Today we have a guest post from Keli over at Feeding Four. She feeds her family of four on $25 a week! Yes, that is what I said! Today she is sharing with Crystal & Co.’s readers how she does this!
Take notes and enjoy!
I have had a lot of interest in my grocery budget. Lots of questions as to how I do it. At $25 a week for a family of four, is it really possible? For us, yes it is. There are a few key factors in keeping my grocery budget under control. You may say “Oh, but we eat a lot of fruits and vegetables.” “Well, we eat a lot of non processed foods” Want to know something? So do we. We don’t eat a whole lot of processed foods. We do eat a lot of fruits and vegetables. And our grocery budget is kept around $25 a week. How do I do this you ask? Let me show you.
I guess the first thing to share is that everything is included in my grocery budget. Shampoo, soap, deodorant – all included. Cleaning supplies, laundry, dish soap – all included. Diapers. You guessed it. Included. Usually this is all “bought” from CVS or Rite Aid. So really, all of this is free since it is all bought with ECBs and SCRs. (To learn how to get started shopping at CVS, check out THIS post.)
On with the budget… We do participate in WIC. That helps out with our milk. I usually have to buy more milk by the end of the month. I have been using the eggs for salads and such but I also buy (organic, free range) brown eggs from a local farm. The cereal we get from WIC is what I use for my breakfasts. I don’t do oatmeal, eggs or even pancakes in the morning, like the boys do. The one thing I do love about the WIC program is it does give us $6 a month to buy produce. I use this to help offset the cost of the organic produce which is a little more pricey.
Aside from using WIC, I meal plan. This is a must for me because I have found that when I don’t, we end up going out for dinner. Every Sunday I sit down in the kitchen and write out a list of meals for us to have that week. When I do this, I look in my cabinets and freezers and shop from there. I plan all of our meals around what we have on hand in our stockpile. Most of the time, I do not need to buy anything for the week. But if there is anything I do need to buy, it goes on a list on the fridge.
When it is time to do my shopping, I make sure I sit down the night before. I go through my coupons and through the coupon matches for the week. Sometimes I go to AFullCup.com and see if there is any good deals that I have missed. I usually try to only take one kid to the store with me. A and I usually go when C is in school. I try very hard to never bring hubby to the store with me. He is a huge budget breaker. I always always go over my budget when hubby is with me. And I always buy stuff that we don’t need! I make sure I have a list. Written on my list is what I need, what coupon I have for that item and what the total price of the bill is supposed to be. That way, when I get to checkout and the total isn’t what it’s supposed to be, I can figure out why. It is a must to be organized before you go into the store.
When there is an item that my family uses a lot (pasta) on sale I stock up. I usually order my coupons from a coupon clipping service. I buy enough of the item to get us through to the next sale, or even the next year depending on the product. (For example, I just “bought” 13 bottles of Snuggle. The only thing I paid for was the coupons.) This way, I am able to shop from my pantry before I shop at the store. And I have all the ingredients to able to throw together a dinner in about five minutes. (I said I would be able to, not that I usually do. My brain is usually on strike that time of day.) And the best part about stocking up is that I rarely have pay more than half price for anything. Usually dinner only costs us a couple of dollars to make. Right now, there is 10 boxes of pasta in my pantry I paid nothing for. (except coupons) Right next to that is jars of Ragu that I paid $0.25 for. Throw in half a pound of ground beef (bought on sale) and a salad, and the meal might cost us $3. For four people, that is $0.75 a serving. And there is always leftovers.
These are some of the many ways I manage our budget of $25 a week for our family of four. In the next few weeks, I will be sharing more ways I keep our budget down. But in the meantime, if you have any questions, or topics you want me to cover, feel free to ask!
Keli blogs at Feeding Four. Originally from MD, her husband and her moved to PA about 3 years ago. She is a stay at home mom to 2 boys, aged 4 1/2 and 19 months. She loves working in her garden and playing outside with her boys.