A friend wrote me the other day asking me more about our grocery budget. As I quoted in a previous post, the government recommends that a thrifty family of two spends about $350/month on food. Before finding that number, Jonathan and I committed to not spending more than $240/month on food. When you think about, it's actually a really do-able number. It breaks down into about $8/day and $4/person. Hmmm, that actually does sound like a small number when I break it down...but still totally do-able!
Anyway, you've seen that we've definitely not mastered keeping the budget, but that's our lack of self restraint...not the inability to do it. We have this problem called being lazy. It's so much easier to grab food out on the go when we're both tired after working full days and caring for a baby. Or, I'm always tempted to forgo my thrown together lunch for where ever my co-workers are eating.
That aside, the months that we do succeed, we do it following these little tricks:
1. Sales: Buying things on sale and building our menu around that. When spaghetti squash is on sale, we're having [you guessed it] spaghetti. When avocados and bacon are on sale, we're having BLATS. When cheese is on sale, we're having quiche. Get it? Read the weekly deals at Kroger and Publix. If you don't get the paper, you can find the deals online. Things usually go on sale once a month, so once we've used up all of our spaghetti sauce, we don't eat it again until it goes on sale again.
2. Meat: This is probably the biggest trick. We don't eat very much of it. Our year and a half of vegetarianism combined with my aversion to raw animal means that we have LOTS of yummy and filling meals without meat. We usually don't use meat substitutes like tofu because that's also expensive. Instead, when we have stir fry or Thai curry, we add peanuts instead of chicken. RAther than chicken pot pie, we have potato pot pie. Jonathan doesn't even notice we aren't eating meat anymore. When we do buy meat, we buy it on major sale and we buy lots and freeze it. We won't buy chicken for more than around $2/lb and ground beef for more than $1.50/lb. (Note: If we ever restructure our grocery budget, the first thing I will change will be to buy organic meat and dairy!)
3. Soup and Baked Potatoes: This week at Kroger, you can get a 10lb bag of potatoes for $2.38. Do you have any idea how many meals that will make??? We have baked potatoes at least once a week. We also usually have soup once a week. Sometimes, like last night, we have potato soup!
4. Ummm...are you bored yet?
5. CVS: This is Jonathan's deal. I guess you can basically "make money" if you shop right at CVS. I would have him write about it, but he's sleeping. Maybe another day!
6. Snack foods and brand names: We stay away from them. As much as we adore Wheat Thins and Diet Coke with Lime, we don't buy it because it's expensive and unnecessary. (We do break this rule for good ice cream though. It's irresistible.)
7. Where did I get these ideas, you ask? From a book given to us by our apartment community called Miserly Moms. Cheesy title, awesome book.
What do you do to save money on food?