This summer we’re heading to Tybee Island to vacation as a family. Yea! The beach!
I wanted to create some extra spending cash, so I set a goal to save $50 a week on groceries. (Note: part 2 of how I saved $50 a week on groceries is here)
Currently we budget $800 a month for groceries. I consider this pretty good considering there are 8 of us. (And even though Ruby is 9 months old, she eats an entire egg for breakfast in the morning and her appetite is on par with the 5 year old at this point.)
Also good considering we get our milk and eggs from a local farmer (free range chickens, and the milk is from grass fed cows), and I only buy the best grass fed beef and “clean” meat I can find.
I spend about $150-$170 a week at the grocery store, and hubby spends about $40 a week picking up our order from the farmer’s drop off location. So, our grocery spending is already pretty low for a large family.
My plan is this:
- Stop stockpiling. I like to stock up when I see great deals. (Recent examples: Frozen veggies for .17 a bag after coupons. Free-after-coupons canned tomatoes.) Stockpiling is great if you want to save money on groceries, but at some point you can decide to USE UP the stockpile instead of adding to it.
- Cook from the stockpile. Similar to above. Instead of buying all new food each week, I can concentrate on using up what I’ve already got in the freezer and pantry. If this means passing up great deals at the grocery store, so be it.
- Eat less meat. We eat small portions when we eat meat. For example, I use one pound of beef when I make meat sauce for spaghetti. We also love beans and rice with veggies and can skip meat altogether.
- Eat less, period. I would never deprive the kids, but for us adults who are usually carrying around extra weight anyway? Heck yes. This has been working well for me since I did my juice fast. Even though it was short, I’ve been eating less ever since. Either my stomach or my eyes have shrunk. I’m going to try putting hubby’s food on a smaller plate and see if he notices the difference.
- One week a month, don’t shop. I would have to buy bread, butter, fruit and cheese (in addition to hubby’s farm run), but I could probably stay out of the grocery store entirely for one week a month and do some really creative dinners. (Like the time we ate from the pantry and freezer and I fed 9 people for $20.)
- No wasting food. I have anointed my 8 year old daughter the “Food Waste Monitor”. She even made a badge to wear around her neck. Offenders get their allowance docked (3 strikes, you lose a quarter). My job is to make sure all leftovers are used up. Honestly, we rarely have leftovers, but I’m sometimes guilty of letting food go bad in the fridge. (Who, me!?) So I vow to make sure random bits of food are re-purposed and eaten. The Tightwad Gazette’s Amy Dacyzyn calls this “Leftover Wizardry”.
How’s it working so far?
I’ve been doing this for the last two weeks, and I’m happy to report that I’ve been able to put around $80 in our Tybee Island savings. Not quite $50 a week, but almost!
Do you have any other suggestions for me? Have you ever challenged yourself to lower your grocery budget?