Monday, September 3, 2012

Budget Grocery Shopping

I am personally interested to know about other family's grocery shopping habits. How much do they spend? What do they typically buy? Sometimes I am astounded at what I see in other people's carts for a variety of different reasons. So I thought I'd share my family's grocery shopping habits, because maybe YOU'D be interested, the same way I am.

We are a family of 3 and spend about $55 every week on groceries and toiletry items. Sometimes a little more and occasionally a little less. I generally don't do coupons, except for the ones that are located directly on the item. We eat mostly generic foods, and not that many prepackaged things. We eat meat, but try to do at least 1 meal per week with no meat. I plan out all dinners for the week prior to going shopping.

The prepackaged stuff I do splurge on includes:
  • Crackers
  • Cereal 
  • Granola Bars
  • Baby carrots (I can't stand cutting carrots)

Otherwise my typical grocery trip includes the following:1 tub plain yogurt, 3 kinds of meat (ground beef, ground turkey, some kind of chicken- 1 of which usually comes from our freezer), Peanut butter, Block of cheddar cheese, Jelly, 1 jug of juice, Gallon 2% milk, unsalted butter, Dozen eggs, Pasta, Rice, Fruits and Veggies (what ever is on sale), Canned beans or dried beans, Frozen veggies (green beans and broccoli)

For toiletry items I also buy generic brand, and we usually use suave shampoo/conditioner. There are other different items that get added per week.

To sum up, here are the points I try to remember when grocery shopping (they make my life a whole lot easier):

  • One: Don't shop when hungry. When you do (because we all do) go during a time when they give out free samples, then politely decline when asked to purchase the item
  • Two: Make a week long list of dinners BEFORE you go grocery shopping. This way you don't miss anything for the week, and your dinners are set. This helps me to feel on top of at least one thing during the week, and I am not scrambling to get dinner on the table.
  • Three: Be thoughtful when creating your dinner list. I try to plan out quick meals for days that I know I won't be home until late. This helps the week go smoothly.
  • Four: Buy generic, just about everything! It saves tons of money. 
  • Five: Now this one may be controversial, but don't use coupons unless they are taped to the item at the store. From my experience most of the items that coupons can be used for at the grocery store are garbage anyway, and couponing takes precious time away from your life!

How do you do your grocery shopping? Do you have any tips?


  1. We are a family of 2; however we have 4 grandchildren who are here a lot, I also run a home day care and feed 4 little children each week. I average $100.00 to $125.00 a week. I include dog food in this because I buy it at the grocery store. We have 4 dogs. I buy a 25 pound bag of food once a month.
    I make a menu for each day. I cook from scratch most items. I do use coupons. I let the grandchildren cut the coupons out. I go through them, discard the ones I don't need. I use coupons for things like toilet paper, dog food, and shampoo.
    We eat meat at most every meal. Last night's menu was a simple one, bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwiches and some potato salad. We had left over banana pudding too. Tonight we will have home made pizza and salad.
    I have a roast to cook on Friday. We will make several meals from this roast. Roast with trimmings Friday night. Saturday will be hot roast beef sandwiches, and I will take any left overs to freeze to make a beef soup or beef and noodles.
    We eat out once a week.

  2. Roxie, Thanks so much for taking the time to share what your family does! I'll admit, your budget it impressive with the amount of mouths you feed. I'll have to look into coupons for toiletry items. I perhaps wrote them off prematurely :)

  3. We spend about $300 per month. I wrote about it here:
    Since I wrote that post, we started to only buy organic, pastured, grass-fed meat, eggs and milk. Now, a dozen eggs and a gallon of milk cost me $10. We still only spend $300 a month on groceries, but that no longer includes eating out. We still eat out less than anyone I know though, 1-2 times per month, including fast food. I'm proud that we haven't increased our grocery spending in two years even though food prices have risen and I'm nursing now, which means I eat a LOT more than I used to.

    I don't coupon either. I think it's a waste of time. Coupons tend to be for items that cost more anyway and you have to buy the newspaper to get them.

  4. Wow Meghan! I am really impressed with your $300/ month budget even with organic. We usually don't get organic anything, but I would love to! Thanks for sharing your post. It's so funny how so many people just want to know what other people are spending :)

  5. My goal is $200 a month. Depends on sales and life sometimes it's more sometimes it's less. We're 3 people but we eat out a lot :(. We do have a dog and 2 cats. We don't eat organic or really all that healthy. I buy snacks and ice cream sparingly (only when on sale). I use coupons a lot. But I have my system down to a science. It only takes me about 2 hours a week (if that) to sort and file and clip the coupons.