Author Topic: Critique these discretionary expenses, I'm bracing for face punches....  (Read 14578 times)

Bee21

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With 4 kids, i think ordering groceries online is a great idea. It is way cheaper and more convenient than dragging 4 kids around.

Cutting the food budget is a long process, it took me years until I got the hang of it. I read everything i found about cutting costs, some things work for me some don't.  We spend around 150 AUD a week for a fam of 4 and we eat well. Planning meals and costing them is the key. Plus batch cooking and freezer meals are a life saver. I managed to keep dinner expenses reasonable (way under 10), but I overstocked on cheeses, lunch fixing and even fruit and veg. Analysing the food I threw away helped me a lot in reorganizing what I buy and how much. At 1000 a month I suspect that there is a lot of variety and fancy ingredients, you might want to simplify this. See how low you can go before people start complaining.






Bettis

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Sorry if you already addressed this but can't you just go grocery shopping after work while your wife still has the kids at home?  That's what I do (have 2 kids myself).  My wife sends me the list by email/text and I'm able to go on the way home.  I don't know how easy it is to browse by ordering online but I feel like it'd be easier to compare prices when you're in the store itself.  Thankfully the Market Basket I go to is on the way home but even if it weren't, it's got to be more cost effective to do that rather than curbside pickup.

caracarn

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Sorry if you already addressed this but can't you just go grocery shopping after work while your wife still has the kids at home?  That's what I do (have 2 kids myself).  My wife sends me the list by email/text and I'm able to go on the way home.  I don't know how easy it is to browse by ordering online but I feel like it'd be easier to compare prices when you're in the store itself.  Thankfully the Market Basket I go to is on the way home but even if it weren't, it's got to be more cost effective to do that rather than curbside pickup.
+1

This is a terrific process.  Blended family of 8 (7 currently regularly around).  My wife works as well, but I tend to do the grocery shopping as she just does not enjoy shopping at all.  I have three places I frequent, Sam's Club, Giant Eagle(GE) for things we do not want in bulk and a local produce store for fruits and veggies as they are much higher quality and much cheaper than either Sam's or Giant Eagle ($0.39/lb for awesome fresh bananas versus $0.55/lb for Sam's Club meh came in on the boat a week ago).  We eat meat regularly and go through 4-5 gallons of milk a week (two of our girls love giant glasses of chocolate milk each day (Hershey's syrup in bulk at Sam's for this)) and our grocery bill for 7 is $600-800/month.  We have an Instant Pot and honestly this cut our grocery bill about $100-$200/month because it vastly decreased our bulk packaged dinner items purchases.  Sam's Club has the Scan and Go app, so you do not even need to go to the checkout, so does not matter how busy the store is.  I can usually get in and out in 15 minutes or less buying my $150 or so for the trip.  Same thing with the produce store.  Tiny little place but they have 6-8 registers open to the checkout line moves lightning fast.  I visit GE maybe one or twice a month.  My weekly visits are Sam's and produce store.  If you can find someplace like the produce place it can be a terrific saver.  Watermelons twice the size (not kidding) of the Sam's Club variety for $2.99 instead of $3.99.  Apples between $0.99-$1.29 pound all the time versus 25-50% more at Sam's or GE for worse quality.  Tomatoes rarely more than $0.99/lb.  Clamshells of grape/cherry tomatoes for $0.99 versus $3.00 at GE.  All greens for $0.99/bunch versus $2.50-$4.00. 

Asides from the savings, me doing the shopping on the way home (all of these three places are at various places within a mile or less of the interstate route I take home) keep my wife from doing a chore she hates and I enjoy.

Rosy

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Just wanted to clarify about the pest control service via DIY pest control.
I was not talking about replacing it with a can of Raid or something, but effective pest control which is sold only in specialized stores.
Florida, where I live, is the bug capital of the world so I wouldn't suggest it, unless I knew it worked.
$400 easy instant savings - totally worth it at least to us. 10 minutes - once a month, $50 total.

On the groceries, as you can see, there are at least six or more responses from people with six or more kids - if they can do it, so can you. That grocery budget is hundreds out of line - pick just one thing that you can improve and do it - voila, progress.
Rinse - wash - and repeat, until it is closer to the $600 range. Instapot is your friend:)



BAM

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The only thing I'll add for food is to consider buying in bulk or from unusual sources. We've bought a half cow before - gave us a better price than stores and really good grain fed beef. I do the same for just about everything we eat. Apples on sale - that's the fruit of the week plus we can and freeze if we can. We also glean wild food when we can. We have sources for currants (makes great jam), wild onions, choke cherries (great jam), raspberries.

One thing I noticed in your posts is a running theme of "keeping your sanity" and that you don't seem have many homeschool moms of many nearby. I thought I'd offer some suggestions for that that you might be able to use to save money and/or cut your costs. I'm a homeschooling mom of many too. When my first 4 were all little, they were ages 5, 4, 1, newbie (first two are 12 months apart, 3rd and 4th are 14 months apart). I remember how crazy it was! My husband also worked long hours although he didn't travel at that time (he did travel when our second was an infant). We didn't have money for a babysitter and I don't believe grocery delivery was available at that time so I learned to do it with sanity intact : ).
So some ideas:
1. put your kids on a schedule so their wake up times and bed times are close. 6am to 10 pm is nuts! Work on your baby sleeping until 7 and your last going to bed by 8. That will give you time at each end of the day - mornings to get going and get some stuff done, evenings to have some down time. 
2. Institute a quiet time during the baby's afternoon nap. Train your kids to play quietly on a blanket in the living room with a few toys/books. This will give you some down time or time to tackle something that is difficult with constant interruptions. It's also great if you need to take everyone to the Dr or elsewhere with you - I always took all my kids to my OB appts for each pregnancy.
3. Set a consistent grocery shopping time for right after breakfast. Little chance for kids to fall asleep. They are also less grumpy since they are newly awake and newly fed.
4. Set up your shopping strategy - put the 3 year old in the front of the cart. The baby either on you or in a car seat across the back part of the cart with groceries underneath. The older two hold on to the side (other hand in pocket if they tend to touch everything). Teach them "little ducks" - if someone is coming toward you, say little ducks which to them should mean "get behind me in a line like ducks follow their mama".

As far as homeschooling: I think I read that you are in NC so you don't have any day or time requirements as far as teaching (although it looks like there are "suggestions" for both) so that should reduce your stress too. At 6, kids don't need more than an hour or two of direct instruction and much of that can be reading aloud (I've found that while my kids eat breakfast is a great time to read aloud since their mouths are all busy), life experience (nature study, cooking/baking, field trips, etc), life skills, pursuing their interests, games/puzzles, etc. Throw in some life math and phonics and you should be set.

Hope some of that helps!


mamagoose

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With a group of 4 kids, check out Jordan Page - Fun Cheap or Free on Youtube (she also has a blog). She's a mom with 5 kids under 6, has great tips on budgeting ($100/month per person, so $600/month for your family) and good practical advice on things like how much to pay babysitters.