Author Topic: What does your monthly grocery list look like?  (Read 25117 times)

Credaholic

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What does your monthly grocery list look like?
« on: August 12, 2014, 10:27:05 PM »
I'm struggling with our grocery budget. I'm aiming at $400/month for me, DH and toddler, but I am failing horribly at it. So, I'm trying to track what every item costs, and realistically how much of everything I need to get through the month. I'm trying to pick cheap meals, and am willing to give up variety in the name of cheap, but DH does require meat in pretty much every meal.

Has anyone else compiled a monthly grocery list and expenses? Here's what I've come up with.

Costco:
Organic Ground Beef (3 pack, each pack will feed us twice, $17.99 x2 makes 12 dinners) = $36
Flank Steak (makes 4 dinners) = $20
Organic Chicken ($5.99/lb, 1 lb is 1 dinner, 2 dinners) = $12
Organic Eggs (4 dozen, weekend breakfast, baking & at least 2 dinners) = $15
Bacon (weekends breakfast, at least 4 dinners) = $15
Shrimp (frozen bag 31-40 count makes 4 dinners) = $20
Salmon ($9.99/lb, 2 dinners) = $20
Butter (baking and cooking) = $7
Pepperjack Cheese (sandwiches) = $6
Cheddar Cheese = $5
Clif Bars (DH breakfast) = $20
Miscellaneous Stock Up Items (garlic powder, olive oil, toilet paper, detergent, etc.) = $20
Total: $196

Safeway:
Organic Milk ($5.29 a gallon, approximately 8 gallons) = $40
Bread (6 loaves) = $21
Salami (2 lbs) = $20
Turkey (3 lbs) = $24
Organic Yogurt (4 tubs) = $12
Apple Sauce (4 jars) = $12
Fruit & Veg (various, purchased weekly, some frozen) = $50 estimate
Misc. Others (puree packets for son, crackers, pasta & sauce, cereal, jalapeno chips for DH lunches, etc.) = $75 estimate
Total: $254

Grand Total: $450

The biggest portion of the miscellaneous Safeway expenses is the baby food. Trying hard to get DS to eat more "real" veggies, but right now if I want to get vegetables in him consistently he insists on the fruit and veggie mixed purees that come in squeezie packets at $1.25 a pop. I've tried making my own purees, but didn't find it to be cheaper when he refused to eat it.

Overall though, I'm pretty happy with this list even at $450 per month because I definitely think I'm overestimating some things - this is enough for 32 meals, we do eat out a couple of times per month, the 3 pack of bacon at Costco definitely gets us through more than 1 month, etc. So sticking to this list might really get us closer to $400. I guess I just need to really do it now! If anyone else has gone through this exercise, would love to see. It's hard to compare budgets when people just say $100 or $500 or whatever.

« Last Edit: August 13, 2014, 04:12:36 PM by Credaholic »

Beric01

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Re: What does your monthly grocery list look like?
« Reply #1 on: August 12, 2014, 11:08:05 PM »
My first comment is: so much organic! All right, I'll admit I couldn't care less whether something is organic or not, but your organic dairy in particular  is costing you 2x what you would be paying for the non-organic version. $5.29 a gallon! I pay ~$2.50 for non-organic. Is it really worth it it to you? And Costco does not have the best prices on milk.

Same for the meat - are there any cheaper alternatives? That's a lot of meat (and some of it quite pricey). I like my meat same as anyone, but I generally go for more chicken due to the cost - non organic chicken is even cheaper BTW.

I would also look into your Safeway "misc" - $75 is a pretty large number to not break out.

Cressida

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Re: What does your monthly grocery list look like?
« Reply #2 on: August 12, 2014, 11:19:32 PM »
The quantity of meat jumps out at me too. Don't get me wrong - I've been tracking grocery for the past several months and it's a weakness in my household as well. I'm trying to work in more beans and eggs.

bluecheeze

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Re: What does your monthly grocery list look like?
« Reply #3 on: August 13, 2014, 12:34:20 AM »
Good exercise that I had never done before.  Currently eating very strict so this is easy to calculate for us (been going this way about 6 months now).  Contingency is for when we make some healthy deserts plus other minor "food" things-generally non trendable items.  Looking back at actuals we have averaged around $360/month. The seeds, vitamins, protein come in big chunks every 3-4 months so I broke it down to months for this.

Cost per month for food, 2 adults            
#   $          Total          Item   
4   $14.67   $58.67   2.5kg Chicken   
4   $8.00   $32.00   2kg White Fish   
3   $5.33   $16.00   1kg Lamb   
5   $4.00   $20.00   30 Eggs   
4   $2.13   $8.53   Cabbage   
5   $1.87   $9.33   Cauliflour   
4   $1.87   $7.47   Butternut Squash   
2   $9.33   $18.67   Oatmeal   
4   $4.00   $16.00   Yogurt (large size)   
50   $0.27   $13.33   Apples   
50   $0.27   $13.33   Bananas   
0.5   $7.50   $3.75   PB2 Peanut Butter   
0.5   $11.00   $5.50   Flax Seed   
0.5   $20.00   $10.00   Chia Seed   
2   $9.33   $18.67   Almonds   
1   $8.00   $8.00   Misc (oil/season)   
1   $25.00   $25.00   ON Whey Protein   
1   $8.00   $8.00   ON Multivitamins   
1   $2.80   $2.80   Fish Oil   
   Sub Total   $295.05      
   20% Contingency   $59.01      
   TOTAL   $354.06      



Astatine

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Re: What does your monthly grocery list look like?
« Reply #4 on: August 13, 2014, 12:41:02 AM »
I don't have a scheduled budget for food - just keep ratcheting down the costs, buying stuff in bulk or on special etc.

The one thought I did have is that that seems like a lot of meat. If you could switch out more of your meals to ones that are beans and rice (eg Mexican style beans on rice or lentil curry on rice - include vegies in the stews to bulk them out and make them healthier), you could probably save more $. Well, if you buy dried legumes and cook them yourself it will be cheaper.

I do make stews in our slow cooker from time to time. 1kg of stewing meat (about 2lbs) stewed with vegies makes about 10 meals for us, if served with brown rice or similar. It's still very filling but cheaper than a steak and vegies for dinner. And sooooo tasty.

MayDay

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Re: What does your monthly grocery list look like?
« Reply #5 on: August 13, 2014, 05:45:01 AM »
That is a ton of meat and hardly any veggies (unless you are also having a vegetable garden?)


gecko10x

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Re: What does your monthly grocery list look like?
« Reply #6 on: August 13, 2014, 05:49:39 AM »
Same comment as others: cut down the meat and it will be cheaper (and healthier).

mak1277

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Re: What does your monthly grocery list look like?
« Reply #7 on: August 13, 2014, 06:48:39 AM »
Some people (like me) believe that a meal isn't a meal without meat.  If OP's husband feels the same way, simply saying "cut back on the meat" isn't a very helpful suggestion.  Rice and beans is a side, not a meal!

Now, that aside, I think a more detailed breakdown is needed to eliminate/minimize "misc" buckets and estimates.  If you're also set on organic, then smaller portion sizes is the only other option that immediately comes to mind.  Can you add a cheap fourth meal/big snack to the day and then scale back dinner to 60-70% of where you are now?

aneel

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Re: What does your monthly grocery list look like?
« Reply #8 on: August 13, 2014, 07:33:28 AM »
I am also in the meat camp, my DH will maybe agree to one night a week where dinner isn't meat + veggie.  One thing we've done to cut down on meat costs is butchering our own.  We buy the whole Pork Loin / Beef / whatever at BJ's and cut it into steaks ourselves.  Its messy, but after about 1/2 an hour we get about 8 meals out of it for at least $1 - $2 less per pound.  That being said, we've found that our meat-heavy eating style gives us a lower limit for groceries.

One thing for costs that comes to mind is non-dairy milk.  This has the advantage of being able to be purchased in bulk for less than what you're paying now and a long shelf life.

2ndTimer

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Re: What does your monthly grocery list look like?
« Reply #9 on: August 13, 2014, 08:09:20 AM »
Don't know if you have the good fortune to live in a town with a Grocery Outlet but if you do they often have Cliff bars quite a bit cheaper than Costco.  In my town, The Grocery Outlet, Costco and Winco are all on the same Street so I start at the Grocery Outlet and pick up every thing I can, then fill in at Costco and Winco on the way home.

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Re: What does your monthly grocery list look like?
« Reply #10 on: August 13, 2014, 08:16:42 AM »
I enjoy the food I eat. So its not my choice to scrimp down too far. For 2, I spend $115 per week.

Costco has some great meat. We used to buy a bunch of it from there, cut it up and freeze it in portions. Lasted us all month for sure.
IMO you are doing fine for a family of 3. The only cut backs, if you want to save money, is the salami and the clif bars.

Sylly

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Re: What does your monthly grocery list look like?
« Reply #11 on: August 13, 2014, 08:50:29 AM »
Costco is good for a lot of things, but I find that their meat prices is not the best. It's at best cheaper than grocery store regular prices, but doesn't meat grocery store sale prices. Caveat: my observation definitely applies to non-organic stuff, and based on the fact that that other grocery stores have organic meat sales, I assume also at least partially applies to organic meat.

The only bacon I buy from Costco is the turkey bacon. For real piggy bacon, I wait for grocery store sales (~$3.50/lb).

Have you checked local ethnic markets? A Korean grocery store in my city regularly has flank steak for the cheapest I've seen anywhere (~$6/lb), and the quality is good too.

Common theme is, we shop the sales -- which generally beats Costco prices, though it does make the act of shopping more involved.

MayDay

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Re: What does your monthly grocery list look like?
« Reply #12 on: August 13, 2014, 08:52:11 AM »
Have you considered pricing out making your own granola bars for breakfasts?  I didn't price it out since I used the ingredients for a variety of purposes, but I bought a 5 or 10 lb. bag of dates, and the costco bag of almonds, and made Lara bars.  They were quick and easy to make. 

Even if you must have meat at all meals, can you do stuff like chili or stir fry, where you aren't just serving a big chunk of meat?  Or meatloaf or sloppy joe, where you cut in some lentils?

MillenialMustache

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Re: What does your monthly grocery list look like?
« Reply #13 on: August 13, 2014, 09:15:28 AM »
OP, I think most of the ways you can cut down are probably things you are not willing to do - less meat and less organic. Sometimes, it is ok to spend money on what is important to you. Save in other ways, and you may also want to calculate how the meat and organic foods are setting you back in regards to time to retire. If that number does not bother you, than keep shopping the way you are.

Maybe institute something like "Meatless Mondays" and try meals that do not have meat. One that I find to work for many people who prefer "meat at every meal" is something like black bean and cheese quesadillas with onions, corn, green peppers, whatever vegetables you like.

Best of luck to you.

Gimesalot

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Re: What does your monthly grocery list look like?
« Reply #14 on: August 13, 2014, 09:36:38 AM »
You seem to be over paying for several items on your list:

$21 for 6 loaves of bread?  Try dollar tree for 100% whole wheat brand name bread.  Buy a ton and freeze.  This will save you $15.
$12 for yogurt? Spend 10 minutes a week and make your own from a gallon of milk.  This will save you $7
Try making your own cereal and clif bars for cheaper
Switch out tofu for flank steak two dinners a month.  Saving $8
$42 for milk? We are two adults and struggle to get through 2 gallons of milk a month.  Switch to water for half and dark green veggies for calcium.  Savings $21

Last but not least, I think you need to cut back on the meat.  Just thinking of all that meat hurts my stomach.  Instead of serving meat as a piece, try cutting it up and adding it to veggies.  For example, I use 1/2 lb of sausage for red beans and rice.  We easily get 4 meals out of 1/2 lb of meat.  Also, we get 4 meals out of one pork chop by cutting it into pieces and putting it in a stir-fry.  You can't serve someone half a pork chop and expect them to be happy.  You can serve them half a pork chop with veggies, a side of rice and beans, and make it a meal.

Here is an estimate of my weekly list and expenses:
  • $2 one dozen eggs
  • $2.50 half gallon of milk
  • $2.50 eight ounce cabot cheese
  • $4  ice cream
  • $2  tortilla chips
  • $3  pretzels
  • $8  one pound lunch meat
  • $10  fancy cheese
  • $8 beer
  • $2  canned red beans
  • $1  canned beets
  • $35  veggies, fruit, bulk rice and black beans, tofu, butter, oils, almonds, cereal, bread

For all of the veggies and fruit, we have a limit of $2 a pound.  Bread limit is $1.50 a loaf. Rice and black beans is $1 a pound.

GuitarStv

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Re: What does your monthly grocery list look like?
« Reply #15 on: August 13, 2014, 09:40:39 AM »
It's usually written on a scrap of paper, or back of an envelope in blue pen.

JoyBlogette

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Re: What does your monthly grocery list look like?
« Reply #16 on: August 13, 2014, 11:04:17 AM »
I agree with others to try a vegetarian night once a week.  This has worked for my meat-loving husband.  Your per meal meat cost appears to be about $5.  With one vegetarian option per week you could save about $20 per month.

Credaholic

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Re: What does your monthly grocery list look like?
« Reply #17 on: August 13, 2014, 11:20:00 AM »
Don't know if you have the good fortune to live in a town with a Grocery Outlet but if you do they often have Cliff bars quite a bit cheaper than Costco.  In my town, The Grocery Outlet, Costco and Winco are all on the same Street so I start at the Grocery Outlet and pick up every thing I can, then fill in at Costco and Winco on the way home.

We do have a Grocery Outlet within walking distance! I will definitely check them out for Clif Bars. I haven't seen them anywhere else for less than Costco's price (tend to be .99 each at the cheapest anywhere else) but you might be onto something with Grocery Outlet. I definitely know that making my own breakfast bars and yogurt would be cheaper, but DH hasn't liked the bars I made in the past when we were DINKs, and now with kid(s) and work I don't feel like I have the time. I already bake weekly for DH's lunches. I'll address this again in the next year or so when the demands on my time are straightening out a bit more.

Organic milk is non-negotiable and $5.29 is the best price in my area (found at Safeway). Costco milk is definitely more expensive. I can't find non-organic in my area for less than $3 anymore anyway. Realistically we probably go through more like 6 gallons, but I have terrible GERD (especially when I'm pregnant) so I drink more milk than the normal person (neutralizes acid) and am drinking more than usual even for me right now. DS is drinking a lot less, so that's been a big cost savings. We drink a ton of water, with milk to supplement, and no juice.

Regarding meat, DH requires it, although since I do the cooking I can squeeze in a meatless meal every blue moon, and stretch the meat (like with flank steak, I grill one, freeze a 1/3 to use in a stir fry later, and serve the other 2/3 for dinner that night). Are we eating more meat per serving than is normal? A pack of organic ground beef is 1 1/3 lbs and we freeze half for the next meal. So 2/3 lbs of ground beef feed 2 adults and a toddler - is this excessive?

It's hard to extrapolate fruit and veg prices without tracking it for longer since we buy a variety. Might be stocking up on onions and potatoes one week, frozen corn and peas at Costco the next week, kale to make batch pesto another week, etc. But I figured $15/week probably covered it without being overly optimistic.

What's the quality of Dollar Tree bread? We currently buy Safeway Famous Bakehouse Wheat - $3.49 a loaf, but I have a coupon 75% of the time and freeze in bulk. I've tried the $1.99 Safeway brand loaves, DH swore he'd stop taking his lunch to work...

To break down the $75 further - $40 for fruit squeezes for DS (yeah, this makes me cringe hard!) $4.39 for a bag of chips, probably 2-3 a month for DH's chips (I cringe on this too, but I do what I have to to stop DH from spending $15 a day eating out at lunch!)

Please keep the grocery lists coming, it's really helpful to see what people buy and how much it costs. And feel free to keep the face punches coming! It's given me a lot to think about. My plan for now is to try to actually stick to this list, and to see if we can cook with a little less meat.

dbanta

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Re: What does your monthly grocery list look like?
« Reply #18 on: August 13, 2014, 11:27:48 AM »
Have you looked into buying bulk meat?  We bought 1/2 a cow and it averaged out to $7/lb for all the cuts (steaks, roasts, ground beef, brisket, ox tails, stew meat, etc.)  Tasted better than organic at the grocery store.  Also personally I prefer to spend the money at once to keep my monthly grocery spending lower.

We started making bread each weekend in the bread machine.  We were buying fancy organic bread with nuts, seeds, etc that was $6 per loaf!  The bread machine takes about 15 min of my time to make a healthy homemade loaf.

We just had a little one and are planning on making our own fruit and veggie squeezes for him once he starts eating solid foods.  I bought reusable pouches and a baby food maker to minimize the amount of time/dishes.  I bought a used baby food maker on ebay and I figure I can resell it when we're done.  Could this help cut back some more?

Gimesalot

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Re: What does your monthly grocery list look like?
« Reply #19 on: August 13, 2014, 11:48:51 AM »
The recommended meat intake for a woman 30-51 years old with less than 30 minutes of excersise a day is 5 ounces of protein equivalent (raw meat) a day.  For men, it is 6 ounces.  You need to adjust for activity level in you excersise more than 30 minutes a day.  A 4-ounce portion of meat is about the size of the palm of your hand.  So if you are having meat for breakfast (eggs and bacon), meat for lunch (lunch meat), and meat for dinner, you most likely are getting more meat than is nutritionally required. 

As far as the bread is concerned, the dollar tree stuff is regular loaf bread.  Sometimes Sara Lee, sometimes natures own.  It varies, but it doesn't sound like it will replace your fancy bread.  I tried making my own bread, even with a bread machine, and failed badly.  It ended up like a giant hockey puck.  It turns out that whole wheat bread is tough to make.

Last thing, try to figure out why your DS won't each your food.  I suspect that there must be some additive in the pouches that makes them more delicious.  Maybe sugar? juice?

minimustache1985

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Re: What does your monthly grocery list look like?
« Reply #20 on: August 13, 2014, 12:10:48 PM »
Quote
What's the quality of Dollar Tree bread? We currently buy Safeway Famous Bakehouse Wheat - $3.49 a loaf, but I have a coupon 75% of the time and freeze in bulk. I've tried the $1.99 Safeway brand loaves, DH swore he'd stop taking his lunch to work...

Do you have a bakery outlet nearby?  Mine carries Sara Lee, Oroweat, etc all for $1-$1.50 a loaf and super yummy Cinnabon cinnamon bread we use on the weekends.

My H also thinks a meal isn't a meal without meat/fish, but there are more ways to reduce portions- I see you do stir frys, but other meals I make that use less meat are homemade pizza with veggies and pepperoni, tacos, and casseroles.  It looks like you're buying the chicken in pieces, if those pieces are breast you can almost surely get a whole chicken cheaper.  Roast the whole thing and serve 1/3-1/2 as the star of that meal, then use the leftovers in a casserole and tacos for 3 meals out of one chicken.  Lots of people stretch chicken further but 3 dinners is about my limit for fridge time.

Oh, and http://www.breadworld.com/recipe.aspx?id=150 is the pizza dough recipe I use, you could easily sub organic ingredients and it still be WAY cheaper than buying the premade doughs.

Sylly

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Re: What does your monthly grocery list look like?
« Reply #21 on: August 13, 2014, 12:16:04 PM »
I tried making my own bread, even with a bread machine, and failed badly.  It ended up like a giant hockey puck.  It turns out that whole wheat bread is tough to make.

Did you put gluten in your mix? I realize that some people do gluten-free, and in that case, this won't help.. but when I first started making bread, it was a lot tougher than the grocery store bread I was used to. I found a bread recipe book that explains that the gluten in its recipes is what makes the bread light and fluffy, and my bread has turned out great since.

Gimesalot

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Re: What does your monthly grocery list look like?
« Reply #22 on: August 13, 2014, 12:42:09 PM »
I used a recipe that came with my bread machine.  It called for gluten and I used it but it still came out terrible.  It was so hard I couldn't even feed it to birds!

Honestly, I decided to just buy premade bread since we only go through a loaf every three weeks, and I can get them really cheap.

4alpacas

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Re: What does your monthly grocery list look like?
« Reply #23 on: August 13, 2014, 12:53:44 PM »
I used a recipe that came with my bread machine.  It called for gluten and I used it but it still came out terrible.  It was so hard I couldn't even feed it to birds!

Honestly, I decided to just buy premade bread since we only go through a loaf every three weeks, and I can get them really cheap.
Weird!  I'm horrible in the kitchen, but I had great luck with bread in my bread machine.  Unfortunately I no longer own one (maybe I should start scoping garage sales for one), so I make bread in the oven. 

Magpie

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Re: What does your monthly grocery list look like?
« Reply #24 on: August 13, 2014, 12:56:30 PM »
Don't bake bread in your bread machine!  (Counterintuitive, I know).  Bread machines save time in preparing the dough but they tend to make the bread's crust too thick during the baking process.   See if your library has "The Bread Loverís Bread Machine Cookbook" by Beth Hensperger.  "Artisan Bread in 5 minutes a Day" is also good.

2ndTimer

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Re: What does your monthly grocery list look like?
« Reply #25 on: August 13, 2014, 02:02:38 PM »
Don't know if you have the good fortune to live in a town with a Grocery Outlet but if you do they often have Cliff bars quite a bit cheaper than Costco.  In my town, The Grocery Outlet, Costco and Winco are all on the same Street so I start at the Grocery Outlet and pick up every thing I can, then fill in at Costco and Winco on the way home.

We do have a Grocery Outlet within walking distance! I will definitely check them out for Clif Bars. I haven't seen them anywhere else for less than Costco's price (tend to be .99 each at the cheapest anywhere else) but you might be onto something with Grocery Outlet. I definitely know that making my own breakfast bars and yogurt would be cheaper, but DH hasn't liked the bars I made in the past when we were DINKs, and now with kid(s) and work I don't feel like I have the time. I already bake weekly for DH's lunches. I'll address this again in the next year or so when the demands on my time are straightening out a bit more.

Organic milk is non-negotiable and $5.29 is the best price in my area (found at Safeway). Costco milk is definitely more expensive. I can't find non-organic in my area for less than $3 anymore anyway. Realistically we probably go through more like 6 gallons, but I have terrible GERD (especially when I'm pregnant) so I drink more milk than the normal person (neutralizes acid) and am drinking more than usual even for me right now. DS is drinking a lot less, so that's been a big cost savings. We drink a ton of water, with milk to supplement, and no juice.

Regarding meat, DH requires it, although since I do the cooking I can squeeze in a meatless meal every blue moon, and stretch the meat (like with flank steak, I grill one, freeze a 1/3 to use in a stir fry later, and serve the other 2/3 for dinner that night). Are we eating more meat per serving than is normal? A pack of organic ground beef is 1 1/3 lbs and we freeze half for the next meal. So 2/3 lbs of ground beef feed 2 adults and a toddler - is this excessive?

It's hard to extrapolate fruit and veg prices without tracking it for longer since we buy a variety. Might be stocking up on onions and potatoes one week, frozen corn and peas at Costco the next week, kale to make batch pesto another week, etc. But I figured $15/week probably covered it without being overly optimistic.

What's the quality of Dollar Tree bread? We currently buy Safeway Famous Bakehouse Wheat - $3.49 a loaf, but I have a coupon 75% of the time and freeze in bulk. I've tried the $1.99 Safeway brand loaves, DH swore he'd stop taking his lunch to work...

To break down the $75 further - $40 for fruit squeezes for DS (yeah, this makes me cringe hard!) $4.39 for a bag of chips, probably 2-3 a month for DH's chips (I cringe on this too, but I do what I have to to stop DH from spending $15 a day eating out at lunch!)

Please keep the grocery lists coming, it's really helpful to see what people buy and how much it costs. And feel free to keep the face punches coming! It's given me a lot to think about. My plan for now is to try to actually stick to this list, and to see if we can cook with a little less meat.

Re:  Grocery Outlet.  Because they buy ends and pieces they won't always have Cliff Bars so when you see them for the right price buy a lot.  Mine also has an organic section.  I just today brought the last four jars of Haine Tahini for 99 cents each.  Check out the frozen vegies too.  Last week I bought several l lb. bags of snow pea stir fry mix for 99 cents each. 

Sylly

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Re: What does your monthly grocery list look like?
« Reply #26 on: August 13, 2014, 02:23:48 PM »
Don't bake bread in your bread machine!  (Counterintuitive, I know).  Bread machines save time in preparing the dough but they tend to make the bread's crust too thick during the baking process.   See if your library has "The Bread Loverís Bread Machine Cookbook" by Beth Hensperger.  "Artisan Bread in 5 minutes a Day" is also good.

That's an interesting advice. And that's the exact book I swear by. So many good recipes there. But I have noticed that the bread I get tends to have fairly thick crusts, but I figured that's just something I have to put up with. Maybe I'll try to do it in the oven at least once just to try -- but I'll have to weigh any potential improvement against the convenience of the bread machine, and I wonder whether turning on a whole oven would cost more than letting the bread machine do its thing.

Eric

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Re: What does your monthly grocery list look like?
« Reply #27 on: August 13, 2014, 03:05:25 PM »
$450 for all of that meat looks like a pretty good deal.  But that's a lot of meat!  If you want to drop it further, it's just simply less meat & more vegetables.

Some ideas of non-meat meals off the top of my head that even serious carnivores should enjoy:

Baked potatoes w/ lots o stuff including roasted cauliflower and/or broccoli
Baked sweet potatoes w/ feta or goat cheese, walnuts, & dried cranberries (also good with roasted cauliflower)
Pasta -- all of it, pretty much no pasta dish needs meat to be hearty
Breakfast -- eggs, pancakes, fried potatoes, & toast
Soups or Chili -- lots of soups need little to no meat, or you can use meat scraps as flavoring

Good luck!


Beric01

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Re: What does your monthly grocery list look like?
« Reply #28 on: August 13, 2014, 03:09:48 PM »
Don't bake bread in your bread machine!  (Counterintuitive, I know).  Bread machines save time in preparing the dough but they tend to make the bread's crust too thick during the baking process.   See if your library has "The Bread Loverís Bread Machine Cookbook" by Beth Hensperger.  "Artisan Bread in 5 minutes a Day" is also good.

What's wrong with thicker crusts? Crusts taste awesome. I really can't understand the people that cut off the crusts - you're throwing away the best part of the bread!

Lkxe

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Re: What does your monthly grocery list look like?
« Reply #29 on: August 13, 2014, 03:20:48 PM »
Our budget is about the same but we have a 9 yr old, a summer college student and fairly frequent visitors (who doesn't love Colorado?). I stretch hamburger with beans,veg and TVP. (GMOs, soy issues, ect. I know) I make Mexican meat with peppers, onions, lentils, tvp (1/3) and black beans then freeze in 1 lb packages. Italian meat-lentils, peppers, onions, tvp, zucchini and or summer squash. General - onions, peppers, lentils, tvp . Meat loaf - peppers, onions, lentils, tvp and another veg( spinach, squash, shredded carrot)  When it's the three regulars it's 4 ozs for my son and I, maybe a little more for the Hubs and usually leftovers for his lunch. (not a huge portion but something to get started with)  We usually grill steak (so lovely and impressive when in a whole piece) but then slice it for the table and save some for stir fry, quesdillas(add black beans), or fajitas( look back to peppers and onions.) 

hermoninny

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Re: What does your monthly grocery list look like?
« Reply #30 on: August 13, 2014, 03:30:51 PM »
DH is a big meat-eater, too.  And he's allergic to poultry, so I'm stuck with the most expensive stuff.  I've found ways to cut down on the amount of meat we eat at meals, and he makes up for it by eating bacon or bologna sandwiches.  I've also switched to ground pork about half the time, because it's about half the cost.  I don't shop for meat at Costco.  I wait for sales at my regular grocery store (Sprouts) and stock up when the price is good.  I'm also looking into starting to make our own ground beef when roasts go on sale, because they ALWAYS seem to be on mega-sale while ground beef rarely is.  Currently researching the best cuts of beef for ground meat.  If we had a deep freeze, I'd totally go in for buying part of a cow from a local farmer.

Also, just because DH eats a lot of meat, doesn't mean you have to.  I'll give DH 6-8 oz of steak and I'll eat 2-3 with lots of veggies/rice.  That way I can get 1-2 lunches out of my leftovers. 

Some ideas that have worked for me to cut down on meat in meals:

ground beef/pork in pasta (e.g., spaghetti with meat sauce, mac-n-cheese with ground beef seasoned with taco seasoning or ground pork seasoned with Italian sausage seasoning)
stir fry
soups/stews - 1lb of meat in 6-8 servings of soup and I "beef it up" with beans, potatoes, or rice

And, sometimes, I make myself something completely different if I'm just not in the mood for meat.  Or I'll make meatless pasta and cook him meatloaf on the side and won't eat it.


I totally feel you on the pouches.  We're just bringing our 19-month old off the fruit/veggie pouches.  I could find them on sale for $1 each at our store and would *stock up* - like 50 of them to last us 2 months. 


Credaholic

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Re: What does your monthly grocery list look like?
« Reply #31 on: August 13, 2014, 04:12:08 PM »
We just had a little one and are planning on making our own fruit and veggie squeezes for him once he starts eating solid foods.  I bought reusable pouches and a baby food maker to minimize the amount of time/dishes.  I bought a used baby food maker on ebay and I figure I can resell it when we're done.  Could this help cut back some more?

What baby food maker did you go with? We had a baby bullet which was totally unnecessary if you have a blender/food processor already. It didn't work as well, and I've had the damn thing on Craigslist for $20 for weeks now and no one will take it off my hands. I have thought about buying the Infantino Squeeze Station for this next baby, but the throw away packets add 30 cents to whatever you're making, and the reusable packets I tried using with DS got gross quickly (and even started ripping) so the extra expense didn't seem to outweigh the re-usability. I might try the silicone keeper squeeze pouch or the Sili Squeeze.

Last thing, try to figure out why your DS won't each your food.  I suspect that there must be some additive in the pouches that makes them more delicious.  Maybe sugar? juice?
It may be that I was trying to hide too much spinach in DS's food. I used same/similar ingredients to the store bought pouches, but I'm not sure of their quantities. Maybe I'm kidding myself about how many servings of veggies he's really getting out of those vs. just fruit.

minimustache1985

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Re: What does your monthly grocery list look like?
« Reply #32 on: August 13, 2014, 04:27:28 PM »

What baby food maker did you go with? We had a baby bullet which was totally unnecessary if you have a blender/food processor already. It didn't work as well, and I've had the damn thing on Craigslist for $20 for weeks now and no one will take it off my hands. I have thought about buying the Infantino Squeeze Station for this next baby, but the throw away packets add 30 cents to whatever you're making, and the reusable packets I tried using with DS got gross quickly (and even started ripping) so the extra expense didn't seem to outweigh the re-usability. I might try the silicone keeper squeeze pouch or the Sili Squeeze.


I may be totally crazy off base here since I don't have kids, but could you use a ziplock for the throw away packet and just snip a corner off with scissors?  That's how I make a squeeze packet for filling deviled eggs and other similar kitchen uses, so if you don't think your DS will open the ziplock-seal end it might be worth a go.

Zikoris

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Re: What does your monthly grocery list look like?
« Reply #33 on: August 13, 2014, 04:29:01 PM »
We tracked our groceries for a month in March, and while I don't have the prices for individual items on hand, here are the "grouped" totals.

Produce: $69.42
Broccoli
Onions
Bananas
Avocados
Cauliflower
Pears
Carrots
Zucchini
Green Onions
Butternut Squash
Lime
Red peppers
Celery
Red cabbage
Cilantro
Green peppers
Radishes
Sweet Potatoes
Grapefruits
Eggplant
Oranges
Lettuce
Tomatoes

Dairy: $39.44
Soy milk
Almond yogurt
Non-dairy shredded cheese
Non-dairy cream cheese

Baking: $35.59
Margarine
Flour
Cocoa powder
Baking powder
Oil
Applesauce
Salt

"Meat"/Tofu: $32.17
Veggie frozen chicken
Veggie ground round
Hummus
Tofu puffs
Medium-firm tofu
Red lentils

Nuts: $17.88
Peanut butter
Hazelnuts

Grains: $15.30
Udon noodles
10 grain blend
Lasagna noodles
Whole wheat pita bread

Non-food: $12.28
Toilet paper
Cleaning wipes

Condiments: $8.98
Grape jam
Raspberry jam

Canned: $4.56
Crushed tomatoes
Apple juice

Total: $235.62, for two people, all our meals, toilet paper, and cleaning supplies.
« Last Edit: August 13, 2014, 07:33:45 PM by Zikoris »

MayDay

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Re: What does your monthly grocery list look like?
« Reply #34 on: August 13, 2014, 06:58:17 PM »
Hoping this doesn't offe nd the new moms, bit why the he'll are you feeding so many pouches?

Baby led weaning plus some regular jarred pureed if daycare requires it will be much cheaper. And you will have to get them off the pureed eventually so just do it now. Save them for emergencies (airplanes and such). 

Credaholic

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Re: What does your monthly grocery list look like?
« Reply #35 on: August 13, 2014, 07:29:04 PM »
Hoping this doesn't offe nd the new moms, bit why the he'll are you feeding so many pouches?

Baby led weaning plus some regular jarred pureed if daycare requires it will be much cheaper. And you will have to get them off the pureed eventually so just do it now. Save them for emergencies (airplanes and such).

We got my son eating at all using baby led weaning (totally hated spooned purees, and only finally came around to food at 9 months) but he never did well with any fruits and veggies (what baby hates blueberries!) He's come around now to real fruit, and likes peas in stir fry, but in general still totally sucks at vegetables (at almost 2 years old). His independent streak, which I think is why baby led weaning got him eating at all, meant that he liked the pouches which he could easily feed himself.

Maybe I'll be less worried about getting my DD to eat when the time comes, but since we exclusively breastfed I was fairly desperate for DS to start eating anything else by the time he was 9 months old. I'm sure DD will have her own personality quirks, so we'll see how it goes with her!

Mrs. Frugalwoods

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Re: What does your monthly grocery list look like?
« Reply #36 on: August 13, 2014, 07:40:44 PM »
In case it's useful, here's what we eat. I know you said meat is non-negotiable, but, we do save a ton by going meatless for our primary meals. We still eat meat on occasion/when it's on sale, but not as a daily or weekly staple. Sometimes we get frozen salmon from Costco, which is pretty cheap. Maybe you could try subbing in more non-meat proteins to stretch your meat farther?

This is sort of a monthly grocery list--we don't buy all of this every week:
-bulk oats (breakfast)
-bulk quinoa
-bulk lentils
-bulk black beans
-bulk garbanzo beans (for homemade hummus)
-bulk rice
-frozen salmon from Costco
-salad greens
-bananas
-apples
-carrots
-broccoli
-avocado
-green pepper
-peanut butter
-frozen pizzas from Costco (for Friday nights, woo-hoo!!)
-dried fruit (for dessert)

Steering clear of most packaged/processed saves us a lot too.

Emilyngh

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Re: What does your monthly grocery list look like?
« Reply #37 on: August 13, 2014, 08:06:28 PM »
There are two of us, plus a toddler (the size of your average 5 year old), plus a teen on weekends, who eat all meals at home.   I'm amazed at how short others' lists are!  We spend $400-$500 a month in groceries, but eat lots of plants, nuts, and whole grains, no meat.   We also have our own chickens for more eggs than we can eat and a pretty productive garden.

In an average month we buy:
4x fresh broccoli
2x kale
4x huge tubs of organic salad (unless there's lettuce in the garden)
4x other select vegetables, whatever are in season (eg., asparagus, eggplant, cabbage, etc)
5x red peppers
2x green peppers
2x 5lb bags of carrots
2x bags baby carrots
6x zucchini
1 bag onions
4x garlic
4x cucumbers (unless in garden)
4x tomatoes (unless in garden)
4x watermelons or cantaloupes (if not in garden and in season), or equivalent amount of other fruit that's in season
4x 5lb bags apples
8-10x bunches bananas
3-4x bunches grapes
2x large bad frozen spinach
2x large bag frozen broccoli
2x frozen stirfry veggies
 2x large bag frozen berries

6x whole wheat bread
2x whole wheat tortillas
4x whole wheat pasta
4x cheerios
1 5lb bag red or yellow potatoes
1 bag brown rice
2 cups couscous
8 cups rolled oats
4 cups steel cut oats

1 bag whole wheat flour
1 bag white sugar
1 bag brown sugar
2x chocolate chips
2 cans coffee
4 packs kool aid
1 bottle juice
1 container misc spices or baking supplies, whatever out of
1 bottle olive or vegetable oil
1 bottle white or apple cider vinegar

2x organic tofu
2x bags dried black beans
4x dried chick peas
2x dried lentils
3x large cans kidney beans
4x meatless chicken patties
4x other meatless products
1x feta or parm or fresh mozzarella for treat
4x gallon milk
8x half gallon almond milk

4x jars peanut butter
2 bags pistachios
2 jars peanuts
1 bag raw almonds
1 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup walnuts
2 cups raisins
1 bag popcorn

1 jar capers
1 jar salsa
2x jars tomato sauce
1 salad dressing (I make my own, but DH uses this)
2x cans diced tomatoes
2x cans tomato paste
1 jar pickles
1 bottle A1 sauce (generic) or soy sauce

4x bags generic pretzels
1 bag goldfish crackers
2 boxes graham crackers
2x bags candy or ice cream
3x bags croutons
4x Annie's mac and cheese

« Last Edit: August 13, 2014, 08:48:56 PM by Emilyngh »

tarheeldan

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Re: What does your monthly grocery list look like?
« Reply #38 on: August 13, 2014, 08:18:32 PM »
I would suggest cooking dishes that incorporate meat, rather than having a big slab of meat on a plate. And then having other side dishes to go with.

Then you can use less meat per meal per person, but there's still meat in every meal. Someone above mentioned stir fry, and also ground beef in pasta dishes. I'd add chicken, shrimp, bacon, etc. to pasta dishes and heartily second the stir fry. I'm half Japanese so I also eat stuff like Gyuudon or noodles (Ramen, but not like college style haha) where there's meat but also a starch and veg. But maybe stews and that kind of thing.

Credaholic

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Re: What does your monthly grocery list look like?
« Reply #39 on: August 13, 2014, 10:30:15 PM »
Not sure where everyone got the impression that we eat a slab of meat on a plate! Besides the flank steak (and I guess the salmon, unless it's leftovers going into a quiche) our meat goes into bolognese, nachos, pasta, stir fry, fried rice, and my personal favorite - bacon mac n' cheese :)

It sounds like 2/3 lbs of ground beef is roughly 11 oz, so pretty much in line with the recommended protein intake mentioned above. We are not a bacon and eggs for breakfast kind of family (unless we gussy it up on the weekends). DH does have lunch meat, but given his activity level I'm guessing he probably needs a little more than normal. Of course, as I'm writing this I'm also realizing that we get our protein from more than just meat, so I should work on stretching the meat more. DH loves beans. I'm not a big fan...but I should get over it.

Zikoris

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Re: What does your monthly grocery list look like?
« Reply #40 on: August 13, 2014, 10:55:50 PM »
Quote
Not sure where everyone got the impression that we eat a slab of meat on a plate!

Probably because 8/20 of the items on your list are meat! I recognize that a lot of that is just the way you categorize things - like putting all the fruit and veg together as one item - but at a glance it does sort of look like you eat slabs of meat for breakfast lunch and dinner :)

CanuckExpat

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Re: What does your monthly grocery list look like?
« Reply #41 on: August 13, 2014, 11:43:24 PM »
Not sure where everyone got the impression that we eat a slab of meat on a plate
...
I'm writing this I'm also realizing that we get our protein from more than just meat, so I should work on stretching the meat more...
Not sure if this is everyone's cup of tea, but I'm a big fan of TVP, or textured vegetable protein, i.e,: http://amzn.to/1ptqGa8 (you can get it cheaper than that). I tend to use it as a meat extended, ie. mix it into ground beef to make less beef go further. I'd use itself, but my wife tends to like a bit more meat :)
I discovered it on a camping trip with a vegan, it is also great for camping since it is dried.

Credaholic

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Re: What does your monthly grocery list look like?
« Reply #42 on: August 14, 2014, 12:06:04 AM »
Quote
Not sure where everyone got the impression that we eat a slab of meat on a plate!

Probably because 8/20 of the items on your list are meat! I recognize that a lot of that is just the way you categorize things - like putting all the fruit and veg together as one item - but at a glance it does sort of look like you eat slabs of meat for breakfast lunch and dinner :)

I guess so lol! Although only two of those can even be eaten in slab form ;) The meat is much easier to break down into monthly purchases, which is really how I buy it during a monthly Costco run. Fruit and veggies are much more varied, purchased weekly instead of monthly (except for the frozen stuff), and also seasonal, it just made more sense to me to estimate how much I spend a week and multiply by 4.

spruce

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Re: What does your monthly grocery list look like?
« Reply #43 on: August 14, 2014, 04:35:41 AM »
Try eating different less expensive kinds of meat. We are a two person household and average about $400/month, including alcohol and toiletries. I'm also a stickler for eating meat/protein at every meal, but we stick to chicken, pork, shrimp, bacon, sausage, eggs, and sometimes ground beef. Steak, salmon, and even ground beef are expensive, eating those less often will cut your budget. The last time we had a steak was our anniversary dinner! We typically roast a whole chicken on Sunday and use it in meals throughout the week. We do lots of stir fries, salad bowls, etc. with lots of veggies. Can your husband eat eggs for breakfast instead of Clif bars? Those seem expensive and unnecessary.

Blackadder

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Re: What does your monthly grocery list look like?
« Reply #44 on: August 14, 2014, 05:25:25 AM »
Concerning your requirements about meat and organic, I'd say that you're close to optimal, congrats!

Maybe there are some points like DIY yoghurt and bread where you can optimize, but the savings probably won't exceed $40 or so.

If you still want to reduce the grocery bill further you will need to re-visit your current non-negotiables (e.g. changing the meat-vegetables ratio).

dbanta

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Re: What does your monthly grocery list look like?
« Reply #45 on: August 14, 2014, 07:49:53 AM »
We just had a little one and are planning on making our own fruit and veggie squeezes for him once he starts eating solid foods.  I bought reusable pouches and a baby food maker to minimize the amount of time/dishes.  I bought a used baby food maker on ebay and I figure I can resell it when we're done.  Could this help cut back some more?

What baby food maker did you go with? We had a baby bullet which was totally unnecessary if you have a blender/food processor already. It didn't work as well, and I've had the damn thing on Craigslist for $20 for weeks now and no one will take it off my hands. I have thought about buying the Infantino Squeeze Station for this next baby, but the throw away packets add 30 cents to whatever you're making, and the reusable packets I tried using with DS got gross quickly (and even started ripping) so the extra expense didn't seem to outweigh the re-usability. I might try the silicone keeper squeeze pouch or the Sili Squeeze.

I bought the Baeba Pro for about $70 on ebay.  http://www.amazon.com/Beaba-912334-BEABA-Babycook-PRO/dp/B00A3XNUQA#
The reason I like it over the food processor is that it does the steaming and food processing in one and is done in about 15-20min.

I belong to a co-op on facebook and they were just running a group buy on pouches so these are the ones I bought.
http://store.yummipouch.com/Yummi-Pouch-Set-of-6.html

Zikoris

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Re: What does your monthly grocery list look like?
« Reply #46 on: August 14, 2014, 08:34:29 AM »
Some people (like me) believe that a meal isn't a meal without meat.  If OP's husband feels the same way, simply saying "cut back on the meat" isn't a very helpful suggestion.  Rice and beans is a side, not a meal!

I'm glad to see so many people moving away from this type of thinking - eating meat at every meal is, as a general rule, one of the most environmentally destructive things a person can do, even with the "better" styles of farming.

Mrs. PoP

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Re: What does your monthly grocery list look like?
« Reply #47 on: August 14, 2014, 10:06:14 AM »
Not sure where everyone got the impression that we eat a slab of meat on a plate
...
I'm writing this I'm also realizing that we get our protein from more than just meat, so I should work on stretching the meat more...
Not sure if this is everyone's cup of tea, but I'm a big fan of TVP, or textured vegetable protein, i.e,: http://amzn.to/1ptqGa8 (you can get it cheaper than that). I tend to use it as a meat extended, ie. mix it into ground beef to make less beef go further. I'd use itself, but my wife tends to like a bit more meat :)
I discovered it on a camping trip with a vegan, it is also great for camping since it is dried.

TVP is great (Mr PoP doesn't realize it when I use it to extend ground meat and it's awesome for vegetarian tacos, chili, etc), but definitely do NOT buy from that link.  In the bulk bins at our Whole Foods it's $2.69/lb.  The stuff on that link is about 2.5x more expensive than Whole Foods. 

Edited when I realized it was a 4-pack.  Price wasn't quite as ridiculous as it first seemed, but still way overpriced.
« Last Edit: August 14, 2014, 10:09:36 AM by Mrs. PoP »

gt7152b

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Re: What does your monthly grocery list look like?
« Reply #48 on: August 14, 2014, 10:08:14 AM »
I used to be a huge meat eater and didn't track how much we were spending on groceries because we had plenty of income to cover this particular expense thanks to being more frugal in other areas of our lives. After discovering this site and realizing I'm not that far away from FIRE I decided that a grocery budget could help make things happen much quicker. My lessons learned:

1) There are some great meals out there that don't require meat. Rice and bean casserole made with beef stock is a favorite; pasta with homemade pesto or tomato sauce; just last night we had an awesome dinner with mashed potatoes and bruschetta that mainly used ingredients from our garden and homemade bread.

2) Most of our meals still include meat but we try to stretch it more because it is a major grocery expense. Instead of having a big piece of chicken as an entry, split it up for tacos or chicken ceasar salad. We had salmon recently as an entry but used the leftovers for tacos and got an extra 2 or 3 meals out of it. When making chili or pasta we will use about half the amount of meat that we used to and it still tastes great.

3) Organic meat is not for me but if it's necessary at least try to buy in bulk and freeze what you won't be eating soon. We buy whole chickens, ground turkey meat in bulk, salmon, and look for deals on steak.

4) Pre- packaged foods are expensive and unhealthy. We've mainly been buying staple foods which means that it's a little more work to prepare but we've been eating better tasting, healthier food even though our grocery bill has dropped like a rock. My main snack food is a homemade trail mix I make with bulk peanuts, raisins, and chocolate chips from Costco. We make homemade peanut butter to put on cheap crackers or bread as well. There are some great homemade granola bar recipes that could replace the Clif bars.

5) Aldi is awesome especially if there are pre- packaged foods you can't shake.

davef

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Re: What does your monthly grocery list look like?
« Reply #49 on: August 14, 2014, 11:49:11 AM »
Since, I cant eat dairy, or things high in starch or sugar, elimating meat is quite hard when you cant eat bread or rice.

Back on topic.
I plan dinners every night, and budget 5$ per night for protien (meat) and pick a veggie and sometimes a fruit or beans to go with it.
Lunches are leftovers, often with a side salad.
Breakfast is eggs, and either bacon or sausage, with the occasional corend beef, or as my wife likes to do on saturdays blueberry pancakes (which taste good but dont agree with my body)
I essentially buy whatever protien is on sale and plan the meal around it.

For example if a 8 pack of bone in pork chops is on sale for #12 quick math says that is $3 for the two of us. $6 if I cook 4 to cover lunches.
When Chenken breasts are 2.99 a pound I buy a bunch (someimtes I pay 3.19 at costco)
I'll BBq them. or grill with sesame oil make stir fry or even chicken pot pie when we have company

Though I try to avoid bread of all kinds  I'll post this recipie because its really good and really thrifty.

Youll need:
a 9:13 Pyrex
1 (2pack) of pie crusts. (whatever is on sale) $2
1 jumbo can of cream of mushroom soup $1.50
1 medium onion diced $.50
1lb of chicken breasts (normally 3 breasts) $3
about 12-16 oz frozen veggie blend (I use one with peas, carrots, corn and green beans) $2

Cut chicken into small cubes (I often grill the night before then cube the leftovers)
 
In a large skillet cook or warm the ckicken and cook the oinons.
Add the whole can of cream of mushroom soup, let it warm then stir. Add the fozen veggies, stir and allow to simmer abotu 5 minutes.
Spread evenly in the pyrex. Add salt and lots of pepper
Roll a 9X13 pie crust and spred over the top cut slits in the center (brush with egg white Optional)
bake at 350 for abotu 50 minutes, Allow to cool for 20 minutes before serving.
You can use a second crust on the bottom if you like. it makes it neater but increases the cost and not the nutritional value.   

makes about 10 Servings for $9

When ground meat is on sale I do lettuce wrap burgers
I do alot of salmon (its cheap in the NW)
and cod tacos as well