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  Topic Review (Newest First)
02-12-2013 03:40 PM
pek64 Take some time to check out the prices at various places, and ask about discounts. Whole Foods will give a 10%case discount, in my area. But I still do better with the 20% discount at my natural food store, especially when I include transportation costs. I have to rely on public transportation, and getting to Whole Foods is significantly higher than the local store. Crunch the numbers for your specific location and make the best choice for your family.
02-12-2013 02:10 PM
mama amie

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.

02-12-2013 02:08 PM
mama amie

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.

We buy:

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.  :)

02-03-2013 10:38 AM
ambersrose

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!!  

02-03-2013 10:11 AM
JunebugsMom

Does anyone know where to get the best price on organic peanut butter?

01-21-2013 05:57 PM
pek64 There's only two of us, though one is a teen boy. We were spending $50-70 each month on beef, but it's been $100 a month this winter.

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.
01-19-2013 07:57 PM
StrongBeliever

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!

01-19-2013 05:51 PM
EarthyMamaofDaisy

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. 

01-11-2013 09:25 AM
SweetSilver
Quote:
Originally Posted by pek64 View Post

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.

01-11-2013 05:26 AM
pek64 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.
01-10-2013 06:57 PM
mamarhu
Quote:
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. 


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.

01-10-2013 06:18 PM
EmsMom
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheMommy View Post

Cereal is expensive!  The more oatmeal we eat for breakfast, the better our budget. 


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. 

01-10-2013 05:37 PM
TheMommy

Cereal is expensive!  The more oatmeal we eat for breakfast, the better our budget. 

01-09-2013 08:18 PM
pek64 If you're eating vegan be sure to take B-12 and eat some cholesterol. Deficiencies in these can cause health problems.
01-09-2013 01:13 PM
bellymoon

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.)

01-03-2013 11:32 AM
beautifulnm

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.

12-27-2012 06:01 PM
SweetSilver
Quote:
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.....

12-27-2012 11:30 AM
sk8boarder15

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. 

12-27-2012 06:19 AM
Mittsy

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.

12-26-2012 05:05 PM
SweetSilver

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.....

12-26-2012 04:51 PM
holidaymama

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!

12-26-2012 12:36 PM
Momsteader

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.

12-26-2012 08:25 AM
SweetSilver
Quote:
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.

12-25-2012 10:37 PM
sk8boarder15

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.... 

12-20-2012 08:28 PM
es1967

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.

12-01-2012 11:26 AM
baileyb

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.

12-01-2012 06:02 AM
mommariffic

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 

11-30-2012 07:17 PM
pek64 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.
11-30-2012 07:06 PM
meandk0610

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.
 

11-30-2012 02:59 PM
loveandgarbage

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

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