WRAL SmartShopper

WRAL SmartShopper

Thursday thoughts: Faye's revised grocery budget

Posted September 27, 2012


As we all know, the cost of groceries has been increasing. In some cases, prices for items like peanut butter, have gone up as much as 40% in the last year. The bad news is that this trend will not be slowing anytime soon. Because of the drought in the Midwest, prices will continue to increase. Some experts are predicting increases of 10 – 30% on meat, dairy and grain products.

After many years of having a weekly grocery budget of $70 for our family of 4, it’s time for a change. There are a number of factors that have prompted me to adjust our budget. My kids are older and eat more, the cost of food has clearly increased and finally, we are eating “cleaner”. Fruits and veggies cost more than high fructose corn syrup-laden processed food. I am thrilled that my kids love pears and plums and pineapple. My budget….not so much. So, I have increased our weekly food budget to $80 per week, which is basically $20 per person. This does not include non-food items like cleaning, paper products and bath and beauty.

Up until recently, our $70 budget did include paper products, cleaning and bath and beauty items, but not any more. Don’t get me wrong, I am still able to get very good deals on these items using coupons, drug store promotions and gift cards from Swagbucks and by cashing in credit card rewards (there is no annual fee on the card and we pay it off every month so there are no interest charges). Using coupons, promotions, and gift cards I am able to keep my non-food spending on essentials down to $10 per week for toilet paper, paper towels, hair care, oral care, other bath and beauty, cleaning and other non-food essentials. Considering that I have a teenage daughter with long hair who uses amazing amounts of hair care product, this is quite an accomplishment!

One of the things I plan to change in the coming year is my garden. Years ago, we grew awesome gardens with tons of veggies. As we became busier with the kid’s activities and our work, my husband and I let the garden slide a little more each year. This year I only planted a few container plants and we had a pretty sad crop of tomatoes. Next year, I am going to focus on growing more and freezing more. If anyone knows how I can grow some frugal pineapples here in NC, please let me know!

I want to thank all of you for posting the deals and coupons you find every week. I am very grateful that we have this community of “smart shoppers” and that we can help each other save, save, save!.

Has your budget felt the increase in prices? I think it would be interesting to know your grocery budgets as well.  I know many of you track your weekly spending.

How many people are you feeding and how much on average are you spending per week on food?


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  • pete1k Sep 29, 2012

    mytrish: Thanks!

  • mytrish Sep 28, 2012

    pete1k - yes they do. The current chicken sale is on through Oct 5 with delivery on Oct 23. Once you sign up, they will email you when they are in your area. To order, you must be registered and already be logged in to your account. On the main "My Account" page, scroll down the list of upcoming events, find your preferred event and click on the "Click here to place an order" link.

  • thesherman96 Sep 27, 2012

    Our monthly budget is $300 a month. That's for 2 adults a 16 year old son and 5 year old daughter, most of the time. We always have teens spending the weekend or dropping by after band rehearsal. I started couponing at the beginning of August. My goal is to create a stock pile for us, my parents and my in-laws or if one of our teens needs a little help. We have a garden every year that we fill 3 freezers and 2 closets with. All the teens know when we're working in the garden or picking veggies to come over and help. Its easy for us to have 15+ teens/friends over working on veggies or fruits with 2 trills going for a cook out! We would not change a thing.

    Thank you Faye and everyone who posts on here. Reading your post has helped me learn more about couponing, in turn helping me help our families and teens! I plan on attending a workshop as soon as my schedule slows down to learn even more.

  • tarheelfan4life2005 Sep 27, 2012

    We spend $360-$370 per month for everything. It's me and my husband and 2 small dogs. This includes $60-$70 per month for my husband's grandmother's groceries since she lives on SS only and we bring groceries to her each month. This does include the dog's food and their snacks (doggie cookies and chicken strips). We rarely eat out, maybe once per month, so I think we are doing good and we use coupons every month and we save as much as we can possibly save.

  • tarheelfan4life2005 Sep 27, 2012

    Faye---We purchase frozen fruit like pineapple, pears, mixed fruit, etc. and when we get ready to have it with dinner I usually put a serving in a small dessert dish and sprinkle 1 packet of Splenda (since we no longer use refine sugar) on top as the fruit starts to thaw. Works wonderfully!!

  • pete1k Sep 27, 2012

    @mytrish: Does Zaycon foods serve the Raleigh area?

  • 3boys3 Sep 27, 2012

    I put up loads and loads of apples each summer..usually enough to go through the next year. My dear brother and I swap things...he has apple trees and I shop with coupons for his things as I shop for my own. WE make cobblers, pound cakes, breads, apple turnovers YuM!!! and stewed apples a side with our meals. I also put it i my oatmeal with a few nuts. I don't have any peaches, but would love thsoe too! WE just started on your program over this past year and really doing the couponing since June. Our grocery bill is getting better each month...I'm trying to get those 5-6 week of stock pile items. It's my husband and I, two sons 19 and 17, a dog and cat. We are just under $400 for everything now, but as I said doig the stock piling so not forced to buy when it's not on sale. I load up on the meats. WE do have a really nice industrial freezer. All of the women in the stores are so impressed at how much my husband participates:) He got hooked when I showed him the savings..he

  • karenmorris17 Sep 27, 2012

    I recently made the decision to go to a weekly grocery and toiletries budget of $50 to $70 for a family of 3. I'm having to cook too many things from scratch to stay within my budget. Yet I'll probably stick to this for awhile until I use up some things from my freezer and pantry "stockpiles" :-) It's amazing how food prices are increasing while packages are shrinking. In addition, manufacturers coupons from newspaper inserts seem to be decreasing in value, while grocery stores try to make up the difference on a few things with sales and in-store coupons.

  • smolder13 Sep 27, 2012

    Our budget is approximately $500 a month for our family of me, hubby, 2 yr old boy (who eats a TON), 2 large dogs and a parakeet. This includes all food, cleaning paper products, diapers, health/beauty, dog/bird food, including snacks and lunches for work/school. I am slowly getting it down a little bit lower, but with the food prices the way they are I'm not sure how low we'll be able to go... We do have a seperate budget for eating out, although we try to keep that down to a few times a month. Faye has definitely helped us out a ton with saving. I was spending $800-900 a month before couponing and stocking up!

  • bestmom Sep 27, 2012

    My budget is a maximum of $150 a week which includes everything. We are a family of 6 which is me, hubby, 18-boy, 17-girl, 15-boy, 13-boy (teenagers have big appetites!) and a dog. With the exeception of school lunches, every meal is at home. My daughter helps me with couponing which is a big help. I use the sales papers and Faye's blogs when planning my weekly menus and stock up on good sale items.