Believe it or not, I watched for the first time last night, the show, Extreme Couponing. Several years ago, I considered myself to be quite the couponer, and even taught a couple of classes. I wasn’t a shelf clearer or cereal hoarder, but we always had a good enough stock pile to provide for our family. Then, I had baby #3 and started homeschooling. So for the past year at least, I’ve done very little couponing due to lack of time, stress, and our desire to eat more wholesome foods. I have many friends who have even more children, homeschool or work full-time, and are still able to coupon. I would love to start incorporating it more into our budget again because I know the benefits are worth it.
Over this last year, I’ve read of different moms who are able to provide healthy food for their families without breaking the bank. They budget a certain amount per month, plan a menu that allows them to stay within that budget, and shop accordingly. This has not been as easy as they make it look. We budget $335 in our budget for groceries (this includes toiletries and paper goods), but it’s often closer to $375 - $400 when the month is over. When I couponed, it was easier to keep it closer to $300.
We are a primarily vegetarian family (my hubbie eats meats when we eat out), which saves us from having to buy meat. We do purchase fish to eat once a week, but sometimes it is just canned tuna. We try to eat as much organic as possible. We’ve bought organic milk for a few years (due to medical reasons for our girls), and have slowly tried to transition to organic yogurt, hormone-free cheese, free-range eggs, etc. Obviously when we eat away from home, we are not so choosy. Right now, I primarily shop at Aldi, Trader Joes, Whole Foods, and Harris Teeter. My desire is to one day have my shopping list taken directly from my menu to help me shop less during the month. One thing that has helped us to stay closer to our budgeted amount is to take out cash at the beginning of the month. By allotting myself only a certain amount when I go the grocery store helps me to not splurge as much as when I just pull out a card to swipe.
Here are a few examples of healthy grocery budgeting:
• Keeper of the Home – “What I would feed my family on a monthly budget of $250”
• Poorganic – “Grocery budget for one actual month”
• Passionate Homemaking – “A peak at our real food budget”