Wednesday, May 7

Works-for-me Wednesday

So I'm not doing what Shannon is doing this week. She's doing Doesn't Work-for-me Wednesday. I'm doing a Reverse Works-for-me Wednesday. I need your help!! Please, HELP ME!!!!

(Well, we all know I have issues in other areas, like donuts, I love a man who isn't my husband, and, well, I was a very mean sister when I was younger. But I think that's more than any of you can fix in just one comment!!)

So. Here's where I need some help. And I'm going to open up and be honest here. I need help with my grocery budget. My household budget (John gets upset when I call it an 'allowance,' so we've agreed on 'budget') is around $600 each month. This goes for anything I buy. Food, drinks, trips to SAM'S Club, diapers, Sonic, Whole Foods, and any various outings I choose to make, like grabbing a cup of Starbucks on my way to my book club. When it comes down to it, I spend around $450 each month on actual food groceries, and that feels like waaaay too much to me. I know some of you are very talented at the food budgeting, so HELP ME!!!

Here's some things you should know:
*We like to eat well. I will not feed my family hot dogs and mac & cheese because it's cheaper. (If I eat hot dogs, it's because I have a craving for hot dogs. My mom is going to throw up when she reads that. She hates hot dogs. I didn't get to eat them when I was growing up. But I digress ...)
*I will not make anything that has Cream of Fill-in-the-Blank Soup in it. So don't give me links to cassaroles if Cream of Fill-in-the-Blank Soup is an ingredient.
*I'm getting a freezer today. A big freezer. A chest freezer. I'm so excited, I can't even tell you. So I can start buying more things in bulk; I can also start making 3 and 4 times the food and freezing it. YAY!!! So if you've got a great recipe that freezes really well and is fairly healthy (but see above!), please give it!!
*I don't care how healthy a recipe is; if it doesn't taste good, I absolutely will. not. eat. it. I'm just saying.
*I don't do the coupon thing, because everything I buy is generic, so even with coupons, the name brand stuff still costs more. Yes, I do compare on a regular basis.

So, do you think you could help me cut some corners and save some money? I'd love to get to the point where I'm spending under $400 each month on food. Please, I'm begging you!!! Help me!! Let me know what works for you!!!!!

(And if you can't help me, please leave a comment and let me know you stopped by. I just love comments; they make my whole day!!)

13 comments:

Llama Momma said...

I'm not sure where you live, but for me, $450 per month does not sound unreasonable for groceries. (I spend about $150 / week in the Chicago area. That includes organic meat and dairy. I feed my family well. We eat a ton of fresh fruit and veggies. I may be able to spend less, but will I sacrifice quality? Not worth it to me...

I do stock up on meat and paper products when they go on sale.

Hopefully others will have more practical tips! I think you're doing great!

Just my two cents...

Laura said...

Sorry I don't have any advice - I was coming here in the hopes that people had left you lots of great ideas that I could steal! No such luck! Anyway, I hope people come up with lots of great ideas for you. Laura

jesnicole said...

A FREEZER WILL SAVE YOU SO MUCH IF YOU DOUBLE MEALS AND ARE FAITHFUL AT FREEZING, SO YOU'RE DOING A GOOD THING WITH THAT! (I NEED TO DO IT MORE OFTEN, I TRY TO WHEN I HAVE THE TIME) FOR US....IT'S USUALLY JUST ME AND THE BABY AT HOME, SO WE DO A TON OF PASTA....WHICH YOU CAN MAKE A MILLION DIFFERENT WAYS, MEXICAN FOOD (BEANS, RICE, ETC.), AND THE CLASSIC SPAGHETTIO'S, PBJ'S, RAMEN NOODLES(MY SON LOVES THEM), CARROTS, APPLES, BANANAS...AND LOTS OF RICE AND OATMEAL. HOPE I HELPED A LITTLE, THESE THINGS WORK FOR ME, AND I DON'T SPEND A BIG AMOUNT ON GROCERIES.

Loral said...

The most effective things I do to keep our food budget down is to carefully plan and shop from a list. I also serve leftovers for lunch the next day- no waste! You can find great tips and recipes at Hillbilly Housewife.
hth!

Bonnie said...

I too am learning on how to cut my grocery budget. Menu planning definitely helps because then I only buy what I need for the meals I have planned, and I can better plan for leftovers. And recently what has REALLY helped is menu planning for 2 weeks instead of one. It's still somewhat of a mystery to me, but when I went to the store once a week, I would spend usually somewhere between $125-$150. Then, I started going every two weeks and the first couple times I spent $200 for 2 weeks worth of groceries and I would do a small, produce and milk trip in between for about $25. So, instead of spending $250-$300 every two weeks, I am only spending $225. And since then I think I have been getting better at it, and the last couple trips I have only spent $150 and then maybe $30 on the in between trip. So I am slowly getting to where I want to be. The hard part is keeping the in between trip to only what I absolutely need. Anyways, that's what works for me. Although, I still would like to know how some people are able to only spend $50 or less a week!

Kai said...

I'm just a single girl, so I have NO concept of what it is to feed a family, but here's what I do to save money on my own groceries.

I make all my own bread/rolls/buns etc. and freeze them. It's much cheaper/healthier than buying pre-made and I have to say that pounding dough is great stress relief!

Only buy meat on sale and then freeze it. I don't eat red meat, but when turkey burgers and chicken breasts go on sale I stock up and stick em' in the freezer.

Watch the waste...this is something new I've been trying. I hate eating the same thing twice and I end up throwing too many leftovers out. Turn those leftovers into something new so you don't get bored. Leftover pasta? Make a pasta frittata. leftover rice? make fried rice.

Lasagna freezes fabulously, as does soup and chili....

Good luck!!!

Tonni said...

Hello!
Just thought I'd comment... I don't know how to answer your question, b/c we don't have kids yet, but I've been reading your blog for a few weeks.

I'm hoping to homeschool and have gardens and chickens and learn about natural remedies as well, so I figured I'd add you do my blogreader and learn from you :)

Laura said...

So many great questions! My grocery budget has jumped quite a bit (well...as the kids have gotten older and started eating like their daddy...) and as we started eating healthier. I've had to let go a bit with feeling like I should spend less on food. We're investing in our bodies here. It's pretty important that we put quality stuff into it! BUT, I still have a budget to stay under. I actually am just starting a series on my blog about eating healthy...why I feed my family the way I do, and how I afford it. I'd love it if you came and checked it out. (otherwise, this comment will just keep going on forever.............) :)

Rachel said...

A couple freezer recipes that have worked well for me are chicken cacciatore (just throw it from the freezer into a crockpot and make some rice or pasta), chicken pot pie filling (and then just make a top and bottom pie crust and dump the filling in and bake), chicken ala king (heat on stove and make some biscuits or mashed potatoes or pastry puffs), and beef chimichanga filling (frozen in portions, thawed and rolled up into tortillas and baked or fried and dressed with various toppings). When I freezer cook, I usually make a day of it and only use meat ingredients that were on sale or that I could buy in bulk. The 4 different meals mentioned above came out at $.75 per serving plus sometimes a little extra for accompaniments.

Mom2fur said...

LOL about the mac & cheese--my homemade version has Jarlsberg cheese in it (just a little--it's mostly cheddar), so it sure ain't cheaper. (But it's oh, so good!)

We bought a freezer last year and it's one of the best investments we've ever made. You'll love yours, I'm sure! You might want to look up what foods can be frozen so you can stock up at sales.

I do the coupon thing, mostly using "The Grocery Game." It works for me, because I do like some brand-name products better than generic. The biggest thing you need to do is to be very familiar with prices on fresh foods, especially meat. Get to know what's a good buy. Buy cheap where you can and quality where you should. I have found over time that I'd rather pay a bit more for chicken tenders that I don't have to clean. By the time I trim the 'icky' stuff on cheap chicken, I've probably thrown 10-15% of the meat away.
When you see a great sale, be sure to buy more than you need--that's what your freezer is for! We eat sirloin steaks here, and even shrimp sometimes, because I buy extra when I get the best price.
Whole Foods is cool, but wow, is it pricey! However, I bought some nice mahi-mahi there the other day to make fish tacos, and I thought the price was reasonable. I think Starbucks tastes like cr*p, but give me all your Folger's, and no one gets hurt...

Good luck to you!

Amy # said...

Well, I don't know how much help I will be, but I can tell you a little of what I do...

I spend $300 a month for a family of five. I don't have a freezer, because well, I don't believe in freezers. When we move to the homestead, we don't plan to have electricity in the house, so for the past year I have been weaning myself off the freezer. I just now use the one in the fridge (for ice) and to freeze bags of dried goods before I store in 5 gallon buckets.

I have my garden of course, and I can every year. I make homemade spaghetti, pickles, peaches, home made stews, soups.

We eat a lot of soups, homemade bread, salads, pizza, and I love chicken and rice casseroles, but that is the ONLY casserole that I will eat. Stir frys are also good, as well as, Mexican food. I make tacos, beef burritos with queso on top. I will post my recipes on my blog.

For example, breakfast (if we eat breakfast) is usually oatmeal, grits, pancakes with either bacon or sauage.

Lunch is normally salad, sandwiches on homemade bread, or soup.

Dinner I made spaghetti tonight. It was so good, I wish I had made a double batch (sigh).

I'd suggest stocking your pantry with the basics, and then start working on filling your freezer, keeping in mind if the power goes out you WILL lose your freezer.

I have lots of tips on grocery budgeting, as I teach financial planning at church, so let me know if you have any questions, and I can post the info to my blog.

Melissa said...

My advice is to plan menus from your pantry/freezer.

Stock up on things when they are on sale or you can get what you know is a good price for them. I have heard that doing a price book is an excellent way to know when you're getting a good deal, but I haven't been dedicated enough to make one. I do know what a good buy on certain items that we use often (like chicken)is and I take advantage of that.

Then I plan my weekly menus based on what I have, rather than shopping specifically for my menu and taking the chance that something costs a lot.

Also, shopping seasonally is really helpful. Know which fruits and veggies are in season, shop the farmer's market for good deals (last year at the end of corn season I got a huge heaping case of corn for $3--I froze a ton of corn!)

Lisa said...

I have no good ideas on this subject at all. I freeze lots of things and then throw them away after a year. I don't think you will think that is helpful. You said to comment to make your day, though! Hi