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$1000/ mo for groceries

post #1 of 120
Thread Starter 
That is my budget and I have a hard time sticking to it...help!!!

We are a family of 6. I have one son with a peanut allergy and dh is a south beacher. I buy very little organic because simply we cannot afford it, so pretty much just apple juice and brown rice are organic. I do the bulk of my shopping at Aldis (don't know if they are national or not, so let me know if I need to explain). Then I go to a regular grocery store where I get the rest of my produce, and then I buy whats on sale for meats and sale/ generic for the items I can't get at Aldis.

I always shop from a list. In fact I have a master grocery list that I refer to each time I plan my shopping, and aside from milk, I rarely run out of anything because I try to buy ahead so that I don't have to pay extra because I ran out of something when it is not on sale.

We eat alot of soups. Some of my "meatier" soups I have cut down on the amt of meat and increased the amt of beans. When we don't have soup, we usually have chicken, pork or steak on the grill and veggies, sometimes with cottage cheese and/or applesauce. Rarely I do pasta dishes (they don't agree with dh's waist line even when they are whole wheat), and I about once a week I will make something less than ideal (usually chicken patties) for the kids because I am lazy or dh and I want to eat something really spicy or otherwise kid unfriendly. I do use canned beans because I haven't ever gotten the hang of planning far enough in advance to soak dry beans. Eggs and turkey bacon is a pretty much every day menu item, primarily because of dh's diet, and on weekends, everyone has an omlet, bacon, sometimes sausage. Kids have packed lunch every day...juice box, ham/turkey sandwich, bag of crackers or chips, fruit, cereal bar for snack.

Our grocery bill does include cleaners and paper products. I make my own spray cleaners for glass and surface with essential oils and vinegar, use whatever is on sale for laundry detergent, fab soft. I can't use anything but cascade for the dishwasher or the dishes come out dirtier than they went in. I try to use as little paper towel as possible. We use cloth napkins. Dh is pick about his toilet paper so I buy pricier brands, but only on sale.

I know this is alot but if anyone has any suggestions I am all ears.
post #2 of 120
Sometimes it just comes down to spending too much.

How about making your own instead of packaged juice boxes and chips and cereal bars in their lunches? Fill small drink bottles with water or juice, buy a large packet of chips and give them a portion each, make your own granola bars/muffins/cookies.

Do you drink much of your grocery budget? How about rationing the juice?

Did I read it right that you have meat multiple times a day? That's got to be pretty expensive. Do you really need bacon for breakfast, ham or turkey for lunch and meat for dinner? Is it healthy, let alone economical?

Next time you go to make chicken patties try felafel instead. Make pasta, and if you husband won't eat it at least the rest of you can.
post #3 of 120
Quote:
Originally Posted by Luvourlives View Post
That is my budget and I have a hard time sticking to it...help!!!

We are a family of 6. I have one son with a peanut allergy and dh is a south beacher. I buy very little organic because simply we cannot afford it, so pretty much just apple juice and brown rice are organic. I do the bulk of my shopping at Aldis (don't know if they are national or not, so let me know if I need to explain). Then I go to a regular grocery store where I get the rest of my produce, and then I buy whats on sale for meats and sale/ generic for the items I can't get at Aldis.

I always shop from a list. In fact I have a master grocery list that I refer to each time I plan my shopping, and aside from milk, I rarely run out of anything because I try to buy ahead so that I don't have to pay extra because I ran out of something when it is not on sale.

We eat alot of soups. Some of my "meatier" soups I have cut down on the amt of meat and increased the amt of beans. When we don't have soup, we usually have chicken, pork or steak on the grill and veggies, sometimes with cottage cheese and/or applesauce. Rarely I do pasta dishes (they don't agree with dh's waist line even when they are whole wheat), and I about once a week I will make something less than ideal (usually chicken patties) for the kids because I am lazy or dh and I want to eat something really spicy or otherwise kid unfriendly. I do use canned beans because I haven't ever gotten the hang of planning far enough in advance to soak dry beans. Eggs and turkey bacon is a pretty much every day menu item, primarily because of dh's diet, and on weekends, everyone has an omlet, bacon, sometimes sausage. Kids have packed lunch every day...juice box, ham/turkey sandwich, bag of crackers or chips, fruit, cereal bar for snack.

Our grocery bill does include cleaners and paper products. I make my own spray cleaners for glass and surface with essential oils and vinegar, use whatever is on sale for laundry detergent, fab soft. I can't use anything but cascade for the dishwasher or the dishes come out dirtier than they went in. I try to use as little paper towel as possible. We use cloth napkins. Dh is pick about his toilet paper so I buy pricier brands, but only on sale.

I know this is alot but if anyone has any suggestions I am all ears.
A few ideas....Are you maling the soups from scratch?
Are the sandwichs the kids eating made from deli meat?
And do you make your own bread?

Scratch soups cost very little, and one way to make meat sandwiches, is to by a whole turkey, roast and shred it, and freeze it in daily portion sizes.
Homemade bread costs pennies per loaf.

You can make your own laundy detergent, that costs 2 cents per load, versus the 15+ of sotre bought.

And tp is easy.
Look for flannel on sale( or raid the rag bag, or cut up a flannel sheet), cut it up with pinking shears into 5" squares, get either a dry bag and or a small bucket, and put the squares in a basket on the back of the toilet.
A color system for each family member can be a good idea for the squeamish.

We do all the above, as well as quite a few other things, and our groceries and sundries run a little over $70 per person per month
post #4 of 120
Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulaJoAnne View Post

You can make your own laundy detergent, that costs 2 cents per load, versus the 15+ of sotre bought.


what are you using for this :
post #5 of 120
If you spend, say, $100 a month on non-food items, that leaves about $30 per day for food. I think that focusing on the day-to-day might be an easier way to go. I think that focusing on reusable containers for the children's lunches, and not giving them as many pre-packaged items (expensive) but more healthful natural foods, might be surprisingly cheaper.

Start by making a meal plan for a week, then spend no more than $200 at a grocery store purchasing those items (less would be even better!). Change your meal plan according to what's on sale that week in the grocery store flyers. Keep an eye out for sales on meat, or go somewhere where you can buy the meat you usually buy, for cheap, like Costco. 2 for 1 deals at various grocery stores can really help you save money and stock up on the things you already purchase.

We also verge on the $1000 per month amount, but it's because we eat out way too often. Do you do that? When we are trying to eat out less, we often allow ourselves a night out say, once a week, but only at certain places that are less expensive, say, $50 in total, with tip, for our family of 4. But then we have to spend only $150 that week on groceries, or we go out once every two weeks, and have more for groceries.

I think that for your children, lunches with peanut butter, sunbutter or almond butter, at least half the time, would be much healthier and cheaper. [ETA: Sorry, forgot about the allergy part - having those butters around probably isn't worth it.] Deli meats have some really awful ingredients in them. Cream cheese is also an interesting option, even mixed with jam.

hth
post #6 of 120
With that much meat it is unlikely that you will be able to reduce it alot. One option might be if you can work it out is to buy a side of beef from a farmer. I do this and the cost of the meat is usually $2 a lb. for everything(ribs,ground beef,steaks,roast etc.) You have to have a freezer to store it in but it works out well for our family. Costco helps us a lot as well their eggs and bacon are usually less expensive since I am not good at shopping sales. But that said it is a lot you are spending. My family of 5 soon to be 6 spends about $350 a month on groceries and about $100 a month on toiletries and personal items(light bulbs,tooth paste etc.). My kids are younger(6,4,2) but they eat as much as I do..I find it truly shocking. Good luck. Have you checked out the website Hillbillyhousewife.com If has some great ideas.
post #7 of 120
Here is a thread from the Traditional Foods forum: $150 budget for a family of 4: https://www.mothering.com/discussion....php?t=1042440
post #8 of 120
Your kids lunches may be an easy spot to reduce costs. Eliminate all pre-packaged single servings. Instead of buying juice boxes uses refillable containers. Water is even cheaper. Pack a reusable container with portions of snack items. Also sandwiches with deli meat can be expensive. Consider at least sometimes alternating nut butters, leftovers, or other less expensive dishes.
post #9 of 120
Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulaJoAnne View Post
And tp is easy.
Look for flannel on sale( or raid the rag bag, or cut up a flannel sheet), cut it up with pinking shears into 5" squares, get either a dry bag and or a small bucket, and put the squares in a basket on the back of the toilet.
Whoa..



So I only have a family of 3. I have no idea what it's like to have a family of 6, so take my suggestions as comming from someone with no idea where you're comming from!

Honestly that doesn't sound that bad to me. We spend $400/mo on groceries for 3 of us (including tp & everything)

Do you SAH? Sounds like your kiddos are in school?

My essentials & quantities are:

1lb Beans and 1lb lentils (1 type of bean, 1 pound lentils)
Popcorn (not microwave)
5lb whole grain flour
Yeast (have a big bag in the freezer... cant remember the last time I bought it!)
Rice/grain (1 pound of what's cheap - usually brown rice or bulger)
Pasta (1 pound of generic)
Canned tomatos/tomato sauce (I buy 10 for $10 generic when on sale)
Vegetable bullion (again, I have a huge box from the ethnic market..)
Oil (3 gallon f/ ethnic market)

White vinegar (1 gallon for cooking, salad dressing & cleaning)
Washing Soda
Borax
Baking Soda
Baking Powder
Dish soap
Dishwasher soap (I use only 1 Tbsp per load)

Corn tortillas (4#/$2.50 from ethnic market) [make chips, enceladas, w/butter for snack, quesodillas]
Eggs (usually by the case or 2 doz at grocery outlet)
Milk (1 gallon + 1/2 gallon for yogurt/yogurt cheese/whey)
Cheese (I only buy this when it's on sale for less than $3/lb & freeze)

Meat - whatever is cheap per pound, ground beef (someone always has this on sale) + bones for beans

That's pretty much it. I rotate which type of pasta & bean we have so we don't get too sick of it.

Discretions I buy only occasionally when they're on sale & I have the LEFTOVERS from my essentials budget are:

Canned anything (beans, tuna etc)
Peanutbutter
Seeds/nuts/raisins
Honey
Molasses
Cocoa powder
Baker's chocolate
Hot sauce
Anything else we feel like

What we make from scratch:

"Cereal" & milk (i.e. whatever cooked grain we have and milk/fruit)
Bread/baked goods (including granola bars, which are a special treat like cookies here, not a staple)
Jam
Salsa
Red sauce/ketscup
Yogurt / yogurt cheese
Cottage Cheese / whey (use in breads)
Ice cream (doesn't work out financially, but we don't have it every day either)
Chocolate milk/syrup
Candy
Soup
Beans

...pretty much everything. I make stuff as I feel like it. We don't have everything around all the time. I'd go crazy if we did!!! We go without & have one or two of these things around each week or two.

The whole bean soaking thing is easy. Just soak them over night & cook a pot the next day. If you're not going to use 1# beans that week, then freeze some flat in a bag so they're easy to thaw. You can freeze rice & stuff too.

1# beans is the cost of 1 can.

You don't need some meal plan to cook rice & beans, you just need to cook them once & have them around. When you've used them up, cook them again.

I cook a giant pot of beans & a giant pot of grains at some point about every week or so. We get creative with them. We always go through the grains.. breakfast, lunch, snacks & dinner. I keep lentils (which you don't need to soak) around for spontaneous lentil soup.

I don't know what Aldis is... is it a discount grocery store? I go to Grocery Outlet for quite a bit, especially paper products (we use them primarily for company & seriously gross messes)

Dh is a south beacher. How does this affect your grocery buying? Is he buying "South beach" products? Splenda/stevia? If so, cut that stuff out! It's terribly expensive & not worth the money!


Then I go to a regular grocery store where I get the rest of my produce, and then I buy whats on sale for meats and sale/ generic for the items I can't get at Aldis.


Do you have any ethnic markets or fruit stands? I've saved hundreds out of my grocery budget. I've heard Costco has great prices on produce too.

I always shop from a list. I rarely run out of anything because I try to buy ahead so that I don't have to pay extra because I ran out of something when it is not on sale.

What does your list look like?

When we don't have soup, we usually have chicken, pork or steak on the grill

So that's a big one. Meat is really, really expensive. What about dishes that aren't meat based so you can stretch it out? Meatloaf mixed with 1/2 meat 1/2 bulger? Enceladas with chicken and veggies? Tacos with meat and beans?

Rarely I do pasta dishes (they don't agree with dh's waist line even when they are whole wheat)

Now that's a bummer! Pasta's one of the cheapest meals out there!

and I about once a week I will make something less than ideal (usually chicken patties) for the kids because I am lazy or dh and I want to eat something really spicy or otherwise kid unfriendly.

Are they prepared patties? Could you do something cheaper, like mac n cheese with macaroni & velveeta? Or scrambled eggs? Seriously, though. If you're tired it's probably worth the money to go prepared food & low key when you need to, you know?

Eggs and turkey bacon is a pretty much every day menu item, primarily because of dh's diet, and on weekends, everyone has an omlet, bacon, sometimes sausage.

I don't know what it's like by you, but turkey bacon here (High COL Seattle) is way more expensive than good old pork bacon. There's no calorie difference between the two.

Cheese and sausage are also expensive here. I'd keep those omlettes to mostly eggs & stick with what's cheap.

Do you buy eggs by the case?

Kids have packed lunch every day...juice box, ham/turkey sandwich, bag of crackers or chips, fruit, cereal bar for snack.

That's the bulk of your budget right there. You need to decide if spending the extra dough is neccessary for your headspace. With that many kiddos I can imagine that convenience food is... well... convenient & necessary to have around.

Can they have leftovers? Beans & rice? Fruit & rice "cereal?" Crackers or chips or cereal 2x/week or something instead of every day? Even cereal (which is another expensive food) is cheaper than cereal bars.

I make my own spray cleaners for glass and surface with essential oils and vinegar,

Ok, vinegar cleans the same without essential oils. You're basically dumping money down the drain just to make vinegar smell like lavender and vinegar.

I can't use anything but cascade for the dishwasher or the dishes come out dirtier than they went in.

Can you scrub the food off before you put them in? Or make it one of the kid's chores?

Dh is pick about his toilet paper so I buy pricier brands, but only on sale.

I don't blame him! That's one of our "Splurges" too!

I don't know if any of this novel helps (nap time = mommy internet time! ). Are you cutting grocery budget out of neccessity? 6 people with a husband & growin kiddos is a lot to feed!
post #10 of 120
As an FYI to others as I see a lot of responses that are of no use to the OP because of the south beach consideration.

South Beach:
Limited carbs - no/ limited bread, pasta, potatoes and other grains. Some are okay like brown rice and can do other in moderation, but limited carbs. Possibly no or limited beans and lentils
No/ limited pork
More fish & chicken and likely limited beef as well
no/ limited dairy

Of course it gets tweaked but these are some of the general tenets of the SB program


Back to suggestions....

Ditch the single servings for kiddos, or only buy when they go on sale and stock up, just do without.
Eat more seasonally - buy the loss leaders and plan your meals around that
Can you go with more frozen/ canned veggies?

I know the key to my budget is shopping style, stockpiling. When turkey bacon or chicken or whatever goes on sale, I stock up. Stock up enough for 8-12 weeks and put the rest into the freezer.

Do you have a small freezer, or could you purchase a separte stand alone freezer to be able to stock up?

I do stock up on eggs as well, they are just fine for a few weeks in the refrigerator. I almost always have 2+ dozen at any given time.

Beans - you can make beans in a crockpot and then freezer extra portions. I soak my beans overnight, drain and add to crockpot with more fresh water and then add in some seasonings (no salt - no salt until they are done, salt can slow the process) and then let them cook for 7+ hours. When they are done, I let them cool and then freeze in more managable portions until I am ready for them. I will freeze in a cup cake pan and then once solid, pop them out and put into a larger storage container in the freezer. One cup cake of beans is approx a half of a can. I'll also mash them a bit for "refried" beans too.

Good luck
post #11 of 120
Quote:
Originally Posted by Softmama View Post
what are you using for this :
Make your own... lots of threads on this on MDC, but basically equal parts of Borax, washing soda (different from baking soda) and a bar soap like Zote or Fels Naptha.
Grate soap in food processor, combine with powders. Tablespoon per load. Some will melt the soap in water and then add the powders to be more of a liquid gel and use 1/2 cup per load.

lots of videos on Youtube about this too if you want a tutorial
post #12 of 120
Here's a bit of a public service announcement to the gals suggesting that the OP switch from deli meat sandwiches for her kids lunches to peanut butter, almond butter or sunbutter.

Obviously, for a peanut allergic child, peanut butter is a no go.

Most varieties of almond butter are cross contaminated with peanuts, and are more expensive per oz than most peanut butter.

Sunbutter is a wonderful product that I myself use (I have 2 peanut and tree nut allergic kids), but it's not easy to find, nor is it cheap. The cheapest price I've found is about $4 per jar, but more often you're looking at $5-$6 for a 1 lb jar retail. Soynut butter (that is peanut free) isn't any cheaper.

Further, the OP may want to be careful with how often she's serving legumes, particularly things like peas, lentils and garbanzos, as they can have a tendency to cross react for people with other legume allergies.

You really can do deli meat on the cheap. I buy a 3 pack of honey ham from Costco for about $8-$9, and that lasts my horde for almost 2 weeks, with the occasional lunch of leftovers or chicken salad sandwiches thrown in.

I don't do many single servings either, unless I'm buying it on sale.

The thought of the "make your own detergent" is tempting, but I'm not sure it's a good idea for my family since 3 of us have eczema... so I just stock up on the "safe" laundry detergent when it's on sale.
post #13 of 120
Quote:
Originally Posted by Denvergirlie View Post
As an FYI to others as I see a lot of responses that are of no use to the OP because of the south beach consideration.

South Beach:
Limited carbs - no/ limited bread, pasta, potatoes and other grains. Some are okay like brown rice and can do other in moderation, but limited carbs. Possibly no or limited beans and lentils
No/ limited pork
More fish & chicken and likely limited beef as well
no/ limited dairy

I know the key to my budget is shopping style, stockpiling. When turkey bacon or chicken or whatever goes on sale, I stock up. Stock up enough for 8-12 weeks and put the rest into the freezer.

Good luck


Whoa!! I didn't realize South Beach was another low carb program... I thought it was another branded diet program. No beans?? & only chicken & fish? Those are the two most expensive meats around here! You're really limited OP!

I don't think I even want to know why no grains but brown rice are ok (and why not pork? BEANS?) but jeeze!! All that in consideration, 1k for a family of 6 with one person on a specific diet program sounds totally reasonable. I know DINKS who spend WAY more than that in a month!



On that note, they key to my budget shopping is not stockpiling. Whatever it is, it's going to go back on sale. I keep a reasonable inventory (read: what will fit in my freezer) for about 2 weeks of meals.

I run my house like a business, and in a business you don't want a low turn on inventory. It also gives variety to our meals since our inventory is constantly rotating. I've seen these coupon sites that promote coupon shopping for 50 tubes of toothpaste just because there is a coupon for it etc. That is just not business smart.

On that note, I'd love an extra freezer strictly for garden produce & the chickens/ducks/buffalo we accumulate from friends & family. Anything else I think is pretty pointless to stockpile, unless it's an emergency food supply.
post #14 of 120
You need to cut out a LOT of that meat. Go for meat only 3 times a week...look up some vegetarian recipes. It's not all rice and beans. There are very high protein options such as seitan, which is pretty easy to make, and cheap as well. It's pretty much no fat or carbs and about 35g protein per serving. You use it just like chicken.

Juice is crap. I'm sorry, but it is. Even 100% juice organic kind. It's all sugar and no fiber. I was sending DH to work with a drink as well, but we decided to nix that - not only for our budget, but health reasons as well. Single servings are a total rip off too. Make muffins, cookies, whatever. Or buy big bags of chips and divide into baggies (re-use the bags). Or how about carrot sticks? Celery with peanut butter? How about making peanut butter sammiches?

Just because you have one dc with peanut allergy doesn't mean you can't use peanuts does it? (unless he has it so bad if he smells it he goes into shock - obviously then you'd want to avoid it!). And just because your DH is on a diet doesn't mean the rest of your family is. You can make a seperate meaty thing for DH and you guys can eat pasta.

Good luck
post #15 of 120
What made the biggest difference for us was making a meal plan, if you don't already. I make a list of dinners, list the ingredients, make a shopping list, and STICK TO IT. Then I put the meal list on the fridge so when I'm in the "crap, what for dinner??" panic of the day, I just look at that and pick one. That seriously cut our bill in half.
post #16 of 120
Ok, a few suggestions:

For the south beach diet:

Buy whole chickens instead of chicken breast. Roast the chicken the first night. Cut up the rest of the meat, and there should be enough for one other meal and lunch meat for chicken salad sandwiches!

If your dh can eat fish, what about canned tuna? It's pretty cheap and goes on sale often, so you could alternate that and egg salad with the lunch meat. Also, instead of buying lunch meat I buy a huge ham and slice it thin. This is saving us a TON!

Bake your own bread. Check out www.breadtopia.com to get started with no knead super easy no fuss bread. Delicious, and cheap.

Oh and those bones and stuff left over from your chicken? Make stock!!! Now your soups are way cheaper! No more cartons of stock!

I would just ditch the juice boxes completely. Buy your kids a metal water bottle and freeze it half way. Pour in water in the morning and they will have ice cold refreshing water at lunch time. I also think buying your chips in bulk and portioning would be a good idea. Or maybe you could swap those out for veggies and dip? (I know, I know, you didn't ask for nutrition tips! )
post #17 of 120
Quote:
Originally Posted by beansmama View Post

Just because you have one dc with peanut allergy doesn't mean you can't use peanuts does it? (unless he has it so bad if he smells it he goes into shock - obviously then you'd want to avoid it!).
Not the OP, but we've been living with peanut allergy for 9 years, and we figured out pretty early on that it's easier and safer for everyone involved to just keep the peanuts out of the house.

Even if you don't react to the smell, the peanut proteins still hang out in the residual oils that get left behind on plates, hands, door knobs, lips, utensils, cutting boards, etc.

Keeping peanuts out of our house is still cheaper than the ER copays and medication costs involved with an allergic reaction.
post #18 of 120
OP, my dh has done the Atkins/South Beach thing in the past, so I feel your pain. Eating cheaply is so much easier when you can go vegetarian most of the week!

With the amount of meat your household consumes, I think you might do well getting a Costco or Sam's Club membership and buying your chicken breasts and other meats in bulk. My local Costco even has decent frozen tilapia etc.! Then dh (or you and dh) can have meat nightly, while the kids eat pasta dishes etc. more frequently.

Egg Beaters can also be purchased in bulk at warehouse stores, so the mounds of scrambled eggs you make each morning won't cost so much. High-fiber lower-cost whole wheat bread (Nature's Own) is less than 1/2 the grocery store price at Costco. South-Beach friendly sides are also available in bulk.

Cutting out individually wrapped ANYTHINGS was a necessity for us. I have little glass containers with plastic for applesauce/yogurt, Sigg bottlers for water, etc. to go in lunchboxes. The only portioned thing I buy is cheese sticks - in bulk at Costco

Soups - crock pot! You CAN manage to remember to soak dried beans! I just put them right in the pot to soak the day before I want to make soup.

Try to shop three times/month instead of four. That in itself might fix your problem! If you run out to replenish milk twice a week, fine, but actual SHOPPING, where you give yourself permission to buy more than the 2-3 perishables you've just run out of, can be knocked down to less than 1x/week for almost any family, and it often seems to help a lot!
post #19 of 120
Grocery List is good! Do you meal plan? I am not good at that but I keep a stocked pantry and by "fresh stuff" weekly (well, now more but that is a Special Needs Child thread). I make sure I always have a couple of meals in the pantry and a couple in the freezer. Then I plan for several.

Packing lunches is KILLER! I tried "refill and reuse" and it about broke me! I had three boys packing their lunch and they were more concerned about recess than bringing home their juice bottle, or lunch box! I don't like contributing to the dump but would stock up on juice bags with no calories. Not nutritional but met my budget and caloric intake requirement! I also stuck with "fillers" and loaded up on fruits and veggies at home where I had more control over "waste". BOYS EAT A LOT! At least mine did/DO!

Flannel TP is out of the question. I recycled cloth diapers and only bought 8 rolls of paper towels one year. HM laundry detergent was great but now time is an essence. Vinegar is a GREAT water softener! I use it in the laundry and dish washer.

Just a couple of ideas. Hope they help!
post #20 of 120
I totally feel for you momma! Cutting the grocery bill can be tough business! We are also a family of 6, and I've been sucessful at going from $1400+ a month down to $500 monthly. (this includes dinners out, but not toiletries etc., just food).

The biggest tip I've learned:
~Buy when items are a their lowest price only. If you aren't familiar with what the lowest possible price is on items, keep a price book. Then over time, you will learn what the lowest price is on items, and where to get them. This is when I stock up. Grocery stores usually have items on sale for their lowest sale price about every 3 months or so, and I try to buy enough of the item to last until it is due to go on sale again. This goes for everything. From meat to pantry staples, cereals, canned goods, beans, pasta, toilet paper etc.This way you are never a slave to the grocery store, buying items because you've run out and need them then. This can take a while to accomplish becuase A: you must learn when the item is at a super low price, and them B: waiting for items to reach that price before stocking up. We don't always get our weekly flyers, but they are available online. I check my 2-3 favorite stores flyers online weekly. Sales usually start here on fridays or saturdays. This only takes about 20min/week.

This really isn't that expensive, as stocking up happens over time. I'm in Canada, and live in a mid/high cost of living area.
Prices I pay (just some examples):

lean ground beef: $1.99lb
whole fryer chickens: $5 each
bacon:$1.49lb
ham (bone in shoulder): .99lb
cheddar cheese 750g $4
flour (white and whole wheat) $6
sugar 5lbs $2
coffee, brand name 2.2lbs $4
apples .50 pound
canned fruit .69
margerine, name brand $1/lb
toilet paper, name brand $3.50 for 12 double rolls

~use coupons. I wish we had more available to us up here, but I do use them when I have them.
~bake my own bread, buns, bagels, cookies, muffins etc. (when I have time, I'm a very busy mama!)
~get OUT of the habit of eating out. Eating at home is usually so much more nutritious and cheaper. Especially for those family members who have diet restrictions. We've gone to eating out 1-2 times a week, down to 1-2 times a month. When my kids have sports games etc, instead of picking up fast food on the way, I pack us a picnic supper. The kids love it! and it's about $20 cheaper.
~I do supper meal plans weekly. This is soo much easier on my tired brain than trying to figure out what I'm cooking for supper an hour before mealtime. Also I made up a list of over 30 common meals I normally cook for supper, and keep it handy. I add to it and it continues to grow. This way, when meal planning, if I'm brain dead that day, I can refer to the list if needed.
~cook fun, convenient things to put in the kids lunches. It's much cheaper than pizza pops/burritos etc. Don't get me wrong, I still default to those items sometimes too, but making your own is way cheaper and usually more healthy. Today I made corndog muffins (cornbread, chopped hotdogs, grated cheese), wrapped individually and froze for future school lunches.

Anyways, I'm probably boring you and could go on and on, but I hoped I helped some! Gotta go cook supper.
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