(Closed) Making Cuts to the Grocery Cart :(

posted 7 years ago in Money
Post # 77
Member
1423 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: March 2013

Our weekly grocery budget for two people is $60.00, which is accomplished my making meals at home, eating leftovers, and couponing and stocking up when the sales are good (like we stocked up on meats during all the July 4th butcher sales).

Post # 78
Member
2447 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

@This Time Round:  haha, definitely agree about this! I regularly make up excuses to go grocery shopping by myself. The Fiance loves to tag along and that’s how I find cookies, chocolates, ice cream, nice cheese, and everything else he shouldn’t be eating (he’s lactose intolerant!) in our cart. And then I can’t say no at the checkout line because he’ll give me a look like I’m starving the poor guy. We also eat out a lot more when he’s not working. 

 

Post # 79
Member
146 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

We cook every meal and spend $250-300 a month for two of us.

Post # 80
Member
125 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

What I really worry is that you’re going to try to cut your budget to the point that you’ll buy cheap unhealthy food and not high quality healthy food. I know posters mean well but don’t cut out good veggies and replace them with breads and pasta. You still want to fuel your body with the right foods. We always shop on sale and in season but have cut bread/grains/dairy.

As a lot of posters have said your eating out meals seem really too high. You may want to save your $100 a meal dinners to an extra special occasion. When we go out to eat we try to keep our meals to $30-40. Of course, everyone has splurges but try to keep focused on what you’re saving for. I would take your money as soon as you get paid and put what you need to in savings and bills so you know what you have left. I have been doing this for the last few years and it works out great.  I’m halfway to my wedding savings goal and I still have 10 months left.

Good luck!!

Post # 81
Member
2776 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

I combine Coupons with Sales.  Every Tuesday when we get the ad, we look through it and see if theres anything we need.  If theres a staple on sale like pasta for 88 cents I buy 15 of them.  Capri Sun?  10 of them.  4 Loaves of whole wheat bread and freeze the ones we wont use right away so they don’t go bad. Tuna 6-8 on sale.  I combine electronic coupons, with store ones, and manufacture.  I usually save 40% on any grocery trip.

We buy fresh things we need (veggies, milk, eggs) as needed.  Having a menu plan really helps too because you don’t buy things you don’t need.  I when I was employed I would buy 800 worth for 400 or less of groceries every 2 months or so.  I get everything discounted, toiletries, shoes, etc.  If we go out to eat its with a coupon or a special.  I did this when I was employed because I am a temp and wanted to make sure we always have food so its great for unemployment too.  

It might be extreme but it works and we are rarely are hungry.  Right now we are low on supplies but I’m sure pasta, beans, corn and tuna will go on sale again soon if not we will get it at Wal-Mart where it is always cheap.

Post # 82
Member
5063 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: April 2014

Question for you lovely bees.

How do you make squash/juice last longer. We spent over  £5 this week. I know water is free but I really can’t stand the taste.

Thanks for all your suggestions.

Post # 83
Member
4109 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: December 2011

There are some very good suggestions here already, so I’ll repost what I posted in a similar thread yesterday:

I would LOVE to get my bill down to $50 per week. I agree with basing your shopping list around the sale flyer & using coupons whenever you can. Look for recipes that have very few ingredients (there are several cookbooks out there that are dedicated to this). The cheapest meats that you can do several different ways and recycle for other meals are chicken and ground beef. Example: I’ll buy a whole chicken & bake it for one meal, then save the carcass & leftover meat to make a huge pot of homemade chicken noodle soup. The soup is always enough for two meals. And bam- I got 3 dinners out of a $6 chicken ! Smile

Post # 84
Member
59 posts
Worker bee

We spend $500/month for the two of us, a 17 year old boy and a 13 year old girl. This includes basically everything. 

Meal planning – Monday through Friday – we have one poultry meal, one red meat meal, one pasta meal and one egg or meatless meal per week. Friday is always seafood. Weekends are leftovers and a nice Sunday dinner of our choosing. I purchase meat in bulk family sizes when it goes on sale and then we rebag it in quantities we would use for dinner. For the seafood meals, we buy tilapia or salmon on sale. The tilapia I dip in egg and then roll in shredded parmesan before baking. The salmon we drizzle with zesty italian dressing or teryaki sauce and broil. It doesn’t take a lot of extra ingredients to make fresh food taste great. 

Limiting the quantities – the quantities you should be using are a palm-sized portion of meat per person. Most Americans tend to pile on the meat and eat twice as much as they need. We do up this a bit for my teenage boy who needs lots of protein, so he tends to eat 1 1/2 times the size we are eating. But honestly, no one has ever noticed the difference if I had 2/3 of a pound of hamburger instead of 1 full pound of hamburger to a meal. 

Make and freeze – many people overspend because they don’t have meals ready and buy convenience food that costs a lot. Spend a day making up a batch of spaghetti sauce in a crockpot and then freeze it in smaller portions. Then you can pull a bag out of the freezer before you head to work, put it in the fridge, come home and boil some pasta and add your sauce. It will be healthier for you too if you make it yourself. I also make twice as much shredded pork than we need in the crockpot. We eat half for dinner and then I freeze the other half for a quick meal in the future. If you come up with 6 or so meals that can freeze and that you guys like, you can whip out a bunch in a weekend and put them away for later. 

We buy lots of fruits and vegetables that are in season. A. They taste better in season and B. they are cheaper. I love strawberries but they cost an arm and a leg in the middle of winter. Its just like wedding flowers – if you want tulips in the fall, good luck and God bless your wedding budget. So purchase in-season produce. 

We buy grains in bulk – quinoa, rice, pasta. Every meal we have a protein, a vegetable, a grain. Many nights we also have salad. Salad adds fiber, makes you feel fuller which is why you should eat it first. 

When I spot a great sale on non-perishables, we stock up for 3-6 months. I know that we will use a 100 oz bottle of Tide each month. I ran into a super sale in January where I got the $15 bottle for $5. It was limit two per day. I had to go to the store 3 days in a row, but I got a 6 month supply of detergent for $30 instead of $90.

Most basic items go on sale as loss leaders twice a year – you just have to learn what is a good deal and isn’t. I never ever ever pay more than $1.50 for a box of cereal. Most times I pay less than $1 – and this is for name brand, General Mills, Kelloggs cereal. I know that in September, most stores run back to school specials on cereal, granola bars, pudding cups, etc. I collect the coupons in the weeks before and purchase 12-15 boxes of cereal at under $1 each. I get $60 worth of cereal for $15 – and it takes me into January/February when the cereals come back as loss leaders again. 

When I buy liquor, I look for sales as well as wine tags and rebates. In January, I bought 6 handles of Captain Morgan rum which normally run $25. They were on sale for $17.99. I had a coupon for $2 off per bottle. Then I had a “wine tag” coupon for $2 off orange juice when you bought Captain Morgan. So I got 6 free orange juices. Then I had a rebate form for $25 when you bought five or more bottles of Captain Morgan. I paid just under $100 for the 6 bottles of rum and 6 orange juices and then got a $25 rebate check. Six full handles for about $12 each, half price. We will finish up the last of the rum next month. Same thing with beer – leinies usually gives you $2 off Wisconsin cheese and then has rebates online. 

When I do stock up, it is for things that I know we have space for and will use before they go bad. I would never purchase a 6 month supply of toilet paper, for example because I wouldn’t have the space to put it. And I know that toilet paper goes on sale as a loss leader almost every month at one store or another. But if I can save $50-60 at a time by stocking up on cereal, liquor, toothpaste, detergent – well, that adds up. Last year I ran the numbers and figured out I saved $2500 by paying attention to loss leaders and buying in bulk. 

Post # 85
Member
2393 posts
Buzzing bee

I am struggling with this, too. The grocery store is my happy place and I love to shop, shop, shop and load up the cart. My kitchen is overflowing.

Having said that, Darling Husband and I recently joined Costco, and I have been amazed at the deals on healthy/organic food. I am paying less now than I did at Whole Foods for certain things. I am thinking of investing in a small freezer (they have Haier freezers at Costco for only $175) so that I can have room for the big packages of chicken, beef, frozen fruit for smoothies, etc. I know the initial investment seems counter-productive, but I think it will pay off in the long run. For the cost of one or two grocery bills, I could have a freezer that will let me save money for years.

As far as restaurants — Darling Husband and I mostly use Restaurant.com coupons. I buy them only when they’re having an 80% or 90% off sale. If you go to their website and sign up for the email alerts, you can pay $1 or $2 for certificates for that give you $25 off of a $35 tab at really nice restaurants, or $50 off $100, etc. It saves a *fortune.*

Also, I just noticed that you’re in Atlanta and have access to Publix. Look for the amazing BOGO (“buy one, get one free”) deals every week on big tables by the front door.

Good luck!

Post # 86
Member
343 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2012

One thing we have started this summer is buying a weekly share from a local CSA.  We receive a share of veggies and fruits each week (usually 10 different things) for $25 per week.  We certainly aren’t eating it all but we are roasting/cooking the veggies and freezing them for the winter.

We saved a tremendous amount this way because we buy organic veggies in the store and where we are they are pretty costly, so this was great for us.

If this isn’t an option – check out local farmers markets.  help local farms and it is usually tastier and less expensive

Post # 87
Member
1797 posts
Buzzing bee

I still live alone, but I do most of the couponing/grocery shopping for my family. Since I started taking on that role we have cut down on a lot of the spending. Here are some things that we do to save money:

-If you buy organic consider looking at the “dirty dozen” list. I know it would be great if we could afford to buy everything organic, but sometimes it’s just not realistic for the budget. 

-Do not buy prepackaged foods like the little cookies for your lunches. Fruits and vegetables in the lunches will fill you up for a longer period of time, and are obviously better for you. Many stores around me also sell bulk food items like chips, nuts, cookies, etc. You can buy those, and spend 30 minutes or so after the shopping trip portioning them into ziploc bags that you can just throw in your lunchbox later.

-Don’t buy plastic water bottles or disposable brown bags. I found a little lunch container at HomeGoods for $5 that has three separate compartments with closing lids, and I also bought a Brita water bottle. I know brown bags aren’t that expensive, but it can add up, and I find that it is easier to bring a variety of foods that I wouldn’t normally bring from home when I have an actual tupperware container. Instead of the normal sandwich and apple generic thing I can pack a salad with dressing on the side, leftovers from dinner, etc. 

-Consider what you buy in bulk. We do not have a big enough family to warrant buying most foods in bulk. We have an ice chest to put some bigger bags of chicken and stuff, so we do buy the larger bags when it is on sale. We also buy frozen veggies in bulk since we eat a lot of those. We pay $50/year for our Costco membership, and we mostly only buy our toiletries and hygiene supplies there since they don’t go bad. I bought a $10 shampoo/conditioner combo there that lasted me almost six months, and it didn’t dry my hair out. 

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