Sorry I’m late getting this roundup post posted from Better Budget #5. This weekend really got away from me! Anyway, thanks to you all for joining in. We had great info from a variety of participants. Here’s a snippet of what we’ve learned from everyone. Please stop by their individual blogs to get the big picture. There’s quite a range of grocery methods, and if you’re looking for new ideas, why not shop around and visit these sites?
S.B. at Be Thrifty Like Us told us that in the past, they spent $75-80 per week on groceries, and $50 per week on a good week. These days, they’re spending about $30. Her method: "I check to see what we have and then I scan all of the local grocery store ads to figure out which one I should shop this week. I make a list and we 100% stick to the list when we shop. I match up the coupons to the ad on my own and it’s not that bad."
Milehimama blogged about this topic last month, and suggests using a card file to keep track of coupons and lists. She also has a suggestion for how to anticipate manager’s markdowns on meat and capitalize on them. Check it out!
Matt at Frugalize told us how his wife looks at her coupons and grocery ads, shops at several stores, sticks to her list, and knows her prices. Right on, Mrs. Matt!
LJ at Mommy Gets Paid formerlly spent a lot on groceries ($100-150/week). She writes, " I had to learn the hard way how to shop for groceries more efficiently." The point is, she learned, right? She now uses a hybrid of a pantry plan and menu plan. She also knows her prices, and maintains a price book. She’s now averaging $90/week, and feeds two adults and two toddlers (and two more children and a cat and a dog. Whoops, LJ, didn’t mean to exclude members of your famiy!). Woo hoo! She has such a well-stocked pantry, that sometimes she takes a week or two off of shopping altogether.
Alison mentions something that I want to highlight: She decided to up her grocery budget to $50. This is a good thing. If your budget isn’t working at $35/week (and you’re feeling the pinch, not being well-fed) then it’s bad for morale. Bump it up, if you have the money! Anyway, disaster strikes if Alison forgets her grocery list. She’s willing to shop at several stores to get the best deals. She plans her menus based on grocery sales fliers.
Melissa spent about $184 on food in January, and is hoping to reduce the Wawa portion of her bill (I kinda wish we had a Wawa out here…sounds kinda fun!). She says that she’s not a good cook. Aw man! Melissa, if you like cooking, keep working at it! You’ll get better. Melissa is working to improve her grocery/cooking skills so that when she moves out on her own, she’ll be set.
Erin is working to go from $300 (per
week? month (sorry about that, Erin!)) to less than $265 per month (and lower, perhaps). Way to go! She writes, "Once I looked at our budget to see why we constantly had no money by the end of the month I realized the problem so we implemented a few changes." An important point–the grocery budget really can be flexible, and often we can cut quite a bit from it. Now, she plans with a purpose, and it seems to be working well.
Lynnae at Being Frugal has two plans of attack. The first, she uses more often and when she has time, and the second is for when life gets crazy. She uses the Grocery Game to quickly learn the best possible deal scenarios in her area, and plans her shopping with that. When there’s no time for that, she uses Menus4Mom to throw together a menu for her. She spends about $100 per week, and thinks that will go down as her pantry supply grows.
Mr. A is going to start a top-25 item price book/list for comparing regular prices to sales fliers and at other stores. Great idea! If you don’t want to make a price book for every item you buy (and honestly, who has the time for that?) you can choose some of the most common items you buy, or perhaps the most obscure ones that you need every so often. He said he "may" create a menu for the week, though he likes to "fly by the seat of his pants." We’ll see if we can encourage him on that front this week :)
PaidTwice works with a budget ranging from $75-90 or so, depending on various factors. She hits up three stores (Aldi, Walmart, and Kroger) and maps out an efficent way to visit them. She gets her canned goods and other items at Aldi, then what she can’t get there, she gets at the other stores. Sounds like her routine is really working!
Nichole spent a little under $200 for the month….or did she? After rebates and selling some items, it’s actually looking like about $30 for the month. Whoa.