I set our grocery budget at $375 a month including $ 200 for food and toilet paper, $80 for fruit and $95 for meat for our household of seven people of four adults and 3 young kids at the present time.
I cook meat a lot. In the past before I set the budget, I used to buy meat and eggs from farmers. But they can be pricey. At least for the moment, I could not afford it as I am trimming our expenses in order for us to pay off our debts.
Every day I challenge myself to stay within budget. For instance, I use envelope for each grocery category (food, fruit, meat). From food budget, I save about $40 or more in another envelope and try to spend no more than $160 a month. When there is a sale I spend what I saved on food to buy as much as I could buy without touching the checking account. That is how I build my food pantry on the budget.
I chop my food staple once a month. Every week, my husband and I check the store ads that come in the mail and buy fruit that is on sale. It helps us save on fruit budget when we eat fruit in season. We also buy milk, bread, and butter weekly. When milk is on sale like $0.99 for half gallon, we buy more than a gallon we usually buy for the week, and I make one to two gallons of yogurt. My kids now like to review the ads as well and they are under 7 years old. My four year old like to go to bed with one ad.
Last year and early this summer, we bought fruit at a berry patch farm where you pick your own. They are pricier than the store. I also bought fruit and produce from the University Horticulture farm last year. It is pricey but less than the farm. In order to cut down on costs and eat healthy, I planted more fruit trees in my front and back yard. I also grow more vegetable this year. For instance, I planted organically 1lb of snap peas, 1 lb of shell peas, 1 lb of green bean. I harvested more than I planted, we ate a lot of fresh peas and beans, I froze a lot, and let many dry so that I can have seeds for next year planting. Organic food is expensive at the grocery store. Fresh vegetables and fruit at the farm is even more expensive. To eat fresh and organic, I have to grow it myself. Saving on grocery bill is not just about cutting down on processed food you buy, but it involve implementing other strategies so that all work toward achieving your goal which in this case is to cut down on grocery bill and eating healthy at the same time. For instance, I don’t buy paper towel anymore. It has been over 3 years. Before, when I was single and living with my young brother, he and I used to use 12 rolls of paper towel in less than a month. Now that I have kids, I would have used more than that every month if I have not found an alternative. I use my husband old socks, infants outfits 100% cotton, old bath towels cut in 2, and old T-shirt as rags to wipe mess. I bought flour sacks, bamboo and hemp fabrics. I cut them in small pieces and sewn the edges for hand towels. Check my post on “Alternative Paper Towel”.
I constantly seek ways to reduce our grocery budget. How do you feed your family on budget? How much do you spend on grocery?