Grocery Budget Question

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-05-2008
Grocery Budget Question
15
Tue, 01-06-2009 - 11:33am

I was wondering how much is reasonable for a family of 3 with a pg mommy per week. I would love to be totally frugal, but I seem to wind up buying stuff that's not on the list because I have problems with food suddenly not being appetizing and need something on hand to make for myself so I don't wind up getting fast food.


I felt like I was doing well grocery shopping last night, spent $38 at Aldi, then I had to go to Woodmans to get the stuff that I couldn't get at Aldi and wound up spending another $70!

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iVillage Member
Registered: 09-09-2007
Tue, 01-06-2009 - 12:27pm

I don't think you can really say what's "reasonable" for any certain family without knowing all the aspects.

Income and location are two of the things that would change the grocery budget.

I can tell you that for my middle income, south TX family of 4 I grocery shop for usually about $60 a week. That's everything, including paper goods, a dog and 2 cats. Sure there are weeks when it goes up to about $70 but for the most part I usually spend around $250 a month.

Pregnancy eating is so much harder to plan in a grocery list. Is there a way you could budget a very small amount to set aside for your cravings? It would end up cheaper (and better for you!) than fast food. Even if you're craving fast food, it's easy and always cheaper to just do it yourself. When I was pg w/dd I always wanted chili-cheese fries from Sonic or Dairy Queen. I was wasting so much money at those places (and they weren't open when I wanted them at midnight!). I bought frozen fries and tater tots, a can of chili and some cheese and made my own whenever I wanted. Cheaper than buying them once and made about 5 or 6 servings.

HTH.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 01-07-2004
Tue, 01-06-2009 - 2:37pm
hello!! well, when i was pregnant with my 2nd child, my older dd was the same age as yours...i think we spent about 50 a week. right now, we spend about 30-40 a week with me, my hubby and 2 kids(8 and 4)-ive learned to be more frugal in the last few years.
iVillage Member
Registered: 01-31-2001
Tue, 01-06-2009 - 2:55pm

I have to agree that it really depends. For my family of 6 (although two are college age and tend to buy a lot of their own food- they want the junk mom won't buy, lol) I spend close to $800 a month. That does include diapers for my 12 year old, and a supply of Pediasure for him as well (sometimes he just won't eat and I need to get the calories into him somehow). There are a lot of things I COULD do to get the bill down, but I like to spend a bit more to get variety and nutrition. I could also cut down on fresh produce, as that is extremely expensive here, but again, I prefer the nutrition of fresh veggies and fruit. In the grand scheme of things, I feel that proper food for my family is important and I would rather spend a little more in this area, so I economize as much as I can- buying in bulk, cooking from scratch as much as possible, buying on sale and freezing, looking for local suppliers, etc. but I don't stress out if my grocery bill is a little higher than another family's bill.

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Avatar for monkeesmom
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Tue, 01-06-2009 - 3:33pm

I don't think there is an exact answer for you...because as others have already said, a lot of things factor into that final number.


We are a family of 4 (kids are 12 and 15, so essentially 4 adults). We are in NJ, where prices can be high. We eat organic produce, we eat organic meats whenever possible. We don't eat things like ramen noodles, boxed mac n cheese, hamburger helper, etc - so that raises the bill. I don't use coupons, because



 

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-09-2007
Tue, 01-06-2009 - 11:59pm
Ok, I'm either a dunce or my area just isn't good for it but I cannot for the life of me save very much with coupons. I don't think anywhere here doubles them. Once I had a whole bunch and used them to buy some things that had coupons on them in the store and was thinking I was doing so good and then they wouldn't let me use both coupons! I gave up. What's the secret? I have found that buying generic is usually cheaper than using coupons because the coupons are always on the expensive brands only.
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iVillage Member
Registered: 09-09-2007
Wed, 01-07-2009 - 12:04am
I think it's absolutely possible to spend less and not have to eat processed things. I never buy hamburger helper or any of that other stuff. Too many preservatives! I have found that I can easily make my fam a pasta and meat skillet meal that looks like one of those but is made from scratch and made from mostly fresh ingredients. Wish I could make my own pasta! I do think that no matter where you live, your bill will go way up when you stick to organic stuff. I'd love to do it but really can't afford it! I try my hardest to get my produce from local people and make everything from scratch. Though, I like easy things and my 4 yrold is a hot dog and poptart junkie!
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Avatar for e13lorena
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Wed, 01-07-2009 - 12:39pm

That's the trick with coupons. Most of them are only for name brand items that cost much more anyway. The way to save with these though, is to wait until these items go on sale for a loss leader price (super cheap to get people in the door hoping they buy other things). And stock up them.


as long as you're using the coupons within the parameters mentioned on said coupon, ask them to call a manager if they will not take your coupons.


I only clip coupons on things I normally buy and stock up when on sale with the coupon. Otherwise you end up spending xxx amount of money just to save 30¢ for something you didn't need anyway or good get a generic brand

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-05-2004
Wed, 01-07-2009 - 1:12pm

I think I spent about $130 each week for our family of 3. That includes paper towels, paper plates, cleaners, but not napkins....we just switched to cloth and were able to cut out that expense, which is small, but it adds up over time. :)

I think we could really cut back, though. I'm trying to lose weight, so I like to eat certain foods to help me meet that goal. Dh is as thin as a rail, never had a weight problem at all, and he likes his fattening snacks and meals. Our son shifts between the two...I have him eat healthy meals, but he also likes his Dad's snacks also.

Right now, I'm not doing food shopping at all, other than for produce, milk, eggs, and bread. I'm trying to use up what is in my pantry and freezer. I have way too much food in there, and I don't want it going to waste, so it's time to start eating it. :) I'll put the money saved into our Emergency Fund. :)

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2008
Wed, 01-07-2009 - 4:00pm
I know it can be hard to stick with the list, but if you cannot find a way to do this you will never do well at the store.
One tip is to never go while hungry, I do believe this helps a ton.
Bring a calculator, keep a list of each item and its price so you can get an idea of what you will be spending before you go.
Here is a place to print a price list http://www.frugal-families.com/printables/pricesheet2.pdf
I spend about $70 a week on a family of 5, 2 adults 3 kids. This includes diapers, paper towels and so on.
I don't think that anyone can pinpoint a price for you cause we all have different tastes on food, what types and so on.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-07-2005
Wed, 01-07-2009 - 6:16pm
For those of you w/ minimal grocery spending, what kinds of snacks do you buy? I have 3 boys, 13, 10, and 4. And the 13 yr old is eating me out of house and home. TIA

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