A friend of ours is getting married in a few months and she asked me to give her some grocery shopping strategies. This is what I came up with... I'm sure no one else will care about reading it but I thought it would be fun for the kids to look back on someday when they are older. I am weird like that!
It's pretty wordy so if you are just wanting to see pictures of the kids and other fun stuff, then scroll down a couple of posts!
Our grocery budget is $75 a week for our family of 6 (Scott and Caleb are pretty big eaters) but I prepare large enough meals that we have enough to feed extra people and can invite them, even at the last minute, to join us for a meal. We have people eating with us more often than not, and I love that. I also eat leftovers for lunch during the week and we have at least one “leftover buffet” for dinner every pay period, if not weekly.
I do sometimes dip into our dining out budget (which is $25 a week, basically enough for one family meal out somewhere like Moe’s or Sonny’s or a couple of playdates at McDonald’s or CFA) to pay for groceries, mostly because lately we have been splurging on two kinds of diet sodas (I used to buy it only occasionally as a treat) and Scott and I do eat some sugar-free treats that cost a little bit more. All of that to say we never spend more than $100 a week total on all food (groceries and eating out) but it is usually less than that.
Some families our size probably don’t spend near that much, but I don’t use coupons (haven’t made time for that yet) and we all LOVE to eat so we go through a serious amount of food!
I buy meat from Fulwood Farms, Super Choice or Food Town and produce from the produce stand. Dollar Tree gets bread on Mondays and Thursdays (go early in the day for the best selection) for $1 a loaf and it is good, healthy bread, not just cheap white sandwich bread. They also have whole grain English muffins and other various things depending on the week. Aldi is a great place to get milk, eggs, cheese and baking goods. Sometimes they have good fresh produce deals, too. Save-a-Lot is the place to go for frozen veggies, canned cream soups, broths, brown rice and whole grain pasta (if you eat that). Don’t get me wrong, I heart Publix but usually only go there for their killer BOGO sales. We also buy some things from Sam’s that I know from experience are good deals, but you definitely won’t need the volume of food that we do!
I shop once every pay period so the second week we are typically using meat from the freezer and canned fruit/frozen veggies. We do have to buy milk and bananas for the second week, so I always set aside grocery money for that. Our kids get what’s on sale for their cereal and special snacks, not what they want. We don’t do fancy pre-packaged stuff for them like Go-Gurt or 100-calorie packs… nothing against that stuff, we just can’t do it with our budget. They get choices, it just has to be something that's on sale!
Cook from scratch as much as you can – processed foods are more expensive and certainly not as healthy. Homemade pizza is so cheap and so much better than cheap pizza out (although I do love me some Palace Pizza). Also if you do a meatless meal at least once a week (something like stuffed shells or veggie lasagna) that helps. I try to make my meats stretch whenever I can… For example I can make 2 chicken pot pies using a couple of b/s chicken breasts shredded up but I would have to cook at least 4 breasts if I made something like chicken parmesan. I don’t cook every meal that way, but quite a few. Plan your meals based on what you have and what's on sale.
Here are some of my target prices for the meats we eat most:
Pork Roast (bone-in) – 89 cents a pound
Pork Steaks – anything under $1.50 per pound, usually around $1.19
B/S Chicken Breast – anything under $2 a pound (often I can find it as low as $1.69/lb)
Split Chicken Breast – 99 cents a pound (bone-in)
Ground Beef – anything under $2 a pound, I don’t usually pay more than $1.69)
Beef Roast - $1.99 a pound
It isn’t always fun to shop this way but if it means I get to be home with my babies instead of shipping them off to day care to go to work and earn an income, it is more than worth it to me.
Find your groove and however you do it will be great for you – as long as your man is getting a home-cooked meal he will be happy! :)