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With the rising cost of groceries over the past few years, we have needed to become more savvy in our spending.
Certain items were always purchased at specific grocery stores.
We have a garden that provides some vegetables.
We use coupons.
This past week, we noticed that the store where we always purchased milk, had eventually raised the price per gallon by a $1.00. It went from $1.49 to $2.49 in a few short weeks. We know that it is still a decent price for milk - but our joy in getting it so inexpensively is now gone.
What are some ways that you are saving on your groceries?
Ooops - I replied to this on my phone earlier but it must have gotten lost in smartphone land! That's for everything from food, to diapers, to cleaning supplies, to paper products. We shop at Meijer, a regional superstore, so it is one-stop shopping. During the summer and fall we get our fruits and veggies from the local Farmer's Market, but it doesn't really save us any money doing that. Just tastes better and makes us feel good to support local farmers! :)
In my personal opinion, what you are spending per month is reasonable. It takes a lot of hard work to get it lower than that. With that said, I know some amazing women, with families sizes of 7 to 12, that do the hard work and have budgets lower than ours for their whole family.
A few secrets of how they do it?
1) They grow a lot of their own produce. They have huge gardens and can the majority of their produce for the year out of their own garden, each others gardens, and local farm deals. We went in with a group last year and got Fuji Apples for $.25 a lb. The apples last the winter. But you have to go get the barrels, divide them up, and put them in cool storage.
2) They grown their own milk and animals. Some have milk cows, others have milk goats, many have chickens, turkeys, sheep, etc... Then they make their own cheese, yogurt, butter, kiefer, and fryer chickens. They also will go in together on butchering a cow. A couple of years ago, we got about 1/6 of the cow with a group. All of the meat was $2.80 a lb - for ground, roasts, and even some steaks. And it was grass fed, well treated, ranch cows.
3) What they don't make themselves (they make their own ketchup, salad dressings, deserts, etc...), they might purchase at a "bent and dent" or outlet store (Grocery Outlet here on the West Coast).
You have to make the choice of how much time do you want to spend vs. how much money do you want to save. With physical issues and 3 children under 6, I can not do many of these things, so we have to cut costs else ware.
I agree - this is the best I can do within the constraints I have. My husband and I both work full time so time is at a premium for us. And we live in the city so while we have a nice backyard for the kiddos to play in, we certainly do not have the space for a large garden or the zoning laws for farm animals! :) We have thought about buying a 1/4 or a cow this year and freezing it, in part to save money and in part to eat healthier and buy more locally.
I spend about the same amount on groceries, $700 per month (this includes TP, other necessities) and currently trying to reduce it more. We've gone from a two-income family to one income and it has been horrible trying to adjust. We've never had a garden, but are actually beginning to research and plan to build and maintain one. We don't have a huge backyard, but it would work and help keep costs down for a few months. We live within city limits so we can't have farm animals either, but I would definitely have chickens if I could.
I joke around and tell people we've stopped paying our other bills so we can afford groceries! I make several lists. First is a "must buy". It has all of our staples on it. I make a secondary "would be great to have in the house" list. I take the first list, gather my coupons and go through all the circulars online. It doesn't take long and I narrow it down to two or three stores. It's sad but you have to do what you have to do these days..
As a food blogger, I've had to get really creative with our grocery shopping. Summer is the easiest since produce can be found so cheaply at corner stands, farmers' markets and from friends.
I've started shopping at different places for different items. I go to dollar stores for non-food goods like paper products and some cleaning supplies. I head to farm stands for fresh produce, but many of my friends with gardens also supply me with food. I go to Aldi's, a very, very discounted grocery store, for items that I don't care about brand name, and then to the grocery store for the rest. I save there by buying frozen vegetables instead of fresh (like broccoli) and using store brands instead of name brands.
We are in a wooded area so I can't have my vegetable garden, but I do grow my own herbs and have 5 chickens that provide us with eggs. We get buy on about $300/month for the three of us.
We are eating as organic as we can. We have some great farmer's markets here and roadside markets. We then but our meat in bulk at sales, split and freeze as much as we can. Sam's is also great for things such as frozen shrimp and fish.
I stopped making elaborate recipes and now Husband and I shop together. We also use this as "date night" once a week.) He keeps my spending in check, and now he realizes how much things cost! It's a win-win-win situation! :)
Planning your meals is key! I have a weekly menu plan with healthy/or gluten free plans for weeknight dinners, with an ingenious plan. Real food, healthy food. You cook extra some nights to make dinner the following night almost instant, etc. Organized grocery lists to get you in and out of the store buying only what you need. One meal per week is vegetarian and most people say they get enough for at least an extra lunch or two and possibly another dinner. Many members tell me they spend about $50 per shopping trip for what they have on the list, then they just add in easy favorites or plan a night out once a week. They add in fruit and veggies for snacks, lunch items, breakfast items like cereal and eggs and they are out of the store for less than $100 per week! If you're interested here is the site: www.menusbymesadevida.com
I do clip some coupons, for those special name brand items we can't live without..like my almond milk. But I admit I do truly hate spending hours upon hours clipping coupons and matching up deals. I shop at a local discount off-brand grocery store called Aldi's a lot. I go to the farmer's market in the last 30 minutes for discounts on fresh produce, and make my list and weekly menu according to the sale ads. I think this helps us save somewhat..No, we don't get out groceries for pennies on the dollar, but this method doesn't break the bank either.
I wrote a post about this several months back- You can find it here
I found that meal planning, eating healthier foods, and taking a list to Costco has helped. I can buy an entire bag of apples for the price of one bag of chips, and the apples will last longer, plus I feel a bit better when I eat well. Eating meat that isn't breaded and processed makes a big difference too, plus it is more mulit use. I think Costco is great, but you do need to watch what you buy and I still do price comparisons on items there, sometimes it is cheaper to get them elsewhere.
I have a garden that I think helps a bit, we often get enough to freeze some for winter (usually ends up as carrot muffins, they aren't as tasty thawed). We definately make what we can at home. Even making my own bread is a huge difference, as I can make it for about half of what it is in the stores.
I also find that making things ahead of time and freezing it helps, as then I'm less likely to grab take out or to pick up a frozen meal from the store, which usually costs about double.
My husband got laid off last month so it's really put a pinch on our spending. I clip coupons like crazy and look for ways to double up (manufacturer coupon plus target coupon). I buy staples when they're on sale (tomatoes, pasta, chicken stock, etc). We shop at our local food stand whenever possible, he gives us great deals at the end of the day (24 mangoes for $5. We made mango sorbet and put them on salads and with chicken) I buy store brand whenever possible and shop at Alid's all the time. And thanks to Pinterest (hello addiction :) ) I make my own cleaning supplies, using mostly vinegar found at Sams Club.