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Thread: Groceries?

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    #1

    Groceries?

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    How do you budget for groceries? Any tips on saving money on this?

    I feel like groceries are definitely the place I can save the most money. I'm feeding me, my 19 yo brother and, occasionally, his girlfriend. I think I'm currently spending about 100$ per week (400$) I'd like to "save" about 100$ a month of this money. Does that seem reasonable?
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    #2
    I don't really budget for groceries. I know it is a good bulk of my spending.
    I coupon. My grocery bill is reduced anywhere from 30%-50% when I go.

    I also buy certain things in bulk, like meat. Its usually cheaper to buy a lot at once and you don't have to go as often.

    $100 per week seems like a lot. I don't know your situation and whether your bro can contribute, but I have 3 at home right now (myself, a teen and a pre-teen) and I spend about $300-$400 per month, with another $100-$200 quarterly (When I buy meat).

    ETA... I also buy generic foods whenever I can, and foods that you can make often.. such as rice, beans, soup.

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    #3
    When I was really strict about our budget, I spent $100 a week for DH, me, small dog and it included alcohol, pop, and household things like paper towel and shampoo.

    Main thing that helped me was that I only bought exactly what was needed (where as now that we have space, I tend to grab extras of anything non perishable) for the week. I did buy the cheapest brand of most things (rum and dog food excluded ). DH took the night before dinners for lunch, and I ate lunch at home. That's about it. I'm going to try to get stricter with the grocery spending again, but I'd honestly be happy if I come in under $150/week at this point but we'll see.
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    #4
    $100 per week is about what I spend on DH & I, so its not that unreasonable to me.

    I know that for us, the largest part of what we spend goes on what we drink. If we would cut out bottled water, pop and beer we would save so much. I know some people say couponing, but for me, unless I'm going to the extreme, I don't save that much by couponing. In fact I spend just as much on the paper as I would save!

    Watch the ads, know the prices for items, and when you can buy staples in bulk. (I buy tons of pasta when its a dollar a box )
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    I don't have a specific budget, but I do watch grocery costs.

    What works for me is *not* having a list. That prevents me from being able to take advantage of sales. If I walk in and ground beef is crazy cheap, then I look at that and come up with 5-6 ground beef-based meals, and buy what I need for those. (Plus some extra beef for the freezer.) If beans are super cheap, I'll buy a lot of those. Some for the pantry, but then maybe we will eat soup and chili that week as well.

    If I go in set on having beef tacos, shepherd's pie, and pork chops, then I miss out on the chicken that is on sale.

    I'll have a list for staples we are out of (though even those I start shopping for when the old one is maybe 3/4 done so I can try to get them on sale rather than having to pay full price because we are out and I have to have them), and stuff for DH's lunches because he wants specific stuff. But for everything else, there is usually not a list.

    I am not a cook and I have maybe 15 staples that I know we like, freeze well (because I make at least 2 of almost everything and then freeze one so I don't have to cook as often), and are reasonably priced. When I see a major ingredient (usually meat) on sale, then I run through my mental list and figure out what dishes include that sale item. That's how I menu plan.
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    Watching this topic. I really want to save. I did coupon a lot when we were in Japan but it was easy there since there was an over abundance of coupons available. Here, I need to find out when the paper comes out with the coupons & see if it would even be worth it to buy a paper we don't read just for the coupons. I know I can get some free online. I just need to start looking. Hopefully there will be coupons that our family would even use.

    I am feeling myself, husband, a teen boy who eats more than his Dad & a pre-teen. For the kids & I, that is 3 full meals plus 1-2 snacks daily. I do not send my kids with sandwiches that often. I prefer them to have "good" meals comparable to school lunches. That is a lot of food but still cheaper than school food & much healthier. For DH, that is only one meal a day. We also have a dog but he is a small eater so I don't include his dog food in the grocery budget. We only have to buy his food about once every other month.

    Right now I am spending about $300 every paycheck & then in between I do need to buy more milk, fruits usually & sometimes odds & ends. That is another $25 a week on average. In total, we spend around $700 a month of groceries. Here in WA I have found that groceries are far more expensive than even what we paid in Japan. I do shop at the least expensive places (Walmart & Winco) but it is still through the roof on the prices. We used to be HUGE organic food eaters but with the prices here, we simply cannot afford it.
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    #7
    Quote Originally Posted by villanelle View Post
    I don't have a specific budget, but I do watch grocery costs.

    What works for me is *not* having a list. That prevents me from being able to take advantage of sales. If I walk in and ground beef is crazy cheap, then I look at that and come up with 5-6 ground beef-based meals, and buy what I need for those. (Plus some extra beef for the freezer.) If beans are super cheap, I'll buy a lot of those. Some for the pantry, but then maybe we will eat soup and chili that week as well.

    If I go in set on having beef tacos, shepherd's pie, and pork chops, then I miss out on the chicken that is on sale.

    I'll have a list for staples we are out of (though even those I start shopping for when the old one is maybe 3/4 done so I can try to get them on sale rather than having to pay full price because we are out and I have to have them), and stuff for DH's lunches because he wants specific stuff. But for everything else, there is usually not a list.

    I am not a cook and I have maybe 15 staples that I know we like, freeze well (because I make at least 2 of almost everything and then freeze one so I don't have to cook as often), and are reasonably priced. When I see a major ingredient (usually meat) on sale, then I run through my mental list and figure out what dishes include that sale item. That's how I menu plan.
    Yup, agree with this too. I don't have a list beyond the necessities I must get. But I generally look for things on sale just to have and will almost always be able to make something with them.

    I also peruse the weekly ads. I don't like to go to more than one store, so I look through the ads to see which store will give me the most bang for my buck.
    Meat and misc products (detergents, paper towels, toilet paper) are my biggest expense. So, I almost always grab some or all of these if I see them on sale.

    I just bought 5 or 6 packages of bacon because they were on sale for $2.99 a lb.. they had been $6.99 per lb.. so I loaded up.

    If you want to coupon, there are ways to do it that aren't extreme. I generally only use coupons for things I either need, will need, or will use. I don't buy an item just because I have a coupon. And I also use my coupons against the weekly ads, to get the most savings. Couponing can take time.

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    #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Debra View Post
    Watching this topic. I really want to save. I did coupon a lot when we were in Japan but it was easy there since there was an over abundance of coupons available. Here, I need to find out when the paper comes out with the coupons & see if it would even be worth it to buy a paper we don't read just for the coupons. I know I can get some free online. I just need to start looking. Hopefully there will be coupons that our family would even use.

    I am feeling myself, husband, a teen boy who eats more than his Dad & a pre-teen. For the kids & I, that is 3 full meals plus 1-2 snacks daily. I do not send my kids with sandwiches that often. I prefer them to have "good" meals comparable to school lunches. That is a lot of food but still cheaper than school food & much healthier. For DH, that is only one meal a day. We also have a dog but he is a small eater so I don't include his dog food in the grocery budget. We only have to buy his food about once every other month.

    Right now I am spending about $300 every paycheck & then in between I do need to buy more milk, fruits usually & sometimes odds & ends. That is another $25 a week on average. In total, we spend around $700 a month of groceries. Here in WA I have found that groceries are far more expensive than even what we paid in Japan. I do shop at the least expensive places (Walmart & Winco) but it is still through the roof on the prices. We used to be HUGE organic food eaters but with the prices here, we simply cannot afford it.
    I have found its worth getting the paper. If you go to like Groupon or Living Social they sometimes have specials for the local papers. I spend $26 a year for the Sunday paper, and from the coupons I've used out of it, I've saved nearly $400 (and i've only been mediocre couponing for about 9 months). I have found that some (not all) of the coupons you find in the paper are on coupons.com. I would start there and see if couponing will work. If you find it does, then get the paper. I also take advantage of places like Target where you can use a Target coupon AND a manufacturer coupon together (thus doubling your savings).

    Anyway, I could post an entire thread on just couponing

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    #9
    Quote Originally Posted by TrishAFSpouse View Post
    I have found its worth getting the paper. If you go to like Groupon or Living Social they sometimes have specials for the local papers. I spend $26 a year for the Sunday paper, and from the coupons I've used out of it, I've saved nearly $400 (and i've only been mediocre couponing for about 9 months). I have found that some (not all) of the coupons you find in the paper are on coupons.com. I would start there and see if couponing will work. If you find it does, then get the paper. I also take advantage of places like Target where you can use a Target coupon AND a manufacturer coupon together (thus doubling your savings).

    Anyway, I could post an entire thread on just couponing
    How do you use groupon or living social? I've never used those before.

    And yes, please do post your coupon ideas. I'd love any help I can get!
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    I can't remember because I wasn't much of a commissary shopper in the States, but do the CONUS commissaries not have the big coupon piles at the entrance? I don't bother much with it, but I'm sure I could save a crap ton of money if I went through those each time I walked in to the commissary.
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