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Financial Improvements--Managing the Grocery Budget

December 30th, 2006 at 09:38 pm

I've been thinking a lot lately about things I can do to stay the course, or improve it. Some may call them goals or resolutions or steps and put them along with the new year, but I don't. Because I don't really like anything that starts with the new year or in any way smacks of a promise to do something better or different in the coming year, because take a wild guess what happens when I do do that? Anyone? Yeah, I don't do them.

So these are just things that I'd like to learn to do so that things go better for me as I go.

I'd like to keep my grocery budget to $200 a month, or rather $200 every 4 weeks. We have four people in this house. DH, who can usually eat a horse and drink a cow in one week's time. But he is only home 12 days out of every 28, and he is fed by work when he is up there. Me, and I eat maybe 2200 calories a day but I exercise vigorously five days a week and on my off days tend to only eat 1800 calories. My daughter, who has 1.5 hour basketball practice 3 nights a week and 2 1 hour long games on Saturdays, who tends to eat 2000 calories on work out days and 1400 on non-workout days. And my son, who is currently going through a growth spurt and eating about 1200 to 1400 calories a day depending on physical activity.

I think we should easily be able to stay within this amount if we completely stop buying convenience foods and eating out. I am wanting to eliminate all not from scratch foods anyway, as they have so many unhealthy ingredients. This should leave us with about $100 for meat protein, $30 for dairy and $70 for 100% whole wheat bread items, fresh fruits and vegetables each period.

We eat a lot of protein due to postprandial hyperinsulinemia (all of us have it except the youngest one and we feed him the same as us as he is showing signs of it, just hasn't been tested) and we don't like vegetarian meat substitues or beans of the non-string or green variety. Cutting back on protein is not an option for us to save money.

I think $100 a month should be adequate. We can usually get 10 pounds of hamburger @ $1.48 per pound, 10 pounds of chicken hindquarters @ $0.39 to $0.59 per pound, whole chickens at $0.59 per pound, beef roasts @ $2.49 per pound, tuna fish $0.99 (label must read tuna, water or tuna, olive oil, salt is okay--no autolyzed vegetable broth or any other additives), turkey legs or necks for $.0.69 per pound. We get 4 18 packs of organic omega-3 eggs a month at $2.19 per pack. If there is a good sale I will buy salmon or other seafood like shrimp or crab, but that is rare. All meat must be free of added ingredients, like a "10% solution added to enchance flavors," non-genetically modified, wild caught and not farmed in the case of seafood, no growth hormones, and free range. We prefer grass-fed and kosher, but sometimes there is a limit to what we can expect from our local grocery stores and most organic meat is out of our price range.

The most expensive thing is the sliced sandwich meats from Applegate Farms that have no additives, preservatives or in the case of ham has not been cured. The kids take that for lunches. Once it is opened it must be used within 4 days. I really need to divide these packages up and freeze the excess because the kids won't go through a whole one in a week's time. And also the organic milk is very pricey, too. DH drinks regular milk but the rest of us drink organic. DH can go through one gallon in 2 to 3 days by himself while we go through 1 in about 5 days. I can get coupons from Organic Valley dairy and I use my reward coupons from Fred Meyer as well.

I also need to start making my own bread products again. I have the bread machine, the ingredients and the recipes, but I never quite get around to it. I need to get around to it. Bread is pretty much my last convenience product but since we buy organic bread and 100% whole wheat bread, it is pricey. I can do this. I just have to want to.

This is all doable. It just needs to be done-able. Okay, making up words now. But I think my point is clear here. Just do it. I'll very grudgingly let this be categorized under goals, but I consider it more of a plan.

2 Responses to “Financial Improvements--Managing the Grocery Budget”

  1. boomeyers Says:

    Done-able, I like it!
    Healthy eating is our number one "thing to work on" as well. Notice I did not say resolution!!

  2. allison Says:

    I think you could do even better by cutting the dairy out of your diet. Its totally uneccesary for humans after infancy. Go do some research and you'll see why. Anyway, if you are just drinking milk at meal times or you are having it as a snack, why not replace it with water. Its a lot cheaper and healthier. x

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