Help with Grocery Budget

Updated on June 28, 2010
J.C. asks from White Lake, MI
32 answers

I would like to try and trim down the amount we spend on groceries per month. Right now we spend about $500 per month on groceries. This doesn't include non-food items like paper towels, etc. I have tried coupons but never seem to find coupons for items we actually need or use. We do not eat out very often (less than one time a month) and we brown bag our lunches. I don't buy a lot of snack food/processed food and we eat a lot of fresh produce. What else can I do? Or is this not an abnormal amount for a family to spend? We have one 2 year old and another little one on the way. I recently cut down my hours at work to part time so we are looking for ways to save money.

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So What Happened?

Thank you all for your ideas. I am now on a mission to reduce my grocery bills!! I got some great ideas and will let you all know how the shopping goes!

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C.L.

answers from Detroit on

Have you looked into Trader Joe's? They tend to be cheaper on a lot of items. Nino's has bananas most days with red lines.. so they are cheaper. We budget about that much and like you we have a 2 year old as well. It's a little more challenging not to buy processed foods and healthier foods and still save money. Also we don't buy pop or juice really at all.. just drink water.

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K.K.

answers from Saginaw on

one way that I save is to kind of stock up. We have certain things we eat over and over again. One thing is boneless skinless chicken breast. if you just go to the store when you need it...sometimes you end up paying close to $5 per pound for it! Meijer will throw it on sale every 3 weeks or so, for about $1.99/pound. I stock up, an spend about $60 on a bunch of family pack sizes...then I take it home, trim it, and repackage it in ziplocks with 3 or 4 breasts each (however many you would usually use in a meal) then freeze it. I always have it...and NEVER pay $5 a pound for it! I also watch when the veggies we like go on sale, and the sides, etc...and get a few at a time. the usuals like bread and milk are just things you still get every week, not much to work with there.

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L.S.

answers from Detroit on

Hi J., I spend between 300-400 a month for 4, which includes 2 teenaged boys! Try shopping at Aldi's. Most of it is their brand, but tasts great and I also get fresh produce from Joe Randazzo's on Gratiot near 11 mile. He is MUCH cheaper than the other randazzo's.Hope this helps you, L. P.S. I don't use coupons either!

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K.U.

answers from Kalamazoo on

This seems to be a hot topic..everyone wants to share their success stories:)

I cook for my family..two adults, a 3 year old, and a 1 year old..and I have one on the way. We also have my husbands parents over for dinner 5-6 nights a week. so, that is two more adults to feed.
I spend roughly 300-350 a month. I say roughly...because I spend 200 on my monthly shopping trip and then I make a few trips within the month to stock up on milk and a few sale items I might see, fresh produce, etc. And diapers and wipes is usually a separate trip...so it all probably adds up to 300-350 total.

I plan my meals for one month. I work out 20 meals (some repeat), and I plan my list according to that. I stick to protein, starch, and veg meals pretty much....except for taco night, spaghetti, etc.
I don't ever buy processed food or already prepared meals. I think they are outrageous in price.
I usually eat leftovers for lunch...or just have sandwiches, etc.
We don't have snack food in the house...no chips, or pop, or stuff like that. Just maybe some crackers, cheese, and raisins for the kids.

I hit Sam's Club first. I get most of my protein there. You really just have to compare prices, etc. But, their quality is great. I break large packages down in to portions that I need for each meal.
I buy the large rolls of saran wrap (usually at GFS), and freeze my meat in saran. (I can't ever seem to get all the air out of the zip lock bags and the food gets freezer burn)Zip locks cost more too.
I check out the produce, and some items I can get there..but not everything. Lettuce is good to buy there.

Next stop is the bread store. Find out if you have one in your area. I go to the Aunt Millies Outlet on Cork in Kalamazoo. I have never spent over 20 dollars(usually around 10 bucks)..and I get a basket full of good bread, english muffins, buns, raisin bread, and bagels. You just can't beat the price anywhere. 79-89 cents a loaf for brand name bread. I have never had an issue with quality and I just freeze it when I get home.

Next stop is Aldi. Save A Lot is good too, but Aldi is closer to me. I get a lot of my groceries here...eggs, milk, flour, oil, dressing, pickles, canned goods, pasta, and even some veggies.

The Dollar General or Family Dollar...those type of places(dollar increment stores, not necessarily "dollar" stores) is where I get toiletries, cleaning supplies, and diapers and wipes, etc. Diapers and wipes are a good at Sam's too.

Then I stop at WalMart or Meijer for any items I couldn't get at all the other stores. Usually just a short list of items.

I stick to my list, but if I find a good deal on meat or something, I pick it up. So, the list can vary a little. Or, if something is too expensive, I take it off the list.

I don't deal with coupons...I know some people have luck with them, but I never find stuff I actually use. It is usually brand name or processed items. I find that buying the same thing at Aldi or discount stores is still cheaper then using coupons. Plus, I just don't have the time! I have the kids and work two jobs from home.

Planning is key. Planning my meals for grocery shopping is great, but keeping the list of meals on my fridge saves me time too...I can figure out what is for dinner much easier and get the meat defrosted, etc. Or I ask my husband to pick something out from the list.
We have less nights where we are scrounging last minute and end up going out to eat!:)

Good luck!

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T.A.

answers from Grand Rapids on

J.,

I have 5 children and we spend on average $100 a week on groceries (sometimes a little less) I very rarely buy name brand, store brands are cheaper and just as good.

I shop at Aldi, Save-A-Lot, and Wal-mart. They all have good prices but if you pay attention to prices you can take advantage of each stores best deals.

Aldi's and Save-A-Lot can't be beat for staples such as flour, sugar, oil, baking soda, cereal, cheese slices, toilet paper, and most canned goods.

Wal-mart has a package of baby wipe refills (80 count) for .94 cents, (which I can't find cheaper anywhere), tuna fish (we like solid white albacore), toothpaste, deodorant, and some vitamans, cold meds, and childrens pain reliever are the best price deals here.

I like Meijer brand diapers, I think they are the highest quality for the lowest price.

Check the weekly grocery ads each week for the major stores near you and stock up on the sales items. Learn the normal prices of items you regularly use (go to the stores and write the normal price in a notebook, that way you can refer to it when you see a sale advertised and you can know for sure if its a good price or not). I usually buy in bulk when something I will use anyway is on sale. Build up your own food stock pile of sale priced food. Get a freezer and do this with meat too.

I also buy bread from a bakery outlet (the one I go to is located in Cutlerville, MI just off the US 131 exit) Bread is .89 cents a loaf, (even expensive whole grain bread, sometimes the packages are marked $3.89 as the normal price) They also have an overstock table where things are $1.29 buy you buy one then get a second one for free. I get my bagels, english muffins, buns, and sometimes donuts here. I try to get enough every trip to last us 2 weeks, and store it in the freezer.

Cook from scratch, and use up those leftovers. Don't waste anything. A really great website with lots of money saving info is www.hillbillyhousewife.com. I use rags instead of paper towels, I save old t-shirts and cut them into paper towel sized squares and use them, and wash them to use again.

We also put a garden in and I can and freeze fruits and veggies. Its not hard, it is a bit time consuming though, but once you learn how to do it and acquire all the equipment, the cost is minimal. If you know anyone with fruit trees on their property who don't use or want their fruit, ask for it! We recieved 12 bushels of pears last year from a neighbor (for free) all we had to do was keep her yard picked up under the pear trees, (she had been picking up pears and dumping them in a pile in the woods just to get the mess out of her yard), and we were more than happy to do it to be able to get the fruit. It was a win/win situation for both of us.

With a little research online, advance planning, and thinking outside the box, you will suprise yourself at what you can accomplish! If you have any more questions, I love to talk about this subject, just message me.

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D.C.

answers from Detroit on

If you go to YouTube and search on "Cooking with Clara" you'll find some great videos on Depression era cooking. Clara is 95 years old, a delight to watch as she talks about how tough things were growing up during the Depression and the recipes are actually pretty good. The "Poor Man's Meal" is really tasty and it cost me less than $4 to feed my entire family. As Clara says in one of the videos..."We used lots of potatoes because they are cheap and they fill you up!"

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B.B.

answers from Detroit on

Coupons, price compare, and planning helps us keep our family of 5 people, 1 dog, 1 cat and a dozen or so fish on a budget of $600.- a month for ALL food and house stuff...

Walmart price compares ALL stores... Walgreens, cvs, krogers, local stores, meijers, aldis etc... The prices have to be an advertized price. Some times they may ask you to show them in the flier... You only have to pay attention to making sure that Brandnames are the same (campbells for example) or that if a store brand is advertized you get store brand, and that the sizes are the same... And yes, they are typically cheaper than Meijers. They don't do BOGO ads or % off. The price has to be printed in the flier. Keep the fliers and take them with you so you can compare things as you shop...

When you look at the fliers pay attention to the front and back pages. Those are the "loss" products. The store prices them lower than their cost so they can get you in the door and you of course see something ELSE that you "forgot" or want and pay their mark up on.

Get a sunday paper and spend a few minutes to sit down, write down the kind, size, price and store on what you usually get.

Try to shop less. When there is a sale on something you use and is storeable, stock up.

Walmart also accepts internet coupons as long as they scan. Ones you print off your computer. Multiple coupons also as long as you get the corresponding amount of that product.

I typically have 3 or so months worth of nonperishables stored up. Things like toiletpaper, papertowels, toothpaste, laundry soap,etc.

Take a calculator and figure out the ounce price (most stores have it printed on the shelf tags... Sometimes its cheaper to buy the bigger boxes, sometimes its not... Sometimes with sales the brand name is cheaper than store brand. (price divided by size)

Plan your menus out for a month at a time.
If I know I am going to make spaggetti later in the month when I see sauces or noodles on sale and have coupons I will buy ahead.

Stick to your list. I try to give myself $10.- a trip for "extras". I typically have a 4 and 2 yr old with me so that allows me to get them something for behaving...

Buy bigger sizes and freeze stuff. The rolls of Burger are easiest. I cut them up into 1/2 poundish sizes and rebag them for the freezer. But once again, pay attention to the sales and ounce prices. I buy bread when Krogers has their 10 for $10.- sales and freeze 8 or 9 of the loaves. saves me at least .50 per loaf (thats $5.- less than if I bought them fresh all the time) and I only buy bread 1 a month or so that way. I totally avoid that aisle (you know, the one that has all the little debbies that look so good and are ONLY $1.00) It adds up...

I figure I save about $20-$50.- PER trip by doing price compares. It takes practice and you MUST pay attention to what the prices you usually spend per product is so you know when the "steals" come around.

I do not buy clothes or shoes unless they are on the clearance racks and less than $5.- for adults and $3.- for kids (unless they are multiple sets like pants and shirts... Then I will go up to $7.- on a 3 piece set. I have a tote in the basement of clothes the next couple sizes that my 3 kids will be growing into... Things like tshirts for $1.- etc... I even got myself a new swimming suit and cover up for this year for $1.-... I am soooo excited to wear it. :-)I've only had it since December...

Some people say they don't have "time" to do this stuff... But really it only takes a few minutes and saves a lot of $$$. Once you get in the habit of it it takes literally about 5 or 10 minutes depending on how many stores you have around you.

Plan your meals so you waste less... If you make tacos one night then a few days later use the left over taco meat in spagetti... And a few days later take the left over spagetti, put it in the oven with cheese on it and bake it... Or mix the meat in with enchiladas... Variety and savings...

Hope this may give you a few ideas....

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M.R.

answers from Detroit on

Check out angelfoodministries.com, they have boxes of stable food (bread, milk, cheese) as well as other options...You don't have to be eligible for any aid to buy food from them...

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L.U.

answers from Lansing on

We have a family of 5, including a teen, a 10 year old, and a college student at home, and we spend about $600 a month, including feeding 6 cats ( many of them barn cats... we live on a farm)& including all the non food items like paper and cleaning products. We brown bag most lunches, and we include some convenience foods. We both work, so those are needed. So, I think that you ARE spending quite a lot for a family of two adults and one small child.
I have a few suggestions
1)invest, if you have the space and a hundred dollars you can spare for now, in a freezer. Even a small chest freezer will let you stock up when things are reduced price in the meat and in the frozen food section.
2) follow the circulars you get in the mail or online or in the newspapers from the grocery stores and study them. Let what is reasonably priced plan your menu's. Make your decision on where to shop based on who has things on sale that you need. Buy extra when things are deeply discounted. When frozen meals are half price, that is the time to put some away in the freezer for no-time-to-cook days. When pork roast is $1.69 or so a pound, I buy a couple, and fill the freezer. Pot roasts at buy one get one free, etc.
3) don't be afraid to buy larger cuts of meat, even if it is too big for your family..smaller packages cost more per pound, sometimes by a lot...first off, the butcher counter will be glad to cut it into smaller pieces for you. I buy whole boneless pork loins when they are $1.88 a pound or less and have them cut it into a couple roasts and slice some into boneless pork chops. I save nearly $1.50 a pound over the usual prices. If you don't have the space for that much, you can still avoid the smallest packages. If it is too much, make it with planned leftovers.... I turned extra roast beef, pork or chicken into stirfry with noodles or rice.... or into barbeque sandwiches, or into tacos.... there are lots of options.
4)when you can, buy seasonally for fruits and vegetables.... what is grown locally in season is always cheaper than out of season shipped in from South America.
good luck....
5) save coupons...
6) get the customer loyalty cards at places that use them (like the Kroger Card)
Between advertised specials, coupons and my Kroger card, I average saving about 30-40% when I am there. Don't NOT shop at some place that doesn't use them, but don't skip them if the store has them. Krogers also mails you coupons every couple months, personalized, based on what you have bought in the past using your card. That helps a lot, too.
7) bakery outlets sell day-old bread and baked goods at seriously reduced prices. I use the Butternut/ Hostess outlet on Miller Road in Lansing, but there are others.
Best of luck, L.

A.W.

answers from Detroit on

GOOD Luck!!
we shop at Aldi and Save A Lot! it saves HUNDREDS of dollars a month!

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E.G.

answers from Lansing on

I plan my meals for the week around the sales flyer from the store. This helps me get the cheapest price without coupons. Also, I buy a lot of frozen food in bulk. The frozen veggies and fruit have better nutritional value than even fresh because they are frozen right after picking, instead of being shipped for a week or more. Frozen fish and chicken are also a much better deal and can be pulled out at the last minute. If you have a Sam's club or costco, it pays for itself(especially if you buy your diapers and wipes there!) We bought a used freezer for $40 and put it in our garage because I always stock up on frozen food when it's buy on get one, etc. I have four kids and a hungry husband, we rarely eat out and I spend about $350-400 a month on food. Good luck!!

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S.C.

answers from Lansing on

J.,

Looks like you have a lot of good advice, I'll add a couple more things. I worried about this too with the economy being what it is and wanted to try and save as much on groceries as possible. We have a freezer and for the last couple of summers we have bought an entire hog at the fair and filled up our freezer with pork. Last year we bought a hog and a lamb, and only bought beef and chicken as desired and when it was on sale. Buying an entire carcass you have a larger outlay of money at the beginning but it lasts almost the entire year. The meat is sealed in packages and marked when you pick it up. You can shop within your own freezer for whatever cut of meat you want that day. My sons raise beef cattle for 4-H so this year we plan to buy a half a side of beef and the pork, I wasn't that fond of mutton and we have much left over. The other thing to help in saving money is the meals I prepare. I think when you prepare foods from scratch your grocery bills will be lower because things like potatoes, basic vegetables, beans, etc. are cheaper and go farther. I have been trying to cook less with processed foods and packaged foods which usually only provide one meal and have more of a meat and potatoes meal that often provides leftovers for lunch. A good cookbook can give you lots of ideas for basic food receipes. I cook for three 200+ pound men and they are big eaters so bulk buying certainly helps me. We are going to put in a garden this year and I plan to supplement my meals with our own homegrown produce. I'm looking for as much self-sufficiency as possible. Hope this helps some.

S.

S.

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J.M.

answers from Lansing on

I spend about that amount on groceries/pantry items for our family of 5. However that doesn't include meat as we buy our meat from local farmers. I hate coupons as they are for the more expensive brands and never match what I need. I have better luck shopping off the ads. When an item we use is on sale, buy and buy in quantity. The sales rotate through, so once you learn it comes up once a month, plan accordingly. I freeze most of those items in our chest freezer, like cheeses, frozen fruits, veggies, convenient meals, pizza, pot pies, etc. Make up your menu based on what is on sale or what is in the freezer. Planning ahead will save money.

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D.H.

answers from Detroit on

We budget $300 per month for family of 3(18 month old) including paper products. I usually only buy things when they are on their lowest sales price, cut coupons, buy at costco. Meat is bought buy one get one free, veggies from randazzos. Stock up when things are on sale. Whenever ham or turkey is on sale we buy and then make pot pies or soups with the left overs. Last turkey we got 2 pot pies and 2 batches of soup before it was done and they were delicious. We eat vegetarian meals about once a week. My husband is a great cook and can make a meal out of scraps in the fridge. My list any given week at any store is usually less than 10 items because that is usually about all that they give really good sales on. Also look for meat and fish on managers special. Kroger almost always has salmon on managers special that needs to be bought in the next couple days

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D.J.

answers from Detroit on

shop your sales also meijers has a spot on their web site it gives you chooses of what to make for budget meal use what is on sale also it gives you pritable coupons for what is on sale and you can use their coupon as well as a manufacture coupon for double the savings off

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S.R.

answers from Detroit on

I spend $1000-1200/month (including all non-food items) on a family of 5, kids ages 14, 13 (boys) and a 10 year old girl. I do buy things I think are "treats". It seems you could reduce your expenses some, but your budget isn't way off. As I recall diapers were a killer item! I do bargain shop. I go to Costco for paper and detergent products (and some really good deals on quality meat) and shop the "buy one get one free" meat sales at Kroger and freeze. I never buy cereal at full price, and basically shop the sales. Especially for the treats. Kroger seems to have the best sales, but the crankiest sales staff! I have also gone to Randazzo's for produce and that is very inexpensive, but requires a separate trip I don't always feel like doing on my limited time off. I find coupons tempt me to buy things I wouldn't usually get so I don't bother.

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M.H.

answers from Detroit on

Hi J.
I get most of my pantry items at Aldi and they seem to be very inexpensive but are mainly their own brand with just a few "special" items that come and go which are brand name. For the stuff I just have to have brand name, such as Heinz Ketchup, Tyson nuggets, and Coke, I buy in bulk at Sam's club. I buy all my meat there aswell and then package it indivaully in ziploc freezer bags (enough for one meal in each bag) and freeze it. You can also get your diapers and wipes there (they do their own brand which are just as good as huggies or pampers).
The more processed food you buy the higher your bill will be.
I buy all my fruit and Veg at Randazzo's and find it to be way cheaper than most grocery stores. I can buy a week's worth of fruit and veg for 4 people (I use a lot of fresh fruit and veg every day) for around $20 or under. I also find they have a very good range and it stays fresh.
All these stores have websites. I would say my food bill to feed two adults, a six and three year old for a week is less than $100.

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M.W.

answers from Kalamazoo on

Our family sounds exactly the same! I've been keeping us on about 300 a month (well for 4 weeks, as we get paid every other week). Its tough and I don't buy as much stuff as I'd like to. But we don't starve either.

Stick to as much non processed food (which it sounds like you're doing already). Do things like soups that are cheap and can be reheated one other meal in the week. Rice and beans is very cheap, and you can make a nice meal with fresh lettuce, tomato, cheese, sour cream, olives, onion, salsa... or use corn chips instead of rice for a nice crunch! Anyway, a cheap and quick meal. Also pasta meals tend to be cheap as well, just don't buy the frozen pre-made types, but use fresh vegetables and a jar of sauce and make one yourself.

Best wishes! And yes, 500 a month isn't ridiculous compared to how most of America eats, but you certainly can keep trimming! :)

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L.R.

answers from Detroit on

J. -

I feed a family of six (including 3 teenagers and a dog) on $600'ish per month. That includes everything. I shop at three places: Kroger for general groceries and produce (weekly,) Gordon Food Store for items we use in bulk (quarterly) and Target for paper products, cleaning supplies and toiletries (monthly.) I have tried to get into the Costco thing and just can't find the love for that store. My best friend is my Kroger loyalty card. My savings are anywhere from 20 - 45% weekly and they send you excellent coupons for the products you purchase frequently (even general ones like dollars off meat, produce, dairy, etc.) I am diligent in my coupon use and that makes a BIG difference. See if you can establish a few categories for dedicated coupon use (cereal is an easy one) and at least try and stick with that to start. I NEVER purchase a box of cereal without a coupon. They are readily available and my kids prefer national brands to the store brands, so the coupon savings are important. Kellogg's was always the hold out, but I've noticed a big increase in Kellogg's coupons just about everywhere lately. All the food companies seem to be making an effort to increase what they're offering, so don't give up on the couponing. Once you're in the swing of it, there's just no other way to shop.

Good luck! L.

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M.B.

answers from Detroit on

Hi J.,

I just started clipping coupons again and now I do it religiously. Comparison shopping is also imperative when trying to save money. There is a great website by the name of couponmom.com that basically tells you where to shop and what coupons to use. For our area, you can look up the weekly sales for Meijer, Kroger, Walmart and other stores. As for my non-grocery items, I shop at Dollar General. Don't be confused by the name, it's not a dollar store. They sell name brand items at discounted prices and they accept coupons. To give you an example, I bought 2 bottles of caress bodywash, 3 sticks of dove deodorant, 2 bottles of vaseline intensive care lotion, an 8 pack of sparkle paper towel, 2 tubes of crest toothpaste, an 18 pk of northern toilet paper, a container of lysol disinfecting wipes and a large box of kleenex for $25. I had coupons for everything I purchased except the toilet paper and kleenex. The dove and caress was also on sale.

Another thing that some people aren't aware of is that most stores will take expired coupons, as long as they scan they will take them.

For diapers, I have started purchasing them [email protected]____.com are cheaper than costco...depending on what brand you use. I use huggies and I bought 2 large boxes of size 4 (150ct ea.) for $73. Shipping is free on orders over $49 and first time customers get $5 off.
Hope this helps!

C.B.

answers from Benton Harbor on

Hi J.! I work part time also, out of my home and have my own successful jewelry business, but I try to be creative with meals and always try to save money by shopping the sales. I get the sale flyer from our local grocery stores and then create my meal plan for the week. Several of the meals I will double up and freeze half. And one meal a week (usually on an evening that we have soccer practice) we have leftover night, or breakfast for dinner night. That has saved us a lot of money. If there is a great sale I always buy alot of the item since we have a large freezer downstairs.
C.

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L.O.

answers from Detroit on

Ispend 600 to feed our family of 4...(2 young kids)

you might want to look into angelfoodministries.. they offer a box of food once a month for $30 you pick it up at a local church. there are no income requirements.. see if you can find it online or I can probably find a link.

shop at walmart - they are by far the cheapest place in town. I have heard aldis is cheap but I think they dont offer much variety..

look in your freezer and pantry and use up some of the things that you have... If you have frozen chikecn make something with chicken. That might give you a week or two of low grocery bills.

Then make a menu for the week so you buy what you need to make the dinners that are planned. That way you wont waste things..

Use store brand items when you can.. and skip out of season produce taht is very expensive.. (blueberries are very expensive in the wintere..)

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B.L.

answers from Dayton on

Have you looked in to Angel Food Ministries. $30 for about $50-$60 worth of food. It gives a family of 4 food for about a week. Which I found out is one meal s day. I found out it does help.

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L.J.

answers from Detroit on

it sound like a lot of money for just 3 people and one of them is just 2. but on the other hand if you are buying healthy food there is not much more you can do. we are a family of 4, we have a 6 and 2 year old. we spend about 150 dollars every two weeks about. but the weeks we try and be healthy are always more expensive.

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D.S.

answers from Grand Rapids on

J. yes this is a normal budget, but you can save money by going to aldes or save a lot, these stores can help you with a budget, and a shopping cart full can cost about 150.00 not too bad, for a weeks worth, but you can also serve rice more often, its cheap food, we use it with alot of stuff, we make a meat and gravy and put in a veggee like brocolli, and serve it over rice its good, but we try to eat vegees with every dinner, try to have a meat , starch and vegee and maybe a can of fruit, any way i hope you can find more ways to make it work, have a good day and enjoy life D. s

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S.S.

answers from Detroit on

Angel Food Ministries offers a great program where anyone on any budget can buy a great quantity of food for $30 once a month at my church in Waterford. If you google Angel Food, you can see a menu. I'm happy to answer questions too. We get the kit every couple of months ourselves!

S.
[email protected]____.com

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G.B.

answers from Detroit on

Join Sams Club or Costco. Get what you can at Aldi's or Fresh Choice (or whatever stores drop those annoying circulars at your door). Watch the sales at the larger stores and stock up. Go to the cheapest produce market in your neighborhood and look at the stuff marked down first. Plant a vegetable garden this year. Use a crockpot to make larger amounts of things that can go for more than one meal. I used to make a huge pot of from-scratch spagetti sauce in a big pot on the stove and cook it a long time. It made spagetti, pizza, sloppy joes, stuffed peppers, baked spagetti, and spanish rice to go with hot dogs or something else cheap one night. Kids love pancakes for dinner once in awhile.

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N.W.

answers from Detroit on

J.,

I spend about 600$ a month, including my paper towels, etc. I have a 5 year old and a 17 mos old. My kids eat lunches at baby school. We also eat a lot of fresh, non-processed foods and organic when possible. I think at 500$ a month, you are doing great.

My suggestion is to make a list and plan your meals. Try to stick to the list, but be flexible if you see something on sale. I will often stock up on bread (freezer) or certain items that we use a lot of if there is a good deal.

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C.S.

answers from Detroit on

I didn't read all your responses so I'm sorry if I'm saying the same things :-)

I have a family of 6 and spend about $600 a month.

check out www.angelfoodministries.com you can search for a location near you. The food is good quality with a low price and they also offer "add on" boxes of fresh fruit, meat and other things.

Clip coupons! Check for stores in your area that double up to a $1.

Check the sale adds every week and plan to make more then one stop to get the best deals.

Stock up on sale items.

Good luck!

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L.C.

answers from Detroit on

I can help you save money on all of your consumer products, such as cleaners, laundry products and personal care things.

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L.M.

answers from Detroit on

J.,

I don't think $500/mo is bad at all! I spend about the same for me, my husband, and 18 mo old. That accounts for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for us as we don't eat out. I get a lot of good QUALITY food for the money. Sure, you can buy a loaf of white bread for $1- but I believe it's worth it to pay an extra $1 and get whole grain! I also don't buy snack/processed food and use coupons for paper products/cereal when I can.

Again, I personally think your grocery bill is fine. If you want to cut your expenses, I suggest you look at some of your other bills (ex. cable, cell phone etc)!

L.

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