Originally Posted by spoony
My grocery bill averages about $600 a month for a family of 4 and that's way too much. Our budget really only allows for $300-$400 a month, but when it gets to the end of the month and that money has already been spent how do you say "ok, there's no more grocery money so my children can't eat!"? I've tried cutting it in everyway I can think. We do eat healthy foods like lots of fruits and veggies (fresh or frozen). We don't eat organic but we have cut out partially hygrogenated fats, high fructose corn syrup, and buy very little processed food. Our fruits and veggies come from aldi or the local prodcue stand. The rest I buy all that I can from aldi and the rest at walmart or a local grocery store. We only eat meat 4 nights a week although I'm sometimes making it 3 nights to save more. We do go through 3 gallons of milk a week at $2.79/gallon. I'm trying to cut the kiddos back a little, but I don't complain too much because all they drink is milk and water. I try coupons, but when it's not something we use I don't see buying something we don't eat to save $.25. I even get online looking for coupons for the things we do use... usually without much luck. I look for things on sale, etc. I just don't understand why we're hearing so much about Americans being obese and unhealthy yet it's so expensive to eat healthy. Also with the economy the way it is I can only imagine it will get worse because people will have to eat what they can afford (which is what I'm afraid it will come to for us). Does anyone else feel the same? How do you just not buy food when the money is gone? Any suggestions?
We're in the same boat. I spend $550 a month on groceries for my family of four but we need to get that down to $350-400. I'll admit I do buy Organic Valley milk but in the 2 gallon size to save money, and we go through one of those every 4-5 days. Obviously I am learning as I go and still could use more tips. I live in an area with limited coupon deals, and we don't have any stores that double coupons here. One thing I do is the old rice and beans budget stretching method, but I cook three meals a day and that's a lot of groceries. The rice and beans thing is good for us because we all like it, and we can combine leftovers to make breakfast and also as sides for other meals. I also look at the discount meat section of our store. If some meat is about to expire, you can get it for 50% off. Once in awhile I'll score a tenderloin for $5. Whole chickens are a lot cheaper than pieces and can stretch into 2-3 meals. First it makes a great chicken and root veggie soup, then we shred the rest and either have chicken burritos, or chicken salad or enchiladas, etc.
One thing I've really taken to doing is just buying whatever produce is cheap and also make sure I have a well-stocked pantry with spices, condiments and basics like white and brown rice, dried and canned beans, canned soups, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, broths, etc. Then I will go to recipezaar.com for ideas and inspiration. For example, I have a butternut squash because it was cheap so I searched that on recipezaar and found several recipes that I could make even though I *thought* I had no food left. Same thing with radishes. Had a bunch, looked for radish recipes and found several for which I had all the ingredients. So instead of running out for fast food last night, which we almost did, I looked around and utilized what little I had left and we ended up having chicken marinated in lemon juice and goddess dressing, roasted butternut squash, and radish-carrot salad. I would NEVER have come up with that on my own, so the recipezaar site really helps open my mind, and I feel really proud when I am being resourceful and trying out new dishes using whatever I have. So I'm definitely going to open my mind next time I go shopping and buy whatever is on sale and learn how to fix it using other ingredients that I have lying around.
We always run out of food and money the last week of the month. I am still trying not to charge any food until the 31st when we get paid. We have only canned refried beans, frozen corn and peas, 1 box mac and cheese, frozen chicken, frozen salmon patties, noodles, quinoa, rice and beans. That's it, other than the condiments and spices. My cupboards have never looked so bare, lol. My husband and I could make it, we are pretty tough, but I worry about my kids not eating because they don't have their usual meals avaiable right now. Then again, I think it's very good for kids to learn to eat what is available. You never know when it might come in handy (like now!).
Hoping to read more tips!