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Monday, August 26, 2019

Grocery Budget: $125 a week

I'm cheap.
A penny pincher.
Tight fisted.
Good or bad and regardless of what we call it, I'm pretty much that when it comes to our grocery budget! Because in my head it affords us to spend money in other ways, like all the expenses those wonderful 8 kids of ours require! Or perhaps a well-earned mom-dad only trip to Hawaii? Yeah, that kind of stuff.

I've always gotten lots of questions about how I feed our family so affordably, so I thought I'd use this as a discussion prompt and tell you how I do it and what works for our family. This is just us and what works for us. I'm sure there are as many other ways to budget food/groceries as there are families! Truth be told, I used to feed our family on $100 a week 'cause the budget was super tight, and we were paying college tuition for 3 kids, and we needed a new roof, and I needed a new car and... and... and...  and honestly the budget is still tight, (8 kids and all) but several years ago we decided to increase the budget to $125 per week, adding extra $100 a month that affords us a bit more convenience food and luxuries. Yes, this includes soaps and cleaners, paper products... 
If you want to feed and provide for your family on a budget, the first thing I'll tell you is that you need to budget both your time and your money, and you need to regularly meal plan. For me, not doing any of these things leads to extra expense. I meal plan every Sunday for the following week. For our family it works best if I plan 4 (dinner) meals per week. The other 3 nights are usually going out to eat, or going to Granna and Grandpa's house for dinner, or left-over night or late lunches followed by cold cereal nights. That kind of stuff. If I plan more than 4 meals per week it seems that we end up wasting food, and that's expensive. The 4 younger children make their school lunches each morning 5 days per week. Breakfast and lunch stuff is always kept in supply. Snack foods are mostly raw fruits and veggies, and convenience foods (like pre-prepared anything) are at a minimum. I cook dinner about 4-5 days per week, (usually around noon time. Our slow cooker is a workhorse!) I set aside time every Sunday to meal plan for the whole upcoming week, place my order and pick up groceries via curbside pick up each Monday morning. Never setting foot in the store helps me save money too and I'd rather spend my time cooking than shopping. I additionally shop for produce 1 per week usually on Wednesday or Thursday morning. And very little food goes to waste in our house, as I can usually figure out how to incorporate anything into a future snacks/meal/food.

This week's menu is
Tostadas with rice
Chicken curry with rice
Hoppin' Johns with a salad
Chicken legs with broccoli and corn on the cob
Pizza night on Friday

This week's grocery total is $98.76 to which I'll still need to add about $25 for additional produce. This week is pretty normal for us.

Things not included in this budget are
1) Several times per year, about every other month, we shop at a discount store and buy some food items like lunch meat, canned tomatoes, sausages... spending an additional $100 per trip. I'll freeze and use these items for future meal planning.
2) Friday is always pizza night. 3 pizzas from Domino's @ approx $25.
3) Several times per year, about every other month, we shop at the Asian grocery store and stock up on coconut milk, rice, rice noodles... About $50 per trip. 

Soooo... ask away! Tell me... what's your budget and how do you make it work for your family? Make a plan and save some money!

PS-I don't like Walmart, but they have free curbside pick-up and that works with my parsimonious budget. And they are ridiculously friendly and nice so, it is what it is.

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