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I'm curious...How Much Do You Spend On.... - Page 2

post #21 of 27
Originally Posted by luckymamaoftwo View Post

I do think where we run into trouble is when we are out of fresh produce, bread, milk mid-week and we pop into the store and drop another $50 or so, then that really adds up.

How we avoid this (I shop only once every 1-3 weeks):
-stock up on shelf-stable produce -- i.e. apples, oranges, sweet potatoes, onions, etc. that don't go bad quickly
-fill the freezer with frozen fruit & veggies
-make your own bread, or buy an extra loaf or two & freeze it
-keep dairy-free milks (like tetra-packed almond milk, or cans of coconut milk, or nuts to make your own nut milk) that you can switch to mid-week when you run out of dairy milk

We live off fresh stuff for a week or so, then switch to mostly freezer/pantry for the second week. So no mid-week stops for groceries -- saves time, gas, and money. smile.gif
post #22 of 27

Groceries.  I haven't checked my numbers as of late, bad mommy.  But it's usually about $800 /mo for our family of 6 (includes a 9yo boy, 6yo boy, 4yo girl and 2.5yo boy - all bottomless pits), sometimes 7 (when we have visitors, they stay several days to a week at a time).  Maybe up to $1000/mo when I'm not watching things as closely or stocking up on something extra - half a cow costs a bit more than $20.  We also are working towards eating more paleo-like (that's just what works for our family's bodies - you *don't* want to be near us if no animal fat/protein has been ingested in a day or three and it's just been grains).
I get milk from a local farmer, also use that to make yogurt sometimes and all our butter. 
I do a ton of canning and putting up for the year.  Like last week the grocery store had 28lb boxes of pears for $10.50, I snapped up as many as they'd let me, and now the 9yo and 6yo get to help me go through and can up a box of them tonight (today at the store, they had the same pears for $.98/lb).  It does typically include up to $100 eating out - a fancy dinner for a birthday or a date night for me and hubby (his work schedule is nuts right now, he's traveling/out of the house about a third of the time during busy times).  I buy things when on sale - today was a baking sale at the store, I stocked up on chocolate chips for the year.  When it was tomato season, I canned up all the diced tomatoes and tomato sauce we'd need for the year.  Helps offset when we get a half a cow and half a pig in the fall.  But my budget and grocery list aren't going to be particularly helpful or look like anyone else's since I don't shop *just* for the week, almost the opposite actually.  Today's grocery list was chocolate chips, mandarin oranges (walked in and they were super cheap), cream cheese (sealed bricks, it keeps in the fridge for 6-8mo for me), half and half, some deli ham, 10lbs of potatoes, brown sugar, Rice Chex (to make some Puppy Chow for upcoming events), provolone, and twelve pounds of bananas.

Medical payments...  I guess we're lucky there so far (knock on wood).  We don't currently have any medical debt.  My last three kids were born at home (no horrific hospital bill), and what few issues we have are easily controlled by fairly mild medication or homeopathics.  So if you want to count the FDA-controlled meds, maybe $20/mo if we buy internationally, $40-$100/mo if we buy domestically.  Probably an extra $20-$30/mo for the other stuff - arnica, sabadil, other Boiron homeopathic tubes, EO's, that kind of thing.  I've got a few medicinal things growing in the garden, it's just taking me some time to find them all and get them going how/where I want.  We're switching insurance companies again in January I think, so I don't remember what the numbers/percentages are anymore.  I do think we have a yearly family OOP cap at like $6K-$10K though, which is nice (we have some in savings, well, until we buy a car this year).

Utilities... We pay *much* less.  But.  That's because we live in a low COL area and heat our house with a wood stove.  We only have electricity/natural gas for a few appliances (stove, water heater, etc.), not heat.  We recently found out that our neighbors paid $400-$500/mo in electricity/natural gas.  Holy smokes, we're a tiny fraction of that.  Oh, and since hubby works from home, his work reimburses us the phone bill and internet bill now.  It's kinda neat (although the drawback to that is that I'm on the hook for breakfast, lunch, and dinner all seven days of the week, oof).

If you belong to Costco, Annie's bunny crackers typically go on sale/coupon once a year.  Can't remember when it is though. 
Applesauce things... if you're talking about the pouches, Costco had a stellar clearance price months back, Amazon has okay subscribe and save prices.  Or, get yourself some of those cute 4-ounce or 8-ounce canning jars.  Get a giant jar of applesauce (or make it) and dole out in individual portions in the little jars.  If you use the canning lids/rings, they're pretty good at keeping liquids in (not so much with the plastic storage lids).
I like some of the recipes from The Prudent Homemaker (she feeds her large family just from her yard/pantry 80+% of the time) for ideas/inspiration.  Or once a month shopping may be more up your alley to some degree...  The Economides hit that concept pretty hard in their first book.

post #23 of 27

We are a family of 5 and spend about $600/month on groceries.   That's pretty much food only.   I make my cleaning products and only buy laundry soap.  I meal plan for 2 weeks.  Including all snacks and meals.   It's a PITA sometimes, it's time consuming but it's cut down on our costs.   I am about to buy a 1/2 grass fed cow.  My older 2 (and DH) love milk, but my youngest has an allergy so she gets almond milk.  I can easily go thru a gallon in 2 days! With that said, I can't afford organic milk. I do a lot of "from scratch" and we don't do processed foods.  The only thing I will get is applesauce packets.  I've noticed if I spend the $$ on pre portioned snacks, not only do I find the wrappers everywhere, but they go quick b/c it's so easy for them to just grab something.  I buy only natural/whole foods.  'Cept I can't make bread b/c I suck at it!!!
I just splurged on Market Day (I'm the rep for my sons school and I get a discount), it's processed frozen crap, but I got veggies and cookie dough cups. 


Utlities (electric, gas, water, garbage, phone, cable, internet, cell) are about $600 (give or take, depending on the weather and season!) also.   We're pretty wired here, still have a land line.  But I was able to shave $80 by calling and telling them I was cancelling the land line (and I was able to keep my land line).  DH's cell is paid for by his work as is his gas.   My gas runs me about $100/month. 


We currently have no medical debt.  We're pretty healthy and I do alot of home remedies. I take the younger for WCV yearly and I haven't been to the dr in months.   The kids and I take fish oil daily, I also do glucosamine (sp) daily and just stocked up on vit d and c tabs for the winter sickies.  ;)   I do have an rx for my torn up knees, but I don't take it often only if my knee gets really stiff and swollen.   But that is only a $20 cost and I've done it once.  So probably about $70/on the vitamins monthly. 


We also don't eat out, maybe once a month we order pizza.  

post #24 of 27
Thread Starter 

I went shopping yesterday with our week's meal plan and my handful of coupons and I was pretty proud to come in just $24 over budget (I did do a few impulse buys of hummus and ice cream). My goal was to spend $100 and my total was $124. So now, the real challenge for us is to NOT go to the store again this entire week for ANYTHING, so that we can stick to our budget.


We do have a friend visiting that we haven't seen in years, so we'll likely go out to dinner one night, or perhaps just she and I will go out and I'll leave my family at home in order to cut expenses. Working to keep our dining out budget to $90 this month. It's doable..it really is!! 

Thanks for all your feedback.

post #25 of 27

Geez- if you figure in our meat (which we raise ourselves for the most part) we are probably easily hitting $1000/mo.  My general grocery bill though is something like $650.  I buy organic if possible, have my own milk for most of the year, and bake my own bread.  We do spend tons of money on cheese though!  Holy smokes- about $100/mo on it.  My DH works really hard physically and would NOT be impressed with something like tuna and noodles.  So we are very heavy animal protein and some produce thrown in,  Very little grain- the kids and I have oatmeal, some bread and biscuits though- but all organic and home-made.  I have started buying lots of fruit and freezing it- which has helped a lot.


Utilities- our electric is about $100, cells $115, Internet $80, +heat (lp is so variable- but probably $1500-2000/yr)


Health- $245/chiro, $200/dental and accident insurance, $355 for health sharing.  We only see the dr when someone is bleeding as a general rule :)  


What gets me is how much we spend in gas- holy smokes.  Not really any way to combat that one though....

post #26 of 27
Originally Posted by TTCfirstofmany View Post

The important thing with dining out is to set the right incentives.  We do an allowance system.  Each of us gets 10% of our income for personal spending, and the rest goes to bills/savings/tithe.  For me that comes to about $220/month.  But the rule is that ANYTHING we need outside of food, home, car, gas and health comes out of our allowance.  This includes clothes, toothbrushes, coffee, movies, eating out, etc. It really cuts our spending by a lot because we each realize eating out means we are sacrificing a new pair of shoes or something we need more.  When we eat out with friends or treat someone who needs it (like the elderly woman we take to church), usually my husband pays at the table to simplify stuff and we split the cost later at home so it doesn't get awkward.  Sometimes my husband pays in full from his allowance if we have a date, or I'll treat us both to frozen yogurt if he's having a bad day.  We help eachother pay for gifts, and if we earn bonuses at work, they go fully into allowance since it isn't part of the typical budget.


This leaves me scratching my head.  Not judging, just trying to understand.  It seems to work for you guys, but what if your husband for example got a huge pay raise and was making tons more than you (or vice versa) - wouldn't that lead to a little resentment if you go by percentage of income to spend on personal stuff?  Or what if one of you got ill or laid off, or wanted to stay at home with a child for a while?  Again, I know this works for you guys now and I imagine you two would be able to work out an alternative if it was no longer working for you - but I was just wondering if you had a plan in place for situations like that.  Is there any time when you would combine your money for personal stuff as well?  (Not just for bills etc - but for personal needs.)  As a disclosure,


I can't possibly imagine not sharing funds with my husband - what's mine is his etc.  When I was working and he wasn't, or when he was getting a check and I wasn't... even my inheritance went into our shared money pot.   We have an allowance system too - right now it's $200 per person but it works by taking the amount that we're not spending on bills or putting into savings and dividing it down the line.  We use the allowance in similar ways - like whoever wants to go eat out picks up the bill, or if we need new clothes etc.  But we always have the same amount to spend, in theory.  (OTOH in practice, he usually spends a bit more because his wants are more expensive, so I spend a bit less out of my money to even it out, since I don't really have any expensive wants.

post #27 of 27

I would say definately cut out eating out and the little packaged applesauce and such.. buy a big jar and some tupperwares and package it yourself. If you do eat out, always use a coupon, like groupon or livingsocial or restaurant.com

I see you like redbox.. sign up for their emails or text and use their promo codes.. they send me one for .50 off every weekend.. also maybe your local library has a good movie selection=FREE!

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