Author Topic: Grocery bill down  (Read 2462 times)

Chesleygirl

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Grocery bill down
« on: September 01, 2017, 02:21:04 PM »
I got my grocery bill down to under $500 for one month for a family of five (around $480 to be exact). That's the total spent on food and we didn't dine out, either.

I've been buying meat at Costco and everything else at Aldi's.

Edited to add: that grocery cost for the month includes diapers for two kids.
« Last Edit: September 01, 2017, 05:08:05 PM by Chesleygirl »

Memphis

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Re: Grocery bill down
« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2017, 06:40:10 AM »
That's impressive.  After working hard at it, we're still at about $1,000/month for a family of five.  Nice work!

Chesleygirl

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Re: Grocery bill down
« Reply #2 on: September 02, 2017, 10:32:45 AM »
I might add, that the two youngest children aren't yet ready to eat lots of solid food yet.  They do eat, just not a lot. They drink a lot of milk though, and there's a store in my area that sells "old" milk for half price, so I buy it there.

for a long time, my spouse would eat lunch out every single day. This had to stop.

soccerluvof4

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Re: Grocery bill down
« Reply #3 on: September 02, 2017, 12:02:40 PM »
Thats really good! Congrats!  Were a family of 6 with 3 Teenagers and one growing young gun. Actually ones off at college now so family of 5 of big eaters. I have over the years cut my bill in half using Aldis and a local chain for fresh stuff a few blocks away. My budget includes everything from toothpaste to paper-towels, garbage bags to salt for the water softener to laundry soap and I have it down to 800$ a month. We actually budget 1k i know we use to spend at least 2k but I keep it down to 800$ now. I play games with it like using 800 divided by the number of days in the month and sometimes walk to the store everyday both for exercise and to try and beat the 800$ but its been tough for me to get lower than that. But as I said we eat really well and its not just food. Keep up the good work!
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Memphis

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Re: Grocery bill down
« Reply #4 on: September 02, 2017, 04:15:53 PM »
We have also moved to shopping at Aldi's almost exclusively and have noticed a big decrease in our grocery spending.  I know there are good deals at Costco in theory but in practice we end up spending more than if we never walked in the door.  One can definitely go broke saving money at Costco.

soccerluvof4

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Re: Grocery bill down
« Reply #5 on: September 03, 2017, 04:31:59 AM »
^ I agree with you. Though prices are good the volumes are to big or the group packing of items. Forces you to buy things you dont need which results to buying more and more waste . At least it did for me.
" In life you don't get what you deserve you get what you negotiate"

Laserjet3051

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Re: Grocery bill down
« Reply #6 on: September 03, 2017, 11:04:39 AM »
Very respectable drop in food expense. But I just dont understand how that is possible buying meat at Costco. At my local Costco's every single cut of beef, pork, and lamb is substantially more expensive than if purchased at Vons (Safeway). And Costco almost never has sales on meat here, whereas Von's offers deep discounts on meat. Seafood is sometimes an exception as Costco can beat other supermarkets in price. However, I generally do not like to eat farmed seafood and most of Costco's seafood is farmed. Chicken might be a valid exception if you buy the very large package, but I will never eat Foster Farms chicken which is what the local Costco sells.

Strange how our experiences at Costco are so diametrically different. But kudos to you for getting your grocery bill down.

Chesleygirl

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Re: Grocery bill down
« Reply #7 on: September 03, 2017, 04:23:41 PM »
Very respectable drop in food expense. But I just dont understand how that is possible buying meat at Costco. At my local Costco's every single cut of beef, pork, and lamb is substantially more expensive than if purchased at Vons (Safeway). And Costco almost never has sales on meat here, whereas Von's offers deep discounts on meat. Seafood is sometimes an exception as Costco can beat other supermarkets in price. However, I generally do not like to eat farmed seafood and most of Costco's seafood is farmed. Chicken might be a valid exception if you buy the very large package, but I will never eat Foster Farms chicken which is what the local Costco sells.

Strange how our experiences at Costco are so diametrically different. But kudos to you for getting your grocery bill down.

I buy the frozen chicken (the whole chicken, not parts) and my spouse uses all of the meat and what is left over to make soup. He doesn't eat steak or seafood because it costs too much.

soccerluvof4

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Re: Grocery bill down
« Reply #8 on: September 04, 2017, 04:35:00 AM »
Very respectable drop in food expense. But I just dont understand how that is possible buying meat at Costco. At my local Costco's every single cut of beef, pork, and lamb is substantially more expensive than if purchased at Vons (Safeway). And Costco almost never has sales on meat here, whereas Von's offers deep discounts on meat. Seafood is sometimes an exception as Costco can beat other supermarkets in price. However, I generally do not like to eat farmed seafood and most of Costco's seafood is farmed. Chicken might be a valid exception if you buy the very large package, but I will never eat Foster Farms chicken which is what the local Costco sells.

Strange how our experiences at Costco are so diametrically different. But kudos to you for getting your grocery bill down.

I buy the frozen chicken (the whole chicken, not parts) and my spouse uses all of the meat and what is left over to make soup. He doesn't eat steak or seafood because it costs too much.


I buy a brand from our local chain of 6 larger frozen breasts for $4.99. Great for slowcooker meals. Buy red meat occasionally but fish prices as you said are just so expensive at least where we live.
" In life you don't get what you deserve you get what you negotiate"

Chesleygirl

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Re: Grocery bill down
« Reply #9 on: September 04, 2017, 01:21:23 PM »
I think we can keep our food bill down easily because I don't eat any meat at all. My spouse only eats chicken or turkey.  If we wanted to eat sushi and steak, we'd be in trouble with our food bill.

I also specifically avoid buying foods that say "gluten free". This is used by food manufacturers to justify marking the price way up. Even if the item is naturally gluten free on it's own and doesn't need this label. Same thing with food products labeled "organic". It can double the price.

For me, avoiding any fancy or gourmet type foods has made it a lot easier to follow a budget. I don't ever go to Whole Foods Market anymore.

I also drink instant coffee now instead of Keurig. This saves over $100 a year. However, if I can find Keurig half price I will buy it. Last  year, they put all the seasonal pumpkin-spice keurig coffee on sale, 50% off. I stocked up.

rdaneel0

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Re: Grocery bill down
« Reply #10 on: September 04, 2017, 08:53:25 PM »
Very respectable drop in food expense. But I just dont understand how that is possible buying meat at Costco. At my local Costco's every single cut of beef, pork, and lamb is substantially more expensive than if purchased at Vons (Safeway). And Costco almost never has sales on meat here, whereas Von's offers deep discounts on meat. Seafood is sometimes an exception as Costco can beat other supermarkets in price. However, I generally do not like to eat farmed seafood and most of Costco's seafood is farmed. Chicken might be a valid exception if you buy the very large package, but I will never eat Foster Farms chicken which is what the local Costco sells.

Strange how our experiences at Costco are so diametrically different. But kudos to you for getting your grocery bill down.

It definitely depends on region. I can get higher quality meat for way less money at costco than at any local grocery store in my area, even during sales. A few times a year I clean up at the grocery store (ham after easter, steak before v-day), but other than that costco is cheapest.

EmFrugal

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Re: Grocery bill down
« Reply #11 on: September 05, 2017, 01:11:03 PM »
Wow, this is encouraging! I've been tackling my grocery bill for our family of five for the past few weeks. Ours is around $250 a week shopping at BJ's (same thing as Costco) and Trader Joe's. Aldi's is not convenient right now but we are getting one right around the corner from our house in the next year! I can't wait to try it out.

Our biggest issues are that my husband and I work out 5-6 days a week so we are HUNGRY. We also buy a ton of fresh food and very little processed save for granola, Multigrain O's, sprouted whole grain bread and handmade flour tortillas. I meal plan each week for lunch and dinner. My husband is in charge of breakfast and usually gives the kiddos a protein, toast or oatmeal, and fruit or veggie. I have moved away from buying a lot of organic produce but I do tend to stick with fresh meat vs. frozen. Perhaps I should try frozen chicken again from BJ's.


jax8

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Re: Grocery bill down
« Reply #12 on: September 06, 2017, 10:02:42 AM »
This is encouraging!  I'm working on this myself.

Family of 4. I aim to eat "grain free" but make starchy side dishes for the rest of the family, so think lots of meat/vegetable/rice meals. 

August Groceries (including husband's beer) - $686
August Eating Out - $242
Total food: $928

Hey, it's a start! I'm getting more savy about food waste and shopping the pantry. I want to tighten this up for September!

It's frustrating because cooking and planning falls 100% on me. My husband LOVES to go out to eat and treat himself to something salty/fatty/horrible.  It's one of his special joys in life.  If I haven't cooked or feel really fed up with stretching the leftover pork loin for one more meal, he's crouched and waiting to suggest a restaurant with the kids echoing him with, "YES! PLEASE MOM!"   

Now that it's cool enough, I plan to bulk cook some staples (chili, baked chicken, vegie lasagna) and jam them in my freezer for those busy days when I'm sorely tempted to give in and go out.

I'm guilty of grocery shopping and making Healthy! Choices! while sneering at the bag of chicken nuggets. Then, when we're tired and no one wants to prepare the healthy food, I buy those same chicken nuggets for the kids at 4x's the cost at a fast food place.  So I'm working on getting real with myself!  Sure, I *intended* to make healthy baked chicken nuggets dredged in almond meal, but odds are I'm not going to have time for that. So maybe having a backup bag of chicken nuggets in the freezer ready to go is a good plan.  Or, sacrifice a Saturday and fill the freezer with my own chicken nuggets.

Like I said, I'm still figuring this out!

Chesleygirl

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Re: Grocery bill down
« Reply #13 on: September 06, 2017, 02:29:25 PM »
This is encouraging!  I'm working on this myself.

Family of 4. I aim to eat "grain free" but make starchy side dishes for the rest of the family, so think lots of meat/vegetable/rice meals. 

August Groceries (including husband's beer) - $686
August Eating Out - $242
Total food: $928


If you are trying to eat grain free, are you eating the rice? Beer comes from grain, also. (Barley)so if your husband is on a grain free diet you might let him know that.

I don't know if there are any health advantages to eating totally grain free, but it would be too expensive for me. There's no way I could get our grocery bill under $500 a month if we didn't eat grains. Grains include legumes, corn, rice, pasta etc. which I buy, also oatmeal, cereal that goes on sale. I try to avoid junk grains like crackers, boxed cookies, snack cakes, etc.
« Last Edit: September 06, 2017, 02:37:26 PM by Chesleygirl »

StarBright

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Re: Grocery bill down
« Reply #14 on: September 06, 2017, 03:07:26 PM »

I'm guilty of grocery shopping and making Healthy! Choices! while sneering at the bag of chicken nuggets. Then, when we're tired and no one wants to prepare the healthy food, I buy those same chicken nuggets for the kids at 4x's the cost at a fast food place.  So I'm working on getting real with myself!  Sure, I *intended* to make healthy baked chicken nuggets dredged in almond meal, but odds are I'm not going to have time for that. So maybe having a backup bag of chicken nuggets in the freezer ready to go is a good plan.  Or, sacrifice a Saturday and fill the freezer with my own chicken nuggets.

Like I said, I'm still figuring this out!

jax8 - you sound like me a year ago! I now keep either emergency fish sticks or chicken nuggets in the freezer. Kids end up eating them about twice a month  and I don't sweat it. The rest of our choices are healthy and my littles eat more diverse food than most kids their age so I consider it all a win win.

Also - great job Chesleygirl!
« Last Edit: September 06, 2017, 03:11:20 PM by StarBright »

Chesleygirl

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Re: Grocery bill down
« Reply #15 on: September 06, 2017, 10:49:12 PM »
Also get cans of chicken noodle soup for about 58 cents per can at Kroger's (store brand) and Aldi's.  To be honest, it's a little more watered down than Campbell's, the big name brand. (Not as many noodles as Campbell's, just something I noticed).

But my daughter loves it and it's a very cheap meal for 58 cents.

jax8

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Re: Grocery bill down
« Reply #16 on: September 07, 2017, 06:51:54 AM »
This is encouraging!  I'm working on this myself.

Family of 4. I aim to eat "grain free" but make starchy side dishes for the rest of the family, so think lots of meat/vegetable/rice meals. 

August Groceries (including husband's beer) - $686
August Eating Out - $242
Total food: $928


If you are trying to eat grain free, are you eating the rice? Beer comes from grain, also. (Barley)so if your husband is on a grain free diet you might let him know that.

I don't know if there are any health advantages to eating totally grain free, but it would be too expensive for me. There's no way I could get our grocery bill under $500 a month if we didn't eat grains. Grains include legumes, corn, rice, pasta etc. which I buy, also oatmeal, cereal that goes on sale. I try to avoid junk grains like crackers, boxed cookies, snack cakes, etc.

I follow the Wheat Belly diet, which removes all grains and sugar.  (No wheat, corn, oats, soy, corn syrup, etc.  Basically, you're going to be making all of your own food from scratch, sucka.)  I "cheat" and eat rice and potatoes, and ice cream on really bad days.  I feel incredible when I'm following the diet.  My weight is down, I don't get shaky and hangry, I can go for long periods between meals without obsessively thinking about what I'm going to eat next, my ankles aren't swollen and my face is thinner, I'm regular, I have energy.  It works for me, so I press on with it.

No one else in the family follows this diet, but because I'm the one cooking, dinners are 90% food that I can eat.  Breakfast, lunch and snacks all have grain options available in the house for the family to grab.

Chesleygirl

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Re: Grocery bill down
« Reply #17 on: September 07, 2017, 11:28:54 AM »
I also plan to not eat out anymore, not even a Subway sandwich.

I've worked on getting my daughter to accept that McDonald's is only a once-a-month treat.

I like having an extra $400-$500 a month to do other things with.

justaguy

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Re: Grocery bill down
« Reply #18 on: September 08, 2017, 07:18:18 AM »
Good work Chesleygirl!  You have us beat.  Last month for us, (Groceries, Restaurants) we spent $892 for a family of 6. 

Chesleygirl

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Re: Grocery bill down
« Reply #19 on: September 08, 2017, 11:36:30 AM »
I ignored Dave Ramsey's advice to only shop for groceries with cash. I use a credit card.

I've also ignored the advice I've read in some places, to only grocery shop once a month. (And some people really hammer away on this piece of advice). That doesn't work for me and I don't know why it would save money, other than gas driving to and from the store. I buy a lot of fresh produce that I consume on a regular basis. It would go bad in the fridge after a month or not taste well thawed ou. I like to shop every few days and buy what I need to cook a few meals.

Frankies Girl

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Re: Grocery bill down
« Reply #20 on: September 08, 2017, 12:02:51 PM »
I started paying close attention to how my local Aldi discounts/marks down their meat... and save a bundle on really great cuts now. For my store, when it's within 3 days of the sell-by date, they mark it anyway from $2-half off. I shop once a week, so I just check the average dates on meats I'm interested in stocking up on, and stop in if I'm out on that approximate day. Way cheaper cuts of chicken, pork tenderloin, seafood and beef - and it all freezes really well.

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EmFrugal

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Re: Grocery bill down
« Reply #21 on: September 10, 2017, 01:28:10 PM »
I hit a new low today for our family of five. I spent $182 for the week with buys from BJ's and Trader Joe's. Trying the frozen chicken breasts, which should last us for 2 weeks. If I can maintain that average then we'll be well under $1000 for the month. I still can not figure out how to get our bill lower than this without compromising eating fresh produce. My meals this week are orzo pesto pasta with veggies and chicken, homemade pizza (well cheating, because I'm using TJ's fresh dough and rolling it out), veggie and black bean enchiladas, and taco stew with veggies and shredded chicken. Then we have a variety of proteins, fresh produce, nuts/fats and whole grains for breakfast and lunch. I'm perplexed!! Maybe it's the DC metro area or where I choose to shop. Or maybe I still have a lot to learn ;)

nancy33

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Re: Grocery bill down
« Reply #22 on: September 10, 2017, 10:48:05 PM »
Chesleygirl u can stretch the cans of chicken noodle soup even more by mixing the soup with a batch of noodles. This is a recipe my mom likes from her childhood living thru the depression.

Dr.Jeckyl

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Re: Grocery bill down
« Reply #23 on: September 12, 2017, 12:23:25 PM »
I'm a bit ashamed. We are very frugal in almost everything else. But according to my tracking for a family of 3 we've been spending over $1000 every month. We decided we needed to cut back to $800 and so far this month we're a little over $300 and almost to the half point of the month. A lot of it is just cutting out the unnecessary fast food because it was quick and easy. I read an article at Frugal Woods that stated they keep frozen pizzas because sometimes life gets busy. Not an exact quote but that's what I got from it. A frozen pizza at $2.50 sure beats fast food for $20 for a family.

APowers

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Re: Grocery bill down
« Reply #24 on: September 15, 2017, 05:23:27 PM »
This is encouraging!  I'm working on this myself.

Family of 4. I aim to eat "grain free" but make starchy side dishes for the rest of the family, so think lots of meat/vegetable/rice meals. 

August Groceries (including husband's beer) - $686
August Eating Out - $242
Total food: $928


If you are trying to eat grain free, are you eating the rice? Beer comes from grain, also. (Barley)so if your husband is on a grain free diet you might let him know that.

I don't know if there are any health advantages to eating totally grain free, but it would be too expensive for me. There's no way I could get our grocery bill under $500 a month if we didn't eat grains. Grains include legumes, corn, rice, pasta etc. which I buy, also oatmeal, cereal that goes on sale. I try to avoid junk grains like crackers, boxed cookies, snack cakes, etc.

To further correct, legumes are not grains. Wheat, corn, oats, millet, rice, rye, and barley are grains; quinoa, potatoes, lentils, split peas, beans, and tapioca are not grains.