I'm frustrated with amount spent on groceries - Can you help me with ideas?
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  1. #1
    Registered User imagine's Avatar
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    Default I'm frustrated with amount spent on groceries - Can you help me with ideas?

    Okay Hubby says he thinks we still need to spend less on food (meaning groceries)

    I spent in Jan. $377.25 on food (not including eating out or school lunches) If you include household consumables and health and beauty I spent $494.34

    We are a family of four

    Hubby and me eat all meals at home and Son a 12 year old growing boy and Daughter a 8 year old girl eat almost all meals at home they do buy school lunch when they like it (more often form son than for Daughter )

    Here are my limitations:
    1) we have sensitive allergy skin so we can't just buy any shampoo, soap, lotion, laundry detergent, dish soap. We have to buy the ones that don't break us out.
    2) we do have some food allergies but it is mainly to some some fruits and veggies and spices (not like milk or eggs) so we just avoid those foods.
    3) coupons are not readily available to us. The Sunday paper doesn't have many food coupons, stores don't have coupons either.
    4) Don't have a CVS and I still can't figure out the points or money thing at Walgreen's no one around here seems to know what you guys are talking about with that.Could we not have that here?
    5) one grocery store does double coupons up to 50 cents ( making those a $1)
    6) Catalina's? I don't think we have those here. no one seems to know what those are around here.

    Any ideas? Help me please. I'm frustrated and stumped on how to cut our food bill.

  2. #2
    Registered User mommy4ever's Avatar
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    Why don't you share a typical grocery trip, list all items, brands included. Maybe there are some suggests based on what you buy,

    Let me calculate what i spent this month, we're a family of 6, and a home daycare of 5. I don't get double or triple coupons, in fact coupons as a whole are few and far between. In canada there isn't Catalina or walgreens or CVS. So I hear your pain.

    You didn't do bad IMO.
    Mommy4ever to 4 wonderful kiddos. Homeschooling mom to 2 youngest.

    • BEF: Goal 1 met....
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    DEBT, n. An ingenious substitute for the chain and whip of the slave driver.
    - Ambrose Bierce


    The plan: All debt to be eliminated in 12 months(STILL ON TRACK) Paid in full after 10 months. Dh is the captain of this ship, this time, and we're sailing into the sunset. Who'd have thought, but this has brought us so much closer and stronger.




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    Registered User mommy4ever's Avatar
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    mine was 371.94 including HBA

    339.34 without.

    For me this is fab, as I'm usually around 600.

    Actual cash spent for me is: 204.85. We had various gift cards received as gifts/returns that we used this month. So still had to pay, just didn't use household funds.
    Mommy4ever to 4 wonderful kiddos. Homeschooling mom to 2 youngest.

    • BEF: Goal 1 met....
    • CC1 pif - Jan 30
    • cc2 pif - feb 28
    • LOC PIF - Nov 29/13
    • Car(personal loan of 9 days) - PIF Dec 2/13
    • Debt repayment: 100% paid off as of Dec 2/13
    • vacation fund for family vacation goal Dec/14
    • FFEF 0/6 months
    • Retirement savings to start
    • Mortgage


    DEBT, n. An ingenious substitute for the chain and whip of the slave driver.
    - Ambrose Bierce


    The plan: All debt to be eliminated in 12 months(STILL ON TRACK) Paid in full after 10 months. Dh is the captain of this ship, this time, and we're sailing into the sunset. Who'd have thought, but this has brought us so much closer and stronger.




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    Registered User sunshine's Avatar
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    Just some general things off the top of my head -- not sure how much applies to your situation.

    - eat less meat. . .do a few meatless meals, cut meat by 1/3 to 1/2 in other recipes.

    - look for cheaper recipes overall -- some recipes are just not frugal when they require lots of specialty items -- or loads of cheese, half and half, etc.

    - watch portion sizes for the expensive items like meat and cheese -- let them fill up on the less expensive things like veggies and starches, with only normal portion sizes for the expensive stuff.

  5. #5
    Registered User imagine's Avatar
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    Here is my list that you asked for:
    We buy the angel food box. one or two a month unless there isn't room in the freezer, A small chest freezer

    Meat

    We buy the 80 % lean ground beef I generally stock up when it is one sale or mangers special for quick sell. Chicken quarters when they are on sale. I just bought 20 pounds for 29 cents a pound. I buy a beef roast when they are buy one get one free. We buy the occasional sausage, beef hot dogs, or Italian sausage. The rest of our meat comes form Angel food Boxes

    Bread

    We buy Whole wheat bread $1.59 a loaf store brand
    The rest of the breads come from the quick sale section expect flour tortilla Daughter loves them and hot dog buns or hamburger buns if needed. Unsalted crackers store brand, Graham crackers store brand

    Juice
    We buy frozen 100% white grape juice for the children 1.64 from concentrate I dilute with extra water and the children drink it half juice half water
    Cranberry juice for the grown ups - the one without High fructose corn syrup The other kind gives hubby a headache. It helps with my water retention which the doc wants me to work on. I drink it half water half juice I don't think hubby does

    Dairy
    2% milk a gallon or so a week
    Dannon vanilla yogurt daughter can't drink milk (doesn't tolerate it well so we go for other sources for her. We go with dannon since it doesn't have high fructose corn syrup. Cheeses are in block except some american cheese slices , the bag of shredded cheese ( it is cheaper than the block cheese),cottage cheese, and cream cheese.
    we buy what every is on sale or is the cheapest. We buy store brand butter which ever is the cheapest or on sale

    Cereal
    Store brand oatmeal, malt o meal are standards, Box cereal when it is on sale.

    Fruits and veggies
    Always have apples, carrots, spinach on hand Fill in with what is on sale or bags of frozen (generally store brand) I'll stock up on things like peppers when they are on sale and freeze them.

    Misc.
    Jiff Peanut butter and a local all natural peanut butter
    Jelly store brand
    Nuts on sale if possible (normally peanut and almond)
    We buy candy on the rare occasion (we still have some leftover from the after Christmas sale It will be a valentine present the red ones at least) Other desserts are normally homemade.
    Pop is a very rare treat and only when it is on sale. Example Son asked for some for this birthday dinner.
    Soups like cream ofs when on sale or store brand.

    Health and beauty
    Sauve conditioner and shampoo
    Dial soap
    Cetaphil lotion
    hubby uses the store brand dandruff shampoo
    Store brand oatmeal bath for a treat
    toothpaste Crest Pro- Health Only one I have found that helps my gums as I'm allergic to the main anti bacterial agent. And pro health mouth rinse The denstist has seen marked improvement in my gums since using these. I tend to stock up when I find them on sale.

    Meanan ( i might have spelled that wrong ) deodrant as it is the only one that I have found that doen't break me out. We stock up when it is on sale.

    Deft laundry soap only one that doesn't break anyone out I use way less than the normal amount we don't use fabric softener or dry sheets

    Dawn dish soap only one that doesn't break me out

    We clean the house with vinegar, baking soda and salt. The occasional bleach or stains but that does break me out.

    Son has to use nexcare bandages as the other break him out allergic to the adhesive they think.

    I think that is it
    Last edited by imagine; 02-02-2009 at 12:05 PM.

  6. #6
    Registered User NewLeaf's Avatar
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    Don't feel bad , my grocery, health & beauty, pet and household was $655 in January.
    I did stockpile some sale items and hopefully that will help this month.
    I am trying the money in the envelope to budget for February. Also, stockpiling , making my own mixes from scratch (tried one so far), coupons, and REALLY watching for sales at the grocery stores.
    I also decided to talk to my oldest son (13 yrs) and tell him that we were budgeting and would be cutting down on snack foods and pop. He will still get a certain amount but we ARE cutting down. I am making my own snacks at home this month. If they will eat what I make they won't go hungry....
    I am making my own laundry detergent and cleaners - it is much cheaper and probably better for the environment. Me and ds (6yrs) have extremely sensitive skin and so far so good.
    I would like to cut down on paper goods like paper towels and napkins so I am encouraging my family to think before they take a paper towel when they could use a nice soft clean dish towel to dry their hands.
    We plan on not eating out at all this month.
    One more tip ( save all leftover vegies in a gallon freezer bag in the freezer and when its full you can make vegie soup). I make alot of soup because it is cheap, filling and easy.
    Most of these tips came from here and these ladies are REALLY good at the frugal thing.

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    Registered User sunshine's Avatar
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    ???

    What are you packing in the school lunches? I bake cookies (oatmeal and snickerdoodles are the cheapest for me, occasionally chocolate chip if I get the chips on sale)

    Make homemade drop biscuits, etc. to cut back on buying bread as often.

    Do you eat much in the way of casseroles/stir frys, etc. ? You can cut back on meat that way.

    You can make your own cream of whatever soup mix -- then just wisk it together when ready to use. . .lots more variety too, than just cream of mushroom/chicken/celery

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    Registered User NewLeaf's Avatar
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    Oh yeah! Check for a local day old bread store. I get my bread really cheap there. .99cents for whole wheat. Sometimes 3/1.79. Also , they have other bread products including snacks.

    Don't be shy about checking for reduced meat and produce at the stores. I found corn flakes for .51 cents a box the other day. I found spiral sliced hams less than half price and finally found a turkey marked down to .89cents/lb. (I was hoping for a better price but the turkeys were almost gone.....)You can make ALOT of meals w/a turkey.

    You can stock up on reduced meat and put it in your freezer. I got chicken leg quarters (10 lbs) for around $3.29. I cooked them overnight in two crockpots and packaged all of the chick. meat and broth (separately). I got 7 cups of meat and 2 qts. of broth...

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    Registered User mommy4ever's Avatar
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    I'd say try a discount bakery for bread, or make your own.

    I envy your meat prices~ the best we get chicken legs w/backs attached is $1/lb. Lean ground beef is usually around $1.90/lb! Chicken here is a luxury cut. We don't get it often.

    For what you're getting you're doing great!

    What I see is the juice for the kids. I don't get juice here. Water, and milk. Milk we get at breakfast and at supper. The way we converted the kids, is we found a water cooler on freecycle, bought one bottle of water, and now just fill it with tap water. It's always cold and ready for them. I refill it a couple times a week. Even the little one drinks a ton of water. I keeps the milk consumption down. And no complaints on drinking water.

    I do lots of baking too, that helps for lunches. Dh and the kids all pack lunches, the girls get a "hot lunch" at school once a month if I have the change on hand to pay for it. But it's usually just bagged. They both like foods in the thermos. I'm trying to find homemade soups they like as it goes a long way for very little. They love chowder type soups. SO I do a seafood chowder, the seafood is tuna..lol. But lots of veggies, it's hearty and comforting in the cold weather. Add a home made corn muffin and a fruit and they are satisfied.

    Try a soup day at home. I make a soup/stew Friday nights, this is lunch on the weekends with a sandwich or "sub". It's a nice cheap way to feed us all. I'm trying my hand at home made sub buns this week.

    I do bake our bread usually. This month I didn't and we spent nearly $40 on bread YIKES. SO I need to plan my weeks better and get the baking done..lol.

    Truly, you're not doing bad at all. There are places to tweak maybe, but it is so dependent on geographic economy, that it's hard to compare to the family that feeds for $200 a month. We don't all get the same deals. We work with way we have. $400/mo for a family is WAY cheaper than most people here. That is a week for how most people around here shop.
    Mommy4ever to 4 wonderful kiddos. Homeschooling mom to 2 youngest.

    • BEF: Goal 1 met....
    • CC1 pif - Jan 30
    • cc2 pif - feb 28
    • LOC PIF - Nov 29/13
    • Car(personal loan of 9 days) - PIF Dec 2/13
    • Debt repayment: 100% paid off as of Dec 2/13
    • vacation fund for family vacation goal Dec/14
    • FFEF 0/6 months
    • Retirement savings to start
    • Mortgage


    DEBT, n. An ingenious substitute for the chain and whip of the slave driver.
    - Ambrose Bierce


    The plan: All debt to be eliminated in 12 months(STILL ON TRACK) Paid in full after 10 months. Dh is the captain of this ship, this time, and we're sailing into the sunset. Who'd have thought, but this has brought us so much closer and stronger.




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    You're doing pretty good. Show your husband the USDA thrifty plan for a family of four (sounds like you are already under that).

    http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/USDAFoodCost-Home.htm

    I concur with some of the above suggestions: consider baking your own bread, or getting it from a bakery thrift if you can find one. Meatless meals a couple of days a week: rice and beans; baked potato bar, maybe some Chinese style stir fry meals where meat is the condiment, with the emphasis on veggies and rice or noodles).

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    Registered User Contrary Housewife's Avatar
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    I think you are doing extremely well for 4 people, considering your health needs and that you aren't buying products with corn syrup or lots of snacks and junk.

    The thing that I see is your "eating out" comment. Just how often do you eat out and what does that cost? Because I think this is the place to cut more.

    The only other suggestion I have is to stretch things. Instead of everyone having a portion of meat, use it in sauces, soups or casseroles with cheap rice or noodle fillers. Have meatless meals once or twice a week. Use eggs instead of beef or chicken as your protein source. (You don't have to eat fried eggs at every meal, use them in breads, muffins, stir frys, pudding, etc.)
    Use it up, Wear it out,
    Make it do, Or do without. ~unknown

    You can't always get what you want
    But if you try sometimes you just might find
    You get what you need ~Rolling Stones

    A clean house is a sign of a wasted life. ~unknown

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    Registered User rainbowgc's Avatar
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    If you have a store that double coupons by all means buy the coupons you need! Here is where I get mine:
    http://www.thecouponclippers.com/index.html

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    All I can offer is to make more soups. Bean soup, chili, vegie, lentil, beef barley,chicken and rice, they can all be done with small amounts of meats or bones. Make big pots and they'll last a while. Easy biscuits to go with and you've got good eating.

  14. #14
    Registered User imagine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Contrary Housewife View Post
    The thing that I see is your "eating out" comment. Just how often do you eat out and what does that cost? Because I think this is the place to cut more.
    We spent $51.54 this month

    Jan. 2 $1.37 Drinks on toll road I was very thirsty and didn't plan ahead. The children split a drink ( Hi C) and I order two small waters for me (small waters are free)

    Jan 17 We ate out as a family we dinned in $18.97 at Burger King

    Jan 23 Ordered Pizza for Son's sleepover He had one friend over in instead of a birthday party Two large pizzas $17.08

    Jan 29 Daughter's birthday treat two drinks at local drive in (it isn't often I get one on one time with and when it is their birthday that screams a treat) $2.12

    Jan 31 Hubby took the children out for Breakfast on this birthday to celebrate their birthdays (yes they all have Jan. Birthdays) $12.00

    Our goal is to only eat out twice a month at most. This month was a bit out of the ordinary as it was birthday month.

    The kids do eat bought school lunch (most days). This includes a protein (main dish), two starches, a fruit, a veggie, milk ( and sometime dessert) Daughter gets a juice instead of milk --doctors orders. The school has a "share box" where the students leave packaged foods they aren't going to eat so other students can eat it if they wish. Son normally chooses one or two things from this box as well as an extra milk too. The share box is free. Hubby thinks the price is a good deal for what they kids get and eat.

    School lunches and eating out are categories of their own and not included in the food/household category.

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    Registered User imagine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Contrary Housewife View Post
    The only other suggestion I have is to stretch things. Instead of everyone having a portion of meat, use it in sauces, soups or casseroles with cheap rice or noodle fillers. Have meatless meals once or twice a week. Use eggs instead of beef or chicken as your protein source. (You don't have to eat fried eggs at every meal, use them in breads, muffins, stir frys, pudding, etc.)
    We do have meatless meals often.

    In fact, Hubby just asked for a special meal request. Spaghetti with meat in it ( ground beef).

    The family loves stir fry. we do it meat less normally add peanuts if we feel the need for some protein. Hubby makes a fried rice with an egg.

    The family loves quiche we have this a few time a month. My favorite is broccoli quiche. Four eggs makes two quiches which is 4 meals for the family.

    I do make some soups in the crock pot especially in winter. but they normally have meat in them. I'm looking for a yummy one with a mixed bean You know the ones you buy at the store in a bag with several different beans, If anyone has an idea please share

    We cook up pinto beans in the crock pot we generally have these with rice. I then blend up the leftover pinto beans and refry them to make bean burritos.

    I'll take all the ideas I can get. Please.
    Last edited by imagine; 02-02-2009 at 02:16 PM.

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