Saturday, April 27, 2013

How Do I Make My Grocery Money Stretch?!?

It has been my personal goal to lower our grocery bill as much as possible, but still provide whole, mostly organic food for my family. How has it been working??... 

Not sure...

I have $450 a month for our currently family of 5 people (soon to be six).
According to some government guidelines, one can estimate about $125 per person per month for groceries.

That would mean we should  be spending $625 a month for our family for 5 and $750 for our family of 6... 

Who has that kind of money??
No wonder people think kids are expensive!

So my goal has been (despite much criticism and doubts from those around me) to lower it as much as possible. I set up a personal goal of $400 a month for our family of 5. And I have been relatively successful (maybe going over $10 one month and $25 the next mostly due to moving and traveling)

I will be posting more on this as I become MORE successful at this.

Here is what I have been doing (it’s been a time consuming process to begin with, but after about the 3rd month, it’s actually REALLY easy):
(1) Price Tracking Sheet: I have forever avoided even the thought of writing how much every thing costs per ounce and comparing it to another store. But I finally just took a weekend and did it. I went to Costco, Trader Joe’s and Mississippi Market (like Whole Foods) and did write down everything we usually buy and compared the unit price to the other stores. I now have a lengthy list of where things are cheaper per unit price. 

(2) Monthly Meal Plans: We are pretty simple. 

Breakfasts are usually always:
Cheerios and Banana (seldom, maybe once a week)
Oatmeal (many variations) 
Pancakes/Muffins on Wednesday and Sunday

Lunches are always:
Nut butter and Jelly on Whole Wheat Bread
Eggs and Vegetables (many, many healthy variations)

Snacks consist of:
“Snack Packs” (pre zip-locked homemade crackers, nuts, dried fruit, chocolate chips, cereal ect)
Fresh Fruit
Veggies and Hummus

Lately Dinners have been:
Monday: Breakfast for Dinner OR Soup and Bread
Tuesday: Meat, Vegetable, and Potato
Wednesday: Day I try new recipes or some old favorites (Tacos, Pasta ect)
Thursday: Pizza or Grill when we have church at the park
Friday (Our “Town Day”): Crock pot meal or African Food (Beans and Rice, Cassava Leaf, Okra; African food usually lasts 2-3 nights)
Saturday: African Food
Sunday: Crock pot or African food (depending on what we choose to do Friday)

(3) Scratch Cooking: Healthier and Cheaper: Yes! It takes TIME! It takes SELF DISCIPLINE! It takes CREATIVITY!

I don’t know if many of you know my history on why I am such a LOVER of cooking from scratch. I had food endometriosis, IBS, and food allergies out of this world and was forced to cut everything out of my diet for years of my life. I was forced to make everything I wanted to eat from scratch. But, my body completely healed itself from doing this. It became part of my life. I feel better, AND my grocery bill looks so much better!

When you get groceries, throw some vegetables in a pot for three or four weeks worth of vegetable broth. Mix up some oatmeal, honey, peanut butter and chocolate chips in a bowl and make granola bars. Throw some flour and yeast in the bread machine (or just knead it and let it rise for a few hours) for bread or pizza dough or tortillas (oh how i want a tortilla press!!!). Throw some tomatoes, oregano, onions, garlic and oil in the food processor then cook it down into tomato sauce for pasta or pizza. Slice, chop, bag fruit and vegetables for weekly meals and snacks. With practice, the whole ordeal should only take a FEW HOURS in ONE DAY of the WHOLE WEEK!

Wednesdays (or Mondays) are usually when I make a LARGE batch of pancakes or muffins and freeze them so we can eat them Sunday for church and throughout the week.

(4) Coupons: I have been working at this off and on for a while. Recently my husband has taken an interest in coupon-ing, and you know how it is when your husband takes interest... it’s SO much more do-able. Here have been my most recent coupon-ing run:

All of this for $11.00

(5) Buy in Bulk: Potatoes from Costco may cost $7.69 compared to Trader Joes which costs $2.49, but those potatoes from Costco will likely last me all month. This goes for Rice, Oatmeal, Rice Milk (unless you make your own almond milk), Nuts, Dried Beans ect...

Most of all I have learned to NOT let people tell you it can’t be done. 
I will find a way to lower it even more and share with you my findings. 
It’s fun! (If you want it to be)

P.S. WE have been needing to buy ALL our drinking water lately also! Our water at our new place is EXTREMELY chlorinated. I mean it smells like straight-up POOL!


  1. I got bored and started watching one of those super coupon shows on Netflix (I cut the cable a few years ago and just pay for netflix monthly and amazon prime once a year) and you see people spend $6 on $600 worth of grocery store hauls, or even, sometimes getting $5-10 BACK to take out $400-700 worth of stuff. Sometimes it seems like a lot of stuff that you wouldn't need, but I suppose if you can make a haul like that you could always donate to programs or through church the extraneous items you don't need. I don't know if I could ever be THAT disciplined with couponing, but I would LOVE to start saving way more per month at the grocery store and I'm only feeding two people and a dog.

  2. I agree!! My husband and I started getting into it. I am amazed at how much my toiletry money is stretching.

    We don't buy any household cleaners and don't majority of the food we get from couponing we don't eat, but we are involved in many church events and our church owns a coffee house that I can donate all that too. It's fun :)