Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Groceries for $150 +/- $50 a month

So a friend asked me to write a blog post on how we only spend about $150 a month on groceries for a family of 4. First off it's easier when you have kids that don't eat much. ;) Just kidding. Though my boys don't eat a ton yet. I am sure we will have to figure out a different way, once they are older and eat more, to spend less money. But as of right now we, a family of 4-5, can spend about $150 a month for groceries.

So how do we do this? Honestly I am not sure. lol. We are sale shoppers, we do not coupon (we could never figure out how), we just buy what we need when it's on sale. If it's not on sale, we don't buy it, unless it's an absolute necessity. Simple as that. Now keep in mind this is ONLY groceries. This does not included toiletry items and baby items. JUST food items and the first couple months might cost a little more till you find what works for you and get a stock pile built up.

This will be hard for me to figure out because we have shopped like this from day1 of our marriage so it is second nature for us.

An example of what our pantry and fridge holds:(the basics until we built up supply and had a little more wiggle room to get more interesting things)

*meats; chicken, pork, ?beef?
*western family sauce mixes, alfredo, spaghetti, taco, Italian dressing mix, gravy mixes.
*canned diced tomatoes(with sweet onion)
*soy sauce
*frozen veggies
(*cream soups if we find them on sale)
*blueberry pancake mix

Okay those are the basic items that get us through a month. This is nothing fancy or extravagant. Just the basics. Once we get a good stock pile of the basics we will venture out and get ingredients for curry or other nicer meal items. Oh and nothing we buy is boxed or "just mix and cook". We cook only from scratch minus the sauce packet mixes and pancake mix.

So now for our menu. This will be particularly difficult because we don't follow a menu. We look in our fridge and freezer and create a meal with what we can find.

*Chicken and veggies; either grilled or fried but always marinated(keeps the *chicken more moist when cooking) and veggie of choice (we like broccoli, *cauliflower, and spinach the best)
*Chicken and potatoes; Chicken is the same way as the previous one. Potatoes; *shredded and fried, diced and fried, boiled with garlic salt, mashed, baked, baked *french fries, or diced and baked in olive oil and seasonings in the oven.
*Chicken and alfredo
*Chicken and pasta with marinara(our own home made marinara sauce)
*Pork and veggies; see previous
*Pork and potatoes; see previous
*Pork and alfredo
*Pork and pasta with marinara
*Beef and veggies; "
*Beef and potatoes;"
*Beef and alfredo
*Beef and pasta with marinara
*Tacos; any ground meat will work, we have used beef, pork, sausage, and elk so far
*Spaghetti; ground sausage, and our own marinara sauce that we make

*Pancakes, bacon (sausage links if we can find them on sale)
*french toast, "
*eggs, "

Lunch (this is the kicker)
*left overs
*hot dogs, mac and cheese if we have it and the boys want it

But it's almost always left overs because we make enough food that we almost always have left overs waiting for lunch the next day.

Some of our specialty foods consist of, curry, enchiladas, chicken soup(or any soup really), lasagna, and any meat item we might find on sale that is out of the norm IE steaks or sea food items, or anything that isn't chicken or pork chops. lol.

Seriously though, we really do just eat a lot of boneless skinless chicken breast and pork chops. There are so many ways of cooking with these that we hardly ever venture away from them because they are the cheapest meats available. When we get bored and can find steaks on sale we buy some steaks. Same with fish.

Our marinade is just soy sauce, olive oil, occasionally liquid smoke or Worcestershire sauce or A1, and seasonings (garlic salt, montreal chicken or steak seaoning,black pepper, used in what ever combo you want or different seasonings then what I have listed. This is just the main ones we use)

Marinara/spaghetti sauce; diced tomatoes pureed, spaghetti sauce mix, extra seasonings.

We really never follow recipes we just create our own meals. We eat a lot of chicken or pork and pasta mostly, then veggies, then potatoes. Beef is only when found on sale.

Once we got our food stash up we were able to include, toilet paper, and paper towels in the $150 as well as a few other items BUT only if we didn't need food items. We usually just try buying food items with the $150.

Our monthly list is always changing but a few things are almost always on there, meats, eggs, milk, and veggies.

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