

    I’m right there with ya Jodi!!

    :)

    SMK

    November 7, 2008

    This is such a good post!

    We spend around $250-$300 per month for just my husband and I. Sometimes a little more on months that we go to the Warehouse stores to stock up on bulk items.

    My splurge items include, alternative whole wheat pitas, boboli pizza crusts for my hubby, chicken sausages and other frozen ready to eat foods (lean pocket, lean cuisine meals, healthy choice meals) that I take for lunch at work.

    We buy most of our meats in bulk and keep them in the freezer until we are ready to use them.

    I would love to start getting the Sunday paper so that i can clip some coupons.

    Sandy

    November 7, 2008

    This is a great post and I am loving reading everyone’s ideas!

    We spend about $400 to $500 per month for a family of four. I have recently cut our grocery bill by 1/3 to 1/2 by doing the following things:

    Instead of shopping only at the same store every week I hop around– a different store each week. Those stores include my regular grocery store, Aldis (thanks to you Roni) and an all-year farm-stand type market in my neighborhood. I stock up on the good buys from each type of store to last until my next trip to that particular store.

    For my husband’s and son’s lunches I stopped buying individual prepackaged items (chips, cookies, puddings, applesauce,) and started buying the regular size and putting it in individual bags or containers at home for them to “grab and go” with in the morning.

    I looked at what I was spending the most on and tried to find ways to cut down or eliminate those items. I am now making my own yogurt, a gallon at a time. I eat at least two cups of yogurt a day and at 50 to 75 cents a container that was a huge expense. Making yogurt is fun and easy. See the recipe at http://www.recipezaar.com/Homemade-Thick-Creamy-Yogurt-272141 I am also making a copy cat version of a certain deep dark chocolate muffin brand that I will not mention. :) That recipe can be found online too. I was spending a mint on those and I now make a bunch and freeze.

    Hope this is helpful to someone. Other people’s posts have been very helpful to me!

    Erin

    November 7, 2008

    Shout out to Tricia – Go IOWA!!!!!! I live in California now but I grew up in Iowa and I just love Hy-Vee. People laugh when I tell them the name of my childhood grocery store. At least it isn’t Piggly Wiggly.

    Anyway, we spend about $400 to $600 a month and less if money is tight (more often these days). This for me, my husband and my 1 year old daughter. This includes cleaning products, paper products and personal hygiene, except make-up.

    We shop at Costco almost every week and always buy milk, eggs, bread, apples, lettuce, baby spinach, and grape tomatoes. Less frequently we get potatoes and onions, butternut squash, Brussels sprouts, pineapple or peppers if we are feeling rich and it is available. We also buy all of our shredded cheese, ground beef, steaks, chicken breasts, whole chickens, bacon, ham, and canned tuna in bulk and I usually separate everything in to one pound freezer bags and it lasts us over a month. Lots of canned goods too like tomato paste, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, green beans, corn, refried beans, soup, and apple juice in bottles. Oh and of course DIAPERS!

    We buy very little at our local grocery store (Stater Brothers). It is usually the produce I can’t get at Costco or consume in bulk like celery, radish, zucchini, yellow squash, beefsteak tomatoes, salad dressings, and toddler foods from Gerber. I also buy whole wheat pasta when it is on sale at the grocery store.
    , salad dressings, and toddler foods from gerber. I also buy whole wheat pasta when it is on sale at the grocery store.

    Annalisa

    November 7, 2008

    This is such a good question!

    My BF and I spend around $500/month at Wegman’s (easily $125 per week), $25 per week at the Farmer’s Market, and $50-$70 at a natural grocer for pet supplies once a month, and lastly, every 2-3 months a trip to BJ’s for tuna, coffee, etc.

    Wow. When you write it all out….scary.

    We live in NY and I am always amazed at how much we spend on food compared to other places. It got worse when the price of oil went up.

    However, we do make a strong effort to buy natural items (no corn syrup, hydrogenated oil, fake sugar, etc), whole grains, organic, free range — when possible. To save money we go to our farmer’s market for produce and eggs. We don’t buy pre-packed snacks or meals. Fortunately, I am able to make lunch and dinner almost daily. I know what we buy costs more but, we barely go out to eat and maybe order out once every two weeks. I guess it all evens out.

    christy

    November 7, 2008

    Charlie is so smart. Once you break it down like that Amy’s grocery bill is not SO bad after all. :-)

    Check out christys last blog post..***CONTEST***GIVE-A-WAY

    lilbet

    November 7, 2008

    This has been so interesting. I’ve had this open all day and in between the crazy running around I’ve had to do today, I’ve been reading your comments. I’ve learned a lot.

    I am an eternal bargain hunter (that’s positive speak for cheapskate). I’ve been shopping at Aldi since they opened several years ago in our area. Before that, there was a similar grocery store. We spend about $400 a month for the three of us. That said, I make at least one thing a week that makes huge quantities and I freeze it (especially soups in the winter).

    My tips:

    ~Coupons are often for junk. Be smart about what you clip or you’ll get a bargain AND a big butt!
    ~Eat meatless at least one meal a week.
    ~Watch the ads and menu plan around them (duh, I know)
    ~MENU PLAN! This keeps your list shorter and the impulse buys easier to resist.
    ~Menu plan for things other than meals. Snacks, desserts, breakfasts, etc are important to include.
    ~Make everything from scratch. Instant oatmeal packs, granola bars, snack mix, cookies, bread, etc. It honestly doesn’t take that much more time and it is so worth the savings. PLUS, you know what’s going in it.
    ~When reading your favorite magazines, clip out the recipes and keep them organized in a binder. When you check the ads, find recipes that correspond with what’s on sale.
    ~Avoid brand names. Unless you can get them for much less than a generic, they’re not worth it. Most of the time, they’re packaged in the same factory as the name brand stuff.

    ~Make your own cleaning supplies. I try to post recipes for them on my blog. I just made my own laundry detergent. Fantastic and so cheap!!
    ~Visit frugal living blogs and websites often. There are tons of freebies and great hints.

    You know what would be fun? I would love to see a posting of say a price gauge item so we can see the country wide variation.

    Could we try that sometime Roni?

    Stephanie Bourdage-Braun

    November 7, 2008

    We have 2 boys (4 & 2) and an au pair who lives with us, so 5 adults who barely dine out. Kids are home all day and so am I since I work from home so we don’t eat out for lunch either. I spend about $900/month. Seems high compared to a lot of you, maybe it’s because I’m in expensive Boston, and the cheaper places like walmart, target, etc aren’t close and I’d spend more on time and gas getting there to get deals.

    Kris

    November 8, 2008

    Hey all! Well, we try to be very frugal with grocery’s. I also only clip coupons for the items I regularly buy. And in fact just tonight I had a coupon for .35 off a pound of butter for Darigold, and when I compared that to the generic brand, the generic was still cheaper than the Darigold with the coupon! So sometimes coupons aren’t even worth it. I also get free calandars where we get our oil changed, once a year they hand them out to customers and in the back there are tons of coupons for local grocery stores. Like tonight I had one for $10 off a $65 or more purchase!

    I also stopped buying premade meals and I make my own homemade versions. It’s much cheaper and tastes way better. We also use biscuick a lot for “one pot meals” or we will have breakfast for dinner, like pancakes and scrambled eggs. Which is a very cheap meal to make! Or you can make waffles with fresh fruit, which my daughter loves. So for our family of 3, we usually spend about $180 once a month when we get all our meat and produce and then every 7 days or so we will spend another $75-$100 to get more milk, produce and whatever else we ran out of that week. So I would say we spend $400 a month at least and that does include dog/cat food, toilet/paper towels. I was also using coupons.com but a lot of my local stores wont accept internet printed coupons anymore because of people altering them. Oh and we also eat atleast 2 meals a week without meat, so I’ve gotten really creative with using beans and lentils. We also put a limit on our eating out, to twice a month….which saves A LOT!!

    Check out Kriss last blog post..Not updating here much anymore….

    Tammy

    November 8, 2008

    Our grocery budget is about $600 a month for 5 of us. Me, hubby and 3 teens.

    The first thing I do is plan my weeks dinner menu on Friday night. Then on Saturday morn, the husband and I (not Roni’s!) go “clubbing.” That means we hit Sam’s and/or Costco depending on our needs. We buy our bulk staples and meats, milk and eggs there as needed. Sometimes it’s only a $20 trip and other weeks we don’t even have to go. Clubbing is followed by a trip to Meijer for perishable things and those smaller items not at the club. Once a month I go to GFS for huge bags of frozen vegetables. They have great prices and you can find “exotic” blends of veggies.

    I too buy sale items for the pantry to stock up. I’ll buy bulk size cans of crushed tomatoes and make a huge batch of spaghetti sauce about every 6 -8 weeks as needed and then freeze it. Soups, I also make in double batches and then freeze half. If I’m gonna do the work, I may as well make double and have an easy meal for the future in the freezer.

    I try to keep my shopping to once a week. I rarely use coupons either. I don’t buy pre-packaged foods with the exception of Lipton noodles and mac and cheese and probably a few other things that don’t come to mind now. Often I buy the store brand of an item and it’s cheaper than the name brand with a coupon. Just read labels and compare.

    Planning ahead and making one grocery trip a week helps save me money and time. I always know what’s for dinner and that I have the stuff in the house ready to go. Of course, sometimes we skip a nights meal or switch it around to accommodate our busy life, but, it all works out in the end. We just use the meal another night.

    I enjoyed reading everyones thoughts on this because, in today’s economy, trying to be healthy and frugal is no small feat! Good luck everyone!

    Tammy

    November 8, 2008

    Our grocery budget is about $600 a month for 5 of us. Me, hubby and 3 teens. That’s not including cleaning supplies. Only food items.

    The first thing I do is plan my weeks dinner menu on Friday night. Then on Saturday morn, the husband and I (not Roni’s!) go “clubbing.” That means we hit Sam’s and/or Costco depending on our needs. We buy our bulk staples and meats, milk and eggs there as needed. Sometimes it’s only a $20 trip and other weeks we don’t even have to go. Clubbing is followed by a trip to Meijer for perishable things and those smaller items not at the club. Once a month I go to GFS for huge bags of frozen vegetables. They have great prices and you can find “exotic” blends of veggies.

    I too buy sale items for the pantry to stock up. I’ll buy bulk size cans of crushed tomatoes and make a huge batch of spaghetti sauce about every 6 -8 weeks as needed and then freeze it. Soups, I also make in double batches and then freeze half. If I’m gonna do the work, I may as well make double and have an easy meal for the future in the freezer.

    I try to keep my shopping to once a week. I rarely use coupons either. I don’t buy pre-packaged foods with the exception of Lipton noodles and mac and cheese and probably a few other things that don’t come to mind now. Often I buy the store brand of an item and it’s cheaper than the name brand with a coupon. Just read labels and compare.

    Planning ahead and making one grocery trip a week helps save me money and time. I always know what’s for dinner and that I have the stuff in the house ready to go. Of course, sometimes we skip a nights meal or switch it around to accommodate our busy life, but, it all works out in the end. We just use the meal another night.

    I enjoyed reading everyones thoughts on this because, in today’s economy, trying to be healthy and frugal is no small feat! Good luck everyone!

    Laura Jane

    November 9, 2008

    Great question. I’ve enjoyed reading everyone’s ideas. I live alone and I spend $250/month on all groceries (food, toiletries, cleaning supplies, etc.), eating out, and feeding guests. I do have 10-15 people over for dinner once or twice a month. My grocery/food budget had been $150/month and I recently increased it because I wanted to be able to buy more convenient to prepare items, and I haven’t regretted it. To me, it’s worth some extra money to be able to eat optimally and to save time. I use the extra time to workout or read blogs for inspiration.

    One thing I do is eat a very cheap breakfast (omelette w cheese from Aldi – less than 40 cents), a reasonably cheap lunch ($1.50 or less – either a lunchable or a sandwich on light bread), and a more expensive dinner ($3.00 or less).

    Also, I agree with several others about not using coupons for things you would not otherwise buy.

    Amy

    November 9, 2008

    I’m in the same boat. I usually spend about $500-600 a month on food for my boyfriend and I. Part of that I chalk up to the fact that I have a food blog and have to experiment, the other part is poor planning.

    So this month, I’ve challenged myself to only spend $50 per week for the two of us. I’m one week down and was pretty darn close ($55 with food for a blog event). And guess what – it really wasn’t as hard as I thought! I will say, I couldn’t afford any pre-made snacks (Kashi crackers) and I’m having to exercise some serious will-power. But it seems worth it to save $300-400 a month, no?

    Check out Amys last blog post..Catching Up!

    KATE

    November 11, 2008

    My boyfriend & I spend anywhere from 150-200 every two weeks. It really depends on how often we actually go to the store & what crazy recipes I must try that week! We are actually doing the 126 dollars including Thanksgiving that Kath proposed, so its been interesting to see what random foods we have in the house that we are eating up instead of buying our normal snacks & go to meal foods.
    A few tips:
    We recently learned how much you save if you dont buy soy milk in the cooler section… weve been dappling in almond milk (which is great) & both that, soy, & rice are available on the shelf which saves money.
    I eat oatmeal everyday, but have switched from packets to the canister & have had fun making my own creations.
    The ultimate money saver if you make dishes with beans in it is buying the beans dry & in bags. The first time we tried this it was a disaster but, we are getting in the hang of it now & saving compared to buying tons of cans of the stuff.
    We buy flax seed in bulk, go to sams for things like veggie burgers & kashi, & salsa…& Ive been trying to stay away from the yummy larabars & instead grabbing a baggie of nuts&fruit… which is less convenient, but definitely less money!
    Loved the question & the site!

    Girl Healthy

    November 13, 2008

    I can spend as little as $250 a month on groceries for my husband and myself. That totally seems low, doesn’t it. Sometimes we go over that budget and that’s ok. My trick is meal planning. I actually did an experiment last month to see if I could spend only $250 for the meals we eat at home and not go over budget. We did it! I mostly buy fresh fruits and veggies, no snacks, and very little meat. I shop at many different stores. It mostly depends on where I am the day I need something. Among my favorites are Costco, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, Target, and this awesome delivery service in my town called Plumgood Foods. Yes, I’m lucky enough to have grocery delivery that is convenient AND affordable where I live. But the biggest thing is meal planning. If you are conscious about planning and actually using the food you buy, you can save money.

    Now I’m inspired to go blog about menu planning on my own blog. Thanks for the inspiration and for all the other great tips.

    Amy

    December 28, 2008

    I have recently started trying to live more frugally. I aim to spend $35.00 a week on food, and as a single woman that seems reasonable. It doesn’t take much for me to overspend on food, however. If I too lazy to bring my lunch one day, that’s $8.00 out the window. If I buy a magazine at the checkout or impulsively buy a pre-made dinner at the deli, that’s another way I wreck my budget.

    I do have a great recipe from the Food Network to help you save money. This makes a big pot of stew you can freeze in individual containers and reheat at work:
    Saute chopped onion, celery and carrots in olive oil. Add a 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes. Add salt and pepper. Submerge chicken drumsticks or thighs in the tomato mixture, adding some stock or water to cover, and cook for 25 minutes. Remove chicken, cut the meat from the bone, add the meat back in along with a can of kidney beans and chopped basil.

    Amy

    December 30, 2008

    Here’s the address to the actual recipe I mentioned, on food network. The original is slightly different from the way I do it from memory now.

    http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/chicken-stew-recipe/index.html

    This is a frugal chicken stew, highly nutritious, you can easily freeze it and also you make substitutions and it always comes out great.

    Nicole

    January 13, 2009

    I just thought I would add something that I have recently found… amazon.com groceries! You can get boxes of healthy food like soy crisps and cereal bars cheap with free shipping. Each month there are even special deals on certain brands to save more! The expiration dates are typically not for months and then you always have healthy food around the house :)

    Jim

    February 11, 2009

    I spend about $180/month on groceries for my family of three. The key is stocking up on sale items and being flexible with your meal plans. There is a great website called www.thegrocerygame.com A list is posted for your local grocery of all of the best deals and identifies which coupon to use when. I save about 30-60% off the bill.

    Lauren

    March 28, 2010

    This is a great post. My bf and I recently bought a new home, and I’m starting to think about budgeting for our food cost. Since we’ve had extra money, we’ve always gone out 2-3 times a week, but that will be stopping. I love to cook and would love to cook mostly organic, but I just don’t think it’s going to be in our budget. I’m hoping 50-60 a week will be enough for 2.

    I am also joining a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) near us, which I’m paying $250 for a small share of a 16 week season, so I’m thinking that will help a lot. Thanks so much for all the great tips~

    cheryl

    October 17, 2011

    Thanks for this post. I am just beginning to do meal planning and I can’t believe how much it is helping my organization in other household areas. It is so motivating when you have a plan for food… then you begin to believe that you could get on top of whatover is taking over the peace in your household!
    Anyway, That has been my question, just how much is reasonable to spend? I have 4 kids and we are trying to hit 800 per month. When I think of that, it seems too hight, but that includes some health products that we really want to use for about 100/month. But the budget is helping me say no to more and think, “maybe next month”.
    thanks for the idea to display the healthy stuff front and center in the fridge. That’s a little change that I’m looking forward to making.

    roni

    October 18, 2011

    Cheryl – Reasonable is what works for your family. I easily spend 600/month for a family of 3 and it’s sure to grow with my little one getting bigger.