I've seen a few topics that include groceries in the budget, but I am curious as to how people actually go about deciding which items stretch the furthest for the most reasonable price.
What do you spend each month for groceries? What types of foods do you buy? How many people are you feeding?
My personal situation is, I'm having a c-section 7/27/07 and we are living on DH's salary in a very high COL area of the country. We have roughly $300 to spend on groceries each month...I am skeptical that we can do this, but DH believes we can. Has anyone done this succesfully?
We don't have to do this anymore, but when I was in grad school, we had a family of 5-- all teens then, and a grocery budget around 300. We also live in a very costly area---San Diego. We got by with going to Costco for bulk food, lower priced meals based on rice and beans casseroles etc. It is doable.
I say do-able also, but more work obviously. We're not on a super-tight budget now, but in the past I've managed to feed 2 adults on 100/month, no eating out. This would have been about 8 to 10 years ago, so there would be inflation to consider. Pasta, rice, vegetables from cheap green-grocers, no fancy fruits and slow-cooking cheap cuts of meat. There are a lot of good vegetarian recipes such as potato and cauliflower curries that can be stretched for many many meals. It was easier to stick to the budget when I shopped alone and with a calculator so that I could be rational and ruthless.
Oh, and I went super cheap on cleaning supplies, vinegar, baking soda, and no-name brand all-purpose cleaner took care of all the cleaning needs.
Yes :) I currently easily feed a family of 5 on $300 a month in San Diego.
Ways to stretch the grocery budget.
a: shop loss leaders. Stock up on things that are on super duper sales.
b: make a list and stick to it.
c: buy groceries with cash.. it hurts more and you can't overspend your budget cause when it's gone.. it's gone.
d: make things from scratch when you can. it costs less.
e: buy generics, or use coupons. Only use the coupon when you can get a better deal on the "real" thing than you can on the generic.
f: check out www.hotcouponworld.com for a feel on what sales in your area are loss leaders. Also a wonderful source for learning how to use coupons effectively. Most of the posters on there are averaging spending between $5-$15 per person per week in their household.
You should jump over to the Frugal Living board - http://www.pregnancy.org/bulletinboa...rune=100&f=639
There are lots of tips on there on how to use and find coupons, where the grocery bargains are, etc.
The biggest thing that has helped me is making a meal plan. I've been doing it weekly, but am getting ready to jump into doing 2 week menus. I've been trying to plan the menu around what I already have in my pantry/freezer to cut down on what I have to get at the store. I do a lot of stocking up when I can get pantry or freezer things super cheap, so it has worked out well.
I manage that most of the time with a family of four when we had custody of bil. My big things are always have rice in the house, just good ole' regular long grain white rice. It's filling not terrible for you and you can do anything with it. I buy boneless skinless chicken breasts in the frozen ten pound bags. They are usually 15 - 20 bucks depending but will last me at least 3 weeks. I also buy/make a lot of marinades, one bottle will last several meals and it adds variation. The biggest thing is that we eat our meals. We don't snack because I don't buy snack food. The most expensive stuff most people buy at the store are snacks, and I simply don't buy them. (This also helps control my weight). Also store brand frozen veggies are a must.
I have a family of 5 and budget $350 a month. This includes diapers, toiletries, and cleaning products. I also clip lots of coupons, and stock up at CVS when there are freebies. :D