Saving Money Shopping

I have a question for all of you who are currently displeased with your current food costs.   When you think of your own food spending (groceries and restaurant spending combined) what do you think is the biggest reason you struggle to keep your food budget down?   Is it rising food costs?   Picky kids?  No time to cook?  Nothing in the cupboards?  An unhealthy obsession for Panda Express orange chicken?   Name your nemesis.

(Don’t forget the other posts down below this one.  I seem to be post-happy today.)


  1. I know that our issue is partly due to bad/lazy planning. Ugh! However, the last month I have been diligent about planning a menu that includes lower-cost meal ideas and *gasp* taking the meat out of the freezer to prepare said planned dinner and our food budget was still high (not as high as normal, but still high). So, I’ll chalk that up to be because we live in a dink-oh, dink-oh town with one small-town grocery store and Wal-Mart as our two choices. Small-town grocery store has very high prices (even when things are on sale, I can still find it cheaper at Wal-Mart) and Wal-Mart’s prices are steadily increasing. I do try to use coupons but our WM doesn’t take Internet coupons (how absurd is THAT?) and the newspaper inserts are hit or miss — some weeks I hit the jackpot with coupons for things we actually use and other weeks, nothing.

    Love your blog! 🙂

  2. I love the big family blog…plan to look around this one and that when I have some free time…yea right. I’ll make time…LOL.

    I think for me, finding nutricious organic foods, is what causes my bill to be high.

    Thanks for reading my love story!

  3. For us, the very different eating habits of my family seem to raise the cost. My husband and I are vegetarians, my toddler is allergic to gluten, oats, and is lactose intolerant, and our son has a host of sensory issues, so finds it easier to deal with individual foods (no stews, curries, wats, casseroles for him). All of this combined with an attempt to buy organics and no convenience foods, with the odd can of soup from Trader Joe’s thrown in, makes for a pricey bill. I’ve tried to keep it to 160.00 a week, but I’m always trying to lower that too.

  4. Quick fix foods like chicken nuggets, tater tots and frozen burritos. There are just those days when a full cooked sit down meal can’t happen.

  5. Rising food cost. I buy essentially the same list year to year and the cost has gone so far up.

    Meat and diary are very expensive. The dog food our big dog likes is costly. We order a case of Café De Monde coffee every few months (but no one ever needs to go to Star Bucks with that coffee waiting at home). Diet food and regular food for dieters cost a bit more.

    We have decided food is a huge priority in our house. We all really enjoy eating together at dinner. Dinner is a big social time for our family. It often last well over an hour. We will cut cost on a lot of things before food. The people who cook in our house are wonderful cooks. Everyone looks forward to dinner and we often have extra people. There is always a wonderful dessert made every weekend. If some people like a certain thing to be part of a meal we will try and make sure that is part of the meal; garlic bread and a green salad if you are having spaghetti that night for example. My little girl loves blue berries so I always try and have a box on hand. Another child loves Clementines so we try and have them for her. We don’t buy soda or junk food.

    We have a small house and kitchen so we can’t buy in bulk as there is no storage. No one likes the taste of off brands either. On weekdays a lot of the people cooking are out of the house working all day so you need several dinners to be things you can make in 45 minutes. No one likes to eat the same thing two nights in a row.

  6. Reading about how much (well, little) you spend on food makes me take a hard look at what I spend. My theory is that things cost waaaaaay less where you’re from! On request of my bff, I am posting about it, and making a carnival out of it b/c it TOTALLY stresses me out!
    Join in, eh?!
    (I will confess, though, that I could probably cut about $200 per month by doing more baking and cooking from scratch.)

  7. Rising food costs are hitting us here, but we have an added issue: three of our 8 family members (including me) need to eat gluten free. I kept food costs down for years with homemade bread, noodles, muffins, cookies, etc, and now we don’t even keep wheat flour in the house for fear of cross-contamination. My baked goods appear more sparingly as GF flours are stunningly expensive, and I buy for the others what I used to make myself.
    Your series inspired me though and I’ve been making more meatless meals (lots of beans and eggs!), stretching out what we have and using leftovers more wisely. By watching our purchases carefully and using store brands and few prepared foods, we are least keeping our ridiculous food bill static as prices continue to climb.

  8. There was a time when I could justify being a work-away-from-home mom as an excuse to buy ‘quick’ food and any cut of meat I wanted because I deserved a break. With the cost of food prices rising, I have found myself buying less, cooking more and getting more satisfaction out of the meals I am putting on the table.

  9. Oh where to begin…the cost of EVERYTHING has gone up, some food spoils before I ever get to use it, trying to buy more healthy items = more $$$…will it never end?!

  10. We never eat out, and I only buy “convenience foods” like pre-made meatballs or frozen pizzas if they are on sale. I’d have to agree with rising food prices. Especially the dairy and produce — which are things you just can’t stock up on when there’s a sale. I shop all the dry goods at the store first and feel like I’m doing pretty well, only to realize how quickly I’m going to spend all the money in the dairy department. It’s frightening how much that stuff costs.

  11. Honestly our grocery bill is as low as it possibly can be. We just ran out of beef in the freezer so that is a BIG part of our grocery bill now that I have to buy beef. Hopefully the hubby will get some deer soon!!

  12. The grocery bill has always been pretty ok – even though we buy organic – it’s the eating out that kills our budget. Lack of planning on my part and lack of discipline (maybe those are one and the same) do us in everytime.

  13. My biggest problem is a busy schedule. I do fine when I sit down to plan the menu, write my grocery list and coordinate what I already have with what I need. I can usually stay in a reasonable budget. But when I get busy, we tend to order out, go out, and do impulse shopping. Bad, bad!

  14. The rising prices are killer. We had to stop buying organic b/c of costs. We plan really well and never buy ready-made. But everything is so expensive!

  15. Cost is our issue. I make most of our meals, so it’s the ingredients that make up our food expenses. And I don’t shop for name brands! I try to use Aldi for the most part and I shop the sales at the other stores. My main gut wrenchers are meats and dairy products. Holy cow… they have soared a bit as of late. We’re eating many more meatless meals or the cheaper cuts. We’re not starving by any means, but we don’t make as much of the fun homemade meals like we usually do.

  16. I would say the rising cost of food. In addition, I have a 9yo boy who has started eating like he’s a grown man! For our family of 3, our grocery bill is probably $500/month.

  17. Rising food prices, food allergies/particular needs of kids, and how much they eat. Like a lot of people, we no longer eat out, do more planning and cooking, and sometimes still spend more than we did a year or two ago.

  18. Rising prices is the top for me.
    Quantity is next–I have a hungry husband and three growing boys (and I don’t eat like a bird either).
    Then there’s the refusal of anyone in my family to like beans. Hmph.

  19. Hi,

    I noticed your posts about frugality and wanted to send this along for possible story consideration on Holiday strategic shopping that conquers budgets with bulk shopping and “buddy bonding”…

    There will be a great deal of “making a list and checking it twice” to maximize budgets this Holiday season, and one strategy is in “buddy shopping” – it’s all about the “power of two” for cost-effective and strategic warehouse club shopping for the Holidays. We work with BJ’s Wholesale Club and shoppers can save while taking advantage of the benefits of bulk and multi-pack savings. In addition to their own coupons, BJ’s accepts manufacturer’s coupons – the only warehouse club that does – that allows for multiple coupons to be redeemed on multi-packs of “individual for sale” packaged items. An example would be: BJ’s sells a 2 pack of mouth wash that is normally sold and packaged as individual items in other major retail stores; you could use up to two coupons on this type of packaging in addition to many other items – and then split the cost and items in half between shopping partners – for even more savings.

    Items great for divvying up include paper goods, toiletries, produce, meats, candy, cookie and muffin variety packs, juices, soda, bottled water, soap and cleaners…just to name a few. By splitting big packages, Holiday shoppers are also spending less per item than if purchased at a local grocery store (more than 30 percent over supermarket prices).

    Besides savings on money, time and gas, shopping partners can finish off the “savings experience” with their own kitchen-side “packaging party,” to divy up the purchases and then settle back knowing they’ve checked off their lists with the best savings possible.

    Thanks for your consideration,

    Tracy Tilson