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Monday, February 7, 2011

Grocery Budgets

I read a post last week that has been on my mind a lot lately. It was (is) entitled "WMFW: What’s your Grocery Budget?" I was intrigued to see what other peoples budgets are. I know mine is low but it works for our family.

Here is an excerpt from her post :

What I’m challenged by lately is all this hype about people who spend so little week-by-week at the grocery store. Ex: “I spend $25.00 a week on my family of four!” So you listen, to find out more of course, and come to find out that in addition to the $25.00 that is spend weekly, they get items out of their stockpile they’ve accumulated in their pantry, garage, and/or freezer. Shouldn’t that count in your weekly spending then?

I don’t mean to sound mean, but where does one’s stockpile money come from then?

First of all, I left a rather long comment on her post, explaining the way my budget works, (like she asked for at the bottom of said post - "What is your grocery budget, if you don’t mind sharing, keeping everything you use in mind?" and she rejected the comment. Hmmm....if you were really interested, why reject a comment that explains how someone does it on less?

This particular part of the post has been bugging me. I DO spend $25ish a week on my family of four. (Check out my grocery trips if you don't believe me!) In that $25 a week, I include fruits and veggies, meats, grains, dairy, and toiletries. I also include my stocking up. Just this past week, I bought 30 bags of cheese, in addition to the produce. This was essentially my grocery shopping for the week. We aren't going to use all the 30 bags in one week, so they went into the freezers. Why would it be far to count them as part of the grocery budget when we use them, since I counted them as part of my grocery budget this week?

When I buy a jumbo pack of chicken and it cost $9, it comes out of that weeks budget. I don't use the whole pack of chicken that week, so it gets divided and thrown into the freezer. It's already bought and paid for from another weeks grocery budget. If I counted this again when I used it, it would be like paying for it twice. But I only paid for it once. Does that make sense?

When I need to go to Sam's to do a stock up trip (and I've only been buying flour from them actually and not in.... a year? LOL), I take the "leftover" money from the past few weeks groceries, and buy my items at Sam's. I've been cooking a lot from scratch, using ingredients that aren't costly - flour, pasta, homemade (and canned) sauce from the garden, etc.

That is another thing. I spent money on seeds two years ago for my garden. Since then, we've either used harvested seeds from the year before, or hubby has gotten plants for free at work. I can or freeze everything my garden produces that we won't use right away. It's another way I keep our budget low.

All of my toiletries I get from Rite Aid and CVS for FREE.

The way I am interpreting her post is that she is really saying, it's pointless to have a stockpile. She'll buy her groceries for the week, and add to her stockpile. But when she gets an item from her stockpile, she charges herself for that item.(Taking it out of her grocery budget for that week.) If you're going to take it out of your budget twice, why would you have bought the item in the first place? Why not wait until you need it?

Maybe I've misunderstood this post. But that's what I'm getting from it. What about you? What do you think? And, What is your grocery budget?
If you want more info on my grocery budget click HERE and HERE.


  1. Well I think that you have done a great job on $25 a week for 4. I wish I had the brains to do that =) and I have only got 3 folks in my house hold (Me, Hubs, and a one year old). Do you use coupons a lot? Or look for major sale going on? The reason I asked is because I have just started using them and I still have questions. I don't wanna get a large amount of items from my coupon 'list' and then they tell me I can't for example use a target coupon with a manufacture's coupons... because it looks like it said that you cant, "limit one coupon or offer per transaction" Sorry to go on and on but I would loooove to learn how to do it =)

    Thanks for your time,

    BTW: My budget is: Buy everything we need for the week. So there is no budget. =(

  2. I commented on that blog because it seems to me that the folks there haven't had real life experiences with those who save significant amounts of money and may not understand it. I, for one, am totally inspired by your blog and hope that I can begin to learn all the tricks to lower my budget even more than I have in recent months.

  3. Oh no, I just wrote a comment and it didn't post!

    Well, I just wanted to tell you that I think those folks do not quite understand how people save or have not been in touch with real-life examples of a serious budget. I am totally inspired by your blog and hope to get that good in time.

    I did comment on her blog just to try to explain a little bit. It's interesting to me that people think using coupons automatically means you don't feed your family fruits or vegetables and you use *gasp* processed cheese!

    Everyone needs education, I am striving for a better budget even though I've already cut mine in half because I know it's possible now, whereas before I just accepted my budget as is.

  4. I think you do an amazing job with $25 a week for a family of four. I cannot manage it, and am simply satisfied with my average of $85 a week for a family of 5. But everyone is different. Shopping sales and menu planning are what enable me to keep the budget where it is.
    I do my stockpiling the way you do, I take it from the budget of the week I buy it in, not the week I use it in. One week pasta was 50 cents a box. I bought 10 boxes! Or the week flour was 99 cents with a limit of 5. I bought 5 and sent my mom over for 5. Thos things didn't need to be added into my weekly budget for awhile. And for when we go to BJ's (like Sam's club) I take the extra money from previous weeks. The same with Arnolds (where I buy most of my meat).
    An Aldi just opened near us and I have been told they are super cheap. But I can't figure out if they are cheap compared to shopping sales and using coupons, or just cheap if you want to buy what you want each week and not plan around sales. I may try them and see if I can whittle my budget down even more.

  5. Why in the world would you count something again that you already counted in the budget? It sounds to me like someone does not really understand stockpiling.

  6. I think the poster thinks in order to create your AMAZING Stockpile you must have spent hundreds of dollars to get it and keep it going. It's a newbie not understanding the concept of stockpiling within a set budget. Your budget is $25 a week so you buy items for your meals and add to your stockpile from that same budget. I think she thinks you spend $25 a week on necessities and you should count the money you did previously spent to create your stockpile. I think she's thinking your stockpile must have cost a lot to start up, therefore you should include that expense when saying how much you "spent" that week to feed your family. A concept that is totally NOT true. Just my opinion, maybe I'm wrong!

    It's okay, I get the same weird/nasty comments from people. Even friends and family. They think we waste money by stocking up on 99cent spaghetti - what they don't realize is we got those 30 bags of 99cent spaghetti for FREE thereby we are NOT wasting/hoarding/whatever you want to call it. We are saving for the future weeks frugally and STILL not spending outside of our monthly budget!

  7. I have been using coupons off and on for years. But not until the last 6 months have I really started using them and getting super bargains and deals. I am actively working now to build up a stockpile of staple items and toiletries (by getting them free or for pennies on the dollar). We also have just purchased a chest freezer to store meat and other items in (such as cheese) that we find on sale.

    Right now - I spend somewhere in the range of $200-$225 a month - occasionally up to $250 but that has been gradually going down.

    There are 3 of us - and every other weekend there are 6 of us (add in stepkids from first marriage that come to visit). I am working hard to get that down to an average of $150 a month.

    I love your blog and your tips! And I think people that can't understand or discount what you are doing are just rude. My stockpile may not be as big as yours - but there is nothing wrong with YOU having what you feel is a good deal and necessary for your family.

  8. @Mindy, I think you must live near me! The bj's and arnold's give it away and also the new aldi!

    i tend to shop at aldi as we are more on a whole foods life style so it fits. Milk for 1% is 2.19/gal vs the almost $4 at the bigger stores. I find a lot of the foods I buy don't have coupons or even go on sale often. I stock up when I can, but not always.I also don't have a huge stock pile as I don't have storage or a freezer(just the on top fridge one)

    My budget is about $150/week and that's for food, toiletries, and clothing if needed. I'd love to get it to $25/week, but it seems my area doesn't seem possible!

  9. It seems like she maybe thinks you spend $25 a week, not counting the things you buy wholesale and in bulk??

    I do what I can by using coupons and buying mainly store brands. I go to Aldi's first and get everything I can there. Usually I spend between $100-$120 every two weeks, including everything- food, toiletries, vitamins, paper products, etc..

  10. I guess I just dont get it and I am completely jealous for those who do get it. I am a 24 year old mother of a 1 year old. My husband and I do weekly meal plans and grocery trips, but end up spending 100-150 a week. I always think that the meals that I plan have too many ingredients are we shouldnt eat meat as much as we do, but you seem to do it just fine! I found your blog this morning and will be following it like a hawk now to see how it is done...how do you do the whole free toiletries - I JUST DONT GET IT! Hopefully, I will learn....

  11. I have recently challenged myself to spending only $50/week on unprocessed, whole foods...I don't know if it will work but the first step to succeeding is trying.

  12. I'm with you...I use my allocated weekly amount to stockpile when there's a good deal, and it comes out of the same budget. Too bad. I'm glad you posted about this though, because you work hard to get the deals you do and to keep the budget you keep. I always thought my $40/week for 4 was good, but you are AMAZING!!! You deserve props!

  13. Where was the article that you read? I would be interested in reading it and also adding a comment similar to yours on her post. Would you give us the link?

  14. We are doing $50 per week for 4 of us: 2 adults, 2 teenagers. I find it a challenge, but possible. We live in a smaller town which limits us to good deals, but they are out there if you just look. I take a little bit more time to shop than going to just one store, but I think the savings is definitely worth the extra half hour or hour. Sometimes I get frustrated, but realize that we have plenty of food. I guess we are just used to eating as many fresh fruits and veggies as we want instead of just limiting it to 5 and try to make them less expensive ones.

  15. Spendwisemom - I'm not sure I'd feel comfortable directly giving out the link. I will say that if you go to the WFMW linkup from this time and look for the one near the beginning titled "What is Your Grocery Budget?", you've found it. :)

    She did apparently read my post. Two days after I posted this, she sent me an email saying thank you for my comment. She had published my comment - it appeared above some already published ones, meaning she went back and found my comment and published it, after she had alraedy published some other ones.


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