Post # 1
Just recently we realized with the wedding planning, my unemployment, and potentially taking two honeymoons (one right after we get married in May and the other a month later when we attend close friends wedding in Europe) that we’re not made out of money. So we’ve been searching for places to save and the very first place was the grocery list.
What is your grocery budget each week? What are the essential items you get and where did you have to make cuts in order to make the budget work?
Overall I’d say we’re not huge spenders (we don’t have regular or cable TV- we use the XBOX and stream Netflix and Hulu, we only go out to eat once each week, and we really don’t do a ton of extraneous spending), but the grocery allowance is in desperate need of being trimmed, to say the least. There was a point there where we were spending approximately $225-250/week for the two of us. In no way were we wasting food, but we also weren’t using what we had to its fullest extent. For example, I like the Orville Redenbacher’s 100 calorie bag popcorn and one day I accidently bought the big bags and we had opened them. Instead of just using those up prior to buying a pack of the 100 calorie bags, I went right out and bought a thing of 100 calorie bags and the others have just been sitting in the cabinet. I’ll also stop by the store mid-week to pick up some more salad stuff and maybe some yogurt and end up with a full basket of things. Apparently I get distracted in a room full of food! Another way we’re trying to spend less is to continue going out one day/week, but to not spend $100 on dinner (I mean, seriously!)- this happens every.single.week. and we groan each week when the bill comes. To avoid this we made a deal to not order booze at dinner and instead to buy a bottle of wine or beer to have at home for after dinner. Also, and I don’t know if we’ll be able to stick with this, we discussed not ordering meals in the double digits …everything under $10. Eek. We’ll see about that last one!
So the goal has been to spend $100/week on food. We didn’t set an allowance on paper or toiletry items, but I try my best to always use coupons on those things and search for the best deal.
A cut we made was for C and I to both eat the same lunch everyday, so I am only having to buy one thing for the week for the two of us, instead of two separate menu items for each day of the week. Also, we’re having a cheap night once or twice a week and this may consist of anything we can find in the house or anything that can be purchased super cheap; I think this week we’re doing sweet potatoes cooked with a laughing cow cheese (already have), some fresh pineapple that I bought (already have and on sale), and some oven-baked tofu (just need to pick up the tofu).
Do you have any more recommendations on ways in which we can further save money (I’ll take any suggestions, grocery or non-grocery!)?
Post # 3
Going out to dinner once a week adds up really fast. We don’t really eat out at all. Before wedding planning, maybe once a month, and now, less frequently than that. When we do go out, we spend like $60 max, including alcohol.
We spend about $100 on groceries a week, but it varies a lot. Last week it was $127, and this week it was $62.
Post # 4
Oh, some tips! Buy generic groceries when you can. Eat leftovers for lunch instead of making something new (bread, lunchmeat, etc. adds up!).
Post # 5
We usually spend about $100-$125, depending on how many household things we need. (Laundry detergent, dog food, etc.)
Post # 6
- Wedding: August 2013 - Brookfield Zoo
I think the best tip to cut overspending at the grocery store is to go prepared with a list. I usually choose 2 or 3 recipes to try (portions are usually so big they’ll feed us for the week) so we’ll get the ingredients for those, and then any staples we’re low on (lunch meat, cheese, veggies for the rabbit, etc.) go on the list too. It definitely cuts down on buying duplicates or even getting extra stuff you don’t really need. Also don’t go grocery shopping while you’re hungry 🙂
Post # 7
I usually spread out my shopping between Trader Joe’s, Kroger, and the occasional Sams trip so it’s hard to get a per week figure. For us the biggest thing to save money would be to stop throwing food away! It drives me crazy. Make sure when you buy something you are going to be able to use all of it. Even if it means getting creative with leftovers. We end up throwing a lot of produce and bread away because it goes bad before we can eat it.
Post # 8
It is just the two of us right now. We spend about $120 a week on groceries.
Post # 9
Wow, you live somplace as cheap as Atlanta, GA and still spend that much? Our grocery bill is $120-150/wk.
I’d say, honestly, as someone who lives in the #2 most expensive place in the country (San Fran) my husband and I never, ever spend $100 on a meal out. Booze should be the #1 thing to go. It’s great you’ve already decided that for eating out, but really you should just cut that way back all together. Alcohol = black hole of money.
You should also stop buying convenience foods, like the 100 calorie packs. If you eat healthier foods, you shouldn’t need someone to portion control for you. Most of those snacks are incredibly processed and unhealthy! You’ll save money AND your health by just not buying them.
Post # 10
We spend about $150 every two weeks for the two of us. We were spending more, but I was cooking every night and we were just throwing away leftovers. Now, I only cook every other night or every two nights and we don’t waste food. I still buy a lot of extras. Yogurt, tons of fruit, and snacks.
My suggestion is create a menu for a week or two. Then create your grocery list off that menu. If I know I’m cooking a more expensive meal (I judge this by what meat I have to buy), I balance it out with a couple of cheaper meals (hamburger meat meals).
$150 every two weeks includes everything we need. Toilet paper, dog food, and whatever. And we eat extremely well. I find really great recipes on Pinterest, Kraft, and Plain Chicken.
Also, it might help if you go to the grocery store not hungry!
Post # 11
I did something similar (though tried for 50 dollars a week and rarely made that work). I have a fruit and veggie store by my house, I can buy easy enough fruits and veggies to be full for 2 days for 10-15 dollars. Meat adds up, so I stopped eating as much. Lost 5-10 pounds actually. Winter –soups are hands down super easy and you get like 8 meals for 16ish dollars (you can freeze some). Also rice dishes with trader joes curry sauces and veggies. Spaghetti squash with sauce, stuff like that. Summer is easier. Salads, (black bean salad is my fav), coleslaws, tuna salad is alway cheap, fruit salads (husband actually was packing fruit salad for lunch for awhile). I’ll have veggies and hummus for lunch- I don’t really cook in the summer. I don’t have central AC and i’m not heating up the house and eating hot food. You’ll do fine if you dont feel the need to have a 1960s dinner every night. A lot of people feel compelled to have a big piece of meat and 2 side dishes no matter what and I’ve never felt that which I think helps me a lot. Seriously last night he worked super late and I had a turkey sandwhich and baby carrots and he had a sandwhich when he got home. That isn’t Donna Reed, but it works for us.
Post # 12
Usually no more than $80/week for me, FH, and our two year old. I plan our meals, eat mostly “whole foods”, and rarely buy prepackaged or processed foods. I used to coupon, but it takes a lot of time and isn’t worth it but it taught me to keep up on store sales and plan meals around what’s cheap that week.
Post # 13
Wow! that is a lot of money. You’ve got the right idea with the popcorn, but I say get rid of it altogether! Buy a bag of plain kernals and make it on the stove! WAY cheaper, plus WAY healthier.
In general…the more “processed” or pre-prepared something is, the more expensive. Almost always cheaper to boil rice yourself, and buy fresh veggies and stir-fry them yourself than to buy a “pre-made” bag of frozen asian stir-fry meal.
We have a budget of $75 a week, and I mostly stick to it. Show me your shopping list and I’ll tell you what things to axe!
ETA: And definitely only go to the grocery store on a very full tummy!
Post # 14
@keesl: great suggestions!
Post # 15
Ours got kind of out of control a while back so we worked to trim it to about $60-$80/week. I startedseriously menu planning and finding recipes that relied more heavily on “cupboard” ingredients (things we already have on hand). Every week I make a list of the meals and buy only the ingredients I need for those, plus sometimes ingredients to bake something. I never impulse buy, I only get what’s on the list.
We cut way back on snack buying because we just weren’t eating enough of them and we were throwing out so much. I also try to cook one big pasta or casserole dish (e.g. with a full box of pasta) once a week and I package the leftovers for daily lunches.
I cut down on the meat we eat, too…usually the only red meat we have at home is frozen burgers, so now we usually have poultry or vegetarian dishes. I also sometimes will buy a rotisserie chicken to use for salads, in pasta dishes, etc. because I can get multiple meals out of it. I like to make a lot of one pot type meals (or something served over rice or pasta) because it can get pricey and time-consuming to make so many side dishes.
Post # 16
We spend about $150 for a family of four for two weeks worth of groceries. We plan ou meals day by day and buy things in bulk- like hamburger for example- one night we woul dhave hamburgers, the next night would be meatball subs or tacos. We eat our left overs for lunch. We do eat meat with every meal, but it is often chicken (which you can buy in bulk pretty cheaply). Planning what night we will eat things usually means much less food goes to waste. Noodle meals are pretty cheap too, so we usually do that once or twice a week. Finding multiple uses for food is really helpful too- we se french bread and make our own garlic bread with it and then use it with brushetta, or make sandwhiched on it, again less wasted food!