Thursday, June 4, 2009

Food Bill Reducing Tip Day!

I was reading about Stacey on her blog, My Friend Oprah, and learning how she uses whole, organic foods for her family, yet still keeps her food bill under $100 or so bucks a week. Ok. I just don't know how to do that. My weekly food bill can easily triple that, and there are times I have to run out toward the end of the week for more milk, bread, etc. Now... to be fair to us, we have teenagers, who eat constantly ($). And then they bring their friends over who eat constantly ($$). And we choose organic foods. ($$$) Another issue is our gluten allergy: 3 of us have it, and can't use wheat to make bread, pasta or pizza from scratch. So although we can keep the various substituting flours in the house to make these staples, the time involved is challenging for a busy mom ($$$$). So perhaps keeping the food bill under $100 is not very plausible. But I sure could learn to love even $200 a week for food. Just keep me away from the dreaded $300 mark!

So how do you keep your food bill down? What great tips do you have to share? In fact, I think we need to dub Thursday the official 'Mindfully Simple Food Bill Reducing Tip Day'. I will start with the following tip, that does help me (when I DO it):

Tip # 1: Make a menu plan for the week (or even 2 weeks). Create a list with the necessary foods for the plan and stick to it - don't waiver for those yummy looking chocolate covered somethings at Trader Joe's - you know what I'm talking about (don't do it!!).

Ok - Your turn. List your tips through the comments and we can keep a running tab of ideas.

1 comment:

Angela said...

I was just talking about this with my family last week. Our food bills varied dramatically.

Not counting wine or going out (or bulk paper items and drugstore items), my husband and I spend $80 a week on groceries.

Some people do that even with a family, but I'm happy with that amount and I don't spend time clipping coupons (although maybe I should- just can't get myself to do it).

Here's what I do:
1. make sure we don't waste food. That has pushed me from $100 a week to $80 a week.
2. Plan meals, but loosely. I usually plan 3, then we have leftovers at least once from something like soup or chili, and we go out to a restaurant or a friend's house at least once, and then we have a sort of snack or grazing night about once a week.
3. sometimes I skip shopping entirely and eat out of the fridge and freezer and pantry.
4. I started looking for just 5 minutes at the "circular" that comes in the mail from the market I go to and that way have found a few things (it's mostly soda and stuff we don't use) like 2 packages of ground turkey for the price of one. That's great when I was already going to buy one, then I put the other "free" package in the freezer to use later.
5. buy items like spaghetti sauce, canned tuna and salmon in bulk.
6. make my own granola (from your recipe!)

The way to waste less food: label leftovers, make an "Eat me" shelf in the refrigerator, and regularly keep an eye on the pantry.

The teenagers make the $80 a week impossible, but with small changes you might keep it down to $200, a reasonable goal.

Oh, and definitely use a list- and don't buy the "extras." Packaged foods and snacks are what cost the most.