Our family like many large families, has to make every dollar spent on groceries count. I am not a “menu planner”, but I have several “regular’ meals that are fixed monthly and then there are your normal things you can add in as needed. If I try a new recipe, I end up needing to go to the local grocery. I know many who d o great with a menu, but it has never really worked for us. I try to limit our spending on groceries to about $350 a month. However that rarely includes all our meat. I only buy meat about every six weeks. I tend to buy about $250 worth of meat at a time. I try to stock up on things in between our meat buys, so that our $250 of meat doesn’t eat all our budget for the month.
So it tends to look like this:
Canned goods, toiletries, the minimal amount of disposable diapers that we use (outings and night time), cleaning supplies (vinegar, rubbing alcohol, tea tree oil, oregano oil), cheese, and baking goods (flour, sugar and so forth), are stocked up on during one 4 week period. Notice that does not include any fresh produce. We buy almost all the fresh produce that is not grown in our garden at our local grocery store. Chicken, eggs, and milk either come from our chicken or we get it through a deal with a friend. Brad works on their stuff and we get food. A good deal both ways. ;o)
The next 4 week period is spent mostly on beef. I may be able to shrink it up quite a bit this winter as I have steaks and roast on hand for a time. So, I am hoping to be able to just purchase ground beef for another 3-4 mos. I have 10-12 whole chickens coming this week. All our, milk, chickens, and beef are no hormone added. My body, literally can not handle the hormones that are added to the meat–actually fed to the animal to help it to gain weight at a rapid rate, and so forth. I go into a deep depression and also gain a tremendous amount of weight.. Our children’s behavior becomes an issue also.
Grocery shopping takes place at several stores. I buy many canned goods at Aldi’s, I really don’t notice a major difference in quality. I do buy our beans for chili and black beans at the grocery store. I buy our baking goods and cheese at a bulk food store, and our meat comes from an Amish meat market. I already mentioned that our fresh produce comes from our local grocery most of the time. We don’t buy laundry soap or hand, body soap. I make both, saving about $50 a month.
Just about everything I cook is from scratch. I make a lot of casseroles and soups. It helps me not be “bogged” down in the kitchen so much. I also, make enough at one time to last us about 2-3 meals also helping me to be available for our family needs. Another big saver is “meat pockets”. I take ground beef, or another filling and doctor it up in a “style” (think taco, pizza, or sloppy joe, etc), and lay it on break dough that has been rolled out and cut into 5 inch squares, then top with cheese, fold up and seal seems (think bierocks), and bake.
I normally fill at least one cart full, if not two at our major shopping outings. Now, if I go to Aldi’s I do not need two carts at Dillons. ;o) If I have to take all my children, my two youngest boys go in the double stroller, Hannah goes in the mei tie, Heidi hangs onto the stroller, Lora pushes a cart, Philip pushes a cart and I push the stroller. I have my master list on my Blackberry Phone in Splashshopper. I LOVE it. I can fill two grocery carts (if hubby isn’t with us lol) in about 45 min. Now checking out takes longer. lol I have a fifteen passenger van that all children and groceries and stroller must fit back into. The ease that issue, I have two rubber maid tubs and a cooler in it. We have taken out the third row seat and that is where groceries go in their tubs. The stroller fits behind the rear seat.
Before I leave I put something in the crockpot or roaster for supper, if there is not already something in the fridge that is leftover. That way when I get home, I don’t have to worry about a meal. All we have to do is put everything away, set the table, eat and take bathes.