Hey everyone! I'm new and so excited about this group.
I have a family of three but I buy groceries like i'm trying to feed the Brady Bunch. I tend to buy a lot because of "sales" and I like to stay stocked up. Well I think I spend too much. How much I spend varies because it depends on what I see in the sales papers. How much do you spend? Do you allow yourself a certain amount and stay within that budget?
I've been a "lurker" in this blog for awhile now and have learned a lot, so thank you first off. I finally have something valuable to share! Of all the ways we've cut our monthly expenses this is where we made the biggest difference. I do once a month cooking (OAMC) and stock our freezer. We were spending 600-700 a month on groceries before and now my grocery bill averages $350 a month for a family of 4. We have a large extended family that gets together a lot so that figure also includes all of the potluck, company meals and bringing snacks for my son's preschool twice a month. It takes a lot of planning & organization to get the hang of it, but I am such a believer I tell everyone what a difference it has made in our budget.
Think about it - you buy the "value packs", food isn't going to waste because it is dealt with immediately, you're not in the store more than once a month (other than the runs for milk & produce) so you're not tempted to spend.
My advice is to go to the library and check out all the books on freezer and make ahead cooking. I'm actually teaching a class on this subject at our local community college, so check in your area if a similar class is available. There are several really great websites that offer recipes, tips and tricks for successful OAMC. I've developed 3 different "menu" plans (a list of all the dishes I'm making for a month - including breakfast items and snacks) that I rotate for variety. I know roughly what my "menus" cost in groceries, and I do have one plan that is for our short months (my hubby is in road construction so rainy weather makes for small paychecks). Sorry for going on and on, but I KNOW this works and KNOW it could help so many of us struggling to get out of debt if we're willing to put forth the effort.