So Mr. J and I have been going over our monthly expenses looking for ways to free up some money. We’d like to pay down, or pay off, some debt and make some much needed improvements to the house. To that end, I started looking at our family grocery budget. We currently spend around $800 a month for our family of seven, which isn’t bad. I’d like to get it closer to $600 a month, but we have our doubts about it being possible. That would mean keeping the average cost of a meal to just over a dollar a person. So the real question is “Can we eat on $3 per person, per day?”
Cost-saving Measures to Try
The internet is full of cost saving measures to apply to the family grocery budget but how many of them are really practical for us. The first one I usually see is making your own bread. I really thought about this one, but we’re not big bread eaters. We go through maybe one loaf a week and I can often get my bread for less than a dollar a loaf on markdown at the grocery store. We do make our own pizza dough and I’m debating trying my hand at tortilla making. Another one is to switch to dried beans from canned beans. I tried this one out this week and it does save about half the cost of beans which may be a decent amount over time. I also want to try making my own refried beans since those are much more expensive than plain canned beans.
Saving money on beans may prove to be a significant cost savings for us. I’ll tell you why. One of the easiest ways to trim the family grocery budget is to reduce the amount of meat you buy in a week. I did the math and for us it breaks down something like this. Beef for dinner for seven people costs us around $10 for one meal. Beans for dinner for seven people costs us around $1. That’s a 90% savings and if we gave up beef all together we could save $36 a month on our grocery bill. We’re not giving up beef all together but we have decided that we’re only going to have it every other week.
I’m focusing most of our cost cutting measures on dinner. Most of the time dinner provides lunches for at least half the family as well. Therefore, cutting dinner costs is likely to make the biggest difference over all.
I’ll post again at the end of the month with a summary of what we spent this month and how we might tweak it further.