Monday, September 19, 2011

Grocery Budget

So, those of you who've been with me the last few months know that we've put Wee 'Burb in a new, more expensive daycare, thus requiring some financial magic and finally resulting in the loss of my data plan and some unfortunate dealings with my cell phone company and ebay.

Anyway, I came across this article about typical grocery budgets and started wondering if maybe we can't cut a wee bit more in this area.

But I am also wondering if it's even remotely realistic. The article says:

According to the USDA, in 2011 it should cost me $523.70 per month to feed my family of two adults and two children ages two and five a nutritious diet on a thrifty budget. To feed the same family on a low-cost plan would cost $667.20; a moderate-cost plan would cost $823.60; and a liberal plan would cost $1,018.80.

In fairness, I would say we're between the moderate cost and liberal plan.

But then again, we only have one kid. Does Cous Cous count as a kid?

The key focus of this article is not over-buying, which is something I admit I am guilty of. In our house, we consider certain things "staples" and that usually means sweet peppers, onions, garlic, and yogurt. Unfortunately, some of those items get ignored for a little bit and then we have soft peppers, melted onions, sprouty garlic, and chunky yogurt.

Wonh wonh wonnnnhhhhh.

I'm hoping our three-week meal plan will help this. We should have a decent amount of recipes on hand should we have extra produce.

Where in this budget do you fall? Have you taken steps to reduce your grocery budget at all?


Christina said...

this post has really inspired me. i've always feared that i've spent an obnoxious amount of money on food and i really need to work on it. i make way too many frivolous purchases bc food is so fun to me. i am going to see if i can stick to the low-cost plan for a month. this should be fun!!

Kat said...

We try to aim for ~$300/month, but the month of August was just rough. I know that we freeze things that we can't eat fast enough (example: Bread) and since I end up in breakfast ruts, I'm basically guaranteed to use up anything that we buy on that front.

If you ever become a leftovers-lover, instead of buying designated lunch food, I just patch together lunches of leftovers or I end up bringing a yogurt-fruit parfait arrangement.

Good luck and keep me posted.

Hopes@Staying Afloat! said...

You know, I'm at the grocery store at least 2 if not 3 times a week with three growing boys in the house. We go through food like people go through tissue when the have a cold.

We don't have much go to waist!

The Woven Moments said...

We actually spend MORE money on groceries now that we eat out less. But we save more per month by eating home (obviously) despite the expensive groceries.

My nutritionist says to shop only the perimeter of the grocery store (for healthy food) but that also nearly doubles our expense.

Turns out that healthy food ain't cheap. Sigh.

Erica@PLRH said...

I always feel guilty when I throw out something that's turned mushy or grown moldy. But try as I might, the only way I've been able to cut back on the food bill was to send one teenage boy to college.

Rach (DonutsMama) said...

Ours is probably gone up since we're trying to eat healthy and non-junk food costs more & there are fewer coupons. I wish it weren't so expensive to eat well!

SmartBear said...

I am HORRIBLE at this! I actually get a case of "pretty cart" syndrome. Like, even if I don't need it, it looks great in the cart???! WTH? The produce thing is a big problem for me too. I found an app for looking for in-season produce and I also found some great "wilting produce" recipes in the Time For Dinner cookbook.
Good luck!

Kristy said...

I TOTALLY relate to this. I went on a mission recently to reduce grocery costs and have found some success. Isn't it crazy how easy it is to spend so much on groceries?! I gave myself a one-week challenge to REALLY rev up the savings - only the cheapest, most necessary things. Buying whole veggies (rather than frozen, pre-cut or boxed) and making things from scratch, buying blocks of cheese and cutting/shredding my own, not buying any more frozen lunches to take to work and only using leftovers from dinners for lunches, etc. I drastically cut costs that week. Then, that gave me the motivation to at least try and do as much of that as possible, and I've still had consistently lower grocery bills. I do a lot of "food prep" for the week every Sunday (preparing, steaming, cutting veggies, dealing with the cheese, etc.) I also cut coupons too.

Mama Spaghetti said...

When I was really good about meal planning, I was able to keep myself under $100 a week for groceries for me and my husband. Lately, though, we're probably around the moderate range. It's hard work, but it can be done!

Amanda @ It's Blogworthy said...

I struggle with this a lot. It's just the two of us right now since Luke doesn't eat "real food" yet. I make his baby foods and we just give him table food of what we're eating ourselves. So right now we have budgeted $300 for groceries. I know, that is super, super low. We're really trying. We go over a lot but I'm trying to cook twice the meals and freezing some. Coupons and sales help a lot, but we end up buying so much we don't need. Our pantry it FULL of crap we've bought! Can't wait to hear more tips.

Ameena said...

I would say that we spend close to $500 a month on food for a family of 3. And this is buying all organic foods! I'm not a coupon clipper either, I shop solely at Trader Joe's and then get my paper stuff at Target.

I'd say the key is not to overstock your fridge all at once, and thus you can avoid the melty onions and chunky yogurt.

Working Mommy said...

we spend about $800 a month...but we really need to cut back. i've been trying to get the man to take lunch to work with him, but his schedule is so unpredictable so it makes things difficult. one day i will have it all figured out - just no day soon i think!