Author Topic: Stick to a grocery budget in 2015 Challenge  (Read 108795 times)

wearfannypacks

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Stick to a grocery budget in 2015 Challenge
« on: December 21, 2014, 06:55:08 PM »
Alright guys. Grocery/Food spending has gotten away from us. Reigning it in this year. Anyone who wants to join, we'll check in at the end of the month and see how our food spending is doing.

Feel free to join - google spreadsheet
http://tinyurl.com/grocerychallenge

Family size: 3
Avg food spend in 2014: $500/month
Target food spend 2015: $320/month
Yearly savings in 2015: ~$2800

^Share these numbers on the thread. I'm curious where others are at

My situation:
I ran through all our food related purchases in 2014 (eating out and grocery). On average we spent $500 a month on food. Family of 3. Well 2.5 for food purposes. The 1 year old doesn't eat much.

Guys, DH gets FREE FOOD at work. Yeah. And we still spent $500 a month. I don't even know how that happened. Actually I do. It was a result of:

Running errands without eating anything before hand - then getting fast food
Not planning meals - food going bad, buying food we don't eat
Not bringing snacks when traveling - eating out more on the road
Lack of planning/being lazy - going out to eat when we should've made something at home

To get started we set some new goals
Bring snacks when traveling
Meal plan on Plan to Eat
*I like the idea of being more deliberate with our meals and putting them on a calendar. I'm going to try it for a month and see if the extra effort pays off.

I think realistically we could get it down to 320 a month. But who knows, doing this with some other mustachians, we could go even lower.  That would give us an extra $2800 for the year Talk about found money!

savedough

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Re: Stick to a grocery budget in 2015 Challenge
« Reply #1 on: December 21, 2014, 08:09:40 PM »
I'm in.   Our numbers are as follows:
Family size: 4 - will be 5 in April.
Avg food spend in 2014: $550/month (Final 2014 numbers posted)
Target food spend 2015: $400/month
Yearly savings in 2015: ~$1800


$325/month in groceries
$75/month eating out

A couple points: 
For 6 months of the year I will be home with the kids (makes the challenge easier).   
We have to manage a dairy allergy in one of our children (harder).
We love to entertain and cook for friends (harder).
None of us are picky eaters (easier).
I love to cook (neutral - makes it easier unless I get the experimental/gourmet bug and then harder).
We plan on growing a garden this year as well (easier).
« Last Edit: December 29, 2014, 11:26:55 AM by savedough »

getgoing

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Re: Stick to a grocery budget in 2015 Challenge
« Reply #2 on: December 21, 2014, 08:43:14 PM »
I'm in.

     We've been very un-mustachian, and have not been tracking food expenses. I would estimate that we've been spending about $450 a month on food, for two adults. My goal for this year is to lower that number to $250 per month, for a savings of $2400 over the course of the year.

In order to do this, I am going to:
+ Go whole hog into meal planning. Don't buy anything that I don't have a plan for.
+ Stop eating out. If we do cave and eat out with friends, then we have to find/create a recipe for whatever it is we ate, and add it to the recipe rotation.
+ Find the cheapest and most filling snacks, and make sure they are kept around the house, and taken with us when we go somewhere.
+ Determine our dietary protein needs, and then figure out the most cost effective way to meet them. I feel that this is important because we're both trying to lose weight, and we are both becoming much more active.

wtrfre

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Re: Stick to a grocery budget in 2015 Challenge
« Reply #3 on: December 21, 2014, 09:05:47 PM »
I need in on this.  I would love to get the spending down to 350.

wearfannypacks

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Re: Stick to a grocery budget in 2015 Challenge
« Reply #4 on: December 21, 2014, 10:58:27 PM »
Welcome wtrfre, getgoing, savedough. It's really eye opening to see how much money you eat.  I'm looking forward to freeing up extra money each month.

Malaysia41

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Re: Stick to a grocery budget in 2015 Challenge
« Reply #5 on: December 22, 2014, 12:08:44 AM »
We need to do this.  Our average the last half of 2014 was $750/mo for a family of three.  And that's living on an island in Malaysia that's know for its low COL.

Pathetic.

Talking w DH right now to see what he's willing to dial it down to.  I'm thinking $600.  He countered, "$749".  We ended up agreeing on $700.  This is hardly a challenge, but... it will make us plan meals more (that's when we really spend money - last minute meal planning).

TBH - in Jan '14 we agreed to a budget of $900 per month.  As we set that budget bar I knew we'd limbo under it with moderate effort.   And we did.

What costs so much you ask?  Cured meats & salami.  Fancy cheeses.  Coffee.  Ice Cream.  Wine.  These things account for 20-25% of our food budget.  They're expensive in Malaysia. 

So there it is: our goal is $700 per month.   

I feel like I should head over to Weenie Hut Junior now.   Face punch me.

Pooperman

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Re: Stick to a grocery budget in 2015 Challenge
« Reply #6 on: December 22, 2014, 07:06:51 AM »
In on this. For household items + food for 2 people, we're aiming for $300/mo.

Gray Matter

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Re: Stick to a grocery budget in 2015 Challenge
« Reply #7 on: December 22, 2014, 07:19:20 AM »
I'm in.  2013 we averaged $820/month for a family of five.  I haven't done the 2014 numbers yet, but I'm guessing it's about the same, maybe a little better.  My goal is $600 a month, which will be a challenge as my boys are heading into their teen years and are starting to eat like adults.  But since this adult eats too much, perhaps I could just give them some of the stuff on my plate.  :-)


KMAber

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Re: Stick to a grocery budget in 2015 Challenge
« Reply #8 on: December 22, 2014, 01:28:51 PM »
We are in! Right now we spend $350 on groceries and eating out every month for a family of 3. I would like to get that number down to $250. Here are our current strategies: Plan every meal. Make as many things as possible. To get the budget down, I plan on: Eating vegetarian for the majority of our meals. Making more things at home. Doing cost analysis of meals to better predict monthly spending.
I'm not much of a coupon-er but I would love to hear how everyone else cuts back on the food bill.

Jack

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Re: Stick to a grocery budget in 2015 Challenge
« Reply #9 on: December 22, 2014, 01:46:58 PM »
I'm in! In my two-adult household, we've averaged $446/month total food ($362/month groceries) year-to-date (which means it'll be even higher by Jan 1st, since we haven't bought food for Christmas yet). That is absolutely appalling.

I can guess where the money goes: I'm sure we're spending too much on meat and way too much on dairy. We're also going over-budget on eating out.

In 2014, I "tried" to budget $200/month for groceries, $20/month for fast food, and $20/month for restaurants. In 2015, I'm going to budget $250/month for groceries and $40/month for (total) eating out, and will hopefully actually hit it this time!

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Stick to a grocery budget in 2015 Challenge
« Reply #10 on: December 27, 2014, 05:15:52 AM »
Family of 5. Normally average a touch under $600 (this is food, personal care, etc). Aiming to get this under $500 by reducing alcohol and having a bigger, more productive garden.

This is our first full year of using our new "sinking fund" approach, where savings in one month get banked for the future. That way I can more easily plan for large bulk purchases of in season produce, meat, etc. Our December grocery budget is quite low thanks to being on holiday and getting fed (and fed, and fed) by in-laws, but that savings will end up letting us spend a bit more on garden projects, and possibly move our permaculture fruit plantings up a year in schedule.

benjenn

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Re: Stick to a grocery budget in 2015 Challenge
« Reply #11 on: December 27, 2014, 06:18:07 AM »
I'm so amazed to see how little some people on this forum spend on groceries.  It's definitely inspirational.  I've cut our grocery bill way down the last couple of months (since finding MMM) but I plan to do better in 2015.  In 2014, our grocery/restaurant/wine bill averaged $914 per month - and that's with the last 3 months being way lower than the rest of the year!  That was $215 a month for restaurants, $150 a month for wine and over $500 a month for groceries.  This is for 2 people most of the time although we do Sunday night family dinners with 5 or 6 of us.  Both DH and I generally take leftovers for lunch, too.

We eat a plant-based diet so we spend nothing on meat, cheeses, etc.  We buy a lot of fresh produce year round (I make green smoothies every morning) and since I had our grocery budget set at $800, I really didn't pay attention to how much things cost (we rarely went over budget).  (Our wine budget was $200 and our restaurant budget was $200 -- so the total budget was $1,200 per month!)

I've lowered our grocery budget to $400 for 2015, lowered the wine budget to $125 (thanks to the discovery of box wines -- thanks, MMM!) and we removed the restaurant budget and will pay for eating out from our cash.  This could take our $914 down to $525, saving almost $400 per month or $4,800 per year!  Holy moly!

Each week I go through the cabinets and fridge to see what we have on hand and what I can make from that.  Then I put those meals and whatever else I want to make for the week on a list so that we'll have at least 8 meals for the week.  The grocery list is only what I need to make those meals, our green smoothies, and whatever household items we need.  If it's not on the grocery list, I don't buy it.  Doing this for the last couple of months, I'm amazed at how much lower our grocery bill is so I'm confident I can manage on the $400 a month... maybe even less... and we will still eat incredibly well.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Stick to a grocery budget in 2015 Challenge
« Reply #12 on: December 27, 2014, 06:27:56 AM »
benjenn For green smoothies, by all means buy it fresh when in season (and cheap) or grow your own, but nutritionally there's very little difference between, say, fresh spinach and frozen spinach - and frozen is often significantly cheaper. You can also freeze your own greens quite easily if you have sufficient freezer space.

Never tried this in smoothies, but dehydrated fruits or veggies are actually nutritionally the most complete preserved food. And if you're dehydrating your own homegrown or fresh picked from a market in season, the brix score is going to be much higher than trucked in 'fresh' supermarket stuff.

One of my big purchases for 2015 is a large pro-grade dehydrator.

I like using at least one frozen food (this year it was mainly strawberries) in smoothies in lieu of ice to get the texture and temperature I like.

benjenn

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Re: Stick to a grocery budget in 2015 Challenge
« Reply #13 on: December 27, 2014, 07:52:43 AM »
I do the same... using a mix of fresh fruits and veggies in the smoothies.  The greens - spinach, kale, turnip greens, collard greens, are usually among the cheapest produce I buy.  It's the pineapples, mangos and berries that can get pricey - along with the red bell peppers, which I tend to buy every single week.  We have a community garden we participate in, which is great in the warm months.  I really can't blame all our high grocery expense on produce and everything that is household - cleaners, shampoo, soaps, TP, etc., is included which kind of skews things, too.  After the drastically reduced expenses in the last 3 months, I'm confident we can stay on track for 2015. :)

purplepear

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Re: Stick to a grocery budget in 2015 Challenge
« Reply #14 on: December 27, 2014, 08:12:17 AM »
I need this... badly.

Family size: 1
Avg food spend in 2014: $545/month (groceries $228, restaurants $317)
Target food spend 2015: $400/month (groceries $250, restaurants $150)
Yearly savings in 2015: ~$1740


I could probably cut back even more (especially looking at other people's budgets for families of 3+)... but this is a realistic, baby step, goal.

How to accomplish this:
- stop eating out during lunches, work out during lunch instead.
- cut back on alcohol (and start homebrewing again for when I do drink).
- don't eat out.
- seriously, don't eat out.

Exhale

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Re: Stick to a grocery budget in 2015 Challenge
« Reply #15 on: December 27, 2014, 08:59:58 AM »
I'm in too. My goal is to continue keeping my food cost at $4/day.

To do this I've had to:
1) Figure out what I need nutritionally and stick to it
2) Make a grocery list based on #1 list and stick to it
3) Shop once a month (during discount day at my coop)
4) Only grab some fresh fruit/veggies halfway through the month
5) Focus life (especially socializing) around something other than eating (hardest step so far)
« Last Edit: December 27, 2014, 09:03:12 AM by Exhale »

thepokercab

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Re: Stick to a grocery budget in 2015 Challenge
« Reply #16 on: December 27, 2014, 09:09:33 AM »
Definitely count me in here.  This is the part of our budget (and lifestyle) that we really want to improve on this year: 

Family size: 4
Avg food spend in 2014: $1226/month (groceries $777, restaurants $449)
Target food spend 2015: $650/month (groceries $600, restaurants $50)
Yearly savings in 2015: ~$6,912

I know this is ambitious but we really want to turn this part of our budget around.  I also need to eat less, exercise more, and lose about 50 pounds.

Exhale

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Re: Stick to a grocery budget in 2015 Challenge
« Reply #17 on: December 27, 2014, 09:27:23 AM »
I also need to eat less, exercise more, and lose about 50 pounds.

Getting a handle on the food budget thing will make a huge difference to your waist and pocketbook. I couldn't believe how fast it impacted my health and bank account. This has motivated me to stay on track. Also, I like that the focus is on being Mustachian as opposed to losing weight. And, if you walk/bike to groceries, you'll get a workout! :-)


Malaysia41

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Re: Stick to a grocery budget in 2015 Challenge
« Reply #18 on: December 27, 2014, 10:09:03 AM »
This thread got me thinking about our big expenses within the food category.  While writing up our story, I was inspired to get DH an ice cream maker for Christmas.   He was THRILLED. 

This 'investment' could potentially bring our food budget down by $20-30 a month.   

He really likes Haggen Daas Salted Caramel Ice Cream - and it's approx $10 per quart where we live!!   

Thanks for the challenge.  Maybe I can convince him to agree to a $670 per month goal now.

wearfannypacks

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Re: Stick to a grocery budget in 2015 Challenge
« Reply #19 on: December 27, 2014, 10:30:50 AM »
Alright! Looking forward to tackling this with so many of you.

I'm attempting to meal plan for the next 3 weeks today.  I for sure thought I'd have to go to the grocery store today.  But, turns the freezer has many items for lunch and dinner the next few days.

Thepokercab - I like ambitious goals, the beauty of it is, even if you don't hit 650 a month, you are still eating less of your money
Malaysia41 - has DH given the icecream maker a spin?
Exhale - I hear ya on socializing around food. DH and I learned how to make homemade bread and we tend to bring that to gatherings now. Very inexpensive, very tasty, always a hit. What is a typical food spend for you on social gatherings?
thegoblinchef- I'm interested to hear more about your permaculture fruit. Also I hadn't considered frozen spinach with green smoothies! Baby spinach is expensive in these parts, I'm going to try that!
Benjenn - Isn't it amazing how much more money you can free up by being more diligent with groceries? Excited to have you on board.

Elliot

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Re: Stick to a grocery budget in 2015 Challenge
« Reply #20 on: December 27, 2014, 01:35:33 PM »
I'll play!

Family Size: 2 adults

2014 average monthly grocery spending 264 USD/month
2015 target grocery spending: 250 USD/month (or less!)

MustacheMom

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Re: Stick to a grocery budget in 2015 Challenge
« Reply #21 on: December 27, 2014, 05:09:57 PM »
We are in!  I'm new to the forum, and grocery spending is something I LONG to get control of, and I've decided 2015 is the year for it! 

In October a friend and I started sitting down and meal planning together - in reviewing my spending I spent $300 less that month than many other months, which proves meal planning works for me! 

Family size: 3
Avg food spend in 2014: $726/month
Target food spend 2015: $400/month
Estimated yearly savings in 2015: $3912

How will we do this?
1 - Meal plan
2 - I will do most of the grocery shopping
3 - Eat what we have on hand
4 - More meatless meals
5 - More meal planning!
6 - More leftovers for DH to take for lunch



tracylayton

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Re: Stick to a grocery budget in 2015 Challenge
« Reply #22 on: December 27, 2014, 06:06:58 PM »
I am in! Grocery and household items $300/month for 2 of us. $100/month for eating out (including school lunches). If I do secret shops at restaurants (fully reimbursed), it won't count against my spending.

Gin1984

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Re: Stick to a grocery budget in 2015 Challenge
« Reply #23 on: December 27, 2014, 06:14:32 PM »
I'm in with a goal of $264/month for two adults and one infant.  Plus $40 take out once a month (I have been bad and averaging twice a month).
We have averaged $30 over per month in groceries and $40 in take out and I plan to cut that out!

Exhale

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Re: Stick to a grocery budget in 2015 Challenge
« Reply #24 on: December 27, 2014, 09:11:42 PM »
Alright! Looking forward to tackling this with so many of you.

I'm attempting to meal plan for the next 3 weeks today.  I for sure thought I'd have to go to the grocery store today.  But, turns the freezer has many items for lunch and dinner the next few days.

Exhale - I hear ya on socializing around food. DH and I learned how to make homemade bread and we tend to bring that to gatherings now. Very inexpensive, very tasty, always a hit. What is a typical food spend for you on social gatherings?


Yikes! You're right I need to plan for this. Hmm, two ideas off the top of my head:
- Roasted chickpeas with olive oil and sage leaves = Approx $1 (due to dried chickpeas and sage plants in the yard)
- Black bean dip with some veggies = Approx $3 (due to cost of the veggies)

« Last Edit: December 27, 2014, 09:14:15 PM by Exhale »

Primm

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Re: Stick to a grocery budget in 2015 Challenge
« Reply #25 on: December 27, 2014, 10:25:21 PM »
I'm in too. I've spent way too much on food in the last 12 months.

My tactics:

Cook at home and take my lunch to work.

Plant a veggie garden for herbs and the sort of veggies that are easy to grow and that I eat lots of, particularly tomatoes.

That's it to start with. Let's see how we go.

deborah

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Re: Stick to a grocery budget in 2015 Challenge
« Reply #26 on: December 27, 2014, 11:01:07 PM »
I'm in too

Tactics
Preserve all food from the garden. Succession planting. Don't buy junk food.

MsWillow

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Re: Stick to a grocery budget in 2015 Challenge
« Reply #27 on: December 28, 2014, 07:58:30 AM »
I want to join in on the challenge. Our grocery store average is $600/month for 4. How are you all factoring in toiletries, household supplies, is this included in the food budget? I know this makes our monthly expenses higher. I want to separate out our food, alcohol and household to get a better handle on each.

wintersun

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Re: Stick to a grocery budget in 2015 Challenge
« Reply #28 on: December 28, 2014, 07:59:10 AM »
Yikes! I want to be in but don't quite know how to do it.  My dh loves red meat and if he goes shopping buys the most expensive cuts.  And, sometimes I get really fatigued and don't feel like cooking and we just eat out or eat the easiest thing which is a steak.  I want to systematically load the freezer up with ready to eat mexican food and stews, I have done this before but never long term.

How often do you cook and how much of the day is taken up with it?

MustacheMom

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Re: Stick to a grocery budget in 2015 Challenge
« Reply #29 on: December 28, 2014, 08:35:18 AM »
I want to join in on the challenge. Our grocery store average is $600/month for 4. How are you all factoring in toiletries, household supplies, is this included in the food budget? I know this makes our monthly expenses higher. I want to separate out our food, alcohol and household to get a better handle on each.

I haven't broken out and tracked toiletries and household supplies separately before, but I'm planning to this year.  I'm planning to set up a spreadsheet similar to what Goblin Chief uses. (You can find a link to his on his blog post for November spending, here http://thegoblinchief.wordpress.com/2014/11/28/spending-breakdown-grocery-november-2014/)

(And thanks to the Goblin Chief for sharing that, it's been very helpful to me!!!)

Freeme

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Re: Stick to a grocery budget in 2015 Challenge
« Reply #30 on: December 28, 2014, 10:42:39 AM »
I'm in, my grocery budget was 1,500 prior to MMM I got it down to 1000 in 2014 with 5 in the family with 2 of them being 20 something men. We are down to 4 and I want to get it down to 750. I do buy a lot of organic especially meat, eggs and the dirty dozen fruits and veggies. I cook most food from scratch and love the web sit s budget bites, Mel's kitchen and a few others. Here is my plan
I've been planning dinners but nit much else will look to plan more meals.
Try twice a month shopping to eliminate impulse purchases.
Cook from my pantry and freezer as they are both full.
Make some to go foods for my family that are really not good at saving trying to get them there but it is a struggle.
Already use dried beans and make my own stock and such. Have not gone the homemade bread route but may try it. I am making my own tortillas.
I will have a meeting with my family on the budget to get their ideas.
Try the farmers market more to try to get some better prices.


acorn

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Re: Stick to a grocery budget in 2015 Challenge
« Reply #31 on: December 28, 2014, 12:37:51 PM »
I'm in.

Family size: 1
2014 Average groceries spending: $95.56/month
2014 Average eating out (restaurant/fast food/takeout) spending: $62.05/month

Aim is to maintain the numbers or maybe cut down on eating out a little, which should be very doable.

One Noisy Cat

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Re: Stick to a grocery budget in 2015 Challenge
« Reply #32 on: December 28, 2014, 01:04:30 PM »
   I'll go in. For a family of one, I'll start at $210 a month for alcohol and food and reduce it by $5 a month.

The cat refuses to participate, but he seems to prefer the cheaper cat food anyways.

Good luck to everyone participating.

Exhale

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Re: Stick to a grocery budget in 2015 Challenge
« Reply #33 on: December 28, 2014, 09:12:52 PM »
Yikes! I want to be in but don't quite know how to do it.  My dh loves red meat and if he goes shopping buys the most expensive cuts.  And, sometimes I get really fatigued and don't feel like cooking and we just eat out or eat the easiest thing which is a steak.  I want to systematically load the freezer up with ready to eat mexican food and stews, I have done this before but never long term.

How often do you cook and how much of the day is taken up with it?

I hate taking lots of time to cook so I take two hours once a week, put on my favorite radio show or music and then:
1) Prep veggies (except greens) for week ahead and store in fridge (roasting is also delicious and easy to do ahead)
2) Make an easy sauce (pasta sauce, peanut sauce, etc.) and a lunch bean dip (in food processor)
3) Cook things like lentils, quinoa and bake potatoes (while doing #1 and #2) then store in fridge

The good news: Once you've done this a couple times, you'll have your routine down and it'll go fast.
The even better news: All you'll have to do is grab from these pre-made items, assemble, heat and serve.

Some other tips:
- DH can still eat red meat, but use it as flavoring instead of as the only protein (e.g. add in beans, tempeh, tofu)
- Poached/scrambled egg on a slice of toast with some sauteed greens = a favorite dinner of mine
- Pre-made dinner = essential (potatoes already baked that just need a reheat and toppings, etc.)
- Make treats ahead of time and freeze (that way you don't spend extra $ for a treat)

This cookbook (free online) is what enabled me to get down to $4/day per person and eat delicious food => https://41aac1a9acbe9b97bcebc10e0dd7cb61ef11502c.googledrive.com/host/0B9c5aT4eSlRfMzVpbC0xemtkSlE/good-and-cheap.pdf

Good luck!  Keep us posted with how it goes.




Juslookin

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Re: Stick to a grocery budget in 2015 Challenge
« Reply #34 on: December 29, 2014, 10:50:57 AM »
Ok, I'm in on this one.  I stopped tracking my food expenditures last year around August. I would guesstimate my family of four, two adults, DS 16 and DD 14 are spending approximately an average of $1200. per month including eating out.

I'm going to adjust my budget accordingly because right now we have freezers to eat down.

January $600. I'm certain we can probably do better than that even. I have an enormous garden and have a lot of frozen and canned veggies to use, stored winter squashes, potatoes, onion and garlic.

My cow just freshened so I will have milk and dairy products for free. We're just a little low on chicken in the freezer. 

The biggest problem I have is planning the time to cook from scratch, I will be working on my organization and meal plans. 

Trying to cut back on errands to stay home and eat, thats how we always get sucked into eating out.

Today for lunch I threw together a tortellini soup but I subbed raviolis (on hand) with home canned diced tomatoes, frozen spinach and I even threw a couple of sad looking garden carrots in there. Cooked it and put it in the crockpot so everyone could grab and go.

Ready2Go

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Re: Stick to a grocery budget in 2015 Challenge
« Reply #35 on: December 29, 2014, 02:49:54 PM »
I'm going to try this one.  Family of 5.  Last year after finding MMM I tried to get thrifty and managed to bring the grocery bill down to average of $100/week.  This year I added up all the other extras we spend and found to my horror that our average spending looks like this:

groceries (weekly trip):     $400
extra trips:                       $125
DH lunches:                      $200
my lunches:                       $90
weekend breakfasts out:    $200
weekly dinner out:            $160
                                     ====
Total:                            $1175

Goal:  bring my lunch every day, no more breakfast out, cut the dinners out by 1/2 for savings of $360.  DH says that lunch out is the only way he makes it through the work-day.   I'm the one who loves to go out for breakfast, so that plus taking my lunch is a good start.

swick

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Re: Stick to a grocery budget in 2015 Challenge
« Reply #36 on: December 29, 2014, 03:27:49 PM »
Goal:  bring my lunch every day, no more breakfast out, cut the dinners out by 1/2 for savings of $360.  DH says that lunch out is the only way he makes it through the work-day.   I'm the one who loves to go out for breakfast, so that plus taking my lunch is a good start.

Have you talked with your hubby to find out what it is about eating lunch out that helps him make it through the work day? Is it the social interactions? The Variety? The excuse to get out of the office? All of these things can be solved without having to "go out" for lunch if you are creative. It might be worth asking about and seeing if you can come up with another option to try out.

As far as breakfasts go, I totally get it it is my favorite meal of the day, mostly because I have such awesome memories of big fancy weekend breakfasts with the whole family. Maybe it would be a good chance to teach your kids to cook and get them in the kitchen helping? Or maybe your hubby has a specialty he can make sometimes?

The "Christmas Morning Breakfast Strudels" recipe of mine that is linked in the "Recipe Index" is an awesome way of getting a lot of fancy breakfasts that go from freezer to stove with no dishes once they are made up. My mo, sister and I got together and made 96 of em this year so we are set for a while :) With a little fresh fruit or hashbrowns they are an awesome meal!

I'm in too! Our grocery spending last year averaged 388.00 a month for two.  This was while living in Northern-ish BC with very limited options and everything expensive. We have just moved  so hoping it will be less - but we are out of most of our staples that we buy in bulk and also have plans on ordering a locally raised lamb and 1/4 a cow.  The bright side is we have access to fresh veggies again! and will be ale to grow a bunch of our own food and take advantage of my mom's awesome garden :)

Goals:
 - 350.00 month averaged spending
 - Grow as much as possible and store for winter
 - Forage for "free" food as much as we can - huckleberries, elderberries, fiddle heads, nettle, false solomon's seal, wild onion, crab apples, plums....
 - Have a monthly "Date" with mom and sister to batch cook something for the freezer. Share the work and the cost and have fun. Projects planned so far: ravioli, pirogi, manti.



Ready2Go

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Re: Stick to a grocery budget in 2015 Challenge
« Reply #37 on: December 29, 2014, 03:44:59 PM »
Goal:  bring my lunch every day, no more breakfast out, cut the dinners out by 1/2 for savings of $360.  DH says that lunch out is the only way he makes it through the work-day.   I'm the one who loves to go out for breakfast, so that plus taking my lunch is a good start.

Have you talked with your hubby to find out what it is about eating lunch out that helps him make it through the work day? Is it the social interactions? The Variety? The excuse to get out of the office? All of these things can be solved without having to "go out" for lunch if you are creative. It might be worth asking about and seeing if you can come up with another option to try out.

Hubby tells me lunch is all about the social interactions.  Where he works, everyone has an individual office, and there is no on-site place to sit and eat as a group.  I'd like to see his lunch numbers go down, but he has taken to riding his bike this year, and he feels that lunch is his reward. That's been a huge savings for us, since he has eliminated a daily $10 parking charge in addition to gas expenses.  So for now I figure its best to see if I can show a track record of taking my lunch and making breakfast on the weekends.  It's a start.

acorn

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Re: Stick to a grocery budget in 2015 Challenge
« Reply #38 on: December 29, 2014, 04:17:53 PM »
... since he has eliminated a daily $10 parking charge in addition to gas expenses.

$10 everyday??? way to go with biking!

ToughMother

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Re: Stick to a grocery budget in 2015 Challenge
« Reply #39 on: December 29, 2014, 05:46:30 PM »
I AM SO IN.

2014 spending for eating out, groceries/household stuff that we get at the grocery store/alcohol = $6782 or $565/month for a 2 person household.

This SO needs to be improved.

While minor by mustachian standards, I'm aiming for a $100/month improvement, averaging $465/month for 2015 for these same categories. 

wearfannypacks

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Re: Stick to a grocery budget in 2015 Challenge
« Reply #40 on: December 29, 2014, 05:49:33 PM »
I'm in.

Family size: 1
2014 Average groceries spending: $95.56/month
2014 Average eating out (restaurant/fast food/takeout) spending: $62.05/month

Aim is to maintain the numbers or maybe cut down on eating out a little, which should be very doable.

Acorn, how do you keep grocery so low? What sort of meals do you eat?

mnsaver

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Re: Stick to a grocery budget in 2015 Challenge
« Reply #41 on: December 29, 2014, 08:11:08 PM »
I'm in.

for 1 person average expenditure is $250 for both grocery store and dinning out. It needs to be less then 200 for the next year.

Things I will do to get there
1. Make a meal plan, make a grocery list and stick to them.
2. Dinning out needs to be a pre-planned thing, not I don't want to cook tonight.
3. Shop at Aldi's at least once a month, don't just go to Target because the weather is bad and I don't want to go that far.
4. Keep at least 2 weeks of non-perishables and hand. That way when the weather is bad I can make due (I don't have a car.)

acorn

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Re: Stick to a grocery budget in 2015 Challenge
« Reply #42 on: December 29, 2014, 11:42:40 PM »
Acorn, how do you keep grocery so low? What sort of meals do you eat?

I eat a lot of vegetables, and fairly little meat.

My meals consist of
1. 50% Brown rice, lentils, noodles, occasional quinoa - stockpile 2-3 times a year from costco (I tag along with friends who have costco membership)
2. 35-50% Vegetables/fruits: Spinach, kale, beansprouts, leafy greens, mushrooms, bell peppers, tofu, etc - there's an open air market a 30min bus ride away that sells vegetables from local farms in Cali for super cheap. $15 gets me enough fresh vegetables for the week. In a pinch, I shop at Trader Joe's (10min away) for vegetables.
3. 0-15% Meat: Chicken, white fish, tuna, occasional shrimp - stockpiled from costco/walmart

Every week, I shop for vegetables and cook in bulk. Each time I cook, food goes into tupperware and becomes lunch/dinner for the next 3 days. At any one time, my kitchen has a corner with dry grains and canned food, a freezer full of frozen meat/vegetables, and a fridge with packed lunches/dinners. 2h grocery shopping + 2h x2 cooking = 6h of minimal work for all my lunches/dinners each week.

Other random things:
- I don't meal plan, I go to the store see what's in season and on sale that day, buy it and cook it.
- I cook on the day I buy food so nothing will go bad, and I won't buy anything I'm not going to eat/cook.
- Packed meals means on lazy days I only need to microwave, and don't need to get takeout or eat out for convenience's sake.
- Spices are your friend, a little can go a long way.
- I rarely buy processed food (microwave meals/pizzas/whatnot), nutritionally and cost-wise, the closer you get to real food the better it is.

Caveats: I am female and have a sedentary job, so I definitely eat less than people who are more physically active. I'm not into cheese and am alcohol intolerant, so no fancy cheese or wine there. I'm only cooking for one, so I can see how stressful it will be to cook daily for an entire family, and cater to everyone's tastebuds.

This ended up being a much longer post than I intended. oops. There's still much to learn but that's my weekly cycle for now.

tl;dr - Eat less meat, shop around to find the cheapest vegetables (know what's in season), stockpile grains and meat in bulk, cook in bulk and pack your meals. Good luck to everyone for the challenge!!

Juslookin

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Re: Stick to a grocery budget in 2015 Challenge
« Reply #43 on: December 30, 2014, 09:11:00 AM »
I am off work this week and organizing freezers. I just found 37 packages of homegrown shredded zucchini in the freezer.  Now I know can make zucchini bread, and I even have a good zucchini brownie recipe but I need to make this into real meals. I'm thinking of tossing it right into spaghetti sauce and zucchini and potato pancakes. That's 37 weeks, once per week.

I already have 40 pounds of potatoes stored, so I don't need to buy a thing to make this side dish.

I am so disappointed in what we have spent on groceries with all of the food I have in the house.

So today for dinner, chicken cordon bleu (I premade and froze, I do once a month cooking) zuke and potato pancakes and home canned applesauce.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Stick to a grocery budget in 2015 Challenge
« Reply #44 on: December 30, 2014, 12:45:15 PM »
Shredded zucchini works really well in any ground red meat recipe 50:50 with the meat. My personal favorite is in tacos.

aneel

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Re: Stick to a grocery budget in 2015 Challenge
« Reply #45 on: December 30, 2014, 02:21:28 PM »
How to accomplish this:
- stop eating out during lunches, work out during lunch instead.
- cut back on alcohol (and start homebrewing again for when I do drink).
- don't eat out.
- seriously, don't eat out.

HA! Agreed.  Our goal is to get to $400/month in groceries.  This year we spent $500/month.  We plan to cut back on snack foods and beer.

Juslookin

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Re: Stick to a grocery budget in 2015 Challenge
« Reply #46 on: December 31, 2014, 07:01:19 AM »
Shredded zucchini works really well in any ground red meat recipe 50:50 with the meat. My personal favorite is in tacos.

That's a good idea, I'll try it. Thanks.

I sent DH to the store for the week for me, the year hasn't officially started but I'm in the mindset. He spent $17.72 on my list which was some basics we were out of.  I am ready for the new year.

wearfannypacks

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Re: Stick to a grocery budget in 2015 Challenge
« Reply #47 on: December 31, 2014, 03:37:31 PM »
^I'm in the mindset too. It really helps to have gotten a running start! I've got my meals planned and I won't need to shop for at least 10 days.

January is typically a tough month for me, but this will be fun to check in and see how we all did.

llorona

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Re: Stick to a grocery budget in 2015 Challenge
« Reply #48 on: January 01, 2015, 12:29:05 PM »
Count me in.

Family Size: 2
Average Food Spending in 2014: $604.36 per month ($444.62 groceries, $159.74 restaurants)
Total Food Spending in 2014: $7,252.32 (ouch!)
Target Food Spending in 2015: $5,700 ($375 groceries, $100 restaurants)
Total Projected Savings: $1,552.32


Strategies:
1. Grow vegetables, herbs, and fruit
2. Buy produce in season
3. Eat vegetarian every other day
4. Eliminate food waste by NOT meal planning more than three days in advance
5. Batch cook and freeze meals
« Last Edit: January 01, 2015, 03:33:16 PM by llorona »

GermanStache

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Re: Stick to a grocery budget in 2015 Challenge
« Reply #49 on: January 01, 2015, 01:04:27 PM »
I would like to join you from Germany! Lowering my grocery budget and sticking to a meal plan is my goal for this year. I will aim for 350 EUR per month (2 person household). This includes just groceries - no toiletries, household items, eating out or the things that we drink. Each of that has a separate budget. Last year we spent 396,37 EUR on average so lowering it to 350 EUR will bring in another almost 600 EUR to the stash.

I will meal plan and only buy what is on my shopping list. I will limit myself to one (two max) shopping trips per week. No impulse buys and no emergency trips to buy milk (and come home with chips and cold cuts and all the other things that come my way in the supermarkte....).

Looking forward to this challenge!
Katja