weebly statistics
Home About Links Contacts Show Show

Meal Planning, Part Two: How Much Should You Spend On Groceries?

by Amanda on January 25, 2009
category: Cool websites,Feeding,Finances,Inspiration

vegetables.jpg Last Friday I shared my grocery shopping philosophy and I wanted to know how you shopped and budgeted for groceries. We had a great discussion in the comments.

Amelia asked if everyone includes household items like cleaning supplies and diapers in your grocery budget.  Most everyone that commented does include all household items in the grocery budget. There was also a discussion on whether or not gas should be included. I like to keep our gas separate, so I can track my spending better.

Heidi asked if anyone had any experience using a Food Saver (a vacuum sealing kit). Trina thinks that as long as you put the effort behind it and remember what you have in the freezer then they really do save you money.

How much should you spend on groceries?

Amelia also asked “What is a decent grocery grocery budget for a family of 5? Does anyone know? What is a frugal grocery budget and what is an abundant grocery budget?”

It is easy to see how much you should spend on groceries based on the percentage of your budget. The Larry Burkett website recommends spending 14% of your monthly budget on food and Dave Ramsey says to spend 5 – 15% on food. I checked our budget and we currently spend about 15 – 16% a month on groceries. Since we are on the high end of the percentages I think I can cut some of our spending.

I am encouraged by all the comments to reduce our grocery budget by a $100 a month. Although I am not willing to reduce our “dining” or “eating out” budget yet. We are extremely extrovert people and love eating out with our friends. We just make sure to read menus from right to left and pick cheaper restaurants to eat out at.

4 Ways I am Going to Reduce our Grocery Budget Now:

1. Portion control. Eating less at meal time, so we can have more for leftovers the next night or for lunch. Like Wanda recommended – take out what you want to save before serving it.

2. Eating less meat and more veggies. I got a book called “How to Cook Everything Vegetarian” for Christmas and I am ready to dive in and figure it out some tasty veggie meals. (recommended by Amelia.)

3. Seeking out better deals on meat and freezing it. I already watch the sales on meat, but I am going to try and be even more keen on it. Also, I am going to check Costco prices.

4. Making double or triple amounts of meals and store some in the freezer. Most of the time when we eat out during the week is when I don’t feel like cooking. So I am hoping by sticking some meals in the freezer that can easily be heated up will curb some of the eating out.

These are baby steps in the right direction. If I can decrease our budget by $100 a month for the next six months, then I may try and go lower the following six months. I am hoping that as I get better at meal planning, shopping sales, and sticking to a budget I can get even more creative with ways to save money.

A Lot of Great Resources Were Shared in the Comments

- Amy says to check out Home Economiser and their book , “America’s Cheapest Family Gets You Right On The Money.” Luckily my library has a copy of the book. I will read the book and let you know what I think of it.

- Steph says to look into FoodSupport.org for $250 gift card by completing their program requirements.

- Jeanelle came up with her own cookbook for three months! I downloaded a copy and it is pretty neat. She even makes your grocery list for you for the week. You can check out her cookbook at her blog, Verwaynia.

- Rhonda has her own meal planning website at FamilyMealPlan.com.

- Amy really likes Dream Dinners.

- Amelia shared these three sites: thefamilyhomestead.com, newharvesthomestead.com, and budget101.com

- Here are a few I found this evening:

$5 Dollar Dinners

Grocery Shopping on a Budget by Working Moms Against Guilt

Reducing the Grocery Budget: How I’m Doing It by GNMParents

How to Save Money on Groceries by Reducing Food Waste

Meals for Hard Times: Part 1

Feeding a Family for $300 a month?

Is your grocery budget within the spending percentage? Are you inspired to reduce your grocery bill in this economic climate?

13 Responses to Meal Planning, Part Two: How Much Should You Spend On Groceries?

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Trina
    January 26, 2009 @ 1:30 am

    This discussion has been so great! I have learned form all of my fellow mom’s new ways to work on my food budget. My goal is to cut our food bill by 1/3 so wish me luck. All of the websites were so helpful.
    I know the main focus is on dinners for families, but I need help in the breakfast department. I am looking for cheap/healthy/fast to put together breakfast. I am so not a morning person so I feed my daughter the same thing a lot since I am half awake when she wakes up and wants breakfast.

  • Comment by Sharon M
    January 26, 2009 @ 6:47 am

    Trina, I LOVE breakfast! Here are some ideas. Breakfast is one of the cheaper meals in our house, because it doesn’t usually involve meat:
    1. Hard-boiled eggs: You can do these the night before, and mark them with a large “H” w/ a permanent marker. Then, make some toast w/ whole-wheat bread when she wakes, and hand her an egg from the fridge. Easy!
    2. Pancakes: Again, make a large batch (you can do it before bed if you don’t feel like making them in the AM) and freeze them in baggies; I suck the air out w/ a straw to prevent freezer burn. You can nuke ‘em in the microwave when she wakes, or heat them up in a toaster. Same goes for waffles. Serve with fresh fruit, unsweetened applesauce or a little bit of honey instead of syrup.
    3. Oatmeal: Steel-cut oats are better for you, but take longer to cook (15-30 minutes, depending on the variety). You can start this and wait for it to cook while you drink your coffee; add apple slices or raisins during the last few minutes of cooking. Yummy!

    Our grocery bill is DEFINITELY higher than 15% mark, but we save $$ in other areas (we don’t have a car, so no gas $$), and our rent is lower than it would be in the US. we could cut back a little bit but my husband, the carnivore, would probably die of starvation :-)

  • Comment by Dawn
    January 26, 2009 @ 8:27 am

    I too am inspired and encouraged by all of these ideas – and the support in knowing that our family is not the only one concerned about making ends meet.

    Amanda, I am proud to say that once I took gas out of the grocery budget equation, our grocery spending is 11.5 to 12 %. Our challenge now is to stay within those means and not go over. So these ideas are really helpful.

    I mentioned the idea of having more veggie-type meals and my husband said, “Maybe you can. I need meat!” Followed by much grunting.

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Trina
    January 26, 2009 @ 10:35 am

    @Sharon- Thanks for the ideas! I will have to try the hard eggs. She loves fried eggs but that would be a nice change. I also bought some steel-cut oats and have yet to cook them due to the long timing. But I will give them a try. :)

    @Dawn- Make the Veggie Meals night and do not inform him it is a veggie free just serve the meal. He won’t miss the meat at all. I found that when I told my husband it was a meat-free night that is what he would focus on and not enjoy the meal.

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Trina
    January 26, 2009 @ 11:06 am

    @Dawn- I meant to say Meat Free not Veggie Free :)

  • Comment by Amanda
    January 26, 2009 @ 11:38 am

    @Dawn – my husband would grimace at the vegetarian meals too. Now he is getting more sold on the idea. He likes my black bean chalupas. Some guys need meat. Its okay.

  • Comment by Amelia
    January 26, 2009 @ 12:53 pm

    Also, http://www.cheapcooking.com has some really good idea on using leftovers for other meals.

  • Comment by Dawn
    January 26, 2009 @ 1:46 pm

    Since hubby is primary cook, we have been having mucho discussion in the past few days about what we need to do differently. And that is the main reason why meat will not disappear from the meal planning. Dude is the cook.

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Jenny
    January 26, 2009 @ 4:03 pm

    Have you tried FoodSupoort before? They partner with local grocery chains and offer free food cards. You can learn more about them at http://www.FoodSupport.org

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Smalltowngirl
    January 26, 2009 @ 11:46 pm

    This is great discussion here- I am SURE we spent way over on food…I buy organic milk for the kids which isn’t cheap….also, my daughter and I eat gluten free (she has celiac disease) and so many of the treats she likes are very expensive!! Even her bread is expensive and I buy a mix and make it myself! This is a tough one. We have been trying to do better at portion control and I think that helps (having leftovers for lunch the next day) and I shop more at costco for things and that has helped. These are great ideas- can’t wait to spend more time lookign through them!

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Elizabeth
    January 27, 2009 @ 7:52 am

    I know I’m jumping in a little late, but I haven’t seen a reference to couponmom.com yet. I save the entire inserts of coupons from each Sunday paper and use http://www.couponmom.com to match available coupons to current grocery store deals. I don’t clip anything out until I know what I need, then I dig up the correct insert and find the coupon I need. There is also a coupon database you can search to see if there is a coupon available for a non-sale item on your list. I’ve been collecting coupons since October and throw away the expired sets as I go. I’ve knocked off $120-150 off of my monthly bill!

    I know people argue that coupons are for processed foods, which we try to avoid, but they are also good on things like crackers, soy and organic milk, butter, sour cream, yogurt, canned soup and veggies, frozen veggies, mustard, salad dressing, sugar, flour, rice, oatmeal, dog and cat food, foil…you get the idea. If I find a really good deal on something we won’t eat, I often buy it anyway with the intention of donating it.

    I love all the other ideas, though!

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Katie
    January 27, 2009 @ 8:25 am

    That was great to include a percentage range for a food budget! I’ve been wondering about it for some time now, but never thought to try and look it up. Of course, I’ve spent the last 20 minutes trying to figure out where we stand, and we’re at 10.5% – 11% (including eating out and household items like cleaning supplies and toiletries, but not including gas). I’m pleasantly surprised! Hmmm, now I need a little extra time perusing all the great info you’ve provided! :)

  • Gravatar
    Comment by heather
    March 31, 2009 @ 2:09 pm

    my daughter just blogged about one of our favourite breakfast cookie ( Yummy Cookies!)


    we have it with a protein smoothie and everyone loves it!

Leave a comment


Blog Ads: