What Do You Spend?

Updated on January 04, 2008
M.M. asks from Naperville, IL
46 answers

I want to know what you ladies spend weekly or monthly on groceries. My husband gives me $500 every 2 weeks for groceries and gas for the car. I always go over budget - but cannot possibly see how to cut costs. It is only 3 of us in t he family - but I still seem to go over. I do buy wine and beer w/ this money - so it is not just food. I buy fresh vegetables - good cuts of meat - like sirloin, not chuck. I buy some organic foods - like macaroni and cheese and some fruits. WOuld love to hear from all of you moms out there.

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M.C.

answers from Chicago on

This was probably one of the most helpful questions I've seen on the site thus far...something I struggle with each month but never thought to ask for input. I can't say I have anything to add that hasn't been said yet, but I am very appreciative of the advice that I've gotten from this.
I have started using Kraftfoods.com to get menu suggestions and the grocery list and that is really helpful. Good luck.

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P.

answers from Chicago on

M., if you are eating alot of organic/natural foods you should seek out a health food buying co-op. this would save you alot of money because you can buy in bulk. also try farmers markets. theres a great one in palatine at the train station on the weekends. or there are farmers who you can pay a few hundred dollars a summer and they provide all your vegetable and some fruits all summer long. its called a c.s.a. (community supported agriculture) google csa and also google u.n.f.i. (united natural foods inc.) you will be able to look at prices and find drop sites for orders from the co-op. also, theres alwyas two buck chuck (trader joes) its very inexpensive and tastes great. also they make alot of ready to eat frozen foods that are excellent for families. good luck!

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K.

answers from Chicago on

We only have 3 in our household, but somedays you would think more. I only spend around $100 a week on groceries and still have leftover at the end of the month. We use a TON of organic products which do cost more, BUT....without all the preservatives, red dyes, MSg, additives etc..the food tastes better and believe me when I say we eat less. We are satisfied. I am living proof that one can do without the daily pound of chocolate when you eat fresh, preservative free, additive free food. And we dont eat at ANY fast food places, my 8yr old will tell you herself she hates mcdonalds. I do buy in bulk, but if you are going to do that, I really beleive you need to invest in a food saver such device to preserve frozen foods and prevent freezer burn. We do not eat alot of red meat(I can totally do w/o, but hubbie cant). You also need to be creative. There is a company called Homeade Gourmet that shows you how to use their different pantry staples to make 4 different meals out of 1 roast. I have started using some of their suggestions on this also. Ishop only at jewel/dominicks/meijer/walmart/target about a half percent of the time.. Otherwise it is Aldi's, Costco, Caputo, and Trader Joes. Organic is costlier, but in the long run you spend less on your health and being sick and you will crave less sugary foods etc. My poor daughter is finally coming around to the less sugar is better, less preservatives is better etc. Granted this is how we run our hosuehold, but again I am here to say..Since we switched to organics, cut out sugar laden and preservative laden products, my irritable bowel is better, my migraines are less, my allergies are better and i dont eat what seemed like a pound a chocolate a day anymore..Dont get me wrong we do splurge occasionaly, but you have to decide what is best for you.

K.
www.arkparties.com

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K.S.

answers from Chicago on

WOW! I wish I had that much to spend!! Take out the gas (just estimating your gas expenses) and you figure it's about $400 or so you're spending on groceries. That could feed my family of 3 for at LEAST a month, including beer!!

One suggestion that I didn't see anyone else mention.....no matter where you go to shop, leave your son at home if possible!!!! That stops the "I want this, I want that" impulse buying (I have a 5 yr old so I know all about it lol). I agree with everyone else about going to Aldi for the basics. Their quality has improved SOOO much over the years for alot of their products.

Why only "good" cuts of meat? Stop being such a food snob! Even the cheapest stuff can be tender and taste delicious if you cook it right. One of our favorite meals is chuck roast (we usually find it about $8-$10 for a roast big enough for at least 2 meals) cooked in the crock pot with french onion soup mix (which they have at Aldi!), potatoes and carrots. Marinades are great for tenderizing other cuts of meat as well, if you just want to cook quickly. Make your own with some olive oil, flavored vinegar or citrus juice (need one of those for the acid, that's what tenderizes), and whatever spices you like.

Also, there are groups in yahoo called pantry challenge (a nationwide group and also state groups, the nationwide one gets more action though), lots of great ideas for saving money on food and cooking frugally.

Oops I almost forgot!! I think someone mentioned a co-op.....there's one in Ottawa, IL, and they have co-ops for veggies as well as meats, all grown right there on their farm without pesticides or hormones. Here is their contact info, send them an email for prices and more information about what they offer-

Jody & Beth Osmund
1985 N. 3609 th Rd Ottawa IL, 61350
###-###-####
[email protected]____.com

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H.J.

answers from Chicago on

If you cook mostly from scratch and plan your meals before you go to the store you'll spend a lot less money. I could buy a month's worth of groceries for the cost of your two weeks' allowance.

GO to the store on your own if you can, make a list before you go, and stick to it. Only buy what you're really going to eat that week, and plan out meals. THen you won't buy food you don't need. Also keep portion sizes in mind when you're at the store. A portion of meat is only the size of a deck of cards. That's only about 4 oz. Keep leftovers in mind when you shop. Make meals that you can have at least twice. Because there are only 3 of you, this should be relatively easy to do.

Don't insist on buying the most expensive cuts of meat. There's nothing wrong with chuck if you cook it properly. Sometimes it's better! Chuck makes the best roasts because there's more connective tissue. Chuck also makes great meatloaf. Talk about an inexpensive meal: it makes at least 6 servings, and costs about $2 a serving; only requires about 15 minutes of prep time if you have a food processor.

Organic mac and cheese? Please. Produce, meats, and milk I understand doing organic. BUt mac and cheese seems really overboard. Take a hard look at your shopping habits. Ask an economical friend to come to the store with you to critique your habits and preferences. Brand loyalty isn't necessary, buy what's cheaper unless you have a really good reason to think the quality is inferior.

Above all: plan, plan, plan. You'll spend a lot less money doing that alone.

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J.

answers from Chicago on

A couple things to add:

One thing that saves my family a TON is to buy meat from a meat market in HUGE bulk, like 1/2 a cow at a time. You might have a challenging time with the organic thing, but for steaks, ground beef, and roasts it comes out to $2.21 a pound! We also have them make hamburger patties for us which costs more. If you didn't have them do that, it would be even less! What I like about this is that all the meat is fresh, I know it has not been sitting in a case for weeks! Also, the cows are all locally raised so I feel like I know where they come from! We also buy a hog and we spend $1.14 per pound and that includes it being smoked, and some of it made into sausage for us. I never knew how many pork roasts there were! We have a huge upright freezer and it is completely full when we get our meat. We mostly eat frozen chicken breasts from Sam's club, or wait for the legs or wings to go on sale at one of the bigger "chain" stores.

Another suggestion is check out websites like http://www.hillbillyhousewife.com/index.htm The site is a hoot to begin with, but it has some good tips on how to prepare things from scratch. This can save a ton of money if you want to spend the time. Google for some more $$ saving tips!

I do most of the other things that were already mentioned, like shopping ads, stay away from the "chain" stores like Jewel and Domicks for anything but what's on sale, coupons, shop Aldi, buy in bulk from Sam's Club, make a list and stick to it, plan out meals, etc. I think you have brought up a concern that we all have about cutting costs! It could possibly be the main concern of SAHM!

Good luck!
J.

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H.L.

answers from Chicago on

I highly recommend vickysdeals.com! They have coupons and deals on there. Other than that, I have four kids. Our bill for food is about $300/wk! And we are a healthy and fit family! No beer, of course though. That's with coupons and Sam's bulk stuff. I agree with making a menu and sticking to it. Not to mention, I do NOT shop with the kids!!!! It's a proven fact that you will spend more with kids or hungry! Good luck!!
H.

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N.S.

answers from Chicago on

coming from a mother who feeds her family almost all organic (meats, fruits, veggies etc) I will tell you that even $500 is too much. I don't know exactly how much we spend but if I had to guess (based on our total expenses monthly) it's probably more like $500 every month. Also we are mostly wheat and spelt free as well. So how do we do it? Good question. I find the cheapest prices for meats, cheapest locations for fruits and produce and I ONLY buy stuff on sale. I buy bulk of things when they are marked down and I shop in a variety of places to save money --- alot of it. My primary places include Trader Joes, Wild Oats, a store on Chicago Ave. in Evanston (forgot its name, not Whole Foods) Certain places you pay for the aura vs the item. Don't be fooled by this. By eating organic, know that you are making a well worth while compromise. It simply does cost more but hopefully in the long run you'll be feeding your family better, more hearty and nutritious meals. Also, we eat meat only 1-2 times a week, rarely red meat at all. That costs money too. And cut the beer and alcohol and it'll do wonders! An occasional (once every few weeks is fine, but not every shopping trip.) Oh - also cloth diapers save you money and wipes use homemade tushy spray and paper towels. Use hand me downs for EVERYTHING besides for toilet paper. LOL Also, majorly important, I use TONS of coupons. It takes dedication if you want the best of both worlds, I will admit that without hesitation! Good luck!

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L.G.

answers from Chicago on

www.kraftfoods.com Love it...they have what is called dinners in a bag...so you get a weeks worth of meals planned for you along with a grocery list of what you need to buy and recipe cards for how they are cooked....I will tell you the food is GREAT and I coupon shop and sometimes get the store brand for what they ask for....all it takes is planning and you'll go a long way.

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R.T.

answers from Chicago on

About $800 for groceries in a month. About $200 a month for gas, that's two cars, we both work. One is a minivan other is a Maxima.

Now, this doesn't include eating out or fast food. I didn't see anybody else add that in, but I just skimmed. I know we all sneak in the Happy Meal's, the late night Taco Bell, etc. We're a family of 4, 3.5 yo twins. I wish we bought more fresh food and cooked more, but we both get home at 6 pm, it's hard.

Mostly Dominick's and Target.

Good luck.

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R.

answers from Chicago on

I spend about $150 per week on groceries and gas. Gas is pricey! I think people are taking for granted how much it takes to fill a tank per week. For our wagon is takes $40 per week!

I read once that the average family of 4 spends $100 per week on groceries. If you are buying wine/beer and nice meat, I can easily see how you could spend nearly $200 per week.

My best advice (something I need to do more often) is to buy with CASH. Not a debit card, but good old fashioned cash. I deposit money into my bank account and take money out. I only use cash at the grocery store--whatever it is that I have alloted. If I go over, I put something back. Debit cards are great, but when you actually have the cash in front of your eyes, you can see how much in fact you are spending.

Good luck. It took my husband several trips to Jewel, Wild Oats, and Trader Joes to see just how much everything adds up. Food is expensive!

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K.M.

answers from Chicago on

I go to Costco. I can manage a family of 4 with about 200 every 2 weeks - does not include diapers or gas though. I also don't do chuck. When we get meat, we buy it in bulk. If you want to cut down, then stop with the organic food and wine/beer. Then you can stay in budget.

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J.M.

answers from Chicago on

Hi all! I buy almost ALL ORGANIC, that includes meat, dairy veggies and fruit. I usualy hit Trader Joes(best prices by far for organic)Bring a list, I write down a list of dinner ideas and what I would need to buy for each meal, also include all the things that need to be refilled(example... potatoes, rice, jelly). On a seperate list I put all the household things(Walmart is not as nice as Target but it is cheaper. And you'll be less likely to hit the home, clothing and shoe department)Try and stick with the list. I always reward when I do(hit Starbucks).I love the farmers market!!!! So if I go grocery shopping on monday by Saturday(wheaton french market) I'll refill what were out of there. And only bring what you want to spend it is all cash there.
And I fill the Pacifica on Mondays too. It helps garge the amount you spend each week if you do it all on Monday. OH and list help cut the gas cause you won't forget as much and have to hit the store 3 times a weeek. Good Luck Jess

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J.R.

answers from Chicago on

We spend $250 about every 2 weeks for our family of five using coupons, buying organic,buying certain things in bulk and in bulk/stock up on sale. We buy beer on sale and wine on sale (stock up) or we buy 2 buck chuck at trader Joe's.

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M.S.

answers from Chicago on

Hi M.,

I am in a family of three as well! Seems that you have already had a ton of helpful responses. My family and I live downtown in River North. We can't move to the burbs because we would never see my husband. He pops in and out all day and night between erands to see us (restaurant business). I hardly ever drive. I mostly walk to Trader Joes (which does have great values on organic and ALCOHOL), I hit Whole Foods for the on sale meats, and Domincks for every thing else(they have all the same organics as Whole Foods). Of course Costco is the best for dry and paper goods. I am not sure how much I spend per week, but I do know that even with being mindful its a lot. And I will not give up my wine......being organic doesn't mean not drinking. We all do our best!

Have a great week.
M.

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N.K.

answers from Chicago on

How much wine and beer? That's probably the best area to eliminate or reduce your spending.

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M.H.

answers from Chicago on

Wow, I have enjoyed reading all the responses. I was going to add that Trader Joe's has some cheap alcohol, but someone beat me to it. I really think a list helps too, it helps eliminate buying stuff you will not eat for the 1-2 week period you're shopping for. We see what's on the "menu" for the week (posted to the fridge) and it cuts down on the ordering in, which is the killer for us. I can probably spend about $75- $120 on groceries a week depending what I buy, but the household stuff runs it closer to $120-$150. I shop for bulk things at Sam's, special stuff occasionally at Trader Joe's, and Jewel. I use to shop Cub's but they closed.
I would like to try the butcher in town for one of the meat packages they sell, but need to clear out my extra freezer a little.
Also, I had gestational diabetes with my first pregnancy. After that, we both stopped drinking pop. I don't buy it unless we have a family get together here, and sometimes I say forget it anyways.
A garden has been helpful for us also. We have an abundance of tomatoes right now. Peppers didn't survive too well this year.
Best of luck and thanks the engaging topic! Let us know what happens.
M.

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J.

answers from Chicago on

i am a huge fan of shopping for the sales. i do not buy the organic, i feel that there really is no difference. i have noticed that Garden fresh market has the best produce and meat selections around. They usually have some good deals on groceries. if you can get coupons for some of the staple items that you use that might save you. Also if you buy in bulk that will help with the cost to. i hope this helps a little bit. Good Luck on your saving stategies

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R.G.

answers from Chicago on

M.--I know you have gotten a lot of great responses--I tried to read most of them, but there is something that I don't think anyone mentioned:

Wal-Mart will match or beat ANY other store's advertised price! Just bring in the Jewel flyer, or Meijer, or Dominicks, etc. and show to the cashier at checkout--it's that easy. My MIL has worked for Wal-Mart for 25 years, and she recommends that everyone do this. So that eliminates you going to all of the different stores looking for the best deals.

Great topic
R.

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J.

answers from Chicago on

I have found the best thing to do is to shop with your budget in mind. Don't only think about what to buy, think about how much money you have to spend. If you need to bring a calculator along to the grocery store and add up your purchase as you go. It also helps me to decide what we are going to eat for the week and make a list of everything we need. I try to stay within the list (although I don't always do a very good job). But it helps to have a list with everything we need written down. Also, with the list, you can have a rough idea of how much you'll be spending before you go and can make changes to your meals if you need to.

Hope that helps. Good luck.

J.

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M.F.

answers from Chicago on

Where are you guys shopping??? I go to Meijer, I spend aprox $150 for 2 weeks. I get a ton of food, as well as some great cuts of meat (roasts, steaks, as well as the ground sirloin). I get enough dinners to cook 5 nights each week and breakfeast and lunch. I do go to Food 4 Less for deli meats for my husbands lunch. You can get a pound of deli meat (sara lee ham, butterball chicken breast, etc) for only $3.98 per pound! You could be saving so much!

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S.S.

answers from Chicago on

Hi M.,
I can totally relate with your concern...We are a family of five!
I spend at least 200.00 - 250.00 per week on groceries! That does not include gas. I would like to say that I TOTALLY disagree with anyone who is telling you that it's not worth it to buy organic!!!??? I can go on for ever about that! But that's another topic of discussion. I will just say for now, to the ladies saying that, please do your research on that matter for the sake of your good health and your families health.... Especially to protect and educate your little ones, who are growing up in a VERY toxic and harmful environment.
It is very hard to stay within that budget. But, like everyone else is saying, try and plan out your meals around the sale ads for that week. It helps alot!

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R.B.

answers from Chicago on

1 word BOBAKS
they have the best cuts of meat at outstanding prices..plus they always have coupons in store and in paper. my whols family shops there and i wouldnt go anywhere else now since i stumbled upon this awesome place.

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E.W.

answers from Chicago on

There are four of us in my family. My two boys are 4 and 2, and we spend around $1000 or so a month on groceries, diapers, tolietries, cleaning supplies, etc. My husband thinks it should be $600/month! Ha! Doesn't happen. I buy a lot of good meat from Fresh Market and then organic milk, fruits, and veggies, macaroni, and preservative free bacon and hot dogs. Everything else is just standard stuff. I honestly think the only way to cut it down is to eat the cheaper food, which if fine on some things, but on other things is chock full of preservatives, etc. Sorry, I'm not much help, but I almost always go over on our budget too.

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A.K.

answers from Chicago on

Hi M.,

I'm probably repeating what some of the Ladies have suggested but we plan our menu of meals for the week before we go grocery shopping, buy in bulk at Costco, do most of our grocery items from Target and buy organic fruit and veg from Stanley's.
We have had to cut down on our non-essential foods/treats but we will "treat" ourselves when we want ice-cream from Bobtail down the street. Hope this helps!!!

A.

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K.

answers from Chicago on

We spend about $75-100/week on groceries for 3. We don't drive much so I don't know about gas - maybe 1 tank/month. Here are the things that helped me cut down on some expenses:
1. plan ahead - figure out what you're cooking and buy only what you need (plus lunch staples etc)
2. we don't eat much meat. maybe a little chicken once or twice a month but we're vegetarian otherwise.
3. shop around. produce at the Farmers Market if we make it there, otherwise at Stanleys (organic or local always if we can). Milk organic at WF. Frozen veggies etc at WF or Trader Joes.
4. Eat what's in season (it tastes better too)
5. cook from scratch
6. (half joking here) brew your own beer! It's fun, cheaper than buying it, and it tastes good.

ps: I find coupons almost completely worthless. They are only for brand name items, frequently convenience foods. generally stuff I don't buy anyway.

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S.

answers from Chicago on

I have a family of 6 and I only spend about $75 a week in groceries and have a 40 mile drive to work daily and spend about $50 in gas a week. I do alot of bulk shopping, I make almost everything from scratch and use a lot of fresh fruit and veggies. We are out of the diaper stage but are in the hollow leg stage. My boys can eat you out of house and home so I have found ways to stretch the food budget. I also don't do alot of snacks for my kids - no nutritional value and big bucks at the store. I bake all the cookies for my kids, rice krispie treats etc. We always have a full frigde and 3 full freezers. It's all about living within your means.

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K.B.

answers from Chicago on

coming into this late... we are a family of 4 and i spend anywhere from $50-$80 a week on groceries... and about $50 a month on household things (toilet paper/cleaners etc.) that i buy at walmart or as supersales at Ultra foods etc. we totally have to budget and i am happy i am able to save that much for us - its all about planning and that.. I shop totally by ads ... and i only go to Jewel or Dominicks if there is a 1 day super sale on select items - otherwise you will NOT catch me in their deli dept - not paying $8/lb for ham when i can get it for $2.98/lb the same one! I do most my other shopping based on their sales ad at either: Valli, Butera, Food4Less or Ultra foods... you can't beat the sales they have - and i am lucky that i can even go to 2 if i plan my errands right so i am not going out of my way... my dad shops at jewel only and for ONE person always spends over $100 - i don't get it... anyway i also don't buy much convenient foods (like frozen meals and that) since i do lots of homemade cooking... i buy chicken when i see it on sale for $1.49/lb or less and stock up, buy 1 get 1 free sales.. etc. i never pay full price for meat and that... i also buy other stuff in bulk at Sams that i use a lot and is way cheaper in the long run....

i totally agree - a main helper is making a list based on what your meal plan for the week will be- Saturday i sit down and write out Saturday-Friday and write out what i am making each day and then plan my grocery list off the ingredients i need for that.... and of course coupons...

works everytime and has allowed me to save TONS Of money at the store! :)

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S.O.

answers from Chicago on

I spend about $250-$300 a week. Not including gas which is about a $100 a month. This is for my family of 4 and the daycare children I take care of. I shop at Sam's, Jewel and Aldi's. I watch for sales and stock up on items when they are on sale. Also we do not eat meat every night. My daughter is vegan so some of her food is a little more expensive like her yogurt but we still manage to do it. This includes all household supplies and my clothes. I rarely charge anything for the house or myself. For me this is a good amount.
Cheryl

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A.K.

answers from Chicago on

Wow, that seems like a lot of money. I am on a self imposed budget and I spend 75-80 dollars a week on groceries. I go to Jewel/ Aldi/Walmart Super center for some of my things. I understand the importance of organic but for the cost, it isn't worth it. For something that takes LESS to grow etc, it cost a lot more. It is funny that you mention alcohol your spending a lot of money of mainly organic and buying non organic alcohol. Kind of defeats the purpose of buying organic doesn't it. If worse comes to worse, try growing a garden next year, grow your own organic veggies,and tomatoes. Grow enough to can for the next year. That way it not only cuts the cost but cuts the cost for following years.
Just my input.

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H.J.

answers from Chicago on

Hi M.,

I honestly do not track my exact amounts, but I do save $$ in many ways.
First, always read your sales papers for 2 grocery stores. Write your list from here. Sun-Wed are differnt specials than thur-sat.
Also, Jewel and Dominicks accept expired coupons, use them! I save a min. $15.00 with each grocery visit. Sirloin is great, but only buy as a treat once a month. Or when its on sale. Jewel always has a buy one get one free for roast, or filets are 2 for $7 at certain times.
And don't forget to try store brands, some I have tried and do not care for, but the majority is just the same as name brands.

good luck!

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B.M.

answers from Chicago on

Wow!
Who ever knew that the subject of grocery shopping would get such heated responses.

I have a family of 4 and I do buy several organic products. There are certainly things that are WORTH buying organic and I wouldn't change that.

Anyway . . . I spent about $100 a week on groceries (it can go as high as $150, but that's rare). I am not sure where you are driving, but I spend about $40 a week on gas.

Like several of the other moms, I shop at several different stores. I look at the ads, and see what is on sale. I buy some of the staple things at Aldi, and then a majority of grocery shopping at local grocery stores. I also do a walmart or target run (there are certain things that we can only get at target but then other things that are much cheaper at walmart).

Definately look at your list and see what you can buy in bulk (Sams and Costco are great).

We don't eat junk food, and my kids eat fruit or granola bars for snack (but my 1 son has allergies to milk and sugar, so we are very careful about what comes into the house).

Good Luck. I bet if you get creative, you can cut down on costs.
B.

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S.A.

answers from Raleigh on

I am a family of two (just me and my son). I only buy items that are on sale unless it's something I need badly, and not everything has to be a brand name. If I see meat (beef, pork, poultry) on sale, I buy roughly a month's worth and freeze it. I spend about $35 weekly (milk, bread, eggs, lunchmeat), and upto $120 when buying meat. I buy non-perishables (macaroni & cheese, rice, fruit snacks, canned goods, etc) in bulk (walmart, sams, target). I dont have a lot of room in my kitchen so I store some of that stuff in my closet. I watch for buy one get one free sales on things we normally use (spagetti sauce, canned soup, etc). Cheese, bread, meats, etc can be frozen. I don't buy cleaning supplies or other non-food stuff at grocery stores because the markup is so hig - and I buy the refills when I cam (like for glass cleaner) and refill my spray bottle (its cheaper). I buy TP and paper towels in bulk - and I usually only have to buy them every 3-4 months or so because I buy so much. I do not eat organic at all (its not worth the extra cost) and we do splurge sometimes. A few times a week we have leftovers - a mish mash of whatever's left (I usually cook Mon/Tue then we have all of those leftovers on Wednesday, I cook Thu/Fri with leftovers on Saturday, etc). We also eat the leftovers for lunch. I take things like leftover meatloaf to work and warm it up in the microwave there. My son takes the leftover fruits or salads, too. We dont waste food. I do use some coupons - but only if it's something already on my list. I search the online coupon sites (so I dont have to pay for the sunday paper). I also go to company websites and check for coupons and free samples. Some of them have special mailing lists that they send coupons - I have a separate email address set up for stuff like that, and I take advantage of the savings when I can.

I drive roughly 210 miles to and from work per week (does not include running errands on my lunch hour, driving on the weekend, or anything else except strictly to and from work) and I use a tank a week. My tank holds approx 13 gallons. I go to gasbuddy.com and chicagogasprices.com to find the chespest gas along my route to work and fill up in the early morning or late at night - you get more gas when the temperature is cooler because gas is sold by volume - and the molecules cling together in the cold and separate in the warm weather. I spend about $36-40/week on gas. It was around $55 week before gas prices dropped.

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M.P.

answers from Chicago on

Wow, this totally got me thinking. I'm not sure what I spend but after reading all your responses, I'm guessing it's quite a lot. I did just try Food 4 Less and was really impressed by their prices. They didn't have a few of my regular things so I still had to go to Jewel but I feel like I saved a trememdous amount going there. Thanks for posting this. I think a lot of moms really started thinking about their grocery budget a lot more. I also buy diapers at diapers.com and it's much cheaper and you don't pay for shipping.

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E.S.

answers from Chicago on

We are a family of four and I have a monthly budget of $1,000. That includeds grocceries, soda, gas(we have a mid-size SUV-about $50 a week), eating out, diapers (1 still in them), cleaning items and household items (ex..toilet paper, soap, shampoo, ect..). I go to a local groccery store for the fresh produce and shop for other other groccery items at Super Target and Jewel. I usually buy brand items. I will buy my meat items from a Mexican store. I am able to find good cuts of meat, chicken, ect..at a good price. I haven't found a store like that near where I live, so I purchase them when I go visit my parents every weekend. My household items are bought at Wal-mart and Target. I look for sales from the Wednesday sales paper and use coupons when I can. Making your shopping list ahead of time will probably help you cut costs.

You should track your spending for a month. Write down everything you spend your weekly money on. You will be surprised how you actually spend your money. I had to do that once and I wrote everything down. I realized how much money I was spending on impulse items.

Good luck!

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M.J.

answers from Chicago on

I spend around 150-200 dollars a week on groceries and $50 a week on gas. I shop at Aldi's and Meijer (sometimes Woodman's) and I am shopping for 4 of plus my daycare kids (8) and seem to be fine.

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C.D.

answers from Chicago on

That is an incredible amount of money for gas and groceries every 2 weeks in my opinion, especally for a family of 3! It's definitely possible to cut back on spending there. To cut it down, sales and coupons help a TON!! I plan our groceries/meals around what is on sale (usually going to Ultra Foods in Wheaton or Butera Market in St. Charles...discounted grocery stores) and then go through the grocery list to see if we have coupons for things on the list to make it even cheaper (though admittedly organizing coupons are probably worth it only if you enjoy doing it which I do enjoy for seeing those savings). On the receipts, there is usually an amount saved by sales and coupons line. My goal is always to have that amount be about what I spent. Also, shopping Aldi for a lot of basics. It's not a "full service" grocery store, but things are generally a lot cheaper there because of it. Things are displayed neatly, but in the shipping boxes still. They don't pay people to take things out of the box and arrange them on a shelf. Things to get used to is a coin deposit on carts to return your cart because they don't pay people to clean up the parking lot of carts, bags cost extra or you can bring your own as we do, and they don't accept credit cards because of the extra charge the credit card companies require for accepting credit cards. Things there are often a lot cheaper and even tastes the same or better than name brand sometimes in my opiinion, like sloppy joe and Ritz type crackers. We only buy there things like crackers, chips & salsa/salsa con queso, stuffing, peanut butter and strawberry preserves, bread, syrups, applesauce, raisins, ibuprofin, etc. They have a large variety of things (not name brand, but variety of different foods I mean). I have a list of things I generally buy at Aldi that I could email to you if you want to try Aldi (organized by aisle, so I can get in and out of there quickly). :) But at other stores, sales and coupons is what helps tremendously! Hope this helps!

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P.

answers from Chicago on

We do not spend nearly that much. Usually around $75 or less a week, but we are a vegetarian household, except my daughter will sometimes eat some chicken once in a great while.

Go vegetarian! It's cheaper and healthier!

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I.C.

answers from Chicago on

I spend about $60 to $75 a week on groceries. There are 4 of us in the house. I spend $100 on gas in my car a month. When I shop for food, I don't go to Jewel or Dominicks. I stick to the local privately owned food shop where the produce and the meats are cheaper. I don't buy organic, but I buy food that is healthy. I make a list of the things I need for the menu I create for the week and stick to it.
If you're going over your $1000 budget a month, you should reevaluate what you spend on. Make a list for the groceries and stick to it. It does make a difference and it's easier to plan for weekly meals.

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S.

answers from Chicago on

Have him grocery shop for a month and see if he changes his tune!

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M.E.

answers from Chicago on

Hi M., I get the same $500 every 2 weeks and always go over. I try to get my husband to pay for the Costco trips (all dry goods, alcohol and some food) and drycleaning so he is more "involved" (or aware?) of how expensive everything adds up. Then I will spend an average of $200 each week on groceries, at least $40 on gasoline, unknown amount on lunch and cupcake runs to the local restaurants, variable amounts on children's clothing/shoes. I don't have the time or patience to cut coupons or run to 5 different groceries across town. I'm not much help, but at least we're in the same boat!

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D.K.

answers from Chicago on

You already have a lot of responses so I won't reiterate others but one thing I wanted to add was there are a lot of "good cuts of meat" that are not sirloin. Do you have a crock pot? You can do all types of roasts, and whole chickens which are much cheaper than steaks and breasts. Also, you can braise chicken thighs easily an they taste fantastic as well. We like to cook and will sometimes splurge on expensive meat but we normally only buy meat that is on sale since it adds up so quickly. Jewel often does chickens, pork tenderloins and roasts buy 1 get 1 free and Caputo's has chicken legs and thighs cheap quite often. I find that even buying these items on sale they take up a big portion of my grocery bill (usually about $100 a week for a family of 3) but I stock up and 2 months a year we eat out of the pantry and freezer and just buy produce and perishables. This month was a freezer/pantry month and with my garden I only went to the grocery store twice and we probably spent less than $100 all month.

Good luck!

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B.C.

answers from Chicago on

I can't tell you exactly how much i spend weekly, but i've been trying to limit myself to $250/week for groceries, gas, and similar household expenses. Like you, i also buy some organic (but have found where to get the best deals), and i do buy leaner cuts of meat, etc.
I've been going over budget nearly every week, probably closer to $300/week, but i even struggle w/that. I'm curious to hear other responses as well, cuz i just can't seem to keep it down to $250. I'm not even buying diapers anymore!

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J.K.

answers from Chicago on

We are a family of 5. The kids are 6,4, and 5 months. We, too, spend a small fortune on food. I actually have the prices of certain foods that we eat a lot memorized (not on purpose, just happened) and I always notice if they are cheaper somewhere that we don't usually shop. We do buy all our laundry detergent, tp, paper towels, etc at Costco, which helps a little. But, with diapers, formula, and regular food, we spend about $150/week. Plus, $100 a month for gas for the minivan (I mostly drive around town, so I'm not putting too many miles on the van.) It was a real eye-opener for my husband when he ran into the Jewel a few weeks ago to pick up a few things. He tossed a couple impulse items into the cart and gee-- the bill was over $150 for mostly junk. I'm with the others who suggested that your husband either 1) do the shopping once or 2) come with you to see what you buy and what it costs. I echo the people who say to plan your meals and stick to the list. I never do coupons-- they always seem to be for products we don't use or "substitute" products that my kids won't like. Maybe when my kids are older they won't be so picky, but right now they have very strong taste/brand preferences so it would be a waste to buy the cheaper item if it would get eaten. One big thing we did recently was to buy some frozen meat in bulk. A neighbor has a "meat salesman" who comes to the house. We bought from him too -- 6 boxes of frozen chicken breasts. Each box had a different flavor (like a marinade) and they are all good. I forget what we paid, it was maybe $120 for all of it, but I remember working it out at the time and thinking it was a good deal. We have a deep freeze, so we could do it. The chicken is individually packaged, so I can just pull out 3 or 4 at a time and defrost them. Works great, and really cuts down on buying expensive meat at the supermarket. Good luck!

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A.

answers from Chicago on

There are four of us in our family - to adults and two kids, 3 and 5. I spend around $150 a week on groceries, including beer and wine. A large chunk of our groceries come from Aldi - great place to shop for basics and really helps cut costs. They have a great brand of yogurt "Fit & Active" that is only $0.33 each compared to the name brand healthy yogurt at Jewel that costs about $1 each. We get our milk from Oberweis. Just buy what you absolutely need - do not stockpile. We eat a lot of chicken - much cheaper than meat. Once in a while I splurge on filet mignon. Good luck!

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H.D.

answers from San Francisco on

Eh...there are 7 of us and I spend $200 a week on food and minor stuff for the house (Target is the big family's friend). With that many people I have a mini van which I fill up every other week. I don't buy prepared foods to often because if you do the break down they are WAY too expensive. No lunchables for example. We eat alot of chicken and I don't buy the really expensive cuts (gads the kids don't care as long as it is food!) unless it is just for hubby, me and company. Fresh fruit and veggies, yes. We go through at least 2 gallons of milk a week and we are *gasp* Starbucks coffee people so I buy Sumatra coffee. Honestly, this is shopping without thought (at 42 I have done ALOT of shopping for food) but if I put my mind to it I know I could stick to a $150 a week budget for 7 people, been there, done that....It just takes discipline and really figuring out what you need. =)

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