If you buy almost all organic, what is your monthly budget? - Mothering Forums
1 2 
Frugality & Finances > If you buy almost all organic, what is your monthly budget?
holidaymama's Avatar holidaymama 07:36 AM 11-25-2012

I'm sure this topic has been posted before, but I am looking for people who buy strictly organic and stick to some resemblance of a budget.


The only thing I don't buy organic is meat...which I know I should. We are getting a quarter beef for Xmas that is grass-fed so that will help us.


My grocery bill is ridiculous though...like $1200/month. This is everything including alcohol, household products, etc. but I wish I could get it to like $800/month. There are four of us, hubby, pregnant me, and two boys ages 6 and 10.


If your budget is organic and you come in at a decent budget, what do you buy and where do you shop?

SweetSilver's Avatar SweetSilver 09:31 AM 11-25-2012

We've had much the same problem.  1100-1200 per month were commonplace, and I was thrilled if I could get it below 1000.


A few things have helped us, and now I am getting the budget down to about 750-850 per month.  Hoping to get it below 700, then I will be thrilled.  650?  Yay!!!  In my dreams....


We stopped stocking up on sales stuff, like cereal and juices.  We buy what we need from week to week, maybe for 2 weeks.  We simply buy less of everything at a time.


When we moved, we kept our cabin fridge instead of buying a new one.  Total cubic footage is about 8 feet, not all of it usable.  I thought it was going to be a major adjustment, but it was relatively easy.  We did buy a small chest freezer, but it sits half full of water bottles.  Not intentionally, but our monthly Azure Standard orders of chicken and frozen berries etc etc keep not getting in the order.  Still, I see that we could indeed get by with just the fridge if we had to.  You don't need to buy yourself a new fridge, but be supremely diligent about what goes in and out of there.  Hardly any food gets wasted here.  That freezer does come in handy for freezing big pots of beans and soups.


I've been trying to replace some packaged items with homemade, and the girls are helping by stretching out their expensive treats to last the whole week.  I have made a rule for treats that  "this is it until next week."  Now that they are a bit older, they are learning that we can make due until the next time we hit the stores.


It would be helpful to eat less meat, but we have many allergies, and most vegetarian sources of protein are off the table.  It does help, though to have one or two good, inexpensive vegetarian dinners each week.


Aside: certified organic isn't necessarily the best option, especially if you buy locally.  Catherine Friend's "Compassionate Carnivore" is an excellent, accessible read, infused with her experience and warmth (and humor, though this book is purposefully less humorous than her others.  I've loved all her books.)

loveandgarbage's Avatar loveandgarbage 10:46 AM 11-25-2012

We do about 75-80% organic. Our food budget is anywhere from $650-850 a month. What gets us is snack foods. Organic crackers, dips, cereal and granola bars, etc. So if I made EVERYTHING from scratch I know that our food bill would be lower. We also have a smaller fridge in our new house and it's been a nice adjustment. Some thoughts:


-do you only buy in-season produce?

-do you have access to bulk foods (for flour, grains, beans...)?

-where are you getting your food from (do you have a food coop, farmer's markets? or only whole foods which is a money drain?)


I find that to keep our budget low I have to shop at three different stores to get the best deals. It's annoying, but worth it when I have the time. We have a good coop that has decent prices on produce and bulk foods, we have a Trader Joe's that has decent organic stuff (especially fast snack foods) for cheap, and also a large supermarket that has some organic/natural foods that are cheap.

SweetSilver's Avatar SweetSilver 10:59 AM 11-25-2012

We have also had to spread out our spending amongst stores.  I would love to spend every penny of my money at the coop, but unless we want to make everything from scratch and have no processed foods of any kind, we need to put some of our money elsewhere.  Sorry, co-op, but I just can't justify spending $7 on PB, when I can get some at Trader Joe's for $3.50.  It's not quite the same--TJ's stuff always seem just a bit more watered down (or simply thinner in the case of organic PB), but all-in-all that stuff is cheaper elsewhere.


Being careful which organic produce you buy is helpful as well.  We stick with kale, collards and cabbage, broc, carrots, celery, apples, potatoes, etc.  Those are relatively cheap.  


We do make some ethical decisions: the Rosie chickens are much cheaper than the local, organic, pastured and probably more mindfully butchered chickens.  Cheaper by about 2.00 per pound!  So, for now, we stick to the less expensive organic chickens.  I plan on raising small flocks for butchering in a couple of seasons, though at first that adds up financially to about $100 per bird!

loveandgarbage's Avatar loveandgarbage 11:07 AM 11-25-2012

LOL we also get TJ's peanut butter instead of from our coop.

holidaymama's Avatar holidaymama 11:50 AM 11-25-2012

I do shop mostly at Whole Foods. We have a Trader Joes, but I don't really like it. 


Here are monthly staples I buy there:



Organic cane sugar

Organic popcorn

Organic Rice


Dried fruit


Store Organic Brand:


Canned Beans

Pasta Sauce




Frozen Vegees and Fruit



Mainly apples and bananas

the huge bag of carrots

sometimes lettuce or tomatoes




But I think my weaknesses are the following:


Granola Bars

Dried Fruit strips

protein bars like Cliff Bars


Other Non - Whole Foods items:

Soda (just hubby usually but it has helped me through morning sickness)

Ice Cream

Beer and Whisky for hubby


I know there is more that I buy but this is off the top of my head. My problem is that I'm not sure when things are cheaper other places than WF. Their store organic and bulk bins are great prices.

loveandgarbage's Avatar loveandgarbage 12:00 PM 11-25-2012

I go to Whole Foods maybe once every couple of months (usually to buy body/bath goods) and yes their store brand is a pretty good deal! I know you said that you don't really like TJ's, but they might have better prices on the "weaknesses" list. We buy those things too and I find them to be cheaper at TJ's or even our local supermarket. Especially energy bars. The produce prices at WF are pretty high IMO but it doesn't seem like you buy a lot anyway.


Have you ever shopped at Costco? We had a membership for awhile but rarely found ourselves using it (it's also 45 mins away which is a big factor) but I know some families who do organic that love it because they have great prices on some food items.  

honeybee80's Avatar honeybee80 12:54 PM 11-25-2012

I am just feeding myself and my 2 kiddos (who are with their dad half the time), so my numbers are gonna be skewed from everyone else's.  I spend between $300 and $350 on food per month and we eat mostly organic.  I shop at Vitamin Cottage (local health food store that is AWESOME!)  They only carry organic produce (and local when they can, too) and their prices are WAY cheaper than WF.  I used to buy snacky stuff a lot, but I realized that is what eats up my food budget, so I now limit it to popcorn (we use an air popper), nuts, and I make muffins fairly often, which my kids love.  Otherwise, snacks are fruit or veggies.  I buy lots of apples, bananas, pears, and carrots, since those tend to be the cheapest.  I try to make most stuff from scratch.  We also eat either eggs or oatmeal (or sometimes muffins on the weekends) for breakfast every day.  Oats are super cheap--cereal gets eaten WAY too quickly around here!  My lunches are usually leftovers and the kids take peanut butter and jelly sandwich variations (sometimes bread, sometimes crackers, sometimes tortillas), an apple or banana, carrots, and a muffin.  I will often make extra of a recipe for dinner (this works best for soups and casseroles) so that I can freeze half for later in the month.  That is a huge money saver right there.  Lots of soups and crockpot dishes in the winter.

SweetSilver's Avatar SweetSilver 10:54 AM 11-27-2012

Cereal is really expensive.  TJ's has organic corn flakes for an excellent price.  I buy organic O's ("Full Circle") which are a good price at the local Top Foods.  I *think* it might be the house brand?  We buy the clear juices at TJ's or house brands at other grocery stores.  Other juices I buy on sale at the local Fred Meyer (owned by Kroger now).  Soy milk we buy from Costco.  Both TJ's and Costco have good prices on organic corn chips.


Bulk ingredients we order from Azure Standard, except nuts.  They have good prices, but I am really sensitive to rancidity, and the flavor is off-putting, even when others don't notice.  I do buy organic sugar in 25# bags.  


Other bulk items and produce I buy exclusively from the coop.


We busted our budget for the month, but I just started clamping down, trying to change our habits and bake more.

incorrigible's Avatar incorrigible 07:02 PM 11-28-2012

Right now, money is tight and our grocery budget is about $80 per week, including toiletries and things. When we can spend freely, we end up spending around $200 per week. The big difference is really if I'm buying snacks, treats, and prepared items. Right now, we're not buying chips or juices or other unnessicary items....and I'm cooking EVERYTHING from scratch. Dried beans, not canned, and I'm not buying much other than meat, produce (lots of produce!), and beans. =D


We have a lot of bad reactions to chemicals and hormones in our family. While I know a certified organic item will be safe for us all, you can save a lot of money if you'll get to know your "non-organic" items. I always chat with the produce manager and find out which produce comes from which farms. A lot of them aren't certified organic so they can't label their items as such, but are not grown with any chemicals. They may be in the process of certifying, or just have financial or ethical reasons not to certify. 


We've moved around a bit. When we have a Trader Joes around, we do the bulk of our shopping elsewhere but supplement from TJs. By watching sales and being open to the advice of the store managers, I've fed the family cheaper buying all organic from Whole Foods than we could if I bought generic non-organic brands elsewhere. One local Whole Foods (in Campbell, Ca) was fond of offering "Friday Fryers" which were whole chickens for $0.99 per lb. They only had a few, so you had to get in early, but they had them EVERY week for the year we lived there. We ate a lot of chicken that year. =D 


Now, the only grocery store within 2 hours is Safeway. Safeway has a "just for U" program now that has been very helpful in trimming our costs. You go online (they have a computer in store too) and get offers tailored to your shopping habits. You choose your offers, and get discounts on the items you are already prone to buying. For instance, my kids are going through a bread phase right now and eating tons...so I'm getting an extra 30% discount on top of whatever sale price I would normally get on any bread products. Since this is the only place to buy produce right now, the system sees us buying a lot....so I'm getting an extra 20% discount on produce. I had $0.50 off the peanut butter we normally buy last week. It was about 1/3 off to begin with, so I bought the max number of jars the Just For U discount was good for. 


We have a great local butcher shop that only buys meat and dairy from local farms that raise their animals without hormones, and only buy produce (they cater and sell prepared side dishes and things too) that are pesticide free. They can tell you exactly which animal and farm every item you buy came from. They buy most of the 4H animals, too. Each week, whatever meat isn't selling well - they put in the deep freezer, and offer at bulk discounts. We buy most of our meat that way now. We buy produce mostly from farmer's market when it's running. This has always been a go to for me, when available. At first, it seems pricey...but there are always good deals on a few items we eat. Then, you start to develop a relationship with the vendors and they start offering you special deals. We come at the end of the market, and vendors will offer us deep discounts on things that are very ripe or wilt easily. They'd rather make a little money off it than have it spoil before their next market day.


oh, also, check out www.bountifulbaskets.org and see if they have a drop site near you. We're trying to arrange for one locally, and LOVED them when we lived near a local site. I was able to save SO much on their organic baskets. And if you join their facebook group you can find out how their other bulk buy items are grown or prepared. Sometimes they're labeled organic, but sometimes the unlabeled stuff is organic and just doesn't get the label for various reasons. ;)

Hopefulmama's Avatar Hopefulmama 05:18 AM 11-29-2012

We feed four of us (me, DH, 4 yo, 7 yo) and spend about $150/week on mostly organic foods. From spring until fall we join a CSA every other week for $250 which I haven't included in our food budget of $150. We get a lot of it from Trader Joes and WF. I don't buy fancy things though. Starting making my own granola so we stoppedy buying cereal except for oats. I also make breakfast cookies that don't have sugar about twice/month. A lot of our snacks are fruit and veggies that we get at Trader Joes. Recently starting buying organic dried beans from Whole Foods. The ones that are pre-packaged were actually cheaper than the bulk ones-at least at our store. I get a few organic things at Sams-(they don't have a lot of organic choices though) like organic carrots, and a baby kale greens mix that we use for salads.

mommariffic's Avatar mommariffic 08:02 PM 11-29-2012

We are in the same boat, around 1000-1200 per month 


But I completely suck at food shopping. We do Trader Joe's/local store/Whole Foods and I end up buying snacks which as everyone knows already - kill a budget. I should be making crackers, granola, bread, muffins and sweets from scratch but I totally get lazy and may be diligent for a week but than I end up saying screw this and buying convenience items. My goal for the next year IS to start a realistic meal plan that includes a baking day though -- which will cut down costs by a few hundred bucks I bet. It's so easy to make your own cereal/granola (although Trader Joe's does have some things that aren't too bad in that department) 


I don't buy too much in bulk - flour, and sugar really....


In the summer we do the farmers market so our costs are actually lower - I try to eat seasonally too and so we have a lot of meat/stews/soups in the winter and in the summer loads of salads and lighter type things. I have no idea where I'm going with this I'm so pooped! But the bottom line is - I want to spend about half of what I'm spending now. Whole Foods is my biggest problem and I try to only go once a month because I do impulse buy there (and as a company I don't even really like it that much!!) We had a lovely health food store that was pricy but had local meats and produce but it closed down *grumble* so I need to find something else...there's another one but it's a DRIVE. 

crunchy_mommy's Avatar crunchy_mommy 10:12 AM 11-30-2012
Originally Posted by holidaymama View Post

I know there is more that I buy but this is off the top of my head. My problem is that I'm not sure when things are cheaper other places than WF. Their store organic and bulk bins are great prices.

Around here, WF is about the most expensive place you could possibly shop! Other stores or farmer's markets are virtually always cheaper here. I don't know where you live & what kind of stores you have access to but check around & get adventurous... bring a receipt from WF to help you compare prices.

One place we have here is like an overstock/damaged packaging/too close to expiration/discount store. It's not specifically a grocery store, but they do have a small food section. (It's a local chain, the most similar national chain I can think of is Big Lots, or maybe Christmas Tree Shop, but the place we go to is way better than either of those.) It's all packaged stuff - crackers, cereal, nuts, grains, canned goods, condiments, tea/coffee, etc. They have a TON of organics and it's super cheap. We stock up there. It's not the kind of place you'd think to go for groceries.

I've also had luck finding some organics at the cheap bag-your-own stores -- Price Rite is the one we go to (similar to Shop Rite, Price Chopper, etc.)

The rest we get at TJ's - mostly meat/eggs/dairy and cheap, more shelf-stable produce like carrots, potatoes, etc. -- their prices are good but I tend to avoid very perishable produce there (berries, greens, etc.) because it just doesn't stay fresh, you bring it home and it's already rotten & moldy!

We try to shop less often than weekly, aim for every 2-3 weeks but sometimes we get stuck in a rut of going more often. We keep the freezer & pantry full and live off fresh stuff for a week, then frozen etc. for the second week or so. This definitely saves us money (and time) but we have to be much more creative with our recipes. I'm grain-free & have other allergies, and DS is gluten-free.

Anyway, all told, for a family of 3 we spend $400-$500/month, and I would say about 80% of it is organic (and free-range etc.) but we do have to sacrifice some yummy foods to make that budget work.
JudiAU's Avatar JudiAU 02:53 PM 11-30-2012
Originally Posted by crunchy_mommy View Post

Around here, WF is about the most expensive place you could possibly shop! Other stores or farmer's markets are virtually always cheaper here. I don't know where you live & what kind of stores you have access to but check around & get adventurous... bring a receipt from WF to help you compare prices.
The rest we get at TJ's - mostly meat/eggs/dairy and cheap, more shelf-stable produce like carrots, potatoes, etc. -- their prices are good but I tend to avoid very perishable produce there (berries, greens, etc.) because it just doesn't stay fresh, you bring it home and it's already rotten & moldy!

In my area, TJs and WF are competitive on many of the things we buy most often. It isn't that WF doesn't usually have a premium product for sale in the sale category which I may or may not be choosing to purchase (i.e. vat pasturized grass fed Jersey-only herd dairy products vs. good farm organic vs. private label organic) but usually their private label is a superior producer to TJs. This varies a lot. For instance, TJs in Northern California they use Clover to supply their private label organic which is a good producer. In Southern California, they use Rockville which is one step above Horizon.

loveandgarbage's Avatar loveandgarbage 03:59 PM 11-30-2012

TJs produce indeed rots in the bag on the way home! I feel like I continually learn that lesson.

meandk0610's Avatar meandk0610 08:06 PM 11-30-2012

i try to do quite a bit organic because of food allergies/intolerances. we don't eat bread or snacky stuff and buy mostly meat, produce, some eggs (usually not organic but we have several young chickens that we are waiting to start laying), and oils. i do try to use the ewg food guide when possible. i'll buy conventional for stuff like cabbage and onion that ranks low in pesticides and buy organic meats and heavy-spray produce. that and we just try not eat very much of the non-organic produce. fruit is hard - dd eats about 4 apples a day. fruit is our big budget breaker; i admit i mix it according to what the budget allows. i try to go organic for apples but then add in conventional fruits that rank low in pesticide residue according to ewg like cantaloupe or kiwi. i buy organic whole chickens by the case at costco for $1.79/lb. the price is $2.29/lb buying each package singly. i bought a whole pastured hog (barley was it's only grain, it got other veggies and i think they just started whey) for just under $4/lb and i occassionally get grassfed ground beef at a local non-profit research farm for about $5/lb. i buy their grassfed liver for $2.50/lb and add it into the ground beef. i also buy their beef tongue for $2/lb - very fatty and tender! costco just started carrying large containers of coconut oil for $16 and i order organic ghee by the case at a local hfs so that i can get 10% off the price. our monthly budget runs from $250-350. on the months where i don't buy any meat (because i've just bought a case) it's sometimes even a little under $250.

pek64's Avatar pek64 08:17 PM 11-30-2012
I buy by the case from a natural food store. It's a 20% discount (their prices) about 10% less than Whole Foods. It keeps me from buying extras, too.
mommariffic's Avatar mommariffic 07:02 AM 12-01-2012

Trekked to Whole Foods yesterday and needed/noticed a few things..


Went past the greens and garlands they had out and twitched with longing but realized UM HELLO we had two HUGE pines fall and I can go get all the greens I WANT because they were pulled behind our barn. Normally I'm swooning over something in their little garden center, but all those "things" they have I can find especially during winter. The dried berries? We have those! Not as many but we have a few on a tree right near a patch of woods! Anyway I felt a little proud of myself for bypassing all that because I was shopping on a budget. 


Seafood isle, check and completed. Man their seafood *depending on what* is expensive and I couldn't avoid it because I was cooking dinner for a friend who's allergies restrict her from eating so much -- I wanted to make it nice! (crab legs, handmade whipped coconut milk, fresh berries, etc) 


In the bulk section I noticed I could do alright. There were loads of items that were buy one get one free or buy one get one half off (especially broths) but I reminded myself I can make them homemade for half the price! 


I did get dog bones for the dogs because those are pricy anywhere --- for those with LARGE bone-lovers where do you get your bones? 


I went to their beauty section for a gift and swooned over some cocout oil body butter but the ingredients were so simple I decided to make it at home! And I did that in the afternoon and it came out identical. Saved myself $9 because I had the ingredients on hand. I actually stood there reading ingredients on things for quite awhile and DD ended up accidently breaking something (they were kind about it...) noticed local lavender packs but they were just lavender in some pretty fabric tied with felt. I could do that at home! Another $9 saved and some present inspiration for my friends gift I was making.



I got some basics (butter, cocktail sauce, heavy cream, container of mason jars I got discounted, milk and some other things..) and I bought the kids lunch + milk and spent $50 less than I thought. Which isn't much but still! 


Not even sure why I shared this. Just felt someone would read it -- and maybe answer my dog bone question 

baileyb's Avatar baileyb 12:26 PM 12-01-2012

I'm coming late to the party but I would second ((or third)) that cereal is EXPENSIVE! Even regular cereal. We do just oatmeal for cereal now. I also second trying to buy local because usually that really is almost organic. Making from scratch helps. I have learned to make our own bread products and even dabbled in pasta making. Granola bars are easy to make. They are basically toasted oatmeal stuck together with honey and then add whatever else you like in them. Snacks can eat up your budget but I know how it goes. Can you get cheese blocks and cut them up with some fruit for snacks? I guess the rest of my suggestions really depend on your living situation. We got a dehydrator this year, just a little counter top model and we also have a pressure canner. If you can find a produce auction or something and can big batches at home it saves big time. Those are trickier to find depending on where you live, though.

es1967's Avatar es1967 09:28 PM 12-20-2012

Wow, I thought I was bad spending $100-150/wk.  That is without meat but an occasional roasted chicken for Dh.   I buy 99% organic. We have a WF and a Greenwise.  I buy most of my

groceries at WF although greenwise has some great weekly deals.  I buy all my beans,grains,nuts and seeds in bulk.  Hardly any processed food-maybe a box of crackers. I buy Wf brand whole  wheat pasta which is cheap. I have a pressure cooker which is awesome !  Best purchase ever.  Can cook a great meal in minutes.  Beans in under 10 minutes. My downfall is produce.  I juice alot but lately have been using alot of celery as my base which is pretty cheap.  All my produce does add up.  Try to buy seasonal produce.  I buy a ton of apples every week.  I find whole foods organic apples sometimes less expensive than publix conventional.  The cereal thing I noticed several years ago when I tried couponing.  Even w the coupons the cereals were more expensive than say organic flax flakes or Wf brand orgainc cereals and the coupons were always for the crappy cereals.  I buy my eggs and raw milk from a local farm.  That usually runs $12/week.

sk8boarder15's Avatar sk8boarder15 11:37 PM 12-25-2012

We eat almost all organic, and spend about $200 a week for 3 of us. That is more than I would like. Meat and eggs end up costing us a lot. We don't eat a ton of cereal or grains. And the local organic animal products are quite expensive. We shop at New Seasons, they are similar to whole foods, but a local chain, they are seriously the greatest grocery store of ALL TIME. I am so glad to have recently moved to Oregon where these stores are. I'd love to get our food bill down a bit, and we need to start by NOT EATING OUT. That just kills us.... it costs way too much for decent food. Then I think we just need to eat less meat as well, more beans and greens. Starting our own garden will help with that. After we get a garden going I'm going to look into getting chickens. Right now we are paying about $5 for a dozen eggs and that lasts us 2-3 days. If we can raise our own chickens for eggs that would help.... 

SweetSilver's Avatar SweetSilver 09:25 AM 12-26-2012
Originally Posted by sk8boarder15 View Post

 Right now we are paying about $5 for a dozen eggs and that lasts us 2-3 days. If we can raise our own chickens for eggs that would help.... 

I have chickens.  I love my chickens.  I encourage people to get chickens because they are such a hoot and wonderful and their eggs taste like nothing you've ever tasted.  But the worst reason to get chickens is to save money on eggs.  That first egg will cost you about $150 to $1,000,000.  It gets better from there, for sure, but you never quite catch up, especially with small flocks and super-especially with organically raised small flocks.  And heaven forbid that you decide to show them with your 4-H group at the fair, 'cause that costs more money.  Not much money, and you get to divide it evenly amongst all the eggs you are getting, but still more money,


So, get chickens because you want chickens.  You'll get to transfer all the money you spend on them from the grocery bill to the pet or livestock bill, so on paper that will look good.  You will not regret raising chickens, I don't think.

Momsteader's Avatar Momsteader 01:36 PM 12-26-2012

Second incorrigible's www.bountifulbaskets.org suggestion.  For $25 you get a basket with usually 4-6 types of fruit/4-6 types of veg. Usually about 15-18 lbs. I still supplement from that, but it's fun to get the basket as you get some neat variety and items that I could NEVER justify buying, because they'd be so expensive. And, it's a great way to introduce the kids to different variety. Also challenges me to cook with what I've got.  They have organic breads too. $12 for 5 loaves. Freezes well.


I am 60+ miles one way from any grocery shopping. I usually hit Costco and find quite a lot of their organic items are a great savings--but the number they carry and price can vary with location quite a bit. I do online ordering in bulk which saves even with shipping (or I save and order over the required purchase or order with my prime membership with Amazon). The biggest money saver for me, is to stay out of the store! If I only go shopping once a month, I make do with what I have and when I'm doing all my shopping in one day and spending $400....it's too "painful" to see that ring up, so I don't add anything more than what I absolutely have to add! Then, when we're home, we don't have any local options to just run out and pick x item up. Sooo, we make due (or possibly order online....but then we have to wait for it to get there....so even then...I don't order as much/as often as it's not instant gratificiation!). 


So.....try to grocery shop for the bulk of your items only once a month. (YES I even do dairy only once a month! I buy Horizon milk which is usually 6-8 weeks out on the date in the cartons, or I buy and freeze, or get milk from a neighbor's cow when I can--my favorite option!) If you do TRULY need to go shopping in between, make it from a list and ONLY what you truly need. Those snacks and impulse items add up quickly.

holidaymama's Avatar holidaymama 05:51 PM 12-26-2012

Momsteader - great advice!


This is something I didn't think about until I was reading the replies. My budget has gone up because I am doing weekly shopping instead of monthly like I did all of last year. I am ending that!

SweetSilver's Avatar SweetSilver 06:05 PM 12-26-2012

I've posted in this thread earlier, and I am still trying to get a handle on the food bill.  It has evened out at $850, which is a vast improvement over a year or so ago, which was 1100-1200.  I am giving the girls a snack+treat budget.  They get 2 envelopes with $5 in each--so 20 pr week.  One is "snacks" the other "treats".  They can spend treat money on snacks, but not the other way around.  At the end of the week, the leftover money (if any) gets added to a jar that we will use for extra swim trips, Children's museum, tracking camp, etc.


Hopefully they will feel some extra freedom of not having to ask me permission, and I hopefully get some peace of mind.


Will it work?  We'll find out.  We'll see if it affects our monthly bill a little.....

Mittsy's Avatar Mittsy 07:19 AM 12-27-2012

Our food budget is between 700-850, and that's for the 4 of us plus our dog. We are vegan, we try not to eat any processed foods at all, and due to many food intolerances/sensitivities I make literally almost everything we eat at home.

sk8boarder15's Avatar sk8boarder15 12:30 PM 12-27-2012

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. 

SweetSilver's Avatar SweetSilver 07:01 PM 12-27-2012
Originally Posted by sk8boarder15 View Post

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. 

Chickens also give you a lot of wonderful poo, gobble up some household scraps (though you have to be careful with a small flock) and are a great part of the composting cycle.  Eggs are a bonus, IMO.  Totally worth getting if you like that kind of thing (i do!), but I don't recommend figuring your costs per dozen.  $5 a dozen will seem low by comparison.  Also, that cost is kept low by continuously culling the flock, and hens older that 15 months are uncommon, even for for-profit mom-and-pop operations.  A family is unlikely to be that severe with culling their flock, and egg production suffers.


Alright, I am teetering on the edge of Off Topic Cliff, so I'll quit now.....

beautifulnm's Avatar beautifulnm 12:32 PM 01-03-2013

We spend <700 a month. We shop Whole Foods and a smaller mom & pop type veg store. I try to use coupons when I can, and last time I went to WF the bill was $230 before coupons and $123 after. I don't buy meat exclusively at WF though, I buy the ground beef and organic chicken breast from Costco. It is always the snacks that are ridiculously expensive and sometimes I will make the trip to the commissary (read as overwhelming madhouse) if we are in dire need of some chips or whatever. Still, the majority of the shopping happens at wf and the HFS.

bellymoon's Avatar bellymoon 02:13 PM 01-09-2013

We already avoided almost all processed foods b/c they're too expensive. I do some relatively minimal baking at home -- muffins and stuff like that. We have oatmeal or fruit for breakfasts. Crockpot beans (waaaay cheaper than the cans). Then read Eat To Live -- highly recommend it. It debunks the protein myth and cured a friend's asthma. So we've been transitioning to vegan (I use only eggs in my baking since we're gluten free -- the eggs help things stick together). It's been a ton cheaper. The kids have taken the transition pretty well. I thought it would be more expensive with all the produce, but it's actually cheaper -- unlimited raw veggies and fruit (without the sugar and protein loads around to mess with blood sugar) really are satisfying -- all four of us feel better than we did before (and we thought we ate really healthy before). We buy almost exclusively at our local coop b/c we get member sales and discount opportunities as well as the member refund at the end of the year. I no longer do huge monthly shops -- I shop once a week -- otherwise the fresh produce gets too old....and since we're not buying the sugary, meaty, starchy, canned stuff anymore, there's not as much stuff to stock up on. We haven't been doing it long enough to know for sure, but I think we're down to around $600/mo for 4 people. (not including laundry detergent and cleaning vinegar, which we get at Costco.)

Tags: Finances , Frugality
1 2