I get asked all the time how I afford to buy food for everyone in our family! Well part of the answer is that there are only 3 of us in the house 3 days a week. All 8 of us are in the house every other weekend. So, the majority of the time I am feeding either 3 or 5 people.
I grocery shop the same way, every single week. I make a list of the things that we “need”. These are the staples that get our family from week to week. Milk, Apple Juice, Orange Juice, Eggs and Bread. All pretty typical right? I go on the stores app to see what is on sale, comparing to what I have a coupon for and add things to my list accordingly. This helps me to stay on track.
Kroger is my preferred grocery store. For so many reasons. One, I have the Kroger card which when scanned makes what feels like 50% of the store cost less. Two, I have my health insurance prescription coverage through Kroger, which offers an additional 10% off on all Kroger brand items. Lastly, because I have been shopping there so long I receive customized coupons from them. Anything from a free dozen eggs to $1.50 off a package of chicken breasts.
Kroger also is known to have such deals as, buy 3 save $3 or buy 5 save $5. My favorite is when they have cereal, buy 4 boxes for $8.00 and get a free gallon of milk. Kroger also has what in my opinion are fabulous “Mangers Special” options. Managers Special is when something is nearing its “sell by” date and they have deeply discounted it for quick sale.
There are manager specials in produce, seafood, meat, bakery, frozen and a big section in the “middle aisles”. I can always find things that I can use in the Managers Special. For instance a couple of weeks ago, they had packages with 2 pork steaks (my favorite) for about $2.50. These typically run $6 or $7 a package. So, I got 4 packs and threw them in my freezer. Since I have been trying to eat healthy, I have found so many pre-packaged, chopped veggies for $.25 or $.50 that start out at $2.99 a pack, this includes mushrooms, squash and zucchini.
It is an extremely rare occasion that I purchase things that aren’t on sale. When things are on sale, I stock up. I plan my meals after I buy all the food for the week, instead of buying food to fit my already planned out menu. This helps me to spend less.
I stock up on meat when it is on sale and I throw it in my freezer. I switch up what fresh fruits and vegetables I get based on what is cheapest. Right now oranges are in season, so they are always cheaper, so they are in house all the time. Kroger nearly always has some berry on sale, so we just rotate through those. I operate on the assumption that if it isn’t on sale this week, then it probably will be next week.
We always have chicken, ground turkey, ground beef, veggies and bread in our freezer. When bread is in the manager special for $.59 a loaf, you bet your ass that I buy two and throw one in the freezer. In our pantry there are always cans of beans and boxes of chicken stock. Often times cans of veggies, tomatoes and beans are 5 for $2.00. With those staples, I can make all kinds of dishes.
When the kids are lucky and I feel like I have stayed under what I would like to spend, that is when I will grab a couple bags of chips, a box of crackers or a pack of candy. We do not always have these things in our house. Only when they are on sale and I have a lower shopping bill that week.
I would also like to point out that pretty typically I have one, if not three of my children with me grocery shopping. They know that I won’t buy all the things they ask for. It isn’t hard to say “no” and eventually they understand. They love digging through the managers special bin, they get it. They know that they are more likely to get a package of candy or a coffee cake for weekend breakfast if they can hunt one down that is discounted!
On average I spend $80-$90 a week at the grocery store. I don’t know is that a lot? Is that more than you spend or less? Do you find it hard to stay on a budget?