Last week I suggested what I believe to be the simplest way to save money on groceries: buy less food. I honestly believe that most Americans eat more than we need. And if we aren’t overeating, then we are still buying more food than we need, and therefore, throwing away food that we never get around to eating.
I have some things to say on this that concern the heart issues behind this, but I’m sure that you are a little more interested in how our family does it, so I thought I’d start there. Here’s my plan: I’m gonna document our grocery situation for the next four weeks. Every Monday I will fill you in on what I bought and how much I spent. So, here’s the first week:
This week is different from a regular week because we have two birthdays this week. Micaiah turns 11 on Thursday and Isaac turns 13 on Friday. My usual grocery routine is to meal plan on Friday morning while I’m helping the kids with school, and then grocery shop Friday afternoon, after RC and I have had our lunch date. This means that I’m buying for Friday dinner through the next Friday lunch. That’s seven meals for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack, and dessert each. However, I don’t want to grocery shop on Isaac’s birthday next Friday so I bought an extra day of food for this week, and my next grocery shop will be on Saturday.
Also, one of our birthday traditions is that the birthday person gets to choose all their favorite meals for that day. This means that for two days this week, we will be doing something special (read: more expensive). Since we do live on such a tight grocery budget, our kids don’t have much say in what they eat. They love getting to choose whatever, within reason, they want on their birthday, and we love giving them that opportunity, This obviously has an effect on our grocery bill for that week, and I considered waiting until next week to share our groceries, but I figured that this is part of it, too, so why not share it as well. When we have birthdays, I do alter the other days a bit so as to help keep costs down, but this week I spent more than $120. I’ll show you the receipt later in the post. First, here’s what we had around the house and what things looked like after we bought groceries.
Because I meal plan, we actually use up the food in our house each week. It might look pitiful to some, but I appreciate the evidence of us using the resources we have, and hopefully, using them well. Plus, it’s fun every Friday refilling our home with food.
When I shop, I think in terms of meals. So, I plan 7 breakfasts and I have a budget for those. I plan our lunches and have a budget for those as well. Again, for snack, dinners, and desserts and extras. I’ve divided the groceries into the meals, given you what my original budget is, and then put the actual total at the bottom of each meal.
- fruit loops: $3.50 (on sale from $3.78)
- Frosted Flakes: $3.50 (on sale from $3.78)
- gallon whole milk: $2.38 (usual price)
- coffee mate: $2.18
- eggs: $1.04
- bacon: $2.50
- TOTAL: $15.10 ($11.56 without birthday food)
- bread: $1.76 (2 loaves @ $.88 each)
- lunch meat: $3.98 (16oz turkey breast)
- sliced cheese: $3.27
- eggs: $1.04
- peanut butter: $3.88
- jelly: $2.45
- mac n cheese: $1.86 (3 @ $.62 each)
- chicken nuggets: $4.97
- Dr. B soda twelve pack: $1.97 ($1.00 off coupon, usually $2.97)
- sun chips: $2.98
- hamburger patties: $8.97
- hamburger buns: $1.96 (2 @ $.98 each)
- TOTAL:$39.09 ($16.38 without birthday food)
- apples: $4.96
- goldfish: $5.98
- bananas: $1.08
- TOTAL: $12.02
- soda: $3.94 (2 twelve packs @ $2.97 each with two $1.00 off coupons)
- Blue Moon seasonal $7.47
- ice cream: $9.36 (2 @ $4.68 each)
- ice cream cones: $1.28
- caramel apple wraps $0 (free with purchase of apples)
- mini pie shells: $2.81
- chocolate cake mix: $1.00
- strawberry frosting: $1.64
- lemon juice: $.88
- TOTAL: $28.38 (we would have bought completely different stuff if it was a normal week)
Dinner Food: $56
- frozen chopped broccoli: $1.18
- frozen burritos: $2.79
- sour cream: $1.48
- potato chips: $1.98
- 8oz sharp cheddar: $2.22
- salsa: $1.98
- chicken breast: $12.22 (I will divide this between 3 dinners and only use it for two this week, so basically $4.07 of this goes toward next week, though I counted all $12.22 this week.)
- spaghetti: $1.00
- crushed tomatoes: $1.54
- cottage cheese: $1.64
- mozzarella cheese: $6.98
- crushed tomatoes: $3.08 (2 cans @ $1.54 each)
- pizza crust: $3.38
- pepperoni: $2.50
- ground beef: $3.29
- lasagna: $1.98
- TOTAL:$49.24 ($26.39 without birthday food)
- toilet paper: $6.84
- tissues: $1.27
- bathroom spray: $.98
- bath scrubbies: $3.50 for 4
- TOTAL: $12.59
Texas doesn’t tax food so our our taxes for this trip were: $2.14
Only $40 over our normal budget, though I will be spending another $5 later this week, because Isaac wants tomatoes and spinach for his burgers. I wanted to get those fresh, so it will be more like $45 over budget.
Instead of showing you all our dinners in a blog post, I’m gonna instagram those each evening. I’ll put a pic of the meal, then the ingredients and cost in the comments. You can follow along on my instagram, bridgetbabione, or just check the pics in the sidebar. Since I’m just starting this tonight, I’ll fill you in on our dinners for this past Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
Friday: we went into Austin for an outdoor movie at Community First, a really cool ministry to the chronically homeless. We stopped at Sonic on our way there and bought 50 cent corndogs, (8 corndogs were less than $5. I ate leftover pizza from home, and Caleb made himself a sandwich because we don’t prefer corndogs) and each kid had a free slushy on their Sonic app. Then we bought candy at the movie to support the ministry (this expense comes out of a different part of our budget).
Saturday: the kids ate frozen burritos ($2.79) and soda (1/2 of $1.97), while RC and I went into Austin for dinner with Carrie, Andrew, and another couple (this expense comes out of a different part of our budget).
Sunday: I made black bean enchiladas. This meal was meant for last week, so I already had all the ingredients and it didn’t add to our grocery budget for this week. On our way home from the library last Thursday I stopped at HEB and got frozen pizza for less than $8 because I just wasn’t feeling the cooking, which meant that the meal I had planned for Thursday, black bean enchiladas, didn’t get used.
Ok. I have more to explain, but I’m gonna save that for next week. Look for tonight’s dinner on instagram if you made it through this unbelievably long post. =)