Monday, February 14, 2011

Grocery Costs

Groceries are one area of the budget that can fluctuate greatly. It is the easiest area to find savings when you need to cut back for other needs.  It is also the best place to find money to spend on food storage and other preparedness needs.

It is helpful to consider how your family is doing based on the national average for a family your size and age.  Here is a link that will provide you with the data and formula you need to determine what other families are spending.

Using their formula, here is what our family info looked like last year.  I'm looking at the monthly costs for the Thrifty plan

1-year-old        86.90
3-year-old        93.60
5-year-old        97.20
8-year-old        124.00
9-year-old        141.80
Adult female   149.20
Adult Male      167.60
Total                860.30
Subtract 10% since we are a family of 7 and our total monthly food bill should be around $775.  This is what the thrifty plan suggests.  If we fell under the Liberal plan, it would be about twice that much.  The other plans put us somewhere in the middle. 

I really felt like we were spending more on groceries last year than ever!  We did have a baby on formula most of the year which is a big part of that expense.  We also purchased more freezer meals and other convenience items since we were caring for a premature baby.  Even with these considerations, we still only spent about $650 a month on food which fed us and re-stocked our year-supply.  Even though $650 felt like a lot to me, after figuring out the numbers, I decided maybe we weren't doing badly after all.

How do I keep my costs down?  I really don't do much couponing.  I just have a stock-up price list I have put together over the years.  I've followed the prices on the items we use most often and determined what the best price is for them.  I watch for these prices and stock up when the sale hits.  If I were to coupon, the coupon deal would have to beat these prices.  The other way I save money is by cooking from scratch.  Now that my baby is getting older and I have recovered from my difficult pregnancy, I am cooking more.  The last few months we have spent about $550 on groceries.  Don't let your leftovers go to waste and stock-up when the price is low.  That is my best advice!  Enjoy finding the savings!

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