Have you done your taxes? If not, don’t worry, I’ll be here when they’re done.
There’s nothing like going through and analyzing all the figures during tax time to make you say, “Hey, we spent how much on what?” In fact, I’m thinking that a regular (weekly) analysis of our spending will help us stay on track for our financial goals. We’ve done well in a lot of areas. We cut back spending at thrift stores, on sewing supplies, on our entertainment expenses, alcohol, and on buying books. But holy WOW do we spend a LOT on food. Like a lot too much a lot. We’ve even cut back on eating out, the past month excluded (because hey, who wants to cook in a half-packed and then half-unpacked kitchen?). But our grocery bill is still way too much each month.
I know a lot of the standard tips – coupon, meal plan, shop the sales. And they are good tips! But I still haven’t managed to get my food bill down to a more reasonable figure. Here are some of the challenges:
- I have food allergies. I can’t do conventional foods. I’ve tried. I break out in a terrible case of hives. I also have to have GMO free foods. I’m allergic to GMO corn, soy, and wheat. I wish I were making it up/overreacting, but the last time I ate Green Giant corn, my tongue swelled up.
- We don’t do many processed foods…so we tend to avoid the things that coupons are made for – boxed foods, many canned prepared foods and soups, frozen meals are all things that very, very rarely make it to our list. Pretty much the only processed foods here are snacks for the kids. I’d love some good kid-friendly snack recipes 🙂 (particularly picky toddler friendly ones).
- We’ve already pretty much cut out soda. Every once in a great while, we’ll treat ourselves to a bottle of Izze soda, but we have a Soda Stream. I’d love more recipes for it!
- I try to include fish twice a week. It’s hard to do when you’re also trying to be environmentally conscious/avoid factory farmed fish. It’s expensive! Ideas for how to save money while having a conscious in this respect would be great. We also don’t do the big fish (tuna, shark, etc) b/c I’m breastfeeding…and, well, mercury.
- We do beef once a week or so. You know, to protect our hearts and all. It’s definitely cheaper in the food-run, but more expensive in the long run in terms of medical bills.
- That leaves chicken and pork – both are expensive! I try to do thighs, but I’ll be honest here folks – I HATE them! Plus they’re high in cholesterol…which leaves roasting a whole chicken. And I do it, but I’d love to buy antibiotic/hormone free chicken breasts at a reasonable price!
- Being organic means there aren’t a lot of coupons out there. If you know a resource, please share it in the comments.
- We do meal plan. That really hasn’t made a big dent in our grocery budget. I’m not sure why not.
- We just bought our house, and I’m excited to garden, but I don’t have a lot of uh…green thumb experience. Do you have resources? Favorite sites? Best things to plant for a novice food gardener?
Okay, so here’s the thing! I’m opening this up to your ideas. One lady in one of my Facebook groups suggested making a budget based upon caloric needs – which is a great idea – has anyone tried that?
Please, please, please, share your ideas with me in the comments! I’d love to shrink down the grocery budget a good bit.