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Meal Planning & Grocery Shopping If you plan out your meals, grocery shopping bills can be sliced and diced!

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Old 07-27-2010, 04:35 AM
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$25 Grocery Challenge

$25 Grocery Challenge by Marianne Giullian

Could she feed her family of 4 for $25 a week?
I recently accepted a challenge to feed our family of 4 (2 adults and 2 teenagers) for $25 for one week. I read that the average government aid recipient gets about $200-$225 per month for food, so I wanted to see how hard it would be to live on that amount of money and what challenges I would face.

We did the challenge and had plenty of food to eat. And, I learned some interesting things from the experience.
1. Beginning is the most difficult step: The first few days of this challenge were hard. I didn't use the store of food in our home, but calculated everything we ate and the price I paid for groceries purchased that week, as well as food we used from home. I had $3.57 per day to feed us. Any food we did not eat on a given day was saved for the rest of the week.
After the first couple days, the food built up and this gave me more freedom to add other things. Whenever we start something new, it is good to remember that it takes time to be successful. Whether it is cutting our grocery bill or paying down debts, it is important to realize that you need time on your side to succeed.

2. Menu planning: This is a very important step if you want to be successful and stay in a budget. Plan menus around items that are on sale each week. Set an amount of money you are going to spend and stick to it. Make a list of what you need and buy it. If you have extra money, stock up on things that you use, things that are very inexpensive, or things that are free. I carefully decided what to cook for the week and cut down amounts or items until I was able to stick it in the $25 budget. For example, I made half of the recipe for bread, muffins and tortillas. I also left out ingredients that we would normally use. When we had salad, we had lettuce that was marked down and skipped the tomato, feta cheese, etc. When we had jambalaya, I put very little meat and used a quarter of an onion or pepper. I bought cookie mix for 38 cents with a coupon, because it was cheaper than making it myself. I chose to fix recipes that cost less to make.

3. Look for bargains: I thought I did a good job shopping for our family. I had no idea of all the opportunities for free food. There are coupons on the Internet for tuna, etc. that enable you to get many things for free if you wait until it goes on sale. There are also coupons that you can get to save on your next shopping order. I had the chance to fill out two surveys. One was for $2 of food and one was for $10 of food.
These just happened to come my way, but it helped me realize that there are opportunities out there if we just look. Find out what is available in the stores in your area. Some may have good markdowns, some may have better prices, and some may double your coupons.

4. Garden: Having a garden gives you fresh produce and you can also preserve the extra through freezing or canning. I wanted each of us to have five fruits and vegetables each day. It would have been much harder to succeed with this if I hadn't preserved food from our garden the summer before. Not everyone likes to garden. Organic food is very expensive so you can save money and eat healthier if you garden.

5. Coupons: I have recently started using coupons. I didn't realize how much I could cut off our grocery bill if I used them wisely. You need to be careful not to get carried away and buy things you don't need just because you have a coupon.
Only use coupons when you can get the items at a very low price. This past week I got free deodorant, soap, lotion, power bars, dog treats, body wash, lettuce, cold cereal, cinnamon rolls and yogurt to name a few. The deals are out there if you just look! There are coupon sites on the Internet with coupons you can print and use. If you live in an area that has coupon inserts with their Sunday newspaper, it would be wise to get a subscription even if it is only for Sunday.
You will save more than you pay for the paper. Network with people who are like-minded and share good deals.

6. Cook from scratch: I found that making bread and tortillas was much cheaper than buying them. On the other hand, I was able to purchase biscuits for much less than I could make them from scratch. I also got free cinnamon rolls. I still haven't figured out how to make them for nothing! In these situations, you have to factor in your health and what you are willing to eat. There are preservatives, lots of salt, etc. in packaged foods. Cost is not the only factor. We got canned soup for free, but in my opinion, it doesn't taste nearly as good as homemade soup. The decision to cook from scratch depends on your situation and your preferences.

7. Start slow: If you are spending $100-$200 per week, I wouldn't go trying to spend $25 or $50 per week. Start slowly and cut down $10-$25 per week until you feel like it is too much. You are more likely to stick with something if you take it slowly than if you make a drastic change.
There are numerous opportunities to save lots of money, but it takes time. You need to figure out if you have more time or money available and what the right balance is for you. It may take some time, but you will be able to figure out what is best for your situation.
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Marianne Giullian enjoys reading and finding ways to cut costs so it is possible for her family to live on one income. To find out more, visit her website at www.spendwise.org

Roberta
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Last edited by RobertaD; 07-27-2010 at 04:38 AM.
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Old 07-27-2010, 04:42 AM
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I found this article interesting as a whole I do only spend $200 or less on food from the grocery each month for my family of four. You do need to shop the sales and when possible use coupons to lower the bill to get things very cheap if not free.

I've been trying to cut most of the eating out as it really kills the budget and we have gotten used to going out for dinner at least once a week.

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Old 07-27-2010, 05:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RobertaD View Post
$25 Grocery Challenge by Marianne Giullian

I read that the average government aid recipient gets about $200-$225 per month for food, visit her website at www.spendwise.org

Roberta

I wonder if it each state if different for food stamps(that is the old name). I have a friend that is gets goverment aid for 2 adults and she gets $350 a month for food and if you don't use all of it it cares over from month to month until it is all used up.

I feed a family of 4 adults for $600 a month. That includes all paper, hygiene, cleaning products, food and dog food. I have one on a low cholestrol diet. One on a high protein diet.
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Old 07-27-2010, 09:18 AM
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I think it does go based on their income and they probably get a bit more if they have children. I would imagine each state is a bit different based on the medium income and cost of living. I have a senior friend that only receives $90 a month in food stamps.

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Old 05-11-2011, 03:16 AM
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Got a kick out of this--she admitted she was using food she already had stored lol! Good advice for someone just starting to cut their grocery bill, though. I know from experience that if you can keep a supply of your basics you can squeak by on $15--but it's hard.
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Old 03-15-2013, 05:15 PM
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In Illinois what ever is not used is gone but I know of 2 different circumstances where littlle is given. 1 lady makes $5.00 an hour and only get $45. for the month and another where it is a mother & child where she get $200.00 a month. Not much to last a month if they are working. They don't have $$ to stockpile & would starve without handouts
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Old 03-15-2013, 05:28 PM
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Location: I live in the foothills of Maine and near a major river. The area is quiet but we can be in a large city that has everything that you would want to visit. WE're two hours from Old Orchard Beach and it is so beautiful
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In our State you can't have hardly anything.The average for two people on S. S is $10.00 to $16.00 . Paying anywhere form $400.00 a month for rent or mortgage, oil is $3.78 a gallon. Most apts you have to buy your own oil and electric unless your in a low income unit.So where does the money come from for gas, and groceries.
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Old 03-16-2013, 02:43 PM
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Thank you for sharing RobertaD.
I never took much stock in how much Dh and I use per month for "food" shopping...Mainly because we use about $200 - $225 per month for all of our house / food shopping (paper, plastic, Dry, Frozen, Dairy, Grain, Vegetables...).
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Old 03-16-2015, 04:56 AM
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I've been making my money go a little bit farther in 2015 with the coupon rebate apps.

I've earned $30 in 2 months from the coupon rebate apps I'm real excited to see what my totals will be by Dec. I'm working more on surveys as well which I can do anytime of the day when I have a few minutes. Works well for the times when I need to sit and rest, I can still be earning a bit of money.

http://www.familycorner.com/forums/f...sing-them.html

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Old 01-29-2017, 05:45 AM
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I treat grocery shopping like a game "how to spend as little as possible" for the items my family needs. Combine sales, coupons, rebate apps, with cash back coupon opportunities to get the most bang for my buck.

$4 bag of name brand pads I pay $.50 or less and get enough for the next 6 months or more depending on how many coupons I can get my hands on. I know the sale will come around again for that price in about 6 months.

I don't pay for toothpaste or brushes by shopping at the drug store combining sale, coupon with cash back offers.

Roberta
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