How does your food budget look if you keep a family pantry/have food storage etc. - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 20 Old 03-16-2010, 09:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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A goal for DH and I was to start and keep a pantry. We've met our goals and now I want to adjust our budget. I shop our pantry and usually replace as I go. I also want to beable to shop a good sale. Like when around Thanksgiving canned veggies were 41cents a can (Cheap for us) and I purchased ALOT.

We are a family of 4. 2 adults and 2 children ages 4 and 7. We currently spend around $600 a month on food and on (toilet paper, shampoo etc)

I would like get it to 400-500 a month.

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#2 of 20 Old 03-16-2010, 10:54 PM
 
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One lovely little tidbit that l got from The Tightwad Gazette by Amy Dacyczyn is this:

If you get towards the end of your month, and you don't have much budget left, then eat out of the freezer/pantry until the next budget period. She just keeps a tally through the month of grocery expenditures.

Since you are stocking up on sales, you will have enough veggies etc. to make a few more meals. (maybe not favorites, but enough to get thru.)



Also - one of my favorite ways to save is: Don't go to the store! Really!

I know it sounds silly, but if you can stretch 3-4 more days out of your pantry stash each time, you are saving money in that month's grocery budget!
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#3 of 20 Old 03-16-2010, 11:11 PM
 
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I mainly buy for our pantry. I almost NEVER buy meat b/c we have bought in bulk. I spend about $600 a month as well and that is almost completely local and organic. Once our garden starts producing and the farmers market starts I will likely drop down to 350 a month. When our trees begin to produce and I put up more this year I hope to have my budget be around $400.

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#4 of 20 Old 03-16-2010, 11:57 PM
 
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I mainly buy for our pantry. I almost NEVER buy meat b/c we have bought in bulk. I spend about $600 a month as well and that is almost completely local and organic. Once our garden starts producing and the farmers market starts I will likely drop down to 350 a month. When our trees begin to produce and I put up more this year I hope to have my budget be around $400.
Wow, that is awesome! Does the $600 amount include paper, cleaning, personal products etc or just food?
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#5 of 20 Old 03-17-2010, 10:26 AM
 
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We have a well stocked pantry/freezer, but I have to admit that I'm better at stocking it than I am at relying on it. I'm more of a "This recipe looks good, what am I missing?" than one of those people that can throw things together solely from food storage.

This month has been tight, so dh and I are doing a "pantry challenge" - which essentially means he's doing the cooking. And I still can't help but go to the grocery store to "round things out". But this month I've only spent about $40/week (!) - this included laundry detergent and charcoal/lighter (bigger ticket items). The downside is that at the end of this month, our stores will be substantially depleted.
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#6 of 20 Old 03-17-2010, 10:56 AM
 
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OP, I spend about $400-450 in grocery/consumables per month. It does shift seasonally. But I also don't spend much on consumables.

• can you reduce the toiletries and consumables you purchase? Use a no-poo method or instead gradually reduce the frequency of how often you shampoo. Use family cloth, a menstrual cup, dish rags, etc.

• can you reduce how much you are paying per ounce for your toiletries and consumables? You can buy them in bulk, use coupons, seek rebates, shop sales, stockpile at the cheapest price-per-ounce, etc.

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#7 of 20 Old 03-17-2010, 11:33 AM
 
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I buy a lot for my pantry.

I spend 600-800 dollars 4 times a year buying organic rice, beans, spices, wheat free flour, and various pantry staples.

I budget 450 dollars a month and that covers produce, dairy and meat. Also, all household goods -- diapers (not many), toilet paper, shampoo, etc.

When I look at the year as a whole, I spend about 675 a month to feed a family of 5 a mostly organic, wholesome diet free of gluten and eggs.

I could probably go lower if we cut out meat, but I think I would have a revolt on my hands. As it is, I push everyone a little hard with lots of rice and bean meals and very few treats.

We buy A LOT of our food in large quantities -- 25 pounds of rice and beans. 50 pounds of oats. This means we cook A LOT. And we have to be creative with ingredients or our food gets plain and boring really fast.

I bought a CSA share this year, so that may change things up a bit too. Waiting to see how it works out for us.

If we could eat eggs and wheat, our budget could be a lot lower. But as it is, this is the best I can do without compromising too much.

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#8 of 20 Old 03-17-2010, 10:03 PM
 
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Wow, that is awesome! Does the $600 amount include paper, cleaning, personal products etc or just food?
We only use cloth. I think I've bought 1 roll of PT this year for a science project and we still have most of it. I buy natural cleaning products on DEEP discount and dilute them or just make from BS & vinegar. This includes healthcare supplements as well. I use some coupons as well. Like at our local HFS I just got .50 juice, FREE bags of apples and potatoes, a large container of MEYER cleaning concentrate for $3 that will last the whole year. BOGOF for salad and a .75 coupon so it was $1.50 for organic salad. It does include some feminine products for me and soap and toothpaste. I shop the sales there and we usually don't buy much package stuff.

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#9 of 20 Old 03-18-2010, 10:40 AM
 
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We only use cloth. I think I've bought 1 roll of PT this year for a science project and we still have most of it. I buy natural cleaning products on DEEP discount and dilute them or just make from BS & vinegar. This includes healthcare supplements as well. I use some coupons as well. Like at our local HFS I just got .50 juice, FREE bags of apples and potatoes, a large container of MEYER cleaning concentrate for $3 that will last the whole year. BOGOF for salad and a .75 coupon so it was $1.50 for organic salad. It does include some feminine products for me and soap and toothpaste. I shop the sales there and we usually don't buy much package stuff.
That's really impressive--way to go!
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#10 of 20 Old 03-18-2010, 11:45 AM
 
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I keep a (fairly) well stocked pantry and freezer as well.

I just budget a set amount for each 2 weeks, and like a PP said, when it's gone, it's gone. Before I got really strict with myself (and went to cash), I would always justify a few dollars over. But, $5-$10 over every 2 weeks adds up, and it was important to me to stay in budget (to achieve some other goals). So, now, I prioritize. If I need 25 lbs of rice, I buy that at the beginning of my 2 week budget period. Same with meat or any large purchase. I then fit in sales, then things we need.

If I run out of money, I just stop buying. Even if it's the greatest deal ever. The greatest deal ever isn't worth blowing my budget. It just isn't. Even if that means that sometimes I buy the 4 pack of toilet paper (when I prefer to get a better deal on the big 24 pack). If there isn't money left in the budget, it's better to stick with the budget than get the best deal.

This hasn't been the easiest lesson to learn, but it works for me.
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#11 of 20 Old 03-18-2010, 02:15 PM
 
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I have an extensive food pantry, I buy grains, beans, etc in 25 or 50 lb bags, I get those through our buying co-op along with some organic produce and misc spices and things. I have shelves in the garage for things and I label the shelves so I can tell at a glance what I am low on. I only stock up on what I use realistically.

My budget right now is $800 per month, which is cut from what we spent before. This includes household items, pet food (2 big dogs, 2 cats and 3 rats), beauty supplies, eating out once... Every other month we do the bulk order, and I spend around $150-200... I am not sure yet if I will be able to squeeze all of that from the $800 but I am going to try! I am feeding 2 adults, 2 that eat more than the adults and a 6 year old.

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#12 of 20 Old 03-19-2010, 03:12 AM
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I am trying for a $500 grocery budget too, so keep the tips coming. What do you keep IN your pantry? My kids like being able to open a can of soup or chili once in a while, but canned soup is expensive and not that healthy. So, I am starting to make extra soup when I make soup and freeze in small containers. But, wow--pantry stuff seems hard to me. We love to eat "fresh" food--we do garden and that is great during certain months. I do can/freeze my own food too. This is a big thing to do budget wise as it is one area that can be somewhat controlled by me. Rather than all the "fixed" expenses.

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#13 of 20 Old 03-19-2010, 08:21 PM
 
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I keep: oats, grains, flour, dried beans and legumes, liquid sweetners (agave, maple syrup, etc), sugars, #10 cans of catsup and of pizza sauce (I freeze it in muffin tins, pop them out and freeze for pizza or pasta), canned tomatoes, nut butters, canned beans, olives, oils, pasta, crackers/cold cereal, tortilla chips, etc. I have a stash of home canned stuff like jams, pickles, fruit sauces and such as well.

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#14 of 20 Old 03-19-2010, 10:09 PM
 
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I am trying for a $500 grocery budget too, so keep the tips coming. What do you keep IN your pantry? My kids like being able to open a can of soup or chili once in a while, but canned soup is expensive and not that healthy. So, I am starting to make extra soup when I make soup and freeze in small containers. But, wow--pantry stuff seems hard to me. We love to eat "fresh" food--we do garden and that is great during certain months. I do can/freeze my own food too. This is a big thing to do budget wise as it is one area that can be somewhat controlled by me. Rather than all the "fixed" expenses.

Amy
For the soup, can your own! Much more healthy, and *souper* cheap! Of course, make sure you use a pressure canner. (sometimes when people say they can, they don't always mean that they have a pressure canner)

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#15 of 20 Old 03-20-2010, 03:57 AM
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I do have a pressure canner, but I haven't ever tried soup that way. So far, I have only frozen "extra" soup. But I would love to can a basic chicken noodle or vegetable soup. If I do use noodles, will they get gross after being canned? I don't particularly like noodle soup, but my kids like to slurp them down.

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#16 of 20 Old 03-20-2010, 01:46 PM
 
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I've never done noodles. Barley works well, though. Are they old enough to make some noodles? Or they keep well in the fridge to add in at the last moment.

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#17 of 20 Old 03-21-2010, 02:06 AM
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My kids are 10, 7, & 4. They love to help in the kitchen--never thought of having them make the noodles. They will eat barley though, so I will definitely make some with that. Thanks

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#18 of 20 Old 03-21-2010, 03:52 PM
 
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My kids are 10, 7, & 4. They love to help in the kitchen--never thought of having them make the noodles. They will eat barley though, so I will definitely make some with that. Thanks
My 11 yo dd can't drain them yet, but she can sure get the water boiling and put the noodles in and get me when I need to drain.

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#19 of 20 Old 03-27-2010, 05:33 AM
 
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this is a bit off-topic but for canning soup with noodles look at this blog canningcuisine.com she cans all sort of great things and talks about putting noodles in canned soups. HTH Sarah
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#20 of 20 Old 03-27-2010, 06:48 AM
 
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I haven't really found that keeping a pantry saves money monthly (on groceries) because I'm constantly replenishing. If I see a good deal I'll buy ahead but I don't have a ton of storage so I can't stock up the way I'd like to (recently got a 4-pack of Spectrum shortening on Amazon for $10...would have loved to order several but didn't have the room and now the price is over $20).

The way it saves me money is not needing to go out to eat (or order pizza) due to lack of planning--I can usually throw something decent together from what we have on hand.

Maybe something like the grocery game (a lot of effort imho!) or e-mealz would help you get the budget down. E-mealz is so cool because it's a weekly menu based on the current sale prices in your area....so you save a lot. The 5-day menu for a family of 4 usually runs $60-80 and there would be leftover for lunches or weekend dinners.

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