Can it be done?
I’m going to find out.
Our grocery bill runs anywhere from $110 to $120 a week. And sometimes more than that! I know we can eat on less than that. But is my $80 goal realistic? I don’t know.
I had originally set a goal of $100 a week. But then decided that we could probably do better than that. Or at least I hope we can.
You see, Brian & I are two very different people when it comes to groceries. He is a fan of pre-packaged, convenience foods. I am not. I prefer fresh, make-it-yourself-and-save-a-bundle type stuff. And I would love to tell you that it is only because I want my family to eat wholesome, real foods, and I do want that, but the main reason is cost. It is just so much cheaper, if you have the time, to cook from scratch. Case in point – granola bars. I recently made homemade granola bars. They were awesome and they’re good for you. They are higher in calories than the tiny things you get in the box, but they also aren’t full of all kinds of bad for you ingredients like high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, etc. AND my girls loved them! I had everything I needed in my pantry…that was the best part! I can make them over & over without having to buy anything.
He also drinks pop. I do not. I will occasionally have a Sprite at my MIL’s or a Big Red at the Spinster’s house, but I don’t buy pop for me to drink. I drink water and sometimes I’ll have tea or pink lemonade.
Now, I do have to say in his defense, that since I have been cooking a lot more from scratch, he has really liked it. Croutons are a good example. I recently made a salad that I used my homemade croutons in. I didn’t tell him they were homemade. He took a bite and said “Did you make these, they’re awesome!”
I made them with leftover bread that would have been tossed out, some herbs from my garden and a little bit of olive oil. Very easy. VERY CHEAP!!! And they were much better than the ones that I usually buy in the store.
So, as long as he doesn’t have to be inconvenienced or sacrifice taste, he’s on board for the most part. I just can’t get him to give up his expensive pop-drinking habit. And he won’t go for the generic cheaper version, either. Or his expensive chip eating habit. But, he works hard for us, so I gotta give him a break.
We also do not do meatless meals like a lot of others do. And I am in total agreement with him on this. I have to have meat in my meals. And meat is expensive.
So, I ask you again. Can we eat on $80 a week? Well, we shall soon find out. My plan of action is to plan my meals around the sales at my grocery store. Then combine what I already have in the pantry and freezer with whatever I can get deals on at the store. I’m also going to try to start having a leftover night. The problem area is going to be the pop and the meat. I would LOVE to have a deep freeze so I could buy my meat locally once a year, but that’s definitely not in the budget right now.
And then there’s the whole coupon thing. I go back & forth on this. I know some people coupon like crazy and some don’t at all. I have decided that since I have been able to get a lot of things free or close to it, with coupons, I will continue to do it, but only for things that we would normally use. For example, today I got 6 bottles of Suave conditioner for free at Kroger. They were on sale for 1.00 and I had coupons for 50 cents off. Kroger doubles coupons up to $1, so that made them free! I don’t use Suave on my hair, but I do use conditioner to make my own fabric softener, so I stocked up and I’m gonna be set for a while on that! However, I’m not going to clip 5 million coupons in the hopes that someday there will come a deal on something that I don’t even use to begin with.
All in all, this whole thing is time consuming. It takes time to plan out each meal of the day, every day. It takes time to read the grocery ads and plan accordingly and it takes time to clip coupons. BUT if it allows us to shave $160 a month off the grocery budget, then I think it is time well spent!
I’ll let you know how it goes.
**I feel like I need to make a confession here, lest you think I’m a pre-packaged food hater. I do prefer Tyson frozen breaded chicken strips whenever we’re having that type of thing. I’ve tried several homeade breaded chicken nugget/strips recipes and found nothing that I like. Or even come close to liking. I want my breaded chicken to be crunchy and flavorful. And not covered in oats or cornflakes. And so I’ve given up on that one. Fortunately, we don’t eat meals that call for them often.**