Monthly Food Budget/ # in Family?

  • kilby 14 years ago
    $300 per month
    Family of 6
    It is a great challenge that I normally come in right under the radar! Most months I am filling the pantry with bulk extras that I find. You know, those excellent deals that you can't pass up. My last great "deal of the day" was Chicken Breast, .99 cents per pound. And my absolute best deal of the day ever... Pouches of Tuna fish, .14 cents per package. They were mis-marked, but the store manager honored it. I walked away with 30 packages. Ok, this just inspired another chatter subject!
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  • zena824 14 years ago said:
    Im dumbfounded that you can feed 6 people on $300 a month.....WOW... send me your secret.... Its just me and my hubby here and I cant do that good.....
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  • kilby 14 years ago said:
    Hi Zena824,
    I was taught years ago to have my staples stocked at all times. That way you are not running out at the last minute to purchase anything. Well, using that same mentality, I began stocking up on all the non perishables that were incredible deals, and pretty much have grocery store in my home. The highest price I have paid for cereal this year.... .50 cents per box. They had an expiration date of 2008, so I purchased 65 boxes. You may think that is crazy, but with 4 childen, and a husband that loves cereal, it was a gold mine find! I made that purchase in January, and we are just now running out. The whole idea behind my shopping strategy is to NEVER EVER pay full price for anything! EVER! I imagine could do better if I used coupons, but until yesturday, i did not have any extra time on my hands.
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  • tnacndn 14 years ago said:
    Man I spend about $100.00 a week at the grocery store and there are just 3 of us here now. Of course not all that is food. I have 4 cats and a dog. That also includes any cleaning, detergent, bleach,etc and personal hygene products, being a good grandma and spoiling the grand kids I always buy them something and my hubby is a big beer fan.....ROOT BEER that is, I spend about $15.00 a week just on that alone. LOL
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  • kilby 14 years ago said:
    Hi Tncndn,
    I always make it a policy not to include any cleaners or paper items in my budget, that messes me up. They are normally bought at the same time, just checked out separately. I have a blast shopping, and feel like a "big game hunter" with my prize 'Kill" at the end of the day. Silly I know, but back in the day when we really could not afford any more than that, I had to do something to make it fun, and well, it has stuck with me. My Husband thinks I am crazy, but he loves always having something there to eat, and when we come across families that may be short for the week, we are always able to pitch in and help, with the food and the knowledge of how to get out of that position.
    Kilby
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  • nemo 14 years ago said:
    You are doing great!
    I can see this group is going to be a place I visit often, I look forward to learning more about keeping stock in the house and staying on a low budget when feeding big eaters! ^_^

    Im planning on growing my own veggies and fruit next year so I'll have to stock up on the harvest of those too... any bulk fresh food freezing tips?
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  • pointsevenout 14 years ago said:
    Canning! Think canning instead of freezing!
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  • kilby 14 years ago said:
    I have 6. What size family do you have?
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  • ksfoodjunkie 14 years ago said:
    I have just myself and son and spend $150 a month including meals out.
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  • debra47 14 years ago said:
    I have found that buying in bulk definitely keeps the grocery bills down. In addition to buying in bulk I also purchase extras when specific items are on sale. Not sure how I would manage if I didn't have a separate freezer because I definitely need that for the extras.

    I find that meat is more expensive in England than in the U.S. but we don't eat much meat. I have about 6 choices for where I purchase my fruit and vegetables so I always compare before purchasing. As a rule we don't buy our fruit and vegetables at the grocery stores because the quality and prices are better at the green grocers and I prefer to support the independent businesses.

    .
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  • zena824 14 years ago said:
    I can see right now... Im gonna have to do better in my shopping......I usually stock up on a good bargin .... but dont seem to find that many bargins to stock up on.....
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  • singasongof6pans 14 years ago said:
    I buy for two adults most of the time and spend $125 to $150 a month. When I fed three to four adults and two or three kids we spent about $250 a month. And when I buy for one it's about $100 a month.
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  • linebb956 14 years ago said:
    OMG... I guess it's the way we eat... Mostly fresh veggies and fruit.. and sea food.. At our age we have to watch what we eat and can not fill up on the carbs like I used to.. and I miss it! Good plate of mashed potatoes and gravy can stretch a meal!

    Anyhoo.. we spend about $125 for the 2 of us... well that also includes sodas, cleaning and snacks... and Grand kids.. they are here everyday looking for food! Haley goes through the cabinet and swipes all the chicken noodle soup!
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  • ksfoodjunkie 14 years ago said:
    I agree that working in fruits and veggies on a budget is tough. I am very controlling on the starches as we are pretty much destined to be diabetic. I find that shopping for in season fruits/veggies and buying frozen helps. I stock up when the local Dillons/Krogers has frozen veggies 10/$10. And I buy my meat on "managers special" meaning its not bad yet but has to go.
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  • crystalwaters 14 years ago said:
    ... at a local independent grocer in my neighborhood. If I go in early enough, around 8am or so, the meat manager is marking down almost all the meat that didn't sell the night before, sometimes 50% off. That way I can stock up on ground beef etc and toss it in the freezer for when I have time/want to cook it.
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  • singasongof6pans 14 years ago said:
    I'm another who buys these. When I hit the stores, I dig through the bins of marked down meats. Unfortunately, a lof of the items are pork and we don't eat pork but now and then I find beef ribs and steaks and buy as much as I can afford of those. When whole chickens go on sale for .39 a lb (which has been awhile!), I'll get 10 to 20 of those for the freezer. I do the same with beef and other meats we eat. And yep, we buy in season produce and frozen when it's on sale. And a lot of it, too! Keeping the pantry very well stocked helps tremendously!
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  • themechams 14 years ago said:
    I am a coupon hound. I have a small group of friends that enjoy "the finds" too and we work together to find the best deals. Knowinghow to shop has really cut my bills down. I too spend under 100.00 a week for 6 of us, but Kilby, you got me beat. :-)
    We have a food storage room and my goal is to have a year's supply out there. Really.
    One of the most helpful things I have done is to keep a notebook and in it I write my buying prices...so for example, the most I will pay for beef ribs is 88. per pound. When they hit that price I buy a bunch and freeze them. The most I will pay for butter is 1.25 per pound. Same goes, when it hits that price I buy and freeze. My cereal price is 1.00 per box. I will buy 30 or so boxes when it hits 1.00. If I saw Kilby's deal of 50. per box I too would have bought them up. We save tons of money this way and it is so fun! I bought 3 turkeys last week and the store actually owed me money when I was done. Clip those coupons folks!
    Anyone interested in starting a food storage group?
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  • kilby 14 years ago said:
    sound really great. I want to know what kind of storage room you have for storing a years worth! That is Awesome! Kilby
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  • taesma 14 years ago said:
    I was dumbfounded when I saw how little you all spend...but then I looked at where you all live. ;) Aha, that explains it. Lucky youse. :D Here it's very easy to spend $500 or $600 a month for my family of 4 (that includes the non-food stuff, though).
    Things are really expensive here. :(
    I do like to stock up when I have the chance and see great deals, but I don't have much room to keep things, it's not practical.
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  • themechams 14 years ago said:
    My husband converted one bay of our garage into a 'pantry' for me. I have my freezer out there and he put in shelving all aound the room. He has it ventalated and it gets air to keep the room at about 75 degrees or lower. We have a raised area that we store 55 gallon drums of water for emergency preparedness on. We also keep 72 hour kits out there as well as other emergency essentials. My kids call it the 'store' as they know we always have whatever they need on hand.
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  • themechams 14 years ago said:
    Ok sorry about my spelling here...it would be AROUND and VENTILATED...lol
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  • pressurecooker 14 years ago said:
    Hi, all. Just joined this site and found this topic to be right down my alley. It will be nice to get more ideas as our budget has been seriously stretched for the past year--we moved to the country. We have a family of eight, and I generally spend around $400 per month, though it can vary widely depending on how much stocking up I'm doing and how many deals I've found--or how long it's been since I went shopping. I have started buying in large bulk packages lately because it's easier to open one gallon can (it's actually 3 quarts) of tomatoes to make chili rather than 6 little ones. I have often bought meat from Sam's club by the case so I can get 95% lean for the same price as grocery store 75% (Ugghhhhh! Greasy!) It has 80# in it in 10# chubs and it will last us for most of the year. Once a year I'll buy top sirloin (60-80#) or eye of round for our steaks/roasts. I almost never pay more than $2.00/# for meat. I buy manager's specials too, but in this small town, when it goes in that bin, it may stay a LONG time, and some of their "fresher" stuff may look a little questionable--the produce he marks down I think is only fit for a hog, and I'm good at rescuing things,Some things are just past redemption.

    On a rare occasion (maybe once a year, well have a ribeye or shrimp, but only if I can get it for less than $5.00/lb). It helps that we have hens just now coming in to lay, so YEAH! I won't have to buy eggs any more. Now, if I can get it to rain milk from the sky...

    I buy oatmeal in 50# bags and store it in gallon jars and 5-gal buckets especially if I can get organic cheaper than store brand oatmeal. We eat it almost every morning, varying it by adding dried fruit or spices occasionally. We also eat a lot of beans/legumes and whole-grain products--home made bread, biscuits, sometimes pasta. I buy wheat and grind it at home. The taste is phenomenally better than store bought, pre-ground whole wheat, and it's quite a bit cheaper. I found an Amish bulk/salvage store about a hundred miles away (yep, that's far, and I probably go 2 or 3 times a year and fill up my van) where I can get the grains & beans, and sometimes really good cheeses for $1.00-2.00/lb. Last time, I got 3 cases [6 or 8 half-gallons each] of organic milk for $2 per case and brand name specialty baby formula for $5 per can/powder.

    I almost never use coupons because they make them for the kinds of stuff I buy or some of the stores I go to, and I don't get the paper or have any other source of coupons. Now that I have internet service back, maybe I can find some on here. Any ideas would be welcomed!
    It costs more to buy good quality foods, but I feel like it saves us in doctor bills & medications. We eat a LOT of fruit & veggies, but again, I try not to buy anything over $1.00/#. I'll sometimes come home from the grocery store with a case of apples or sweet potatoes. We try to keep fruit like apples, bananas, or oranges (whatever is in season) on hand most of the time for a healthy addition to a meal or a snack AND I don't let my kids snack much. They eat a LOT at meals to make up for it, but all are normal weights. My 7-year old daughter eats more than my husband & I, and the three- and 5-year olds are close to rivaling her.

    My kids have rarely had gummi-anythings or Oscar Mayer boxed meals (once someone gave us some, but it was like someone giving you a Vienna sausage for a meal..."poof", gone, "Mom, I'm still hungry"). They only know what hamburger helper is if someone gives us stuff they don't want. I suppose it's a good thing, but when we lived in the city, people assumed we were poor because we had lots of children and they would eat anything, thus, neighbors would give us their castoffs.

    We eat pizza if I make it, and go out to eat on birthdays (now only "maybe on birthdays" since we have to drive 45 miles to find one except McDonald's), so that definitely helps keep our food budget in check.

    Question: Do you get odd looks, stares, and impertinent questions when you buy in large quantities? I have gotten tired of clerks asking me if we're having a party because of how much food I buy. Now, I don't even wait for the questions. I just say, "I have a very large family and they eat a lot", which is none of their business anyway.
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  • tillia 14 years ago said:
    Great Idea. Lots of Fun. INCREDIBLE PRODUCT. LOTS OF WORK AND EXPENSE.NO GUARANTEE OF RETURN. Kind of Like the Stock Market.
    I have been gardening for 20+ years, and learned from my Dad. As far as a supplement to your food budget, it should be considered a bonus from a hobby, not a part of your budget. Mother Nature rules this game, not you, or anything you do or plan.
    For example, I have had several lousy years w/ nothing to speak of, with a few good years that gave me a winter of 2-3 veggies of the 10+ things I plant.

    This year was insane. I have so much stuff of EVERYTHING that I grew, I had to borrow freezer space!

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  • pressurecooker 13 years ago said:
    You are SOOO right about raising vegetables being kind of like the stock market. And I LOST this year. Being new to the country (even though I was raised in it, I have forgotten so many things), I did not fence my garden. We planted probably an acre which started out so nicely. Then came the rabbits. I finally took to trapping and shooting them because my family really NEEDED that food. Then came the raccoons. Then came the armadillos.

    As far as tips on freezing go (NEMO), get the Ball canning/freezing book, (Ball Corporation) or a book I have and like is called "Keeping the Harvest" by Chiofi & Mead (Storey Books).
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  • rhondalynne 11 years ago said:
    $250 a month, feeds 4 adults, 1 teen boy, 2 tweens, 3 dogs (have to have Diamond brand food), and 3 cats.

    My biggest tip is to make a meal plan! Go through cupboards, fridge, freezer and see what you have on hand, then see what meals you can make with what you already have. Then see what you can make by adding minimal ingredients or sale items. Round it out with inexpensive meal ideas. Don't forget breakfasts, lunches and snacks! Stick to your plan.
    For breakfast, we rarely bother with cold cereal; it's too expensive. I buy oatmeal in bulk and have hot oatmeal topped with fruit or peanut butter or homemade granola. We also enjoy homemade pancakes and waffles (made in big batches on the weekends and frozen for use during the week) and egg bakes (6 eggs combined with a few other ingredients can feed 12).
    Lunches are leftovers, sandwiches, salads, or soups.
    Dinners are cooked from scratch as much as possible. Meat is rarely the centerpiece of the meal. I've got a list of over 60 dinners that my family will eat, and we like to try at least 2 new recipes a month. Skillet meals, stovetop dinners, crockpot meals, tasty casseroles, stir fry...all are money savers if you do it right.
    I also make breads, buns, rolls, tortillas, pitas, salad dressings, sauces, & pasta from scratch. It really doesn't take THAT long, and homemade is much more filling without all the preservatives and additives.
    Snacks: all from scratch. Fruit snacks, puddings, granola bars, cookies, brownies, cupcakes, popsicles, ice cream sandwiches...and the ever versatile popcorn!

    I think it's so VERY important to be aware of prices, so I keep a price list of our usual purchases and what the store prices are for those items. Every time I shop, I update that list. Surprisingly, Walmart does not usually have the best prices. I buy store brand 95% of the time.

    Gardening and preserving is a GREAT way to save on food bills, too. Canning, freezing, dehydrating -- they all pay off in the end.

    We're also fortunate to be able to raise 100 chickens each year for our freezers. This year our costs are averaging to 80ยข/lb. for the dressed birds.
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