Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Justin's Grocery Month (Written by Justin)

OK Ladies, Here's the moment you've been waiting for... My take on cutting the grocery bill.
If you remember, last month was my month to buy the groceries and see what I could do to save money.
No Coupons...
No ECB's or Register Rewards (I had to ask Danielle what these were)...

First of all I'd like you to keep an open mind and listen closely, I think what we discovered as a family are a few concepts that you may be able to apply as well.

When I told Danielle that I wanted to do this for the month, she said I could as long as I gave her a meal plan and bought the groceries for these meals. Well, I didn't really follow through with that plan, but I believe this was part of my success.

First thing I did was go to Aldi's and buy $77 dollars worth of grub.
-20 some cans of vegetables at $0.49/can
-20 some cans of fruit at $0.79/can
-Several packets of Taco Seasoning
-3 Hamburger Helper boxes at $0.89/box
-Several Macaroni and Cheese Boxes at $0.33/box
-Several boxes of flavored noodles
-Some Yogurt
-A couple bags of chips
-3 boxes of cereal at $1.19/box
-A big can of Oatmeal
-Several Pounds of Hot dogs
-Several other items
-Several cheap pizzas (I think they were $1 ea.)
Items bought on separate trip:
-I bought bread at the outlet store (about 8 loaves) for $0.79/loaf
-There was a deal on milk for $1/gal (bought 8 gallons)

Basically I figured I had enough groceries for at least 2-3 weeks.
I was carefull not to buy stuff like fish sticks and pizza rolls which I noticed were like $2.50 or $3 each and I figured if you ate a vegetable and drank some milk you'd have a $5 or $6 meal.

That's the way I bought the stuff at the store. I figured about what it'd cost for a meal consisting of the items I bought.
Ex. (2) $1 pizza's, a ($0.49) can of green beans and 1/2 of a ($1) gallon of milk.

Then we started recording as closely as possible, the cost of each meal we ate.
We included the cost of our drinks and anything else we may have needed for the meal. If we drank 1/2 gal of kool-aid at supper I added $0.65 or so, figuring we used a cup of sugar and a $0.10 packet of mix.

Our daily avg cost for all 6 of us for 3 meals came out to $3.28 /day.
This would be a monthly total of $98.40.
We used about 8lbs of hamburger(which I didn't add cost for) adding the Hamburger at $2.99/lb would take this to about $125.

Keep in mind we eat leftovers when they're available, so on the days we ate a meal from the day before, our only cost was our drinks and things like bread.

We did make a couple extra trips for a few things here or there, but there are also some things that I bought that are still in the pantry.

How did this work?

Here's the short version because it's getting late:

Don't plan a meal and then go buy the stuff for it. Instead go buy a bunch of stuff that you can use to make meals and then when it's meal time, take a look at what you've got and create a meal from those goods.

Don't plan on eating cheap meals if you're not willing to take some preparation time. I noticed when shopping that the stuff you could make in like 5 minutes was much more expensive than making a box of hamburger helper and some baked potatoes (about a $2 meal).

You can eat really cheap if you want to, so don't complain about your grocery bill!!!
I never talk about how people spend their money, but I also won't listen to people complain about their finances. We all spend our money how we want.

Your kids may complain about eating oatmeal or corn flakes every single day, but if you only have a certain amount of money, you've gotta make choices.
Ask them if they'd rather eat corn flakes and go to the movies on Saturday night, or eat cinnamon toast crunch, and stay at home.

I don't plan on doing this again. I don't really care if we spend $100 or $200 a month on groceries, but this was a good eye opening experience, that I hope you can take something from.



The Millers said...

Ok Justin...the first problem I see with this IS: hamburger helper, macaroni and cheese, flavorred noodles, hot dogs, chips and cheap pizzas.
I will agree with you that many people have higher grocery bills because they buy unneeded junk. BUT I will also say that most people would rather spend a few more dollars each month to know their children are eating HOMECOOKED (hamburger helper does NOT count) meals and FRESH fruits and veggies. All of those processed boxed foods have all kinds of crazy msgs, sodium, and preservatives.
Also did you include toilet paper, paper towels, napkins, body wash, shampoo etc?
Because if we all subracted those things from our grocery bills it would be a lot less too. But those have to be bought as well.

I do agree that if your family is so strapped for cash that you can't pay your house payment then you should eat like this. Otherwise, eating a little healthier would make more sense.
BUT keep in mind this is only my opinion and its all in good conversation/fun :)

Megan said...

Good Job Justin, That was extremely cheap but the food is also "cheap"...This type of food wouldn't fly at our house! I only spend about $75. more than your plan per month and we have real meat and potatoes at least twice a week like grilled chicken, pork chops, tilipia, ect. We always have fresh fruit. Almost everything is made from scratch.

If you play your cards right you can eat a whole lot better for only a little more money!!

I think the point about eating from what's in your pantry is great. Only buy what's on sale at the store and then make your meals from what you already have is key. This is what we do!

I think it's great that you did this for a month! Good job!!!

((Do you guys really only use 8 gallons of milk per month... Wow!!! We're more like 3-4 per week!))

Genesa said...

I really enjoyed your post Justin!!!!! I have to agree w/ the other ladies! We almost never eat any of the processed "box meals", I also don't coupon. I would be around your total for a month, sometimes more, sometimes less. I make almost everything from scratch, (pizza,mac/cheese,bread,etc.) and if I see a good deal I stock up. We also can as much as possible, jams, tomato products, green beans,etc. (I know you guys too!)You made some good points, and you did good!

Anonymous said...

Justin, You're really on to something there.
I love the analogy you made with the corn flakes and Cinnamon Toast Crunch (That really hit home, if you know what I mean)
Thanks for Posting.
P.S. When are you going to start a blog of your own?

Thank you again,
Roy Johnson
Somerset, KY

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