Jul 6, 2016

The $300 Monthly Grocery Budget

In April, when our funds ran out too soon, I took a long look at where our limited salaries were going. Believe it or not, groceries took out the biggest chunk at a whopping $600. We can't afford that!

As a family of four, who plants a large garden every year, we have no reason to spend that much! I have always been a casual preserver, meaning I can basics like tomatoes, random veggies and pickles but when I set out to implement a constricting budget of half of what we were spending, I needed to buckle down and get serious about preserving food for the winter! So far, I already by FAR surpassed my last year's canning totals and I have added things like corn and vegetable soup to our pantry.

I studied other frugal moms. I knew it could be done so I first looked into the idea of once a month shopping. I learned how to freeze milk long ago and knew that buying several gallons would require me to clean out the deep freezers. Since we have two, this left me plenty of room to buy this and other freezable foods in bulk. I also stockpile our regular items like toilet paper, paper towels and canned goods so these items could be skipped most months. This also helped along with the fact that we never buy eggs. ( Gotta love those chickens. )

I love my bread machine so I made sure I had yeast and bread flour, and other essential items for me to use. Believe it or not, this also saves a chunk when you live as far away from a grocery store as we do. The time, fuel costs and impulse buys all add up when you go for bread every week.

I devised a plan...a strategy. I cut out most of the processed things like quick servings meals (that I can do at home) for the kids and other easy access snacks that are not essential. The sodas (that I rarely ever drink were not removable per my husband so I can try to wean him off of that eventually). I looked for things on sale (like chicken for $0.79 per pound) and stocked up while I had the chance. All in all, I did okay for my first run. I can do much better. I'd like to cut out the soda and bottled water eventually which would add in more food items. I used about $6.00 in paper coupons, I shopped at three different stores, and I survived. I was back home within a two hour period. Oh, and I went alone. Nobody could ask for things or add to my cart so that helped!

I also received several dollars in refunds for select purchase items via my Ibotta app and Checkout51. If you aren't using these along with the paper coupons, you are really missing out. I also add my receipts to ReceiptHog and Yaarlo to get points which I change over to Amazon cards about every three months. (use my code VALBLAKE843 for Yaarlo) It's a win win!

In short, buy in bulk if you will use the item. Split meat packages up and go meatless ever so often. I can make a pan of cornbread and open one of my preserved vegetable soups later on and everyone is happy! The more you plan and prepare in advance, the lower your grocery bill can be!

My total this month was actually $305.57, I almost did it! I blame the light bulbs we desperately needed.

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