Budget Grocery Shopping and Meal Planning

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Lori K

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* Maybe split big purchases with another single friend. We both used to do this thing called "bountiful baskets." It went away during COVID but I think they are starting it again.
You pay like $15.00 and you get a basket of fruits and veggies- but you don't know what you will get in that week's bundle. You get sooo much.
We could easily split one. That would be $7.50 a piece!!
If that's like a getting a weekly "share" from a farm, perhaps contact them and see if you could get a 1/2, if your friend no longer wants to split it?
 

sweetpumkinpye

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I just completed a no spend week which was interesting. I did prepare for it by stocking up on milk but besides that just lived with what was in the house for the week. I was pleased with how we did.
 

AnnieClaus

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Katrina- I am following your lead on the no spend week. I did have to get gas yesterday.
And did have a dinner planned out- plans for weeks now. But that is it. No extra runs to pick up this, that, the other.

Will continue this way forward.

Lori- I looked- the fruit and veggies baskets started again but not in our area.....
Bummer!

My church has a veggie, fruit pick up once a month- it is 60 pounds for $20!
Waaaayyyy too much for me to deal with. Although, I could split it up with my family.

Annie
 

frostythesnowman

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Food prices are soaring here in the UK....With inflation hitting 9% i can't see light at the end pf the tunnel for a very long time....I filled my car up today and it cost me £50 more to fill....Its £1.80 a litre here now...8 weeks ago it was £1.18 a litre!!
 

Lori K

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Lori- I looked- the fruit and veggies baskets started again but not in our area.....
Bummer!

My church has a veggie, fruit pick up once a month- it is 60 pounds for $20!
Waaaayyyy too much for me to deal with. Although, I could split it up with my family.

Annie
Can you prepare some of it for the freezer, or maybe can it, to preserve it for later use? Jars with lids and rings (often available at garage sales and resale shops) and your soup stock pot is really all you need.
 

Lori K

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Lori- That definitely is a great idea.
I would have to get my pantry and storage room a bit more organized.

Annie
20# of roma tomatoes yielded about 9 pints of stewed (plain) tomatoes or 7 pints of spaghetti sauce, if I'm remembering correctly. Haven't pulled out my canning stuff yet. 3 quarts of strawberries will get you a bunch of half-pint jars of jam. Hint: Keep the insert from your box of pectin in your handbag for reference when picking up produce for making jam.
 

sweetpumkinpye

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Katrina- I am following your lead on the no spend week. I did have to get gas yesterday.
And did have a dinner planned out- plans for weeks now. But that is it. No extra runs to pick up this, that, the other.
Annie. I found it a great success. I spent $7.00 to park at work on Friday and $300 for a car service that was due and that I had put money aside for. I could not move this appointment.

Besides that did not spend 1 cent. I stuck exactly to the meal plan, used things that we had and were quite inventive with what we had. I am glad that we did stock up on milk as it would have been tough with out it. I usually "pop" to the shop a couple of times a week and spend $40-$50 each time so a savings there too.

My bank balance looks pretty healthy this week. so I will try it again in June and see if we can do well with it again.
 

sweetpumkinpye

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Its £1.80 a litre here now...8 weeks ago it was £1.18 a litre!!
$198.9 a litre here but the government has reduced the fuel excise by 20c until the end of September. ( Federal election this weekend):rolleyes:
So without the 20c off it would be $218.9 per litre. I am aware that as soon as the reduced excise is removed in September it will jump 20c overnight. I can see people stockpiling fuel just before this happens.
 

Lori K

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Yesterday turned costly and I'll be shopping my pantry for the next month, I think. Aside from fresh produce (salad) and dairy (milk (by the quart, since it's just me) and coffee creamer), I should be able to do this with ease.
 

sweetpumkinpye

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Shopping in my pantry- have cans of kidney beans and black olives.
Taco salads for lunch next week!
Yesterday turned costly and I'll be shopping my pantry for the next month, I think. Aside from fresh produce (salad) and dairy (milk (by the quart, since it's just me) and coffee creamer), I should be able to do this with ease.
I look forward to seeing your success with your no spend efforts.
 

Minta

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DH and I went to the meat market last night. It's a 45 minute trip each way but with the way the meat prices have been soaring lately we wanted to stock up before the prices went any higher. I went $10 over my planned budget but I did spurge and got veal cutlets. We got 40 lbs of boneless chicken breast, 20 lbs of ground beef, 1 1/2 lbs of veal cutlets and 20lbs of boneless chuck steaks. I got 30 lbs of the chicken vacuum sealed and into the freezer lastnight. Going to use the last 10 lbs to make jerkey, chicken enchilada mix for the freezer and will slice up and precook the rest to freeze for quick chicken sandwiches.

Tonight we are getting round 2 of the veggie plants for the garden, stopping at the local farm for eggs and stopping at Walmart to stock up on more pantry related items and to get more pellets for the smoker. I am going to start making bread and rolls again. Also want to look into some weights and small exercise equipment. We are cancelling our gym memberships for now. Cant justify keeping it with cost of gas hovering just below $5 a gallon right now. The less running around we do the better.
 

AnnieClaus

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I went grocery shopping last evening with a carefully prepared list and spent $54.00.
I have a couple more things I need to get at another store and should not have to get a thing for the next week. I really want to stick to this grocery budget.

Question- Do you all have a set budget for groceries/food? Or do you buy what you need (like I did yesterday) and then say, "That's it for the week, two weeks, etc." ?

Annie
 

Lori K

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Question- Do you all have a set budget for groceries/food? Or do you buy what you need (like I did yesterday) and then say, "That's it for the week, two weeks, etc." ?
When setting my goals for 2022 (and even writing them down -- a first for me), I set an amount for various categories for the month, i.e. groceries, pet supplies, gas, and entertainment (eating out with my widows group, movies, tickets to events, etc.). Since this type of tracking activity is new to me, I viewed it as a guideline and am giving myself some flexibility this year. I'm also tracking spending in my Day Runner and totaling it each month to see if I'm remotely close. So far, I've not been too far off. A couple of months, I went over on groceries by a lot, but it tended to be when I shopped in the last few days of the month, rather than after the 1st. And there was a month where I was running to Michigan every weekend to unload the boat, so fuel expenditures and eating out (which fell in my "entertainment" line) was over-budget. But it had to be done. But, given the increases in gas and food, I'm feeling the need to watch any discretionary spending extra closely.
 

sweetpumkinpye

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Question- Do you all have a set budget for groceries/food? Or do you buy what you need (like I did yesterday) and then say, "That's it for the week, two weeks, etc." ?
My fortnightly budget for my main shop is $200. This is for everything I need, groceries, cleaning supplies and pet food. Petrol is a separate budget. If I only spend $120 like I did this week (after careful meal planning, writing a comprehensive list, comparing prices between Aldi and Woolworths and only buying what was on my list)I have $80 left.

This week I will do a "top up" of milk, bread and any fruit and veggies that we may need. Both major supermarkets here have 1/2 price specials every week and these are what interests me most. I will look at the store catalogues and if there are any fabulous bargains and it is in my budget I will purchase them. If not the left over money will go into a savings account and I will use it when I go to Costco in a few weeks time. I know the trip to Costco will cost $300-$400. I also just did a no spend week so did not top up on bread milk etc mid fortnight and saved the extra $$ and put into my Costco account.


Having said all that, as hard as I try to keep things tight when it comes to groceries, if my budget blows out a little occasionally we will live with it. Every now and then I do buy more that what was planned for. I may have found a great price on an item or we had the kids over for a meal something like that. I think that if it just an occasional blow out don't stress too much just deal with it and move on.
 

Minta

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I used to keep a budget for groceries and gas but with all the major price increases and stock issues we had had in the past I kinda let that go.
If I see something that is back in stock that we use a lot of and I know is questionable whether or not it will stay in stock I will get it. I shop a few different stores for sale items and stock up when I can. We started keeping what some refer to a a prepper stock pile several years ago and because of that I have learned what is my is stock up price and who usually has the better deals.

We are cutting back on eating out, going to the movies, etc to save money. Instead we plan on having more date nights at home with family and friends: Game nights (board games, corn hole, billards, etc) movie night and drinks around the firepit so that will save us money. A few of us are with in walking distance to each others homes so no waste of gas there :)

I have my grill and smoker so I am planning on using them much more this summer.
 

Myron's Mom

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I don’t have a budget. In the past I was pretty much consistent week to week on what I would spend.
Im pretty much limiting my self to shopping once a month if I can. I had been shopping on just one mega point day at the store. April and may were a little different with bonus point days. So I did shop more than once. If I run out of something between trips then we make do. I shop from my list only and do not wonder up and down each isle. The only time I will buy something not on the list is if I see a major deal. Last week it was a mangers special on bacon so I did pick up a couple packs.
I recently got 50 pounds of beef at the meat market. I had to break down the bulk packs and vacuum sealed it but it was worth it price wise. I did get a whole beef tenderloin. We can have a filet dinner at home now and then for less than 1/2 the restaurant price.
Back to making bread again. I bake every 2 weeks and freeze some. I need to start making hamburger and hotdog buns.
June is going to be a refrigerator/ freezer/pantry challenge. I’ve pulled all the pantry items to the kitchen pantry that out date in 2022. I have a bunch of odds and ends in my refrig/ freezer that I want to use up. I’ll be doing some creative meal planning in June. Thank goodness my husband will pretty much eat anything.
 

Minta

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Grocery store had the 12 pack of the smaller Gatorade bottles on sale for $6. I grabbed 4 so far and will get 1 or 2 more before the sale ends. DS has 2 weeks of all day band camp in the beginning of Aug and then practice 2 nights a weeks for 3 hours each night the rest of the month. The smaller bottles come in handy as he will finish one bottle before it gets warm while the other bottles are staying cold in his lunch tote.
 

AnnieClaus

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Yesterday I had to restock on coffee. Both for work and home.

I get the vacuum sealed packs (they look like a brick) and we empty them into a larger container.
I can usually get these 2 for $5.00. Sometimes 2 for $5.50.
Yesterday they were $4.00 a piece!!! I was shocked!!!!!
I've never seen them that high even when I can't find them on sale.

Annie