How I did it...
Jeff asked me how we spent only $140 on groceries during the month of February so I thought I would explain. First of all, we are a family of three so we have less mouths to feed than a lot of other families and there are no growing boys here. Some other ways I was able to cut the food bill down last month:
- We planned to eat out of the pantry during the month, meaning I planned my meals around what I already had in the pantry and freezer. I made a list of everything I had and worked my menus around the list. I had meat in the freezer that we needed to eat, lots of pasta & rice, sauces mixes and marinades. I stock up on those items when they are on sale (love the 10 for $10 deals!)
- We do not eat a lot of meat. All of our meals usually include meat (unless it's just LM & me eating if my husband is gone) but I make a lot of pasta dishes and tacos/quesadillas where I can stretch the meat really far.
- We eat dinner with my parents on Sundays and my dad usually provides the meat for us. There is often leftovers which I will use on Monday or Tuesday in a quesadilla.
- I buy vegetables and fruits in season and mostly on sale. When I buy frozen vegetables I try to get a bag for $1-$1.25- one bag of corn, for example, will usually last us for two meals. We were given some avocados last month and a HUGE bag of lettuce by a friend of my husband's who is a lettuce farmer.
- For breakfast I bought cereal - I paid $1 for a container of oatmeal which will last us more than the month because I also buy dry cereal (target price for a box is $2-$2.50-I seldom pay more than that). I do splurge on Ezekiel bread (about $5 a loaf & I go through about 2 loaves a month) for my husband's breakfast which he takes to work with him.
- During the week I do not make lunch for my husband as he eats out (business) most days & I don't pay for that. On the weekends it's sandwiches - ham, tuna or egg salad & the occasional grilled cheese. I buy bread from the bakery @ the grocery store which I find to be fresher and usually less expensive.
Those are probably the key factors that helped me spend so little last month. I think the biggest thing was just using stuff I already had so I didn't have to buy it.
Jeff also asked if we buy anything organic. We do. I only buy organic milk which is probably my biggest 'splurge' (if that's what you want to call it!) but I did get, last week, a half gallon of organic milk on sale for 99 cents! It was down at the bottom corner of the milk section, well hidden but I found it! That's never happened before & I was so excited! I usually pay anywhere between $3 & $4 for a half gallon.
I buy organic vegetables & fruits when possible. Living in the desert has proven to be really interesting in the produce department. To put it bluntly, the produce we have access to at our grocery stores stinks. Usually worse than that. I always say I haven't bought a decent tomato in 12 years. Even the quality of organic is hit or miss. So I peruse the entire department and buy what seems to be the freshest. Sometimes it's organic and sometimes it's not.
I think that about covers it. I'll be interested to see how much I spend in March. I know I'll spend more than $140 but I'd be thrilled if I can spend less than $250.
If I missed anything or you have any other questions just leave a comment and I'll answer it.