I gave up buying cereal about a year ago. My kids don't seem to have noticed. Usually have oatmeal or toast and some milk for breakfast. I have noticed that they eat more reasonable amounts with these alternatives. THere is something about cereal that just begs to be eaten in large quantities.
Thanks for the info on chickens. If it wern't for our dog that nearly killed the neighbors chicken I wouldn't even be on the fence. We WOULD be getting chickens (we can legally have 3, need a permit for more, which we would easily get). I AM going to be setting up an aqauponics set up to raise food and fish together. Right now it will just be small and raising veggies, but I hope to build a LARGE set up with a pool I got for free and raise our own tilapia. That would majorly cut our bill. Once an aqauponics system is running there is very little cost for upkeep.
When I had chickens (until we moved, a year ago), they cost us next to nothing. Baby chicks were about $1 each. We started with 4, but 1 died. We bought 1 bag of chicken starter feed ($15/25 lbs, if I remember right). Supplemented food right from the start with kitchen scraps and leftovers. We used a large Rubbermaid type tub for a home, lined with newspaper, with a bare lightbulb hanging for heat, for the first few weeks. They lived in the basement, and our dog learned that they were family, not dinner. Sort of like the guinea pig. By the time they moved outside, the dog defended them from local cats and racoons. Although I remodeled a rabbit hutch for the chickens, they declined, preferring to roost in the trees. I lined a cardboard box with straw, and the ladies deposited eggs, nearly 1 per day per hen, in the box on the front porch. Totally free range. We supplemented what they could forage with kitchen scraps, but never bought chicken feed after they moved outside. Our yard was large, but not really fenced. I guess the chickens liked their home, because they never left. Our chickens were very tame and friendly, and infinitely amusing. I know none of my methods are "standard", but the girls did well, and gave us much joy, and many eggs, for little money, and little effort.
I think if you started chicks in a cage (for their safety) you could teach your dog they aren't prey.
Rhu - mother,grandmother,daughter,sister,friend-foster,adoptive,and biological;not necessarily in that order. Some of it's magic, some of it's tragic, but I had a good life all the way (Jimmy Buffet)
I like the idea of chickens, so I could know what they are eating. I have such severe reactions to soy and corn (conventional), that I don't even trust organic or free range eggs. I'd love to be able to use eggs again. Maybe someday. I can't have chickens where I currently live.
Soy- and corn-free feeds are becoming common for owners and small producers. If you live close to a slightly more rural area (or an adjacent town) that allows chickens you might be able to locate an owner who uses this type of feed.
"She is a mermaid, but approach her with caution. Her mind swims at a depth most would drown in."
I think we spend about $650 or maybe even more. We are two adults and two kids. The kids have multiple food allergies and organic fruits and veg are their main snacks. My husband eats conventional unhealthy food so I save money there. I have to order my kids' bread from FL and I spend over $100 per order in order to make the shipping more reasonable so that's a big expense we have every couple months. I get a lot of our shelf stable food from Vitacost, iHerb and LuckyVitamin. A lot of the food is cheaper than the grocery store but there are some things that are more expensive so I have to stay on top of knowing what the best price is. Vitacost has a lot of sale coupon codes so I'm trying to have a list ready for when they email the codes because they are often good for one day only. I don't eat much meat so that helps. Avocados are one of our big expenses though. My son and I love those! And I've been making my own bone broth for soups. Even thought it was pricey to buy 2 pastured chickens from the local farm I figure with being able to make 3 crockpots full of broth per carcass it's cheaper (and healthier) then buying stock in the box. Plus it's helping to heal the kids and I from our leaky gut issue. I coupon a bit too but that's mostly for my husband's non organic food.
mama to and and
We are 2 adults, two kids, and one toddler, and I think we spend between $700 and $800 a month. We get all of our meat local from the butcher(AWESOME prices on grassfed beef), which isn't organic. Close to $200 of our budget goes there each month. We, for the most part, do not buy snacky food... No bread, no cereal, no juice, no lunchmeat. We do get organic tortilla chips, as I make a lot of dips. I think the biggest hit(stuff that feel outrageously priced when I pick it up) to the budget is dairy (kefir, cheese, sour cream, non-dairy beverages) and organic produce. And, hate to admit it, organic coffee and nice beer. That is probably $80 of our monthly budget. Does that count? Can I leave that out of the tally? *haha* I am going to start trying to purchase more staple things in bulk... Brown rice, beans(stop buying canned, a joke at $.89 for 3/4 cup of beans), quinoa. And we plan on getting chickens and putting in a big garden this year. Looking forward to the summer!
Right now I don't know how I'm going to buy this month's beef, or food for the next week, as I had to pay an attorney and there's nothing left. I talked to my husband about it, and he ok'd me taking money from the joint account, then raided that account. But that's for some other thread.
My family of six (three adults and three kids) spends about $600 a month on groceries. We honestly only eat about 75-80% organic. Produce, raw milk and meat are almost always organic but sometimes the processed stuff is only "natural" (like those Seaweed snacks and Snap pea Crisps my kids love). I try to make all our sweet treats so organic flour and sweeteners are always in the house too. I don't like Whole Foods and Trader Joes because I find myself buying too much processed foods when I go to there. It is just too tempting!!
While we are far from frugal in the grocery department, we do eat very well with lots of back-up stuff in the freezer and pantry for about $250/week for our family of four. This, however, does not include DH's lunches, as he buys each day. We also tend to eat out (either a lunch or dinner) about 1-2x per week. This is probably within the amount above, but might send us up to $300 on a spend-heavy week. We live in Austin, so Whole Foods is the go-to place. There are organic offerings at other local grocers, but rarely are they even close to competitive with WF prices. Whole Foods has MUCH better prices on yogurt ($2 for a 32oz 365 brand compared to average $3+ on most other brands) and almond milk (under $7 for a 2 pack of 64oz cartons which would average over $2 per 32oz box of other brands). Their produce section is FAR superior to the other local grocers that offer organic (which is usually overpriced and half rotten). SO... if you have access to Whole Foods nearby, definitely shop their 365 and Whole Foods labels first, including frozen veggies and frozen dinners (ours has bags of gnocchi with sauce and various asian options for about $4 per bag) which are great for nights where i need to just throw something on the skillet without fuss. Since my kids are 4.5 and 1.5, it can sometimes be very challenging to spend much time in the kitchen.
I second the COSTCO recommendation. I know they are all different in what they offer, and it does change somewhat over time/seasonally. You might bring a list of your usual purchases with their usual prices and do a comparison walk-through first. I'll provide an actual list of what I buy every week, to give you an idea of how we shop/spend. This is because I want to show how beneficial it is for us to have the Executive level membership, which runs $100/year, but offers a reward system, which manages to buy our next year's membership each time, plus a little extra to spend in the store.
bread- organic wheat, 2 pack for about $7
avocados, clementines, melons(not organic, but much cheaper)
organic chicken ($4.99/lb breasts, $3.99/lb thighs)
organic ground beef ($4.99/lb)
seasonal organic grapes, blueberries, strawberries averaging about $2-3/lb
toilet paper (made with recycled paper) about $11 for 24 rolls, i think
frozen organic blueberries ($13 for 4lb bag)
organic eggs (2 doz per pack at $6)
promised land heavy whipping cream (about $3 for a liter, i think)
coffee- our store has locally processed, organic, fair trade coffee by Ruta Maya at $14 for 2.2 lbs)
organic canned tomato paste and/or diced
black beans canned
veggie straws or pirate's booty for snacks
coconut oil (huge jar for $15)
organic extra virgin olive oil ($12 or $13)
There are plenty of other organic options at our store, as well as various other things we might buy. I also get prescriptions filled there. All electronics and office/craft supplies. Some clothes. I try to buy as much as I can there to maximize the end of term return.
I hope this helps. I am looking for ways to lower the budget, but I suspect it will stay this way until at least one child is in school. I know some SAHPs manage to make loads of stuff from scratch and stash months of food in the freezer, but I just haven't figured out how to yet. Thanks for posting this, though! I'm learning some good tricks. :)
one other thing about whole foods and costco- both are happy to refund for anything with no questions. i often return things that we don't care for when i've bought multiples on sale, and whatnot.
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