I just signed up hoping desprately that your site will help me and my family with our goals to spend less, while still eating healthy foods and build our storage up at the same time. So far I really like what I see, however, if I was to budget based off of your weekly menu's (keeping in mind that I'm just starting out) It looks like I'd spend about 200$ a week! Right now I budge 450$ a month.We figured we could bump that up another 100$ for the purchase of storage items, but I still think that after 2 weeks, I'd be out of money. We have a family of 6 (Me, my husband, and 4 little kid) I find that I'm going over budget all the time so I'm hoping your site will help us stay within that range. My question to you is if that is even reasonable. I noticed you mentioned on your blog that you also have 4 kids, how much do you budget? And what should I expect to spend each week at the store while I'm just starting out?
That is a great question! Our family also has 6 people and I spend about $400-$500 a month (depending on how much food storage I am stocking up on). I could definitely spend less if we didn’t cook so much and go through our food so quickly. I am always entertaining, and at least a couple of times a week cooking for over 15people (our family parites a lot!). So..if I can spend that, you should definitely be able to stay within that range.
Now, the fact I have all of my food storage will save me money, but you will be there over time. If I were you I would focus on getting a 3 month supply of food. On the weekly deal sheets, when a food storage item is on sale for a ‘red’ price, divide the year total by four and that will give you the 3 month supply per person. Times this by 6 and you will have a good number to begin stocking up on. If you are trying to get your whole year supply all at once, you will be spending more than the $400 a month. If you have the money however, this is the way to get your year supply in one years time (if not faster).
Another way I keep my food budget down is I DON'T buy ANY item that is not on sale for the ‘red’ prices!! I generally shop at Walmart and price match all of the ‘red’ deals and do one stop shopping to save the most money. Try not to buy extra snacks, prepackaged/processed items, chips, cookies, pop, frozen dinners, etc. I cook everything from scratch and stick pretty close to my weekly menu planner. If you were to cook every meal on the menu planner it would cost you around $100 a week. However, for most families the eight meals will last you at least 1-1 ½ weeks. You will most likely have leftovers, eat out, or cook quicker meals on some of the nights. I try to shop only every week and a half (unless there is a screamin’ good food storage deal on an item I am low on). The less I am at the grocery store, the less I spend each month. If you are planning your menu to last you 1 1/2 weeks, you will find you will spend less.
I also shop at Costco only once a month! Costco can eat up my money faster than any other store! I make sure I only go once a month and stock up on the items I will need that month (lettuce, cheeses, butter, spices, condiments, mushrooms (they have the best price!), peppers (usually the least), etc.) Their produce is such great quality, I find that if I buy enough of their produce, it will last me nearly the whole month (I buy 3 packages of their Romaine lettuce. It you keep it in the crisper, it will last for weeks! It is awesome and a great price!).
One other aspect of my food budget is that EVERY year at tax return time we spend close to $500 on beefing up our food storage. We do this every year and just plan on a portion of our return to go to our storage. That month I do spend a lot on food, but that will help me spend less throughout the rest of the year.
Ways to save you at the grocery store is to not go hungry, try to not to bring your children, bring your list, stay focused, and only buy items on sale! If you need your money to stretch even further, incorporate less expensive meals into your weekly meals…grilled cheese & soup, spaghetti, macaroni & cheese, etc. They are not the healthiest meals, but can be inexpensive and quick when you are running low on time & money! That is why having a food storage is so fabulous!! This last week I was running low on groceries, was sick, and didn’t want to cook (You know I am sick when cooking isn't fun!!). I was able to make a big pancake dinner, spaghetti, and had Progresso soup and grilled cheese the next night and it was all out of my food storage (except for the cheese). It was great not to have to run to the store and I could stretch my food budget by three days because I have plenty of food in my storage. Now that I am feeling better I can go shopping again and cook better meals. Yippee!!
Hope that helps! Staying within a food budget can be hard. But if you are disciplined and organized, it can be easy & FUN!! With the help of Deals to Meals you should find that you are eating healthier/homemade meals, saving less at the grocery store, and stocking up on all of the basic food storage items your family needs to be prepared. It is such a GREAT feeling!!