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What's your grocery budget (small families)??? - Page 2

post #21 of 38
Thread Starter 
Sarahbella and Calimommie, can I ask where you live? You can pm me if you'd like. I'm going to be on a pretty tight budget.... haven't totally figured it all out yet but I was assuming that being able to eat organic was out of the question. It seems SOOO expensive where I'm at, but then again I've never price compared organic to conventional anywhere else.

Thanks everyone for all the input and ideas, it's been helpful!
post #22 of 38
We both shop in the next town over in Chico CA.
post #23 of 38
We budget for $300 a month -- so $75 a week -- for groceries, and I make sure we stick to that by taking the $$ out of the ATM every two weeks and keeping it in a grocery envelope. When we were paying using our debit cards, we consistently went over budget just by not being sure of how much we'd spent already.

We're in Connecticut, and the $75 a week, plus WIC checks, covers 2 adults, 1 baby, and 3 cats. We're vegetarian, mostly organic. WIC buys cheese, carrots, tuna, milk, eggs, peanut butter, juice, some beans, and cereal -- a lot of the staples. I have two veggie gardens in our backyard which provide a goodly amount of our veggies in the summer and fall (the $$ for seeds and supplies comes out of the grocery budget), and I get the rest of our fruits and veggies from farmers markets as much as I can. Once or twice a week we have friends over for a potluck dinner, which lets us all try new dishes and cuts the food budget for all of us a bit. I buy in bulk at Ocean State Job Lot or XPect Discounts when it makes sense, I shop sales, and I clip coupons from the Sunday paper -- that alone usually saves us $30-$40 from a $120 shopping trip. I try to buy local and in season produce because the quality is better and it's cheaper then.

I think some of our bigger savings come from not constantly buying cleaning products, personal products, disposable diapers, and wipes. We use baking soda and white vinegar to clean just about everything and buy those in bulk. We use baking soda, apple cider vinegar, tea tree, and Dr. Bronner's soap on our hair (and it's much healthier now than when I used shampoo!). I use Luna pads instead of disposable pads and tampons. I just started using hydrogen peroxide on my contacts instead of the standard (expensive!) cleaning solution, on the recommendation of my optometrist. We cloth diaper and use re-usable wipes. I make "butt spray" with water, extra virgin olive oil, and tea tree oil.

I usually have just enough left over from our grocery budget to allow for a reasonable meal out once a month plus a few decaf coffees or snacks on the road and maybe a magazine or two.

Sarah, mama to Qualia, 8.5 months (who just started cross-crawling!)
post #24 of 38
we are a family of three, but one of us is only two months old DH just gave me an $100/week food budget, as we recently moved and made some adjustments in the financial area. before we didn't really have a budget, we just ate as cheaply as possible. like a PP said, we have "good taste" so we eat more expensive stuff than a lot of people. it is crazy, but i have had a hard time only spending $100 a week (that's over $400 a month!!!) when i'm buying lots of fresh fruit and veggies and trying to vary the types of meat we eat (i've been buying more fish since it is more widely available where we are now). DH would say we eat very good, though... not just your typical meat and potatoes type stuff.

we've also bought some dried fruit and other snack type stuff at whole foods, so that is kind of expensive. we've been buying cereal there, too, but that's not too much more expensive than "normal" brands if you buy the cheaper stuff.

it costs so much money to eat fresh, healthy food! however, it is worth it, and i dont think we can ever go back to not eating fresh, homeade food... it's just not as fun!

post #25 of 38
About $50/week for me (pregnant), DH and a 3yo DS. We eat probably half organic, few nonnegotiable for me organic things (like milk for DS) and otherwise a mix. On top of that we have about one $50-70 trip to the health food store a month for vitamins and some bulk goods. DS has eczema so his skin oil and vitamins are most of that total. I count all that in my food budget.

post #26 of 38
I spend $100 every two weeks at Whole Foods for me and my daughter!!! I have got it down to a science.

I wrote down on a piece of paper from my receipts all the regular items I normally get and their price, Rudy's Organic Bread $3.69, WF Organic OJ $3.29, ect. and put a blank box next to each item. Then I saved some space for misc. items I would get once in awhile, special treats, etc. when I have extra money left over from the $100. On the week that I buy laundry detergent ($6.99) and other big ticket items I don't buy any meats as they take up the bulk of my budget. I made copies of this list and use it to make my grocery list by marking next to the box what I need to get. I am religious about my list and don't deter from what I already have written down. This way I know what my bill is before I checkout.

The other thing I do is watch Rachael Ray's 30 minute meals! She makes the most wonderful dishes and I have tried many and all I have to say is Chicken & Dumplings! Quick Chick Noodle Soup! Florentine Meatballs with Cheese Sauce!

She uses chicken tenders for most of her chicken recipies and I buy a big package of chicken breasts and use each breast for a different meal. Both of the above chicken recipies use carrots and potatoes so I buy a big bag of both and also a couple boxes of the chicken stock. The left over I use for pot roast, beef stew, etc. You can download her recipies from www.foodnetwork.com I try to group her recipies together so that the ones I use will use basically the same ingredients. There is usually enough left over for me to freeze and use the next week for a meal.
post #27 of 38
I spend $50 a week for 3 of us - dh, me and toddler dd. This includes household items as well. I did a price book charting all the prices from the local grocery stores. I shop the ads weekly but usually end up going to the same 2-3 places. Sometimes I go to one store one week and another the next. I'll plan to stop by a different store and load up on loss leaders if I see something I'll definately use advertised at a real deal price. They don't like people like me coming to the register with 20 boxes of 33cent pasta. But as long as they don't list a limit you're allowed to do it.

I buy some items at Costco - milk, cheese, sour cream, flour, eggs, bananas, ground beef, oatmeal, tomato paste, condiments (divide into mason jars and store in bottom of fridge), and some sale items. I buy other items mostly at the grocery store around the corner from me that has the cheapest prices in general. I always buy one stock bulk item when going to the store to replace out of stock. If I have to spend more one week to buy necessary stock items, I cut back on other items. I buy veggies when they get discounted and put them in the freezer for later use in dishes.

I clean with vinegar. In some places I just use water if sanitation is not an issue. I have a huge 5 gallon bucket of laundry detergent that I use in very small portions (about 1/4 cup per load). I rarely use fabric softener - sometimes vinegar.

I do a lengthy meal plan and buy the ingredients for upcoming meals when they go on sale. I factor in using leftover ingredients from other meals into the meal plan. I've learned a lot of recipes using brown rice (bought that at an international foods store super cheap for a 25lb. bag). I use a lot of dried beans as well. For recipes that call for 1 lb. of ground beef I use 1/4 lb. When I get a package of bacon I cook it up and use only small bits at a time. The grease is also saved and just a little bit can make some recipes really kick. I try to stick to meals that use meat only as an additive for flavor as opposed to a whole peice of meat at a time. I keep small portions of shredded and diced chicken in the fridge. This thanksgiving season I will get a large bird and spend a whole day cooking it and then picking the bones clean and putting into small portions in the freezer for soups and casseroles (can replace chicken in many recipes).

When writing out my meal plan I first look in my pantry and fridge to see what's there and what needs to be used up so things don't go to waste. I evaluate once a week to see how things are. This eliminates most of those 'discovered' rotten items in the fridge. I jot down notes on what ingredients I have and then sit down at my computer and sift through all my saved recipes and make my meal plans. If I can't find something I'll search recipezaar.com for specific ingredients. If I like a recipe but it has expensive ingredients I search the budget101 website for frugal homemade versions of the item which I can usually tweek to make a little bit healthier. Shopping the ads lets me know what items are a good buy and to find a meal to work them into.

I always keep a dozen eggs boiled in the fridge for quick protien snacks. I make up a big pot of oatmeal on Sunday nights and divide into containers for breakfasts with honey and cinnamon already in the mix - to be microwaved in the mornings at home for me and at work for dh. I use sugar instead of honey when it's run out and I don't have money for more until payday.

I take the large 10# can of tomato paste I get from costco and make up a huge pot of tomato sauce and freeze in bags in the freezer for spaghetti or homemade pizza or whatever.

I grow some herbs in pots on my patio to add flavor to my meals.

I try to keep a few baked goods around most of the time so that dh doesn't get the munchies and want to run out to the store. I rotate out different things so boredom doesn't settle in and get us frustrated with the food budget.

I make my own salad dressings and sauces for the most part. This has cut down quite a few purchases for me. See the budget101 website for copycat recipes for your favorites.

We basically never eat out. On rare occaision that we do, we split a meal. We do mooch meals at dh's moms house every once in a while (we're invited). Friends and family know we are living very frugally and offer a few canned goods, etc. to us when they clean out our pantries. Stuff like that helps.

We are big eaters but I try to plan my meals with some protien and quite a few carbs in them to satisfy our hunger (I am underweight and dh is a runner so we're fine healthwise to do that).

I have a lot of recipes that I've found are really cheap if you buy the ingredients in bulk. I wish I could afford organic but we'd starve.
post #28 of 38
We can comfortably get by on $60/wk. We eat 90% organically. Still weaning DH off a few things he's having a hard time parting with! We spend about 20-30$ at the farm on produce, and then the rest at Trader Joes or Lassen's (health food store). We eat beef about once a week and eat lots of chicken. Also, DH loves to cook (yay!!) and likes to make big batches of soups and pasta sauces that we freeze, so we typically have something quick to grab from the freezer.

This month, our budget was tightened and we're trying to get by on only $40 a week YIKES. That's been a hard one. Especially since my 13 month old DD is eating a lot more food than bf-ing these days.
post #29 of 38
This thread makes me feel better already. I've been spending for a family of five $100-$150 a week. I like the ideas I've seen and I'm going to try and do better. We should be able to eat on less because we had half a beef given to us , all we had to do is pay for the processing. I should be able to cut down since the only meat I buy is chicken.

sophmamma, your an inspiration.
post #30 of 38
Originally Posted by beccaboomom
sophmamma, your an inspiration.
Aww thanks! Maybe we should start a list of super frugal but still pretty healthy recipes? I've had to learn a lot. Less than a year ago I spent $100 a week on groceries so I've had to cut it in half.
post #31 of 38
Originally Posted by sophmama
Aww thanks! Maybe we should start a list of super frugal but still pretty healthy recipes? I've had to learn a lot. Less than a year ago I spent $100 a week on groceries so I've had to cut it in half.
I'd love it if you did! We've really had to tighten up our budget a lot. We recently discovered that my son qualifies for WIC (my dh makes just a wee bit too much for me - pg person to qualify, but my children will) - they got in thru 'healthy start' - it's Medicaid. My son drinks rice milk which isn't provided by WIC, so we use 'his' WIC milk for us. We've been having fun trying out the cereals and juices. I've also been learning how to cook with dried beans. As I type this, I have a bag soakiing in the kitchen. I plan on red beans/rice tomorrow for dinner. Not fancy, that's for sure.

We hardly buy fresh veggies/fruit - unless they are less than $1/pound - otherwise, it's just too expensive. I buy mostly frozen.

has $300/month to buy 'everything' in household - including my ob/gyn doc appts, meds, cat food, toilet paper, you get the idea. . . . .AND we're trying to save $150/month of that to help with doula expense and a little of the delivery expense. .. . .sigh. . . .we're failing miserably. .. .. we DID cancel our 'cash value' life insurance policies and replaced them with very cheap term insurance, so we got a little money that way (to help with plumbing repairs - our bathroom is not usable - we have a very old house in bad shape we're working on, one small step at at time).

getting rid of the 4 cats is not an option. I already tried that one with dh.
post #32 of 38
Holy cow, you women inspire and amaze me. I won't even talk about how much I spend on groceries per month, just DH and I (DS still BFs). I am getting a lot of great input from this thread, thanks for starting it!
post #33 of 38
Originally Posted by happyfrog
I'd love it if you did!
I'll try to get to this during this week. I have them archived.

BTW- welcome to MDC! I'm from Central Ohio originally too! (now in northern VA)
post #34 of 38
We spend about $60-75 week for a family of 3 (two adults and one 20mo who eats a LOT). We are vegetarian. We buy organic milk, beans, tofu, and grains, and some organic veggies and fruit (it varies depending on what is available at the farmers' market.) I could do this on less if I needed to.

This week we will eat the following dinners:

Indian cauliflower and potato curry
Pasta with caramelized green tomatoes, corn and feta
Grilled vegetable sandwiches with goat cheese
Green lentil stew and bread
Caesar salad with red peppers, breaded tofu and croutons
"Fend for yourself" night (this is the night DH works on his thesis)
Homemade pizza with roasted eggplant

DD will not eat much of the above; she eats a lot of scrambled eggs, broccoli, wheat toast, fruit, cheese, whole wheat pasta, and bean and cheese quesadillas. She also drinks quite a bit of milk.

I always plan a menu and we hardly buy any snack foods. We do have a garden, which helps. And we live in a cheap part of the country. We buy the most inexpensive natural soap we can find and use cheap drugstore shampoo. We use generic laundry detergent, too. We clean with baking soda and vinegar and that natural citrus spray. I use cloth pads and the Keeper.
post #35 of 38

I have trouble eating organic

I live in northern Canada and I have alot of trouble shopping and keeping our diet organic. It is just my DH and me (who is BFing). DS doesn't eat yet. Our budget is somewhere between $300 and $400 a month. The only place to buy organic vegetables here is in the "organic" section in Safeway.
post #36 of 38
for one mama and 3 fully eating girls and a very occaisional dad (he is 100% dad but only accaisionally around for meals) we spend about $150 a week (ouch hurts to say that) for 90% organic. we are fortunate that our grocery store carries a lot of generic organic that is as good or better than the name brand. we also have a large garden that were abel to put a lot up from. We aren't ashamed to ask people for thier over flow if they have an apple tree or rough berry bushes or out of control rubarb. I try to never throw anything away. having ab iog freezer helps with leftovers and keeping them from going bad while we wait to decide we are hungry enough for them :LOL I do not want to spend more on groceries than I have to but do not consider quality a place to be cut. i would rather cut some where else ( for instance I cut my gas bill this month by $75 by just not driving anymore. ) Since we eat quality organic food we have been less ill reducing our medical bills. I feell there is always somewhere else to cut so long as there is not waste in the grocery budget. I will never go non-organic again. It just wouldn't reduce our grocery bill enough to make it worth it.
post #37 of 38
I just used a currency converter and worked out if we lived in the US we'd spen $123 a week on food. That is for me and 4 children. It used to be way more but that was when I topped up with credit cards and got myself into a whole load of debt. I also blame that on me thinking that we HAD to have organic even if it meant debt and the fact all my kids have their different choosy preferences so we have to buy many different amounts of food.
We have had to let go of the organics. We mostly only buy carrots, potatoes and apples organic. I'm afaraid even though the rest of fruit and veg may be pesticide coated we have to buy it. I figured fruit and veg is better than none.
It has been hard and especailly when you read all the organic propoganda (yes I know it's true but poor Mom's can feel real bad when reading that stuff when they are doing what they can to survive).
Sorry didn't mean to rant but it has been a looong journey.
Peace y'all xxxxxxx
post #38 of 38
Originally Posted by rainbowmum
Sorry didn't mean to rant but it has been a looong journey.

A spiritual one that is!!
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