Thursday, January 21, 2010

Grocery Budget Challenge

Part of preparing for our new home has involved looking at our budget.  We haven't really stuck to a budget since I quit working when Drew was a baby, so it was time for us to look into budgeting again now that we're back to one income and two mortgages. I enjoy reading All You magazine and their December issue features the winner and some finalists in their Grocery Challenge.  For the challenge, readers limited their food budget to $25 per person per week.  That includes everything - food, drink, even meals out!  That a whopping $3.57/day per person.  After reading the article I thought "We can do this!"  After actually doing it I'm thinking "How do people do this?!"

I started on January 3rd with a food budget of $110/week for our family of 5.  I decided to only give Mallory $10/week to cover her milk, but may rethink that in the coming months.  I'd always used coupons from the local paper and thought I was conservative when buying food, but I've definitely cut back on my usual spending to meet the new budget.  We didn't have any left over money the first 2 weeks, so no eating out.  Andy insisted on celebrating the new house with a meal out on Monday, and I'm trying to conserve on groceries to keep under budget this week, but think we'll be over.  I've been buying whole foods like bulk carrots & potatoes, dried beans for soups and long-grain rice instead of instant.  Fresh oranges and apples instead of bags of chips are the new snack for the kiddos.  I'm using up my huge stockpile of canned goods, which is really good since we'll be moving soon! 

Andy and I have both lost over 5 lbs already this month with our conscious effort to eat better and save money.  I challenge you to look at how much you're spending on food and try the $25/person/week budget.  Let me know some ways that you save money on food, I'd love to hear them! 


Lisa said...

I found your blog during the SewMamaSew giveaway that happened before Christmas. Congratulations on your new home! Very exciting. I'm a SAHM also so money can often be tight. We garden over the summer and I can and freeze a lot during late summer and fall. I freeze berries, make spaghetti sauce, salsa, sauerkraut, tomatoes, beets, and can and freeze everything from the gardens and orchids that we don't eat fresh. We also have a small flock of chickens and I raise broilers each summer for butchering and we have several calves at different stages so we always have meat in the freezer.

jamesnamy6599 said...

This is a great challenge! We fall under, but that's because we have the help of WIC. Our two little girls are still on it. It's amazing how quickly milk adds up, huh? But I need to factor that in and see how I'm really doing. I also have the benefit of James' work paying for most of his lunches (when he eats with customers). I'm such a cheater.

We do lots of beans and rice meals to keep our budget down. Dry beans are really easy and cheap. I'm always trying to learn more ways to use them, cuz they can get boring quickly too. I also shop around the sales. I find that couponing isn't really a savings since it's usually name brands and generic are still cheaper. But shopping the sales seems to help. We get our groceries from 4-5 different stores in town depending on their sales. Safeway I think is one of the most expensive, but if you shop their sales you can get great deals. Their receipts show you your savings in percentages and I try to make over 50% savings whenever I shop there.
They had goldfish this weekend (okay, not healthy, but a fun snack) for 88 cents. And ground beef (80/20) 5 lb chubs for 4.95. I often find if I shop at night stores will have markdown meat and dairy items too...they are usually about to expire, but if you freeze or eat them quickly it's another good way to save.

It does take extra time to shop different stores, but I find it's a good way for us to save money.

We do lots of potatoes too, cuz they're cheap. And yep, apples and oranges by the bag, like you. Bananas too, but my kiddos get tired of them, though they do eat them well in bread so I do that a lot. We drink water lots, and juice only on occasion. Soda is a special treat...well, except for my hubby who is trying to cutback on his intake. He loves the stuff.

I'm really excited to get going on a garden this summer in our yard. And dream of maybe someday having chickens too.

Whew! Sorry this comment took on blog form. I like talking groceries I guess. :P

And I almost forgot. One of my favorite savers is shopping the Oroweat outlet...I stock up our freezer with whole wheat bread for super cheap. Usually about a dollar a loaf. I think you make bread though right? Do you think it's cheaper? I'm not very good at baking bread, and it seemed like I was spending the same. Okay, that's all.:)