Saturday, August 23, 2008

Groceries

This has been bugging me all day today. Certainly it bugs me much more often than that, but I've been trying to do something about it today. How can I cut down on how much I spend on groceries? My real simple magazine presents a persons budget every month, showing everything they spend. Some people claim to only spend #300 a month on groceries for the entire family. This I don't understand! What do they eat? I mean is it all PB&J all the time?  I can't live like that! Brian sometimes thinks he can live like that, but then goes out to buy whatever he wants anyway! We sat down to have the food discussion again. Which goes like this: we need to eat at home more, what do YOU want me to buy so that you will eat here? Brian will list off a few things, usually hundreds of options for breakfast. Obviously I will not purchase all of them at once. But when I sit down with food on the table in the morning and the girls are eating it, he is running late and just leaves for me to later learn that he purchased something at school to eat instead of whatever he had requested from me. 

Anyway, this is not the complaint I am wanting here! That is a side issue I am having to deal with. What does everyone do to cut down on groceries? What do you actually eat at home? Is it a variety and interesting (like Brian requests)? or is it mundane and dull? Do you eat the same thing everyday for lunch and/or breakfast? What do you actually eat? How do you track your groceries? Do you have system set up? 

I'm trying to track what I purchase and the price and when so I can better budget how much we can and DO spend. Its very frustrating! It seems like a gigantic futile task! I should start using coupons! Ugh! Any suggestions?

10 comments:

Beth said...

I wish I knew the answer to this...I'll be checking back for my own advice. I know I don't have a family but grocery shopping & cooking for one person is horrendous. I feel like it would be pointless to have different meals every day so I make one at the beginning of the week and eat it all week but then I can't eat that thing for a very long time afterwards. I'm right there with you on the frustration.

Ellis Family said...

haha! We have the SAME problem! We go every two weeks (pay day) and stock up on EVERYTHING to last us those two weeks. In fact, I went yesterday and ran into one of the youth from church and she said..."wow!, are you stocking up on food storage?" NO! Just getting everything to last us for two weeks. We had the eating out problem but have recently buckled down to not go out nearly as much. I honestly don't think anyone could spend only 300 dollars a month on groceries for the whole family unless they live somewhere food prices are drastically low. I only have one suggestion and that's for breakfast (give Brian something that he can eat on the go- poptarts, granola bars, I drink a slimfast each morning that is suppose to control hunger for 4hrs and it usually works pretty well... bagels, etc) That might help w/him eating out for breakfast, but other than that... when you know the secret to cutback on $ at the grocery store LET ME KNOW!

Jennifer said...

I'm in your boat, as well. sigh! I spend way more than 300 a month. That includes the non-food items like diapers and soap and stuff. Right now, I'm in a cooking rut: I can't think of a single thing to make, and everything I make is yucky. So, we are repeating the same PBJ and cereal routines for breakfast and lunch. Dinner, aye yi yi. Cheap stuff: rice, pasta, dark meat chicken, hot dogs. It's definitely boring around here. I got so discouraged trying to make a list yesterday that I gave up and we are back to hotdogs and cereal today. Good luck. I'll check back to see if anyone has any advice.

Amber said...
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Jon and Chelle said...

It seems most of our grocery bill is spent on un-groceries. You know, shampoo, flashlights (yes, flashlights...), lotion, etc etc. We started to track our reciepts and have found that some of those things are cheaper in the long run if bought different places. For instance, Walgreens has shampoo and soap sales pretty often (I'm a little picky about my soap brands and laundry detergent so I always keep my eye open for those...) And also, if we get our shampoo and my contact solution at costco we only need to get them like once a year! It adds up. My reccomendation? Keep your receipts, break them down to grocery items (food) and un-grocery items (laundry detergent etc). I've also noticed that breakfast foods are expensive! Jon and I HATE mornings. We are always in a rush to get to work, and would rather just stop and get something alreay made (did I mention I work at 10 am, pathetic, I know!)So, when you figure out what to do about breakfast you better give me a call!

Janell said...

I agree with the get brian some on the go foods for the mornings. It helps Joe alot. Usually pop tarts and boost or slimfast, bagels, or even those jimmy dean breakfast sandwiches. As for the grocery bill. I realized the other day that if you don't live close to a bunch of different grocery chains you spend all your grocery money running from store to store to get the different sales. Joe and I have raised our food budget so we could buy foods we like and then want to stay home to make and eat them. Even if they are a little more expensive, because then it is almost always better, i.e. cheaper and healthier than eating out. Joe also mentioned that that make a weekly or twice a week shopping trip to eliminate those little trips for one or two things that sabatoge a budget. I personally also shop the best after putting everyone to bed, even Joe, and going to the story all by myself. Not interruptions or helpful suggestions for things not on my list. So my suggestion...get easy breakfasts on the go style, raise your grocery budget a little to get foods you really want to be eating, go shopping once a week only or less and recognize that it will get better eventually when we all are rich and can all have a maid, nanny and personal chef on the days we just rather curl up with a good book. Until then...Life is hard, but good!! You are so good at being creative, just remember how creative we had to be sometimes at school, huh? Sometimes we are mundane for lunches (pb& whatever honey, jam, or just pb), breakfast (cereal), and save most money for nice dinners together. Plan for a little money to got out too so you aren't feeling stuck. This is what I do...you just have to find a rhythm and once it gets old shake it up a bit. Good Luck!!

Chanda said...

Hey Carrie, I feel you. Food prices are astronomical here. People keep going on strike about it. I have found that having a habit in what/when you eat helps got down on the cost, type of food, and amount you eat. So. . . always eat a bowl of bran flakes in the morning with a banana or whatever, that's what I eat. Either that or a yogurt, fruit smoothie. Maybe make eggs and pancakes on the weekends. For lunch have about 5 things you rotate. Adults should drink mostly water, actually kids too. And for dinner . . . that's where you can be more creative. But keep it easy otherwise you'll just go out. Go out once a week as a family and really enjoy it. Pick a day and time so everyone can look forward to it. We always go out for lunch on Saturday. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

I grew up (as did my husband) eating cereal every morning. Except some Saturdays if my sisters and I didn't have sports going on- then we had pancakes/french toast/waffles. Otherwise...Smart Start or something like that. Sometimes we have the big breakfasts like waffles for dinner, but no way I will do all that in the morning! Plus so many calories. One of the most expensive things is meat, so we usually have it for dinner and think of other things for lunch- salads with lots in them, sandwiches, leftovers, pasta, quesedillas, etc. I went grocery shopping last week after being out of town and bought tons of fresh veggies/fruit...every single thing on my list and spent $99.78. I will probably spend another 80-100 this month, and probably 30-50 at Costco, depending on how adventurous I am at getting pre-packaged meals. We have a monthly going out budget of $50 but aren't strict. Some months we don't go out much and just go to family's houses for a little break! Some months I am too tired and a Little Ceasars is all I want. For sure we never spend over $300, it just takes freezing, some planning but not much, and asking around for good recipes. Favorite dinner- steak on the day old section that is super cheap with peppers from Costco that are grilled- 6 pack for $5.50 and they last forever.

Jennifer said...

Well, I just slashed my monthly grocery budget by $100, so I'll let you know! I forsee a lot of rice and beans :)

Janine said...

I don't know. I thought I was doing good, but...I'm impressed by the person above who spends $300--we spend around $100 a month on diapers and wipes alone. Plus, if you add in any other cleaning supplies (and they count as groceries for us) then I'm spending like $150 just on non-edibles. We've switched to a cash system, and that is helping me cut down on impulse buys, which were adding up. Still, we are planning $650 this month and I'll be proud of myself! Sheesh. OF course, I do like to cook...