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Lowering grocery budget?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
It is only my husband and I until our baby comes in january. I have been trying to make most things from scratch, but can't seem to stay under $200 a month, sometimes $230. Where do you buy your food in large quantities. Right now I shop for a month at a time for most things, and weekly for produce. We do our monthly shopping at Sam's club. Any ideas?
post #2 of 7
That sounds pretty cheap to me. Are you including household items, like lightbulbs, tp, cleaners, laundry detergent? Perhaps if you post the sorts of meals you make and what you make from scratch, others could help with more suggestions. I agree that buying things like baking soda, flour, sugar, vinegar, organic peanut butter, loaves of bread, and some produce can be well done at Costco or Sam's Club.

The next thing you might want to do it learn about couponing. hotcouponworld.com is a really informative place. You really can save money, even buying basics.

Pay attention to your weekly grocery flyers and buy stuff when it's 2-for-1, freeze multiple meals, etc.

I think that most families who spend less than $200 a month supplement with things like WIC and footstamps.

For more cheap meal ideas, you might want to check out this thread:
http://www.mothering.com/discussions...d.php?t=520224

or the $5 dinners blog:
http://www.5dollardinners.com/2007/01/recipe-index.html

eta:

A lot of people also supplement with gardening. Or join a CSA (community supported agriculture group) and get your produce organic and cheaper, generally.
post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 
Oh no, that amount is only for food, and it's just the 2 of us. Everything else is seperate. Thanks for the links I'll check them out.
post #4 of 7
$200 is pretty darn good for a food budget, even for only 2 people.

We buy a good bit at ethnic/international markets. I have a Korean market close to me that has good prices on produce and meat. Stuff like limes 10/$1, cilantro 2/$1, lettuce 2/$1, and whatever is in season at good prices. I also have another market that I like that targets 3 main groups--Latino, Asian (mostly Korean), and Eastern European (mostly Russian). It's divided into 3 zones. Lots of fun, but also really cheap.

I shop around at several stores. If I'm in the neighborhood, I'll stop at whatever store is nearby, getting their specials. That helps, I think. I don't really make very many special trips, but over the course of a month, I'm near a Whole Foods (bulk oatmeal mostly), Trader Joes (our "keep us away from take out" monthly meal, plus wine), Aldi (several things), 4 regular grocery stores, and 3 international markets. I try to get the best deals at each one.
post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the ideas guys. I hadn't thought of shopping at an international market.
post #6 of 7
If you're not already doing so, joining a farm co-op with work hours may help with produce costs.

Also, we buy our meat in bulk from local farmers...we buy a whole hog and share 1/4 cow, and buy our chickens from friends who have a small farm, as well as our eggs. This allows us to get our meat for CHEAP, and brings the cost of our meat down to between $500-600 for about 14 mos. and that's for all cuts...I get prime rib, t-bones, etc as well as roasts and ground meat. We also use a farmer who doesn't use nitrites to process their hams and bacon, but instead smokes it. YUM. And better for us, too.

Of course, you probably wouldn't need a whole hog, but you could probably share a half with a family member or friend. Many of ours joined in once they found out how good a deal it is on cost.

And it makes it SO easy to meal plan, as I can just go out to the freezer and grab whatever's on the menu for that night!

Too, I buy flour, rice, and other staples in bulk, which lowers the cost even to cook from scratch considerably.
post #7 of 7
aldi's always has great prices...we get a lot of staples there, as well as produce. it does not stay fresh very long but is good if eaten soon.

one of our best budget meal ideas is a whole turkey/chicken. dh picked up a few for 0.69/lb a couple of weeks ago. it will easily make a dozen meals. first i roast, then pull off meat for different casserole/soups, then make soup and finally broth with the bones. add veggies, rice, quinoa and it makes very filling meals. we also eat a lot of eggs and beans...cheap protein.
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