After quite some time, I am coming out of lurkedom to ask you all for some help. I know that this sounds ridiculous, but I need help grocery shopping. My teenage step-son has moved in, and for as much as I love him and love having him here, I am so stressed out about food. We don't have a lot of extra money and pretty much only have what we have been living on, but our food consumption has increased so much that I'm at a loss. I'm trying to work more to make up some of the difference, but that will take some time to put into action.
We try to buy our meat from a local butcher but right now our freezer is down to the dregs and we just don't have the finances to purchase our usual half a cow and full pig. In the past, I only did a major grocery shopping trip maybe once a month at the most and spent around $200. With the meat in the freezer and picking up odds and ends here and there, we made out fine this way. We are now a family of five, 2 teens and a toddler and my husband and myself. My husband eats enough for two people at dinner but only takes 1 sandwich for lunch at work and no breakfast. My teen daughter eats what she finds but is in school during the day and only eats a meal at dinner and a light snack after school. I don't typically eat breakfast or lunch and then gorge myself at dinner (bad, I know). My SS on the other hand.... to him a snack is a full meal for me and he has multiple. He eats a big breakfast, lunch at school, a snack after school, a HUGE dinner, and at least one more snack thrown in the mix someplace. And his snacks are not an apple :) For example, this Sunday for lunch he ate, by himself, four cans of tuna. Four!!! And that was one meal out of 4 for the day.
He is a growing boy and works out and is in great shape, so I want to make sure he is getting enough nutrition and I certainly don't want him to ever feel hungry. In addition, he is a very healthy eater as is my daughter, and we are all trying to eat much more healthy.
I just don't know how to afford this. Obviously I have to make some drastic changes in the budget and the way that I shop. I do meal plan as much as I can (read: have the energy for), but this is causing so much stress that I am becoming obsessed with how to feed my family.
Okay, I'm sorry. That was a very long explanation for a simple problem, but boy did it feel good to get it out. Can someone please teach me how to do this? After two weeks of having him here, I estimate that I could easily spend $800/month and still not feel as if we had enough food in the house. We just cannot afford this. So, how do I do this?
How do I coupon successfully? How do I even know how much to purchase for a family of this size. I think we could safely pretend that I am feeding a family of 7-8 (no, I'm not kidding).
Any tips or pointers?
Can someone break down the couponing strategy for me in layman's terms?
Are farmers markets cheaper or more expensive than the grocery store?
My typical stores are Aldi's, Wal-mart, and Wegmans.
Thank you for anyone that took the time to get through this novel and thank you for any help you can give me.