Hump Day Headlines: How We Spend $300/Month on Groceries

This week I was talking with a colleague at work and realized that they spend $800 EVERY month on groceries.  WHAT?!?  They’re a family of 4, but 2 of them are small children, and 1 child is breast feeding.  So, that’s basically a family of 3.  And let’s face it, little kids just don’t eat in large quantities.  I just couldn’t, and still can’t, wrap my minimalist head around this one.  Then I got to thinking how many kudos we received from our readers last week when I posted our monthly expenses.  Maybe we ARE doing something right.  I mean, I know we are…it’s just nice to hear it from other frugal peeps.  And in an instant, this post was born…

We Spend $300/Month On Groceries

Let me start by saying how thankful I am that I married a man who is on the same frugal page as I am.  Phew.  There is plenty of stuff that we just don’t buy because we’re minimalist frugal nuts.  But, we still gotta eat and we still need toiletries to keep us all standing in an upright throughout the month.  How do we do it?  We have a basic idea of what meals

Brand Loyalty

Nope.  You won’t find that in this house.  We are not afraid of generic brands; however, we buy plenty of brand name items that are on sale AND actually CHEAPER than the generic brands.

Shopping Day

groceries 2

Current stockpile

Let’s start out by saying that we do not go to the grocery store every week.  We go to the grocery store when we need groceries.  We also go with a list.  Always.  This is extremely high concept, by the way.  No, it’s not.  We also do not go to just one grocery store.  On shopping day, you will find us hitting 2 – 3 stores.  There is a discount store that doesn’t use bags and charges a quarter for a cart (yep) where we purchase most of our meats.  See foil packs in freezer.  We then use our local dollar store to buy name brand stuff that we like.  Although we’re not brand loyal, I really prefer Kraft Mac & Cheese to other brands.  If I can get it for $1/box, everyone wins.  And no one gets hurt.  This is an embarrassing constant on our grocery list.  Ha!  Another indulgence of ours is, ice cream.  Since Mr. Mad Money Monster has a sweet tooth the size of Montana, we do regularly purchase this frozen treat.  Guess what!  We buy brand name ice cream only.  Why, you ask?  Because the ice cream companies are always competing for business.  There has never been one week that has passed without there being a huge sale (less expensive than generic) on one of the top brands.  Note:  2/$5 Green’s ice cream is currently in our freezer.  Top right.  Also, somewhere hiding in that mess is our brand name frozen pizza 🙂

No Snacks

groceries 1

Pre-Blend.  We don’t do chunky salsa.  🙂

Aside from ice cream, we don’t buy snacks on a regular basis.  If we want something more, we put it on the grocery list.  Last week we had a hankering for some fresh salsa (courtesy of me) and chips.  I incorporated these ingredients into our last shopping trip and voila…a healthy snack for the week!

Our Eating Habits

We pretty much just eat 3 meals a day.  Leftovers from dinner inevitably make it into our lunches the next day.  If we devour our dinner and don’t have anything left for our lunches, we make a glorious peanut butter & jelly sandwich with generic, whole wheat bread, homemade jelly (always a Christmas gift from our friends), and our choice of on-sale peanut butter.  See feature image.  Yum!

And there you have.  That’s how we stay on a rough budget of $300/month to feed our family of 3.

How much do you spend on groceries?

Bailes

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  • Miss Mazuma Jan 7, 2017, 9:20 am

    Food allowances are often the biggest budget busters. You guys have it down to a good science! Now that I’m in the burbs with my BF and his kids a lot of my shopping has changed. I still go to Aldi for most things but I hit the dollar store for others…like Brownberry Bread!! $4 at the big grocery store and only $1 at the dollar store. HUGE savings considering they make sandwiches every day for lunch. Unfortunately, living with teens has its downsides too. They hate peanut butter and love potato chips. Try to make them eat one or take the other away and it’s WWIII! I’m slowly making an impact on their luxurious tastes (finally able to substitute Aldi cereal for namebrand) but it’s taken time and will be an ongoing process.

    Thanks for sharing your grocery skills!!

    • Mad Money Monster Jan 7, 2017, 10:32 am

      We have an Aldi about 20 minutes away. Mr. MMM used to travel to various stores and spend half a day getting out groceries every two weeks. Dollar-for-dollar I know we save more money (not to mention time and hassle) doing it this way. Good job on getting the kiddos to change their ways in their teenage years. Two thumbs up!

  • Mrs. Lewis (@LewisandWife) Dec 16, 2015, 2:52 pm

    My husband and I live in separate houses and also manage to spend only $300/month on groceries, including toilet paper and dish soap! I don’t go to the grocery store until I’m sure I’ve eaten myself out of house and home, that means every last egg and every pasta noodle. it’s hard sometimes when I get tired of rice and beans or can’t eat another noodle but no form of savings is easy, is it?

    • Mad Money Monster Dec 18, 2015, 5:44 am

      It’s true. Savings really does take discipline. It sounds like you have it down to a science!

  • effiemakeup Dec 14, 2015, 7:02 pm

    Going gluten free has actually been one of the best things I’ve done for my grocery spending. Can’t get processed or packaged foods for the most part anymore, and while gluten free flour is really expensive, rice and veggies go a long way without much cost. Still looking for ways to get more bang for our buck, but I’ve found that staying out of aisles and just being on the edges and big areas has been really good for the budget!

    • Mad Money Monster Dec 14, 2015, 7:12 pm

      I agree with you on just staying out of aisles. This is the main reason we don’t have a regimented grocery trip each week. We only go when we need to go. 🙂

      • effiemakeup Dec 14, 2015, 9:23 pm

        that’s smart. We usually do a big payday one. My goal for tomorrow is not to buy ANY THING not on the list.

        • Mad Money Monster Dec 15, 2015, 7:15 pm

          I always try to keep to my list too. Somehow a few additional items always seem to get in my cart. 🙂

          • effiemakeup Dec 17, 2015, 11:41 am

            They just jump in there! And once and a while I forget to put something on the list. I did stick to the number of items on the list and was under budget, but some things we didn’t get and we got something else. Which kind of worked out.

  • tinker0515 Dec 9, 2015, 6:14 pm

    We spend around $780 Australian a month which coverts to around $560 usd. Still too high but getting there 🙂

    • Mad Money Monster Dec 9, 2015, 7:02 pm

      $780 Australian is still pretty good. I’d say you’re well on your way. Good work!

  • LeisureFreak Tommy Dec 9, 2015, 6:14 pm

    We try to eat healthy and sometimes that ups the food cost. We do use coupons and in store sales. The grocery ads that come mid week have awesome deals so we base our week’s menu off of what we can get at discount. I have to agree with you about the Mac And Cheese. Sometimes there is a line that needs not be crossed.

    • Mad Money Monster Dec 9, 2015, 7:01 pm

      Yeah, healthy eating does sometimes up the cost. We’re fortunate to have a neighbor with a mighty garden in the summer months. We even get to freeze some of the veggies 🙂

  • Tawcan Dec 9, 2015, 3:29 pm

    We are around $500 – 600 a month and our 2 year old son often eat more than I do. It’s a balance of keeping grocery cost down and eating on healthy, quality products.

    • Mad Money Monster Dec 9, 2015, 3:31 pm

      Agreed. We also try to eat as healthy as possible. Minus the Kraft mac & cheese and ice cream, of course 🙂

  • Ernie Dec 9, 2015, 8:21 am

    I spend about $500-$600 per month on groceries. This is a lot higher than I’d like, but I buy a lot of produce so I’m generally OK with it. When I start thinking about where my food comes from and all that I always have the urge to shop at my local food co-op, but I know my bill would sky rocket. Tough to balance pleasing my budget and pleasing my conscience. I’d love to hear how others are doing this.

    • youmeanme Dec 9, 2015, 9:09 am

      This is a struggle for me as well. It’s also compounded a bit by laziness since I drive past 3 big box grocery stores with fantastic deals and large parking lots to get to my local store.

      • Mad Money Monster Dec 9, 2015, 11:13 am

        We do some big grocery store shopping, as well. We use our store discount cards and try to get the 2 for 1 deals. 🙂

    • Mad Money Monster Dec 9, 2015, 11:12 am

      I think $500 – $600/month is much less than what most people spend. And produce is a tough one. There are never any sales. Ugh. Just being conscious of it and always looking for a way to trim the fat is a step in the right direction. 🙂

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