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Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Grocery Budget

Frequent question:
"I just have two quick questions for you, how much do you spend on a monthly basis on grocery/household expenses(on average, I know it probably fluctuates) and how big is your family? I just stumbled onto your site and I'm trying to take it all in! I'm getting excited about getting a food storage for my family, I always used expense as an excuse to not have one."
That is a common reason why people put off getting their food storage--they think it is too expensive. The complete opposite is true!! Having your food storage SAVES you money!

I have a family of six--my husband (who is a BIG eater), four children (who have their fathers appetite) and myself (who unfortuatetly LOVES to eat). So...we are not small eaters by any means! We also have close family and have AT LEAST one family 'party' a week where it wouldn't be complete with out LOTS of food for 20+ people. I obviously LOVE to cook and average cooking 6 meals a week--plus, breakfasts, lunches & many snacks, desserts & homemade breads in between! Having said that, we spend an average of $300-$400 a month. The national average for a family of 6 would be $600 or more. This total also includes obtaining my families year supply of food along the way.
There are however, months where I spend MUCH less than the $400. Right now I am (for fun) seeing how long I can go without buying any meat for my family's meals. My freezers (three--scary!) are FULL! I stock up on meat when it goes on sale and have realized that I need to be on strike from buying meat for awhile! I have 100's of pounds of meat in my freezer--chicken, steak, roast, bacon, pork, sausage, turkey, whole chickens, etc. I only buy meat when it goes on sale for GREAT prices, stock up and over time you have a whole freezer filled with meat. It has been over two weeks and all I have bought is produce. I have averaged about $50 a week for produce, so at this rate I will only have spent $200 this month on groceries. That is what is so great about food storage and having your freezer stocked! Over time you find you really don't need anything for your food storage. This Macey's case lot sale all I needed to add to my food storage was 2 cases of applesauce, 2 cases of pasta sauce & 1 case of tomato paste. Once you start buying food storage you may think it will never end, but it does! You will find you are eventually just maintaining and replenishing your food storage instead of buying everything in bulk. When you buy a little food storage each time you go to the grocery store, and buy those items on sale for 'red/great' prices (we tell you which items to add each week) you will find it will not take any extra money, and you will begin to get your year supply, ONE WEEK AT A TIME!

One other tip that may help your family get your food storage is to put away $100-$500 of your tax return to go directly to your food storage. This is when we buy many of our long term items and make sure we are up to our 'year supply' totals. Many of these items we buy at the LDS Cannery (wheat, dried beans, powdered milk, potato pearls, oats, dried onions, hot chocolate, etc. IN BULK!). Other items we stock up on are rice, flour, pasta, etc. at Costco. The rest of the food storage items we buy, we buy throughout the year when they go on sale for great prices. You will be surprised how much food you can buy with $500! Even if you have only $100 available from your tax return, you can stock up on quite a few items.

My only number one rule, is I don't EVER buy groceries that are not on sale (if an item isn't on sale & I need it, I go to Walmart because it will be the next lowest price available)! To keep your grocery bill low, it does take will power! I rarely buy fruit snacks, treats, twinkies, chips, processed foods, etc. If my children want a snack, they get something homemade (cookies, popcorn, homemade granola, fruits, vegetables, etc.) These 'quick' meals and foods are MUCH more expensive than making them homemade. Learning to make many of your breads, snacks, and desserts from scratch will save you SO much money and will be much healthier for you.

With a little planning and dedication, you can get your year supply of food..and you will find it will be FUN & EASY! Begining in a small way as President Hinckley says will give BIG dividends in the future.


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