How I Feed My Family of 5 With Only $300 A Month

226 Flares Twitter 0 Facebook 2 Pin It Share 223 Google+ 1 StumbleUpon 0 LinkedIn 0 Email -- Filament.io Made with Flare More Info'> 226 Flares ×

It seems like everyone is itching to save these days, so what better way to do so than to cut down on monthly food expenses? We all want to know how to save money on groceries, especially with families to feed. With a little planning and preparation, I am able to feed my entire family for a month using no more than $300! My family consists of myself, my husband (who should really count for two people), my mother in law, MJ (5) and Baby Girl (1). That’s three eating adults instead of the normal two, so I really have the challenge of stretching meals and making our budget work.

My Sample Monthly Shopping Plan:

1st week: The biggest shopping week for us. This is where I re-stock all of our meats, canned foods, eggs, bread, milk, juice, pantry staples, seasonings, fruits, vegetables and other necessary items. I spend about $125 on this trip.
2nd week: This trip is usually a Walmart/Target trip and includes toilettries, snacks, paper towels, laundry items, cleaners and anything else we need to maintain the household. I buy enough here to last the whole month. I spend from $50-75 on this trip.
3rd week: A light re-stocking of grocery items we have run out of, such as fruits, veggies or specifics I need to cook with for the week. I spend about $40
4th week: Another Walmart/Target trip, re-stocking odds and ends me may need before it’s time to do the next mass shopping trip. I spend around $40.

I have friends that are single and calculated their monthly spending at $400-500 per month on food alone, FOR ONE PERSON. Yikes! It’s wonderful to treat yourself to the more expensive ways of living when you can afford it, but when you are on a tight family budget, you must pinch pennies and be a smart spender. Check out these ideas I have implemented in my weekly shopping trips…

Buy Staples In Bulk – I buy all of our staple foods in bulk. When you do so, you save a pretty good amount rather than buying small amounts every week. A few examples:

  • You can buy 3 lbs of frozen chicken breasts for about the same price you would buy 1 lb of fresh chicken breast.
  • Buy a large 10 lb. bag of potatoes instead of smaller bags or purchasing them single. My local farmer’s market has 10 lb. bags for only $1.99, where as I would only get about 3 large potatoes for the same price if I bought them seperately.
  • Stocking up on rice is cheaper when you buy it in bulk, plus it can be used for so many great meals and is very filling.

Matching Coupons with Sales- Clip and save those coupons, you never know when an item is going to be marked down! As always, if the matching store brand item is still cheaper than the brand name item with a coupon, I would buy the store brand. Take a look at the store’s weekly ad and compare them with the coupons you currently have and that are available to print. You can end up saving over 50% by matching manufacturer’s coupon with sales and/or in-store coupons. There are a few great blogs that do this on a weekly basis to make our lives a tad easier. My favs:

  • MoneySavingMom.com: Posts the greatest deals and coupons match ups for a variety of stores, including Walmart, Target, CVS and more.
  • ForTheMommas.com- Provides different scenarios on how to maximize your savings at various stores, such as Kroger, Safeway, Kmart, Shop Rite, Geunardi’s, Meijer, Food Lion and more.
  • PocketYourDollars.com- This site actually makes a shopping list for a bunch of popular food and drug stores across the country. Take advantage of the deals posted here!

Note: The best places to print manufacturers coupons online are Coupons.com, Red Plum, Coupon Network and Smartsource.

Shopping at Discount Stores- Do not be afraid to visit your local Food 4 Less, Save-A-Lot or 99¢ stores, you would be surprised at what you can find! Even the Target and Walmart Supercenters have better deals than your local expensive grocery store. I have seen multiple items at almost half of the price they would be at the grocery giants. It really makes a difference.

Store Brand Items- Many of us are stuck on brand name items. Remove yourself and take a peek at what the store brand has to offer! They often have many of the staple items, snacks, toilettries and beverages you may be looking for at only a fraction of the price of the more popular brand name items. Some of my favorite store brands are Safeway brand, Market Pantry (Target) and Great Value (Walmart).

Shopping in Season- This applies to mostly fruits and vegetables. Try to stick to the items that are in season, they are much more plentiful so they cost less. For example, buying peaches in the winter is almost always a fail. If they are available, they cost an arm and a leg, and usually end up being super hard anyway!

The Unnecessary: Selecting Snacks and Sweets- Snacks and sweets are wonderful to have in the pantry, but they are not always necessary. Be selective of what snacks you buy and how much you are really getting for what you pay. I know those cookies look delicious, but in reality, snacks are some of the priciest items to buy, don’t be afraid to limit yourself. This is one of the times that you should strategize, using the “Matching Coupons With Sales” and the “Store Brand Items” sections above.

Plan for Left Overs, Left Overs, Left Overs!- I normally cook about 3 times a week and I make sure to cook enough food for at least one night of left overs. It is much easier and cheaper to double your family recipes and cook it once than to have a new meal with different ingredients every night. Breakfast and lunch are simple, but it is dinner that I have to plan out. Check out my weekly menu scenario for next week…

Sample Weekly Menu Plan

This whole menu was planned with ground turkey in mind. I can buy a bunch in bulk and apply it to all meals listed, the Chili, Tacos and Spaghetti. You can do the same with chicken breast, pork chops, ground beef, or whatever you like. The only other ingredients I need are veggies, noodles, bread, and simple odds and ends to complete the meal.
Note: Adding garlic bread or a side salad to a meal is a great, inexpensive way to stretch your meal and fill those tummies!
Rarely Eat Out- My husband and I used to eat out all of the time! I must admit, it was mostly me driving that habit. We have since drastically reduced our dining out nights, saving us hundereds of dollars per month! When we do eat out, I definitely make sure that we have a coupon accessible. Calculate the amount of times you eat out per month, how much could you save if you at least cut it in half?

When you do eat out, save a bundle using Restaurant.com. You can get $25 gift certificates to restaurants in your area for as low as $2! There are different promotions and codes available, GO HERE to see the latest.

If you are not already trying some of these steps to reduce your grocery bill, I suggest you get started. It really makes a difference in my household. How large is your family and how much do you spend monthly on groceries, eating out, toilettries, and household necessities? Please leave a comment and share!

If you liked this post, Subscribe, follow on Facebook and Twitter!

Bookmark and Share
226 Flares Twitter 0 Facebook 2 Pin It Share 223 Google+ 1 StumbleUpon 0 LinkedIn 0 Email -- Filament.io Made with Flare More Info'> 226 Flares ×




Comments

  1. Monique G. says:

    I would love for you to post some other ideas for your meal plans. I just *stole* this meal plan for my family next week. I also have a family of 5, myself, my husband, DS9, DS8, and DD2. I actually found your blog while looking for how to budget groceries for a family of five under $300. I had been contemplating using your leftover concept and you just solidified it for me.

  2. This is so great. Thank you! I am new to meal planning and this is the first site I’ve come across that has really explained items and pricing week by week for the entire month. It’s just my boyfriend and me living together, but I absolutely love to cook and frequently spend way too much… and this has been going on for 2 years! I am so greatful to have found this info… I would be interested in an actual list of yours for the entire month if you’d be willing to share… thanks again!

  3. RhondaLynne says:
  4. I have a husband that won't eat canned foods, potatoes, rice, or frozen meat. Do you have any suggestions? We have a family of four and we exceed our $400.00 grocery budget every other month. He read your article and loves it!!! Uncle Dee Dee

Speak Your Mind

*



226 Flares Twitter 0 Facebook 2 Pin It Share 223 Google+ 1 StumbleUpon 0 LinkedIn 0 Email -- Filament.io 226 Flares ×