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Food Budgeting.

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
Anyone else out there working on food budgeting right now? If so I would be really interested in hearing your strategies.

This past few days I have been working on my food budget and filling my freezer with quick, easy meals to have on hand when I return to school next week.

This*past*(got caught by the spell-write police) Saturday I went grocery shopping and spent $120 which is about double what I normally would purchase for a 10 day period. I picked several items that were on sale at a very good price, beef, chicken, shrimp. They also had potato's, cabbage, and asparagus on special as well.
So far this week I have made, lasagna(both meat and vegetarian), stuffed pasta shells, beef soup, vegetable soup, and today roast beef dinners for the freezer. I am still going to do chicken ragu, chicken dinners, and steamed cabbage and asparagus also for the freezer.

I was figuring all the numbers out this morning and other then essentials I shouldn't have to do another large shopping until the beginning of November so I am saving about $200 in food cost during that time.
I find that really exciting.

Also it works well because I don't like eating process food products especially frozen pre-made commercial meals because you never know what's in them. So this is not only a cheaper way to go but a much more nutritional one as well...

I would also be interested in hearing about cutting other household costs as well if anyone has any suggestions.
post #2 of 20
I think you have the right idea. If I'm making lasagna or cabbage rolls or anything that takes a while to make, I'll usually do extra while I'm in the mood anyway and freeze it for a "lazy" day. And, you are right, they are better meals and more nutritional than the pre-packaged ones.

Very smart move on your part.

I think one of the biggest savings in household costs is cleaning products. I use vinegar to get rid of built up lime - cheaper and safer IMO. I clean any tea-stained cups with a damp paper towel and baking soda. I put baking soda in my drains and then add vinegar to clean and sweeten them.

For those of you with stainless steel appliances, the best cleaner you can use is a damp cloth with a sprinkle of vinegar on it then wipe down the appliance. Restaurants have been doing this for decades.
post #3 of 20
We usually go food shopping (major) about once a month (2 people and 3 cats/1 dog). We have a list on the fridge and when we run out of something its written on there.

Before we go, we make a master list out and go in the pantry and freezer to double check what we might need that's not written down. For the most part we stick to our list - very few "extras"

I guess we spend about $250 - $300 for the month (if its mainly food, its less - but we also add in clothes or tools or something like that at times).
post #4 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yosemite View Post
I think you have the right idea. If I'm making lasagna or cabbage rolls or anything that takes a while to make, I'll usually do extra while I'm in the mood anyway and freeze it for a "lazy" day. And, you are right, they are better meals and more nutritional than the pre-packaged ones.

Very smart move on your part.

I think one of the biggest savings in household costs is cleaning products. I use vinegar to get rid of built up lime - cheaper and safer IMO. I clean any tea-stained cups with a damp paper towel and baking soda. I put baking soda in my drains and then add vinegar to clean and sweeten them.

For those of you with stainless steel appliances, the best cleaner you can use is a damp cloth with a sprinkle of vinegar on it then wipe down the appliance. Restaurants have been doing this for decades.
I agree with the household cleaning products. I don't own any other than bleach and a natural laundry detergent. I find most are over priced, dangerous and bad for the enviornment. Vinegar such a great item! I use it all the time, to wash cutting boards, disinfect pets' stainless steel bowls and clean the cat's 'eating mat' where they eat their raw meaty bones.
post #5 of 20
I get a lot of my cleaning products at Dollar Tree, it saves me a lot of money.
post #6 of 20
I try & try & try to save money on our food bill but it never seems to get any better . I'm not a fantastic cook, but I'm learning, so I make all out food from scratch & for a family of 2 1/2 (although the 16 month old eats more then the both of us combined!!) we're still spending $200 AT LEAST/2 weeks.

I just can't seem to get it any lower then that . My veggie garden did help out allot this summer, but meat just seems to be getting more & more expensive.

I don't mind buying no-name groceries (in fact I prefer that in most cases) but I won't buy junk food and sadly it's much cheaper then real food.

I don't buy cleaning supplies any more, I use vinegar & baking soda on EVERYTHING & it works great! I've even started making my own laundry soap & I just love it! The only thing is I can't find a good floor cleaner recipe I like.
post #7 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rianna View Post
I get a lot of my cleaning products at Dollar Tree, it saves me a lot of money.
Yes I do pick up several of my cleaning products a Mighty Dollar. Things like garbage bags, cleansers, and window cleaner, however I have found to many of the products like dish soap, or liquid cleaner are so inferior that you have to use 3X's as much so your really not saving any money. Your better off buying a higher quality more expensive product because you get more uses from it.
post #8 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by tierre0 View Post
Yes I do pick up several of my cleaning products a Mighty Dollar. Things like garbage bags, cleansers, and window cleaner, however I have found to many of the products like dish soap, or liquid cleaner are so inferior that you have to use 3X's as much so your really not saving any money. Your better off buying a higher quality more expensive product because you get more uses from it.
I totally agree, there are just some things that don't pay to try and save a buck. However that doesn't mean they never go on sale, so you can stock up on things that do the job! I wouldn't buy vinegar anyway, I can't imagine it being a short cut from some basic cleaning products that last a very long time. Of course I live with one roommate and Maia in a small apartment, but it is what it is.
When it comes to groceries, I definitely stock up on meats that freeze well, like chicken. Chicken, especially when it still has the skin on it, will freeze for a couple months and then thaw without freezer burn! The skin actually protects the meat. Of course you should store it properly for freshness. When chicken or other meats go on sale, I buy a few and freeze them
post #9 of 20
WOW where do you guys shop? We spend about $1800+ a month ($1600 US) for three people and that doesn't even count the cat food and supplies. I guess when a dozen eggs cost $5, a loaf of bread is $5, etc. it adds up!

We attempt to save money here by spending about 1/3 of our grocery money at Costco, mostly for the fresh produce and meat, and the rest at local grocery stores. I plan our meals around the sales; I cook everything from scratch and we have a huge garden, too! My husband travels 3-4 months out of the year and isn't even eating here then. Why's it so crazy expensive?
post #10 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by SwampWitch View Post
WOW where do you guys shop? We spend about $1800+ a month ($1600 US) for three people and that doesn't even count the cat food and supplies. I guess when a dozen eggs cost $5, a loaf of bread is $5, etc. it adds up!

We attempt to save money here by spending about 1/3 of our grocery money at Costco, mostly for the fresh produce and meat, and the rest at local grocery stores. I plan our meals around the sales; I cook everything from scratch and we have a huge garden, too! My husband travels 3-4 months out of the year and isn't even eating here then. Why's it so crazy expensive?
Holly crud muffins! That's a lot of money! 5 bucks for a dozen eggs or loaf of bread?! I thought NYC was a rip off!
post #11 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by cheylink View Post
I wouldn't buy vinegar anyway, I can't imagine it being a short cut from some basic cleaning products that last a very long time
For myself, I won't use chemicals which are unsafe for myself and the cats. Using vinegar, bi-carb soda etc. the cats are completely safe.

The lower cost is just a bonus.
post #12 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by tierre0 View Post
This*past*(got caught by the spell-write police)
Would that be the "spell-right" police?
post #13 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by SwampWitch View Post
WOW where do you guys shop? We spend about $1800+ a month ($1600 US) for three people and that doesn't even count the cat food and supplies. I guess when a dozen eggs cost $5, a loaf of bread is $5, etc. it adds up!

We attempt to save money here by spending about 1/3 of our grocery money at Costco, mostly for the fresh produce and meat, and the rest at local grocery stores. I plan our meals around the sales; I cook everything from scratch and we have a huge garden, too! My husband travels 3-4 months out of the year and isn't even eating here then. Why's it so crazy expensive?
I live near Toronto and that sounds excessive even to me. We eat filet mignon at least once per week, have shrimp and scallops about once per month, I buy pastries and sausages at a specialty store, and I don't come close to that. I also don't buy any potato chips or snack foods, no pop or anything like that so I don't know how much difference that makes.
post #14 of 20
Well I do have a large garden as well so I freeze lots of veggies and currently digging out my potatoes. I plant enough that they should las tme until spring. The same with the onions! I supplement at the farmers market on some items though. I make my own BBQ sauce and catsup and other tomato based items which I can control the salt and sugar amounts going in them. That goes for making my own jams as well.

Working at a bread bakery helps too as I can take a loaf of bread or rolls or sweets stuff home every day I work. Which is 4 days/week!!

But I buy some of my meat at a butcher shop-esp when they have good sales and most of the eating cheese come from a local cheese shop.

I usually do not count cleaning items in my food budget. I have been switching over to a specific natural/organic line of cleaners which cost alot more but seem to last longer too.

So its hard to put a $$ amount on but its maybe about $60-$70/month??

I will make extra iems and freeze to for a quick meal.
post #15 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SwampWitch
WOW where do you guys shop? We spend about $1800+ a month ($1600 US) for three people and that doesn't even count the cat food and supplies. I guess when a dozen eggs cost $5, a loaf of bread is $5, etc. it adds up!

We attempt to save money here by spending about 1/3 of our grocery money at Costco, mostly for the fresh produce and meat, and the rest at local grocery stores. I plan our meals around the sales; I cook everything from scratch and we have a huge garden, too! My husband travels 3-4 months out of the year and isn't even eating here then. Why's it so crazy expensive?
I can understand excessive prices as well living in the middle of a tourist area. I really try to not do a big shopping through-out the summer simply because the prices can be as much as 1/3 higher then the rest of the year.
There was was a time when I didn't really worry to much about sales or coupons but you know I really dislike paying more then I have to simply because of the location where I live. My sister and I have been planning a trip into the city in the next month or so to shop at on of the bigger stores like Costco. We figured out that even with the gas prices the way they are we can save a money doing it that way. I guess every little bit helps in this day and age.

I am lucky as well in having a brother who owns a farm. He is forever bringing me vegetables, and his garden alone supplies potato's, carrots, cabbage, and turnips all year round to his household, mine and my sister. I also have 20 chickens, 1/4 of a pig, 1/4 of a cow, and 3 turkeys that I also have coming in November when his animals go to the butcher.

It's funny because when people hear that they say how can you eat the animals since you have seen them alive. My response is it's no different from picking them up in the grocery store plus it's quite a lot cheaper and the product is free range.
post #16 of 20
I too keep a list on the fridge of things that I run out of and then I take that with me to do my shopping. I only buy what I need and I make all my meals from scratch. (my husband and I love to cook)

We also eat alot of fresh veggies and try to eat vegetarian at least once a week. (cuts down on the meat expense)

I am also an avid coupon clipper! And I'm always searching for coupons either in the newspaper or online. (As it is I just saved ALOT of money on my textbooks by finding coupons and deals online)

HOwever despite these measures my food bills are still rather high...that is because I follow a gluten free diet and gluten free products are very expensive still. It is like 3 or 4 dollars for a pound of gluten free pasta.
post #17 of 20
My husband just told me our groceries cost closer to $2000 (CDN) a month, but that includes soaps, detergents, paper towels, etc. It would be a lot less if we counted just food, since we don't buy much packaged or convenience stuff.

A chicken here is $11-$13 (CDN), an organic chicken is $18 - $25. My sister in Houston told me she can buy an organic chicken at Whole Foods for $6 (USD) which is $7 CDN!


Quote:
Originally Posted by tierre0 View Post
...My sister and I have been planning a trip into the city in the next month or so to shop at on of the bigger stores like Costco. We figured out that even with the gas prices the way they are we can save a money doing it that way. I guess every little bit helps in this day and age...
The Costco here has gas now, too, so we fill up when we go there every other week.
post #18 of 20
If you live on the island that would explain the high cost of food as everything would need to be sent by boat or plane which would add to the cost.

I know we eat extremely well at our house and I can't even imagine food costing $2,000 per month. We'd have to be eating lobster every day.
post #19 of 20
We have what is called "Angel Food Ministries." For $30, I will be getting enough food for a family of 4 for 1 week. So since there is only the 2 of us, it will last 2 weeks. I am also getting the prepared meals, 10 meals for $28. I believe that it is national. I included the link so you can check it out to see if you have it in your area.

http://www.angelfoodministries.com/
post #20 of 20
We spend about $1200 a month on just food for a family of six. I also grow my own veggies,potatoes and we have apple, pear and peach trees. I don't buy pre made or frozen foods or snack (I prefer to know what is going into what I feed my family) I also live in a tourist area (Outer Banks)
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