Friday, November 11, 2011

How I spend $100 dollars a month on groceries

This post is LONG over due. I have had several requests to write about how I only spend $100 dollars at the grocery store and just actually taking the time to sit down and write about it has been tough... because i am usually sitting down planning how in the world I am going to make it on $100 each month.

IT"S NOT EASY! Okay... hear me say that... and it doesn't ALWAYS happen, but 10 out of 12 months it does. Get ready for some work.

It's trial and error. It's practice. It's dedication. It's determination.

If you are a couponer then you get how much work it takes to do this. Let me say this... I can ACTUALLY spend all of my $100 dollars on FOOD because I have a stock pile of everything else. I do NOT keep my household item, personal items, beauty items, etc in the same money pile as my groceries. make sense?

Let's get started....


Meat is such a bulk of most families(I would assume) food budget. It's expensive. I don't eat deer. I shoot ducks but don't eat them. So I am actually buying ALL of the meat that I have. I became friends with the butcher at my local Kroger. He sees me coming! :) He is the one that told me that Tuesdays are the BEST days to come get bargains on meat. I don't know if has to do with when trucks come in or not, but I do know that Wednesdays at Kroger starts the new sales week. SO, on Tuesdays they mark down meat. I have gone in on Tuesdays MANY TIMES and left spending $30 dollars on meat that lasted us for a month.

But what if that doesn't happen? What if there are no mark-downs? How can you get meat for less money??? by PLANNNNNINNNGGGG... that's always the key word.

Plan your meals a month out. Now I realize that you may change it up, but that's not the point. The point is to write out 30 meals, figure up what you need for each of them, then get your calculator out and head to the store. It's ALWAYS cheaper to buy the bigger package. Well, at least in my experience. If you buy your hamburger meat in the tubes, buy the 5 lb tube, not 1 lb at a time. That's a WASTE!

does your town have a Save a lot? Or Save you more? Check out those places for meat! Their meat tends to be way more fresh than Walmarts meat and is actually quite comparable to Kroger's meat which I think is the BEST!

You can't spend $100 dollars a month on groceries and think that you make elaborate meals, however I like to say that we eat like royalty because we NEVER do without.

Bottom line with meat... check for discounts. If the meat is about to expire, FREEZE IT! It can last up to 6 months if it is frozen. And those were words from my butcher friend.

Plan to spend half of your budget of $100 on meat.

I buy chicken strips instead of chicken breasts in the bags. Kroger brand is usually on sale, but occasionally the Tyson brand is cheaper. Look for the best deal. Not just price, but check the pounds. I prefer the strips because I can get more meals out of them. If meat is taking up half of my budget then I need it to LAST. So if we do strips instead of breasts then I can make more other things to go with the meal. Such as we cook 5 chicken strips (I get 2, the husband gets 3) I still have a full bag of chicken left! Doesn't sound like a ton of meat does it? It's not. But it's plenty. But then I can make 2 sides. Maybe red potatoes and a can of corn?

A good rule of them for ME is this... $3.00 a meal. That is my goal. I try to make each meal cost us $3.00. Not always easy to do, but it IS possible. So I look at the bag of potatoes(which is a staple item in our house), the amount of meat I used, and the price of the canned veggie I purchased. I have finally gotten it to where 99% of our meals cost us under $3.00 a piece or right at it.

If you can't buy fresh, then frozen is next best, then comes cans. Just keep that in mind.

Because of the way I shop(I try not to do it very often b/c then I tend to blow my budget) I can't buy a lot of fresh veggies. I always have red potatoes on hand, an onion or 2, and that's about it. Now let me say this... I love love LOVE salad!!!! My husband is not such a big fan. My daughter can't stand it. SO I eat a salad every single day at lunch(which is free and also helps me keep the budget where it is) but that way I don't have to buy salad for home. Every time I buy it it goes bad, BUT, again... check with Kroger on Tuesdays. They are always marking salads down. So if salad is something that you have to have, get it on sale and make sure that you can eat it that day or the very next day. It will NOT keep and you will have wasted your money. I don't want to see anyone waste money on food.

Onions keep for a long time. That ones easy. Just buy a good size and you can work on it for a while.

Our main fruit in the house is bananas. My daughter loves them, I love them, and so does the hubs so this works out great. They are also very inexpensive which helps. BUT, you can buy them when they are still green and have them on hand.

I've wasted money on so much fruit in the past... my daughter will be hollaring for grapes, i'll buy some and she will eat a handful and the bag sits in the fridge and rots. Gross. So when buy something you need to have more than one plan of what you are going to use it for. Example: the grapes. Know that will be your snack that evening, put it in your lunches the next day, and plan to have a fruit salad or some other use. I think that's the problem these days is that people buy something for a meal having no backup plan so a lot of money gets wasted and thrown out which is such a bummer.

Milk, OJ, Juice, Cheese

Holy cow we eat a LOT of cheese! I sprinkle cheese on just about anything. yummmyyyy! I've got to buy it on sale though. You HAVE to look for the bargains. Check the expiration dates on it and you can get a big bag which is generally cheaper.  Sliced cheese. Shredded cheese. Velveeta. Look for the sales. If it's not on sale, do NOT buy it. Plan a different meal. Cut back on things... we used to buy Velveeta every time we went to the store. Now it's a treat to buy it. I plan our taco nights around when Velveeta is on sale. I've learned to give up things that I once considered "staples" in our house.

OJ--drop the name brand! I had to break my husband of this habit and it took about 2 years but he finally gets it. He was spending a fortune on orange juice because he had to have the name brand because he thought it tasted better. I couldn't tell a difference. He finally gave in and now we save over $14 dollars a month because I switched to the gallon jug of the store brand. HOLY COW that's a lot of money. That's 2 extra bags of chicken, or a splurge on some pork chops...

Milk. Look for the sale. Know how much you will use. On the weekends that my daughter is at her dad's house we don't use any milk. So I don't buy it. I have it when I need it but i've learned that we can buy on a half gallon jug and that has saved so much money! My daughter is not a fan of water so I had to get creative. We bought her a cool little work out type cup that has the top that opens and closes and now I have convinced her to drink water. And that is ALL she can drink out of that cup. She needs the water, it's good for her, plus when we drink water we are saving money.

Juice. Gotta look for bargains. Frozen is 99% of the time less expensive. I'm not a fan of juice. It's so loaded with sugar and they make us think it's awesome because it will say "made with real fruit juice" but try to avoid it. That's just a side note. :) But if you have to have it... stock up when it is on sale. TRY to buy frozen. It's better for the environment. But for those lunch boxes... Walgreens runs GREAT sales on Capri-suns around once every 6 weeks and that is when I stock up. And, Kroger has a GREAT off brand that's like the same thing and usually cheaper. Let those be JUST for lunches so you don't find yourself running back to the store to get more.

I hope this was helpful. That's how I do it. I make a list of meals, I figure out what I will need, look for coupons to match up the stores discounts, and run in OFTEN to check on bargains on meat.

You can do it. When I started this little project it was just simply to see... and now i'm addicted. I'm addicted to the fact that I have money left over every month! :)

1 comment:

jabarnes said...

This helped Alot!! I'm getting married soon, both me and my fiancee only make minumum wage and bills are already racking up :/. After all the budgeting is laid out we only can afford 100$ and havent had much luck with coupons. But after reading this, im plannin out 30 day meal plans from now on! Thanks so much!

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