Friday, July 30, 2010

How I shop~ part 1

Shopping for 13 people on a VERY limited budget takes lots of creativity and work!  I have always been able to make my money stretch and sometimes by the next paycheck, I wonder how we did it.  God has given us the resources and taught me along the way how to make it work.  I am going to share some of the things I do and how we get 13 tummies full at the end of each day!

*My budget and food goals:

Not by choice but out of necessity, I have $200 every 2 weeks for food with an extra $50 a month for meat and milk.  So basically $450 a month I spend on all of our groceries.  My goal is lots of fresh fruit and finger veggies with every meal.  This time of year makes it very easy to do that!  Winter is a little harder!  So I do use canned fruit and frozen veggies during the cold months!  We use about 6-8 gallons of milk a week and I make sure it is hormone free!  We have a great christian creamery that sells milk for very resonable!  (Aldi's just switched over to hormone free milk, if you have one around you)


A breakdown:
  • $200 a month for pasta's (whole grain), grains, fresh fruit/veggies, crackers, rice, oatmeal, cereals, and spices
  • $100 a month for sauces, baking items, ketchup (HUGE in our house! It is a vegetable right?)  :)
  • $75 a month for yogurt, cheese, frozen veggies if needed and bread item
  • $75 a month for meat and milk

Tips for saving money:
  •  I use a local 'bent and dent' store to buy some of my pasta's, crackers and cereals~ I save lots of money doing it!  Over half the price!  Also cheaper to buy grains and baking items at our local Amish  store!  It is also where I can by 28lbs of straberries for .$50 a lb!  See if there is something similar around where you live!  Even driving 30 miles away will save you money!
  • I use our day old bread store that really is not a day old, just has a couple days left before the date expires.  I also make bread but sometimes just way easier to but it for $.79 a loaf!  I go there once a week and freeze it.  Includes buns, sandwich bread and Texas toast for french toast!  It is Wonder Bread, so it is great quality!

  • coupons along with store sales~ i never leave for the store without checking online for brand coupons for items on my list!

  • buy in quantity~ I have been known to buy 10 ketchup's, 50 lbs of hamburger, 50 lbs of flour, at a time if they are on sale!

  • Don't go to the store more often than necessary!  More trips means more money unless you are like my hubby and go in for 2 things and come out with 2!  Unlike me!  I go in for 2 and come out with 20!

  • Plan for how many meals you need before you shop and break it apart so you know EXACTLY what you will need.  Eliminating another trip to the store! 

  • Make things from scratch!  Prepared meals are costly and not as good for you anyway!  (That includes cookies and desserts!)

  • Make enough for 2-3 meals of main dish so you can have leftover night once a week or use it for lunch in the next day or two.  Also sometimes make an extra casserole to freeze to eliminate the temptation to order pizza when you don't feel like cooking some night!  :)

  • spoon out meals onto plates so portions are according to you NOT those who's eyes are bigger than their tummies!  (I am talking about younger children!  Older ones can do it themselves but it also helps establish proper portion control as they grow!)  I rarely let my kids have seconds unless it is fruit and veggies!

  • we only have milk with breakfast and drink water for every other meal and in between meals. They only get kool-aid, pop or juice with pizza and movie night with their popcorn.  It is a BIG treat!

  • I rarely EVER let my kids snack.  We have never created the habit with any of our kids and they just don't need them!  IF we do have one on occasion, it is popcorn, raisins, graham crackers or peanut butter toast.  Nothing boxed or prepared.

  • We hardly ever eat out.  But, if we do, it is somewhere kids eat free, reasonable pizza place ordered in, or the $1 menu at Micky D's!  :)  Also a HUGE treat for our kids!
  • We have never had the joy of being able to have a garden!  We are city folk, but that is also a great way to cut costs!  I have been given lots of free corn, strawberries, beans  and tomato's in the summer months that I freeze for future use! 
Stay tuned to Part 2 when I will give a sample of my 2 week menu plan and list I use to shop with!








Robin said...

Heather, love your new blog header! Wonderful tips about shopping, thanks for sharing!!!

Carole said...

I would LOVE to see your menu plan! We are a family of five, and spend an atrocious amount of money on groceries. I have been working diligently to cut our budget in half, and am seeing some success. I could definitely use more tips, though! :) Love your blog, and look forward to part 2!

Anonymous said...
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Bontrager family said...


Thanks for the interesting and insightful post on your grocery budget. This is an area I need to work on.

Looking forward to seeing you soon!



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