I Need Help Budgeting for Food for a Family-of-Five: Advice?

QUESTION:

"Hi Mums, I’m struggling with food shopping (family of 5). I want to do the shopping in one go, And I do, but I feel like we run out quickly and we’re going back to the supermarket every day.

I feel when I do the shopping that I get enough and costs a fair bit, it’s like all we spend our money on is food!! Any advice, please? Be nice."

RELATED QUESTION: What do you use to budget for groceries?

TOP ANSWERS (AS SELECTED BY MODERATOR):

“Sit down. Make a meal plan. If you shop for a week or two weeks or a month. Write down 7 days… 14 days… 30 days… Worth of meals. When you do this, plan to use leftovers. Have a leftover night once a week. Make something you can easily transform into something. Write down ALL the ingredients you need. Go through your cabinets/pantry/freezer. Mark out what you do have. Then make a list of snacks. Buy those in bulk and separate them into Ziploc bags.”

“This won’t work for everyone, but I take advantage of the stores that mark meat down the day before it expires and I put it in the freezer. You have to be careful that the meat isn’t discolored or has an ‘off’ odor. I’ve done this for years and haven’t killed anybody yet.”

“Have you tried meal planning as a family? I do this with my family. We all sit at the table and pick out the meals for the week. I do the whole month shopping in one go. We are also a family of 5 and I know how expensive food can be. This was what I started doing to save money. Snacks I let the kids make three choices each of sale snack items. It gives them a choice and says, but it also helps to cut down on costs. Hope this helps.”

“If you have an Aldi nearby, they really are a money saver. Meal planning, buying what’s on sale, buying meat in bulk, and freezing in smaller portions are all good ideas. Also, making things like pancakes, waffles, and biscuits from scratch are super cheap and make a lot.”

“I do a monthly shopping and spend 400-500, a family of 4 with 2 extra kids all weekend every weekend, and that is most of my meats and pantry staples. Then I go once a week the other 3 weeks and grab extra produce and milk (we go through an absolutely INSANE amount of milk) that’s usually 30-40 as there is always something I forgot to grab or ran out of. We eat a lot of the same meals so I have a pretty good idea of what to grab each time. I also buy my meat in bulk and separate it into freezer bags which makes it a little cheaper.”

“Try coupons. When I was really into coupons a few years ago I would save $50 to $100 a week. I went food shopping every week. Also tell your family that this is all and it needs to last. You can also get bins with each name in it and divide up the snacks so they can control how much they eat and when they’re out until the next time you refill.”

“It was a pain at first but I literally sat down with a pen and notebook paper and wrote out ALL the meals that work for my family, breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, and drinks. I keep those meals in a semi-regular rotation and leave room for new recipes to try. Anyway, I make my “menus” every 2 weeks, I write down EVERYTHING needed and check off what I already have. I always watch my Publix app for the BOGO deals and sales. And I love doing grocery pickup, it keeps me from getting distracted in the store.”

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7 Likes

Good, nutritious food …not even including organic food, is crazy expensive. Was never cheap, but since COVID, many grocery chains have really limited their coupons and rewards card benefits/discounts, while at the same time raising prices (to extremes that I routinely call ‘gouging’). Best advice I can give is to make a menu for the week, including snacks, and shop to that list.

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When my boys lived at home ( 3 of them), I would use a blank calendar and write in meals then I would write a list of all that was needed. That made it so much easier and went to store twice a month. If you make a big pit of chili, freeze 1/2 of it for another meal,

Freeze everything you can, and buy frozen if you can. It lasts longer and is usually cheaper.

If you buy fresh veggies, make a “kit”-chop up all the veggies you need for pasta sauce for example, and put them in a bag together and freeze it. Do the same for stew, stir fry, casserole, sauces, etc. Preportion your meat, you will use less. And as bad as it sounds, use fillers!
Make your meatballs with rice in them too, mix chopped mushrooms in with your ground meat. The taste wont change (mushrooms absorb the flavour) and 1lb of meat goes further!

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Shop at Aldi or Save-a-lot your money will go farther for a weeks worth of groceries.

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I know this will sound crazy, but look into a dinner delivery service. It saved me a lot

You need essentials on hand.buy big when something you use is on sale once you get your pantry stocked and your freezer full then make menyex for the week and just get what you need you can freeze milk bread cheese eggs so you always have them on hand look up bisquick mix and make your own you will use it for more things than you know I could go on but that’s a good start good luck and use coupons

Plan menu for at least one week if not two, make list of all ingredients required. Compare needed items with sales. Make enough of main item for two meals. Nothing wrong with hearty soups/stews paired with a green or fruit salad. Also add bread, rolls or crackers.

My husband and I bought a deep freezer and we buy in bulk. That way we can separate and portion it out and also pack our deep freezer up for when we do have weeks we run short, we can just pull something out of the deep freezer and we’re good

Plan each meal for each day. Only shop for those things. Buy only the things needed to last you a week. We also buy some snacks but once they are gone, they are gone and we don’t buy anymore til the next week. It seems to make my kids not want to eat up everything the first day.

I feel the same way! I find meal planning helps. Also prep things on the weekend for the week ahead like freezing casseroles etc. I spend all most half my food $$ on meat & buy less snacks!

I agree with all the above but if you shop like at Kroger get the app they have digital coupons and you just use your Kroger card at the resister and it will take it off when you cash out

Make a weekly menu, stuck to it. Have a grocery list only buy what’s on it

Make a meal list. And go by it. How much do yall eat of certain things. Thats what i do.

Make a menu then make the grocery list.

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Food prices up do to everyone voting the big DDD , dumbasses

Don’t buy junk food or soda that will help cut out a lot of unnecessary costs, try to limit ff outing to twice a month if you can.

Try to buy bulk sizes. They will cost more to buy at first, but will last longer and will be cheaper by unit. If you have an ALDI close by they usually have amazing deals. We have a 99 cent only store here and I buy a lot of my produce there. We do a lot of soups because the meat goes further.

Omg, i was currently talking about this, and it’s crazy how food cost went crazy high.

1 Like

Buy in bulk, whenever you can!