Discussion Forums - Money Saving Tips Money Saving Tips

Topic: Grocery Budget

Club rule - Please, if you cannot be courteous and respectful, do not post in this forum.
Page:   Unlock Forum posting with Annual Membership.
Subject: Grocery Budget
Date Posted: 8/19/2009 11:46 PM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2006
Posts: 14,634
Back To Top

someone on frugallliving.about.com's forum posted this link in a thread where someone posted asking what people's grocery budgets were (this is an area I'm trying to pare down and get a grip on and actually budget instead of just buy)

http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/Publications/FoodPlans/2009/CostofFoodJun09.pdf

so according to this my grocery budget should range from approximately $150(thrifty) to $300(liberal)..not sure how i stack up but I'm betting I've been over the $300 esp when I used to eat out a lot! I'm curious to see if Ic an get it down to $150 including dog food...

Date Posted: 8/20/2009 1:30 AM ET
Member Since: 8/13/2008
Posts: 13,147
Back To Top

It says for a family of two (us), the thrifty plan for a month would be $349.70 and the liberal plan would be $692.90. Seriously? Close to $700 for food for TWO people? Holy crap. That's insane. We spend exactly $200 a month on food. We eat just fine. $350 for two people for one month. Crazy.

Date Posted: 8/21/2009 8:36 PM ET
Member Since: 4/26/2006
Posts: 3,201
Back To Top

I don't find that chart helpful, I have seen it many times.

Want to know a funny story about the frugalliving.about board?

I have been a member there for several years and there is someone else on there I went to high school with and we just last year figured out who each other were! We had messaged each other on there and didn't realize we knew each other from way back when!

Date Posted: 8/22/2009 4:35 PM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2006
Posts: 14,634
Back To Top

hmm...grocery budgeting is the one on the 2 areas I'm trying to focus on right now so I can actually get a budget and know what I'm spending on groceries...so from what Colleen is saying even the thrifty is too much? I'm one person and thought $150-$300 was about right..hmm..maybe not! part of my problem budgeting is I already have some stuff like meat or canned stuff so I guess I'm gonna have to just use the stuff then as I replace it count it in that budget or something. I'd love to get down to $150 including dog food but don't want to sacrifice meal enjoyment to do so..not that i have to do as I've done in the past ...buying stuff and then deciding not to try the recipe,etc. I'm not wanting to fully stockmy freezer as 1) power could go out and stuff be ruined and 2) there's no room to store precooked meals and 3) I've had it so packed in the past that I couldn't even find anything in it without practically emptying it.

If igure if I get good at the budgeting and precooking stuff and using it up then I can think about investing in a small deepfreeze to take advantage of store specials and good clearance meat items, etc.

Date Posted: 8/23/2009 2:52 PM ET
Member Since: 6/11/2006
Posts: 12,826
Back To Top

i been try to do 200 month but then i buy lunch at work so im not doing that . i am going to try to eat this week what i have here . i just went to bj and stock up on garbage bag 200 fo 10.00 because im tried of shaw price and got big thing of brown bag garbage because im clean closet and apartment it mess site with me being sick . i just put everythig away and took all strength i have will do moe soon . i also bought cook chicken fo week so i dont have to worry what to eat and food bank have zuchini and summer squaush and red potato so i will eat that .

Date Posted: 8/25/2009 12:49 PM ET
Member Since: 8/20/2006
Posts: 1,930
Back To Top

I value shop and am thrifty so my family's costs fall in the thrifty area of the chart. We live in a medium sized town with several grocery stores (competition breeds better prices). However, I can see how easily you could get into the higher end of the charts. We were on vacation last week in another town staying at a cabin and, because we were tight on space, I did not bring along any food. DH felt it would be a lot easier to just buy what we needed when we got there. Well, this was a small town with one grocery store, a discount store, and a meat market. Everything I bought, and I mean everything, was 30-40% or more higher than I would have bought it at home. The next nearest town with any grocery stores was 40 minutes away. So, I understand how a family's food bill could go toward the other end of the chart. Ours sure did last week :-)

 

Date Posted: 8/25/2009 7:32 PM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2006
Posts: 14,634
Back To Top

Well I just made a quick run to walmart around 4:30 this morning keeping spending in mind..my total ended up being around $72! and I wasn't stocking up except for maybe 2 items. I came home and analzyed a bit and figured $30 went for the big bag of Purina One dog food(probably 1 bag every 3 weeks or so but need to actually keep track of this and see), $15 went for snack items which I eat at work and sometimes home(2 WW ice cream snacks, microwave 100 cal popcorn, a package of those 100 cal chocolate covered pretzels) and I also got 2 boxes of jello sugar free fat free pudding mix to have on hand for the rare times I have milk in the house. anther $10 went breakfast type foods- my cheap Heidi's egg whites were gone so got 2 small cartons of SW eggbeaters, a package of simply potatoes hashbrowns(haven't gotten these in a while), and a box of quaker reduced sugar instant apple oatmeal(I like the reduced sugar so paid extra for this brand since wally world's generic didn't have the reduced sugar). I also got a couple cans of hunts spaghetti sauce, r onzoni spaghetti, hebrew national weiners, white wheat hot dog buns, can of black beans..and $6.12 for a box of  Truvia sweetern.

so the groceries DO add up! I didn't get any produce or meat (other than the weiners) and still my bill was $71.94. Of course the oatmeal will last through 10 meals/snacks, the egg beaters probably 8 breakfasts sicne I eat 1/2 cup usully. The hashbrowns might make it to 4 breakfasts. the other snacks I'l spread out..sometimes oatmeal is a snack or some yogurt which I still have a few containers in the fridge.

I'm gonna figure out a way to  keep track of the groceries for a while..sometimes it's hard when I go to wally world  'cause I buy other stuff but this time all fell under'groceries' and just see how often I end up buying groceries and  how much I spend over a 30 day period for instance. It'll be off a bit I'm sure since I'm still using stuff in the freezer and pantry as well as soups I've already frozen but it'll giive me an idea. I did decide some foods I do need to keep on hand since I use them a lot - like spaghetti sauce, canned diced tomatoes, a few canned beans(just not 20 cans!) turns out I have abunch of pintos and had no black beans.so trying to clear the pantry a bit to know what I actually have!

Sheila, my parents used to rent a condo in branson 2-3 times each year and they'd take a few things then buy stuff at the walmart there..they saved money - but it does add up big time if you're stuck somewehre on vacation without a cheap place to b uy groceries! thanks for sharing!

Date Posted: 8/25/2009 8:28 PM ET
Member Since: 6/11/2006
Posts: 12,826
Back To Top

it tough susanna but do best you can do .everyone house is different you wok alot of 12 hour shift so body must be so confuse and remember you got dogs also so it like 2 othe people .

Date Posted: 8/26/2009 8:31 PM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2006
Posts: 14,634
Back To Top

thanks Carol! yep teh girls do eat like 2 other people sometimes! I'm just gonna keep an eye on it and see what I'm actually spending in a 30 day average.

Date Posted: 8/26/2009 10:06 PM ET
Member Since: 5/13/2008
Posts: 497
Back To Top

We've been trying to keep a closer eye on what we spend each week. We're 3 people, and take our lunches to school/work. I think you would have to adjust your budjet if you eat out more. We also eat a lot of fresh veggies now that it's summer (more frozen stuff in winter). I also am allergic to wheat, so I buy rice pasta & bread, and a few other wheat free things (cereal, etc). We don't eat much meat, but we do like wine/beer on occassion. So, we figure that a "basic" trip to the store (usually trader joe's) will average $80. That's once a week. Then, we typically need to go one more night a week for milk, bread (3 sandwhiches every day!), and maybe turkey/cheese for lunch. That's another $20 - 30. We'll see how that goes now that school is starting.

I've instituted the "wild card" item at the store (got the idea here!). I go in with a specific list. If it's not on the list, I don't buy it (this is hard!). But, I  am allowed to buy one wild card item each week. Or my son is, if he's with me. I have found this really helps cut down with the "can I get...". Plus, I'm less tempeted to try a new type of chips, plus some frozen fries and a new juice. I get to try one, and that's it!

I've also tried to change my thinking about "food money". For example, blueberries are so good for us! But I often hesitate to buy them because they appear so expensive -- $2.50 - $3/pint. But, when I think about how many meals I get out of pint, plus what else $3 really buys (latte, ice cream) and look at the nutritional trade-off, I should be buying blueberries each week! And not ice cream or a latte :).

Date Posted: 8/26/2009 11:16 PM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2006
Posts: 14,634
Back To Top

thanks Ann! I've also started thinking about items that seem pricey even if on sale. I do buy blueberries, strawberries, cherries but this past summer I started debating if the item was worth it. I did buy a watermelon the other day - Kroger had them for aournd $4-$5 with a free 2 liter of minute maid(found the diet lemonade) and was wanting watermelon so it was a good deal I think. I've also decided to get blueberries/strawberries in peak season with a sale but I don't get other fruit to stock up on at the same time..berries don't seem to last long and one store I shop at is iffy with berries. So they're not a summer staple with me - plus they're hard to transport to work safely unless I put them in a bowl with a lid.

I need to do the list tip but sometimes I remember something or change my mind about a meal if I can't find what I want at walmart. but it's still an idea I may need to implement!

Kim (Mistry) -
Date Posted: 8/27/2009 9:39 AM ET
Member Since: 6/23/2006
Posts: 4,089
Back To Top

Susanna, sounds like you did very well! I figured out a way to keep an eye on what I'm spending....

        I like to keep an eye on my groceries tally as well, so if I have to buy other things during the same trip, I keep them at the end of my order. Then, after my groceries have been rung up, I ask the cashier to sub total for me, then let her ring in the rest of the items. This lets me see what I'm buying(groceries, health and beauty, baby, etc) and I can keep track of each item. 

 Ann, I'm so glad someone else finds my "wild card" idea working!  I know what you mean about cutting down on the "Can I haves...." during a grocery trip.  My DD knows she can pick one thing (usually donuts! ugh) so she doesn't ask until we get to the bread aisle. Well, then it's on! lol

Date Posted: 8/27/2009 9:05 PM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2006
Posts: 14,634
Back To Top

wow! I started using Discover to pay for nearly everything when I got it aroundMarch of this year.I thought I was pretty much using common sense..I mean, I know I was buying some dvds and books from here and half.com and mailing off some dvds on swapadvd..a few gifts..some new books..well I got on discovercard's website this morning and took the time to print out my statements and looked them over. BOY HOWDY! I was shocked at how many $5-$8 trips to Sonic and chick-fil-a I made... I added up eating out and entertainment then added walmart/groceries together though walmart is probably more a mix of things but almost always groceries...just shocked.

but I've learned I need to get a ledger that's convenient to use and save my receipts and keep track of stuff. I need to figure out an easy coding system or make columns for groceries/entertainment/household, etc and just add those amounts each week..could do most of that at work while I wait for something to finish or just set aside time when I'm off.

I have to do this or I'll be spending wildly and undo what good I've accomlished..I was just shocked to see how much I spent...and it was also kinda neat to think 'what did I buy'? and 'was it worth it'? like $5 to see Julie & Julia a few weeks ago - yes that was worth it. all the purchases at halfprice books? I dunno..what exactly did I buy?! I know some were vhs tapes and some books and dvds but were all of them worth it? nope..some where but not all...

Date Posted: 8/27/2009 11:44 PM ET
Member Since: 5/13/2008
Posts: 497
Back To Top

It's crazy how those $5 purchases add up! And fast!

Kim -- the wild card idea has been great for us! My son actually calls it the "'wild cart" item. It's more fun, too -- makes whatever we get seem like a real treat!

Kim (Mistry) -
Date Posted: 8/28/2009 3:28 PM ET
Member Since: 6/23/2006
Posts: 4,089
Back To Top

I so agree, Ann! I  And it works so well with DD. No tantrums, no tears, and she knows she'll get what she wants as long as she's good during the trip.

Oh, and today I had 3 BOGO item coupons and I made sure to put them at the end of the order, and the cashier actually thanked me for doing that, since she didn't have to search the entire list for the items.  And it takes a lot to even get a hello out of her!  lol 

  My grocery bill today went from 107.89 to 92.30.  It was a "hafta" type of shopping though. I'd run out of mousse and DH razors, but had BOGO coupns, and Pull Ups for DD, and had a coupon.  It's so nice to have coupons for things you really use!

Date Posted: 8/28/2009 6:43 PM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2006
Posts: 14,634
Back To Top

I made a stop for a few groceries after dr appt today. picked up a watermelon for $4.50..and it's not good. no taste and rubbery texture. looks good though. to get a refund I have to bring it back..so,um, I put it in 2 bags and carry it dripping in the store?? that's a lot of money to be out of pocket for their crappy  produce. but of course I got it at the one near the dr's office which is farther away..wonder if I can take it to theone closer to my house...

and yipp I found my mission extra thin corn tortillas joy joy joy! 2 of these for 1 WW pt!!! (usualy 1 pt each)doing the happy dance..and they were under $2 for a big package so I'll get severell meal helpers out of these(with egg whites for breakfast and with low fat cheese to eat with veggie soup in the freezer) also got some ingredients to try a new recipe to see how that goes

Date Posted: 8/28/2009 11:24 PM ET
Member Since: 6/11/2006
Posts: 12,826
Back To Top

good deal and sorry about watermelon.



Last Edited on: 8/28/09 11:25 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 8/29/2009 10:48 AM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2006
Posts: 14,634
Back To Top

yeh the melon was a bummer :-( guess I'm stuck with it though since I don't want to drive back to that store and really don't want to walk in with 2 halves of a melon

so tired..can't sleep at night because I'm used toworking and being up then! so went ot weight watchers for an extra motivational boost since the  new week starts tomorrow (somaybe 2 in a row!) and went by Kroger because they sell the carb master yogurt Ilike(low sugar high protein) and it was on sale. kroger isn't convenient to where I live so have to go when I'm fairly close by running errands and time it so I'm not still out running around with cold stuff in the car! didn't do too badly...spent around $27..a tad over. but that brings the total to $120 already I think! have to add it up. but I do have enough food...I was gonna get some stuff to cook and freeze but realize I'm too tired and that I'll probably fix some thin lean steaks tonight or tomorrow and for Mon and Tues at work I can make do with the soups, tortillas/cheese, and I bought sandwich stuff. Sometimes simple is best! I'd still do better with a menu and shopping list though but just didn't get prepare in time to take advantage of this trip.

Date Posted: 9/7/2009 10:55 PM ET
Member Since: 6/11/2006
Posts: 12,826
Back To Top

how is weightwather i nee to go back

Date Posted: 9/8/2009 9:13 AM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2006
Posts: 14,634
Back To Top

I'm doing better so far..I had stopped doing hte program all the time so decided to save the 39.95/month to shave the budget so to speak but realized I got more out of the meetings than I reallized..now I'm trying to use the meetings as a support group kinda thing and ue the tools they give..it's helping. I'll probalby weighin this morning and see for the week..

Date Posted: 9/8/2009 6:26 PM ET
Member Since: 6/11/2006
Posts: 12,826
Back To Top

that is great i need to go back to meeting . maybe in spring. i am going to try do program wiht out going .

Date Posted: 9/8/2009 7:15 PM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2006
Posts: 14,634
Back To Top

I tried doing it without the meetings cause I think they're really pricey but I just need the motivation right now of meeting with a group for support.

Date Posted: 9/8/2009 8:02 PM ET
Member Since: 6/11/2006
Posts: 12,826
Back To Top

do what you have to do susanna. im proud of you .

i just got rib eye steak which i love and i usually can eat 8 oz of it . so what i did before i even ate it i took 4oz potion and then put 3 or 4 oz in freezer container 4 of them when they cool im going to put them in freezer before i eat it . so i will have 4 meal instead i love rib eye and it was on sale i rather buy one nice rib eye and have it 4 meal .

Date Posted: 9/8/2009 8:05 PM ET
Member Since: 6/11/2006
Posts: 12,826
Back To Top

susanna i saw julia and julie at 10:30 am at movies and love it . i need to give myself little fun money.

Date Posted: 9/9/2009 3:31 PM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2006
Posts: 14,634
Back To Top

Yep Carol it's important to spend a little something indulging ourselves! I saw Julie & Julia at the early show for $5 and it was well worth the money - I liked the movie and needed to get out of the house.

I know what you mean about the steak - lucky for me sirloin is a 'lean meat' and weight watchers has 'set point' values where if you eat the same meat it caps at 5 pts (just til satisfied), fruit caps at 2 pts for the same fruit(like all watermelon or all bananas)..whole grains do as well I think but think they're also 5. so let's just say I ate that beef like a true Texan! ;)

Page: