Eat Well, For Less!

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  1. says

    May I ask how big your family is and what you spend on groceries each month? I’ll go first. I’m feeding two adults, two kids (ages 4 and 6) and I spend $330.

    We have a total of five, two adults, and three teens. I spend 300 a month, but I went over last month in November for the first time in almost a year.

    • Amber says

      My family of 6 – two adults and four kids – 6,4,3,1. I have not been keeping track but try for $400 a month. This last month I added just to see where we were and we spent $541.

      • sheryl says

        My food budget has increased since my children have got older now 16,15,13,10,9. When they was under It seemed so much easier…Now those growing teens like a loaf of bread for toast for a “snack” I need to start saving all my receipts for a month to see how much we spend for our family of 7. Used to be 400.00 a month or less depending on how well I match sales, with menu and couponed. I am kinda scared to add them all up :(

    • Holly says

      We are a family of 6, 2 adults and 4 kiddos, 6, 4, 4, 1. We spend usually around $800 which is why I am looking of some healthy ways to decrease this! My kids are super active and therefore ALWAYS hungry, but I have to find a way to keep them full of healthy food without killing my budget! We try to eat as much organic as possible and lots of produce, but those are some of the most expensive items in a store. Any and all advice for how to buy/cook/can healthy foods for less is more than welcome!! :-)

      • Tiffany says

        Welcome to Crumbs Holly! Thank you for sharing your family and budget, and I hope you’re able to find helpful information here!!

    • Amy says

      Wow Debbie! I must commend you! I have two in my family, myself and 1 15 yr old boy, football player.. We spend between $300-$400 a month on food! I could totally spend way less, but this kid eats me out of house and home! I understand as he is a growing boy and his football workouts are 4 hours a day, but he eats an insane amount and every time i make soups he tells me how they dont fill him up. (of course i say eat as many bowls of split pea soup as you need to fill you up lol but he LOVES meat). Its hard.. he also LOVES to eat out and i am always telling him no for that… I wish i could spend $200 a month on food and household supplies like TP laundry soap etc.. but when i do that he eats through the food very fast and i get flustered having to spend money on more groceries that was not budgeted. I started going to costco and getting a few of their rotisserie chickens, 2 of them will last 1 week in the house and that is me making them into casseroles and pot pies etc.. trying to stretch them out as far as i can. that has been the only way i could not go over in the food budget this month! I Spent $350, i am still praying it makes it till the end of November! I would love to hear some tips with your teens!
      (i have to fore feed him practically any veggies, and rice has to be covered in sauce…) I do one meatless meal a week (my soups) and try to bake my own bread once a month but still buy some from costco on one of my two shopping trips. I usually eat soups for lunch that cost me a total of $3 to make a batch and that lasts me for 6-8 lunches. I might have a tuna sand which for lunch if i have tuna. I usually sacrifice and eat that cheap stuff and give him the meat since that is what he needs to feel satisfied.

  2. Myra says

    How big is my family? I have three adults and a teenage boy. (So I basically feed four adults) and I currently spend 100.00 per week on groceries and household supplies. This does NOT include eating out.

  3. Amy says

    We are a family of 11. 2 adults, and 16, 13, almost 10, 8, 6, 5, 3, 2, and 7 months. We have been doing a budget for the first time ever since Nov. 1, and our grocery budget is $300/week. We have been staying under that every week ranging from $169-$294. This does not include baby items :) I also wanted to tell you thank you for taking the time to do this blog. It is helpful for me to look on here and plan our grocery run and meals for the week. I usually double your recipes and it makes enough for our family plus more for lunch the next day. I know you asked before what we, your readers, would like to see more of. I wouldn’t mind seeing more links to healthy, budget friendly, real food recipes, although my family has been enjoying your weekly favorites: pizza, tomato soup, spaghetti, and the tortilla soup. Thanks again!

    • Tiffany says

      I’m so glad you guys are enjoying the meals that we enjoy too! I see TONS of real food recipes out there, but not many are budget friendly. I’ll pay better attention and try to incorporate more of those ideas into our meal plans. :) Thank you so much for your sweet encouragement Amy!

  4. Beth says

    It’s just a toddler and I. I feel like I am spending too much with $200 – but my pets’ food is included in that and toiletries. We only have two shopping options in our area, and neither really offer savings.

    My main goal, as I started tracking in November, was to just track and focus on finding areas where i can cut out, then starting the real budgeting in January.

    After 1 month, I can already see where I really need to cut back.

  5. Liz says

    I feed two adults and two rescue dogs on about $250 a month. This is just food for three meals a day, no takeout or restaurant meals, plus kibble for the dogs.
    I would like to see suggestions on: less expensive meals (meatless or bean-based) and restaurant creations with less fat. For example, I will substitute all white meat ground turkey for ground beef chuck for Mexican food entrees.

    • Tiffany says

      Substituting for lower-fat items is fine if you enjoy the taste (i.e. turkey over beef), but remember that saturated fat is a GOOD thing! 😉 I’ve got a really good recipe coming up next week that’s meatless that I think you’ll enjoy Liz!

  6. meg says

    We are a family of 5. 3 adults, and 2 kids (ages 4 and 2 1/2). We spend $500 a month on food, diapers, dog food, and cosmetics. Most produce and dairy is organic, although we are making a much needed switch to grass fed/free range meats after the new year. We also budget $50 a month for beer and wine. I would like to see more ideas on how to stock up at places like Costco without blowing the budget. I can easily drop a few hundred dollars on diapers (also planning on potty training after new year), dog food, toilet paper, and paper towels in one trip. Love your blog, been meal planning for 6 months now and LOVE it. I haven’t always managed to hit our budget, but our spending has cut in half since I started meal planning and following your blog. Keep up the amazing are making a big difference in people’s lives!!

    • Tiffany says

      Diapers are a killer Meg! I remember potty training #1 and being SO happy to not have to buy for two kids at the same time anymore! I’ll include your suggestion and cover it soon (hopefully!). So glad you’re finding Crumbs helpful, and thank you SO MUCH for the encouragement! <3

  7. Jennifer says

    We have a family of five: 2 adults and three boys ages 11,9 and 7. We spend $500 a month including toiletries. We don’t include eating out, but spend about $100-200 a month.

  8. Amy says

    Our family includes 2 adults, 12 yr. old boy, 9 yr. old girl and 7 yr. old boy. Our budget is $450 per month. We have 2 allergic to dairy and gluten and one allergic to ALL grains. We eat mostly grass-fed, pastured and organic items. I make most things from scratch and am trying to go more toward a paleo lifestyle since it is tiring cooking for three different eating styles! In love seeing some of the things you feed your family since I am getting pretty good at substitutions! Thanks for encouraging me to continue on this journey of feeding my family healthy meals and NOT breaking the bank!

    • Tiffany says

      You’re right on Amy – being able to substitute on a whim is key! You’re most welcome! Thank you for joining the journey! :)

  9. Christy Johnson says

    Our family is 2 adults, an almost three-year-old, a 15-month-old, and another baby on the way. We currently spend about $450/month on groceries. That doesn’t include diapers or household goods. As of the past few months we’ve been tracking all our spending. I’d love to get our groceries down to $375/month so I’m looking forward to this series!

  10. Fiona says

    Hi, I am new to your page and I love it and all the useful information you have. I find it very hard to do meal plans and budgeting as I never know how many people are going to be eating any one night. We have 10 kids but 6 of them are over the age of 18 and don’t live at home but will just turn up at dinner time, I also have one of my daughters who is just about to have her first baby staying with us for a few weeks ( they live 2 hours away from the hospital and I live 30 minutes) . Any ideas on how to make a budget with a family like mine?
    Thanks Fiona

    • Tiffany says

      Hi Fiona! Thank you for your kind words!

      Do you have an average of people that come for dinner? If there’s always 2 adults plus 4 kids, you can definitely plan dinner for 6. Maybe planning for 8 would cover the bases, and anything leftover can be for lunches? Or having a couple dishes in the freezer so they can easily be thawed and served if more show up? Or creating a bring-your-own-dish to the kids who show up… or inviting them over specific days of the week (i.e. Sundays and Wednesdays) so they get their “mom’s cooking” fix, but will likely stay away the other nights? Any other readers with big families have any suggestions?

      I’d definitely make meals that are frugal in the first place, i.e. beans, soups, homemade breads, stir-frys, etc. to help off-set the cost of additional mouths. :)

  11. Fiona says

    Thanks Tiffany
    I do cook lots of meals that I can streach ,( add more rice or pasta or more veggies). I have at least 6 every night 4 kids and 2 adults , and anything that is left over my husband takes for lunch the next day. The older ones are supposed to call if they are going to come for dinner, but things don’t always work out like that. I do like the idea of having set nights for them to come . I make all my own breads and I find that is a big draw card for them just turning up” I new you would have hot bread” . We are just starting summer in Australia so lots of salad but meat is very expensive. I will collect all my recipets for the next month and start my budget :)

    • Oriana says

      If the hot bread is a draw and you want to discourage them showing up unannounced, you could make your bread at a different time of day. Might help them stick to a schedule?

  12. meg says

    Just thought I’d another issue we have been having, especially during the holiday season. How do you off set the cost of having company? During any given holiday, we have at least 4 more adults with us..breakfast, lunch, and dinner. During these times, I tend to make a lot of soups and pasta dishes, but our budget still takes a massive hit. I don’t really feel it’s appropriate to ask for money toward groceries when people have traveled to be with us, but we are trying to figure out a different approach for Christmas. Last month we were way over budget, and the thanksgiving dinner wasn’t even really the culprit. It was all the other meals with added people. (It did make me feel better that you were over budget too..Lol) Any advice would be greatly appreciated! Oh, did I mention that on top of all the company, and Christmas, my daughter also has a birthday 2 days before Christmas which will also be a HUGE dinner for 15!!! Yikes, maybe I better write December off completely and start over in January :)

    • Tiffany says

      LOL, I’m glad me going over budget brought you comfort, lol!!

      Since you know you’ll have extra company on holidays, I’d stockpile ingredients for certain dishes that would help off-set the cost. For example, find 2 or 3 good casserole/brunch-y type dishes that area also (like quiches that can use ANY veggie you just happen on hand, sausage/egg bakes, french toast casserole that uses up stale bread, etc.) and buy/make what you can for those ahead of time. Find marked down sausage, extra eggs on sale, freeze greens from the summer, use root veggies, etc. Then eliminate a formal breakfast (let them make toast and coffee or whatever the guest wants) and serve brunch instead, making whatever dishes you have stock for. You can look for whole turkey breasts or cook your own whole chicken breasts and slice thinly into “lunch meat.” Make hash browns w/inexpensive potatoes or even sweet potatoes or yams! YUM! Set aside sliced cheese from a month or two prior (and just enough, not tons). Play up the meal with homemade bread for sandwiches (possibly pull out a griddle for panini’s?), fresh seasonal fruit, smoothies maybe (pumpkin pie or apple pie flavored!), DIY cottage cheese or yogurt bar (which can be homemade). Keep a bowl of apples, oranges and bananas on the table every day and let the guests snack from those if they get hungry.

      For Thanksgiving, my step-mom served a DIY brunch of homemade tomato soup in the crockpot, and grilled cheese on sourdough with a George Foreman grill, but you pulled your cheese from a nicer meat/cheese tray, so you could have brie or blue or whatever and pair with panchetta or salami (she also made herbed garlic butter to smear). The sourdough loaf wasn’t tall, so each sandwich only used a small bit of cheese, and I believe she got everything at Costco to keep the costs down. She set out half the cheese, reserving the other half for Christmas, and lunch was a hit. Everyone loved it!

      For dinners w/company, I’d look to big cuts of meat, like whole chickens, turkeys or roasts, since they’re less in cost per pound. Then slice before it gets to the table. Serve w/salad, DIY baked sweet potato/potato, caramelized onions w/green beans and another easy, seasonal veg or 2 and you’re done. People tend to take less meat when it’s in slices, than if it’s a whole piece. Plus the more “sides” you have, the less room for meat on the plate (which is usually the most expensive part anyway). Then leave enough leftovers to cover brunch for the next day (if they’re enough, for sandwiches; otherwise bake into a quiche or frittata) and freeze the rest of the meat so it’s out of “leftover reach” in the fridge.

      All in all (if you’re still reading this novel of a response), the big key would be to plan ahead. Know what you can make, be prepared for it, and execute. Also, don’t be afraid to go 100% conventional when you’re serving company. We do because otherwise, we’d NEVER be in budget!

      • meg says

        Omg..I literally just wrote down notes and made a new meal plan for the week we have company. Thanks so much for the great advice. I think I tend to go over the top when company is here, but so unnecessarily! No one expects a gourmet breakfast, lunch, and dinner so why do I do it? Again, your a life saver (and budget saver!!) :)

  13. Katherine says

    We are a family of five – two adults, a 4 year old, a 2 year old, and a 7 month old. Our budget is $200 a month for groceries and toiletries. That is supplemented by WIC vouchers, and I earn about $50 a month on Swagbucks that goes towards diapers and baby wipes for the younger two kids (hopefully the 2 year old will be potty training soon). We also cloth diaper about half the time so we don’t use as many disposables. I play the drugstore game for most toiletries to get them for pennies or free. The baby is just starting to eat table foods, and her baby foods are covered by the WIC vouchers. It’s not an ideal real food budget but we work with what we have. By making things from scratch and not using meat in every meal, we still eat pretty well.

  14. says

    Another great post! Love this! You are so right about being 100% committed. That has definitely been my downfall. I get tired and lazy and then I blow my budget, feel bad and then buckle down again. Breaking this pattern, really helps keep our budget on track with less stress for sure! Will definitely be sharing this! Love to you, sweet friend! :)

    • Hope says

      guess I should add that includes eating out and toiletries. I plan my meals. I have a meat loving family and poultry isn’t counted as a meat. the meat is what kills my budget.

  15. Heather says

    We are a family of 6– 2 adults, 4 kiddos: 8, 6, almost 5 and almost 3 y/o. Our budget is $500/month and that is only for food, does not include eating out (separate budget) or toiletries/paper goods etc (another separate budget). It seems our budget goes about 1-2x/year, I don’t know if that’s normal, or even necessary, but we started our whole foods journey 2 years ago and it has gone up just slightly. But we feel it is worth it to adjust accordingly, and buy/make real food instead of the boxed stuff we used to get. I’m still a mom of 4 though and sometimes, that junky stuff does win out (but only sometimes lol). New to this blog, read about you from The Humbled Homemaker… so glad I did! looking forward to this series!!!

  16. Anna says

    We feed a fam of 4 with 7 yo and 9 yo for $600/mo. I already budget, but seem to go over about half the time. We used to separate out alcohol purchases and keep that separate but I have been sloppy with that.
    We eat mostly organic, but haven’t been able to make the leap to organic/freerange/grassfed as I had hoped. We avoid almost all dairy and wheat due to food sensitivities.
    I also have less time than ever to pay attention to it as I’m working outside the home and I’m almost constantly stressed out and tired….so I’m on autopilot and hope your challenge will help me tighten up the sloppiness in our current food budget.

  17. Kayla says

    Focusing on the food budget has been a huge goal of mine since becoming a stay at home mom this Fall. We have two adults, a 2yo, and another child due in May and average $600 for groceries, eating out, and toiletries. That number is coming down as I have the energy and focus to do meal planning again. I love the blog and just find you from The Humbled Homemaker!

  18. Shopgirl544 says

    I am embarassed to admit my family of 3 spends $800 a month on griceries. This is excessive. I’ve tried couponing in the past but it becomes overwhelming when the store you’re using them at doesn’t have the item!! I am looking forward to reading this series of yours in hopes of gaining newfound handling this grocery budget!

    • Betty819 says

      Don’t feel bad, as this month so far, I’ve keep track of what we have spent for groceries this month; there are 2 Sr. Citizens and we have already spent $601..and that scares me to death..I’ve got to make some changes in our life style and meals. DH won’t like doing without certain things .He’s diabetic and buys all kinds of sweets when he goes to grocery store with me. I get to the cashier and don’t want to make a scean so I don’t say anything. I usually don’t go out of my way to go to stores further then 4 miles away..but I’m going to have to make an effort to go to Dollar Tree or a Thrift Store and buy some items that are $1. I’m not real crazy over crock pot meals and my crock pot needs replacing now anyhow.

  19. Stephanie says

    It’s me and my 6-year old boy in my household. I’m spending $150-200 dollars monthly. I have to buy glutenfree for me, which is more expensive, but somehow we seem to manage.

  20. says

    Love this post and I’m looking forward to more in the series! We are trying so hard to switch to more healthy foods and I actually discovered it can be CHEAPER to eat that way, if you do it right and reduce the crap! But the hardest part about spending money on food and eating healthy is PLANNING and BUDGETING, for sure! If you’ve got a plan and a budget, it’s hard to go wrong :0) Now actually doing it sometimes is a challenge 😀 We have a family of 6 – 2 adults, 4 kids (ages 1 – 8) and we probably spend between $500 and $600.

  21. Vanessa says

    Help!!! We are a family of 7….2 adults and 5 daughters ages 12-7 and we spend about $1200 per month on food and toiletries. Ahhhhh that is after I have carefully budgeted us for $300per week and that is hard for me to stick to, I mean really hard. HELP!!!!!

    • Tiffany says

      Hi Vanessa!

      You can do this! It takes dedication and hard work, but you can do this. Part 2 to the series is available, so I suggest working through this first to address areas you can immediate fix. Then we’ll work together to fix the rest over time. :) Frugal grocery budgets don’t happen overnight!

  22. Liz says

    Wow. I seriously need to learn some things from you people. I have a family of 5 (2 adults and 3 kids) and we spend from $800-$900 a month just on food. I buy nothing but meat, vegetables, and a few odds and ends, but for the life of me I cannot find ways to budget down! Doesn’t help I live in a very small town with ONE grocery store (not counting WalMart…I prefer not to buy food there) in the middle of the desert and very limited fresh sources.

    • Tiffany says

      Hi Liz!

      Living in a small town and shopping choices being limited makes it tough, but not impossible. Expect some ideas on this very topic soon :) Until then, maybe buying some of your items in bulk would cut down the overall cost? Or shopping online at Amazon?

      • Liz says

        Thanks. :) I do buy a TON of my stuff from Amazon! I’m anxiously waiting for the 15th to come so I can start saving my receipts and hopefully learn to budget down. I have considered getting a Sam’s membership, the only downfall is it’s an hour drive away. Is it worth it? I’m not sure.

        • Laura says

          A discount bulk club (Sam’s/Costco’s) is absolutely worth the money. I have had times where I had no choice but to make $325 in food stamps feed 4 adults and a growing toddler for a month, and our Sam’s membership was invaluable. That amount would never have fed the family all month long if I had to shop at the Jewel down the street. I’ve kept it since, even though we’re making progress towards getting off assistance, because it makes keeping a well stocked pantry for the lean times SO much easier. I can’t tell you the stress it takes off your life to know there’s a tight week coming up, walk over to the freezer & pantry, and realize that you don’t actually have to buy anything for meals, just some fresh produce for snacking, and if it’s REALLY a tight spot, you can do without that for a few days if you make sure everybody gets their multivitamin.

          Because it is such a long drive, you’re looking at a once/month trip to buy your meat/canned/boxed/potatoes/onions/etc. The stuff that can sit in your pantry/freezer and last out the month. Meal planning is essential to making a tight budget work, and helpful when trying to slim down a large budget. Oh… if you don’t have a chest freezer, start saving toward getting one that can hold a month’s worth of meat and a little bit more. Lots of things freeze well, including bread and leftover soups!

          • Tiffany says

            This is excellent and invaluable advice Laura! Thank you so much for taking the time to share it with Liz and the other readers!!

        • Betty819 says

          Sam and Costco is too tempting for us and we gave up our membership to both. There were only certain products we bought anyhow. Never bought any of their meats as they don’t cut your meats for you. Too many dessert and sweet temptations. We also don’t have the storage space for larger size items. Fighting their parking lot is a turn off too and dangerous!

  23. Terri says

    I love your site! It’s the first time I’ve been on it and I’ve enjoyed reading all the comments about budgeting. My family of 4 ( 2 adults, 2 children 3 and 5) with 1 dog and cat usually spend about 100.00 per week. I try not to go every week. In fact I live in the country so I find that every time I make a trip to town it costs me money so I try to avoid all stores if possible. We are becoming more sustainable, butchering our own chickens, pig and deer. No beef at the moment. So, I am looking to get my bill down to about 200.00 per month and this would be buying organic. I think I can do this what do you think?

    • Tiffany says

      What do you spend on dairy? I found that we spent about $100 last month on milk, cheese, butter and eggs. What about a garden? If you have a good source for dairy items, then I think $200 is definitely attainable. If you have a garden, even less!

  24. Diana Blanco says

    We are 4. Two adults and two little ones (3.5 & 1.5). We have food allergies and dairy restrictions. Our nut butter and goat milk is pricey. Finding organic bread that isn’t processed in a peanut facility limits our options. We don’t mind eating vegetarian, but we do tend to stick to organic produce whenever possible and buy regular produce on the clean 15 list and seasonal produce. When we do eat meat it’s grass-fed. We also don’t shop for toiletries laden with chemicals. Obviously I struggle with my budget of $600-700/mo. It’s taking a toll on us since we’re not paying down our debt.

    • Tiffany says

      Thanks for sharing Diana :)

      Have you considered buying nuts in bulk and making your own nut butters? Or even go the sunbutter route with sunflower seeds. They’re often available for $1.99/lb. What about making your own bread at home?

  25. Kerry says

    We are a family of 7 but one is off at university, Mom, Dad, 21, 16, 13 and 8, live at home and the 19yr old is at uni. I am new to this idea of meal planning and budgeting but finding the need for it desperately…we easily spend 1000 – 1200 on groceries, toiletries, cleaning supplies, etc. We do not drink or smoke but also use pre-made foods too much and have very picky children. I keep all receipts and hope to tally them this next week. Our oldesst is getting married and moving out this month so hoping that the food budget can be cut down too. I cannot imagine living on 300 a month on food…HELP.

  26. di says

    We Are a family of 4 2 adults a 2yo and a 3mo.we have to eat gf and one is Df.we also live rural aus.trying to keep budget to $300 but challenging .aim is to get over to Organic meat in new website.hoping to learn new info too keep budget down but person with sensory issues happy.

  27. says

    I am a family of 4.5 (baby on the way!) with a 3 1/2 year old and a 1 year old and 2 adults. We spend around $300 on groceries (once every couple months, I do a costco run and spend an extra $50), and that is strictly groceries. I don’t count cleaning supplies or eating out or anything in my budget. However, we live in Canada and unfortunately the cost of food is significantly more than most of the states.

  28. Anna says

    I live in the Netherlands and spend 250 euro on my food a month (345 USD). We are just the 2 of us. I am however dealing with a gluten intolerance and a possible dairy intollerance in my family wich makes it a bit harder to stick to the budget sometimes.

  29. says

    I just stumbled upon you via pinterest & I’m hooked! Our family consists of 2 adults, 3 kids (12, 10, 8), and 2 adult cats. I’m not totally sure how much we spend right now, but it is as little as possible! I would guess about $300-350, not including my husband’s workday lunches as they are paid for by his job. This month has been high, due to Christmas & a Market Day order to stock up on the kids’ favorite “junk” before Winter break, but in the summer we sometimes have months where we don’t spend even $200.

  30. Cathie says

    I’m late. Sorry.
    We have 2 adults and 1 child. I believe we spend around $400/month. As you can see, I need to keep better track. We do have dietary issues, but we eat a lot like your family. Not quite as well, because I work outside the home as well, but we buy nearly everything organic and/or non-GMO, non-hormone, non-antibiotic. I am going to keep better records…..

  31. Crystal says

    After reading all your other readers comments I am almost ashamed to say what we spend on food. There are 8 of us and we eat organic, whole foods, raw dairy and local in season produce. I have one child with special needs who we have to watch the diet fairly close. In my head I think we spend about 1300 a month but that can really fluctuate. I can during the summer so I always spend more when I’m canning and less in the winter when there is nothing to can. I have a rough plan most days as to what we are eating. I make most of our house hold goods. Cleaners, soap, toothpaste. I have a good enough stockpile right now that If I had to I could go for at least a month with out shopping for anything but maybe eggs. I would however like to tighten the purse strings a bit so we can get out of debt quicker :)

  32. Angie says

    I feed two adults, 6 kids, two of us with celiac and dairy allergy. I spend anywhere from $1200-$1500/ month, and that is baking my own gluten free bread. I look forward to using your tips to lower that to $1000/month.

  33. Christy says

    Any suggestions on how to track spending when you’ve been working without a budget and often buy things in bulk? If I track spending for a month, or even two, I doubt it will be at all accurate, since we’ve got a freezer full of meat, paid for over the summer, and salmon that we bought in the fall. We just restocked on roots and grains, but those purchases don’t add nearly as much to the monthly tally as the meat did.

    • Regina says

      I buy about $400 of food storage every fall and I categorize it as “Food Storage”. I divide all my food storage totals by 12 and add them into grocery expenses that way.

      I’ve never budgeted, but I do keep track of spending. I just looked this information up:
      When we had 2 little kids our monthly spending was $370, with 3 little kids it grew to $540, with 4 kids it went to $675 and currently with 4 kids a baby and one gluten free adult we spend $760. Those totals each include $150 per month dining out expenses for my husband.

      • Tiffany says

        Spending $600/mo on groceries (since I don’t include the dining out) is amazing for your family size! Keep up the good work!

    • Tiffany says

      My suggestion would be to take your bulk purchases and divide by 12 to get a number for each month. Then when you’ve accounted for meat, roots and grains, you’ll know how much you have left to spend on other foods for the rest of the month. Does that makes sense?

  34. Samantha says

    We are a family of 4, 2 adults, 4 year old and 2 year old boy (who eats as much food as an adult but is tiny?). When it was just the 4 of us I tried to budget for $300 a month. We struggled with this though. My husband didn’t like the idea of budgeting for food. I want to start again though but this time we are buying for 7, 5 adults and 2 children. We moved in with the in-laws and we don’t pay rent so we cover the food. I would like to set the budget for around $500 or less. We try to buy mostly organic produce, we don’t eat meat (except venison that we have shot ourselves), and we limit our dairy. Our biggest expenses right now our produce, eggs, and bread. I try to make as much as possible from scratch but when I’m enrolled in school full time it is a little harder. We also plan to start a garden this summer and get our own chickens which should help with two of our biggest expenses.
    Thanks for this blog! I love all your tips and you have encouraged me to start budgeting again. We want to be able to build our own home, sooner rather than later.

  35. Sharon Lockhart says

    I find this post about budgeting your grocery a great help. I have done a lot of the things you suggest here and it has really helped me to keep our food bill down.
    I am going to raise a small garden this summer and that will help with the budget this coming winter too. As I can a lot of what I can to eat during the winter.
    I also can meat too, instead of using a freezer to keep it, don’t have to worry about the electric going off if there isn’t anything in the freezer. I use a lot of the directions from my Canner book and from the Ball Blue Book too.
    I have canned a lot of meat, like Deer, chicken, beef, pork, squirrel, and fish.
    All of it is used and I don’t have to worry about using it before it goes bad from freezer burn.
    I find that I can cut down on a lot of my bills by just being diligent. I watch our electric and read my meter on the months the company doesn’t to keep it from being estimated, my gas the same.
    Our water is always below minimum, so I can’t cut it anymore. Our phone is down to the “Thrifty caller” plan so it is as low as it will go too.
    I don’t use a Cell phone, I do own a Tracfone but it is only used for emergencies and all my family and friends who have the number know this and don’t call me on it, unless I approve it.
    I know that sounds mean, but it is my money I am spending and I get to decide how and why I am spending. I really don’t care if someone thinks I am being mean and cheap, so… they will either understand or not, their problem not mine.
    These are just some of the ways I try to save everyday. Maybe it will help someone to realize it can help them too.

  36. Lauren says

    Hi. I found you via Pinterest. We are a family of 5. 2 adults and 3 children ages 13, 8, and 6. We currently spend between $800-$1,000 a month on groceries, toiletries, and cleaning supplies. I buy 80 percent organic products including grass Fed and organic meat and maybe 20 percent “clean produce” and gmo free products. My 2014 goal is to cut out all pre-packaged foods (organic or conventional). They have always been huge budget busters in the past.Would love to get our budget to at least $600.00 a month. I do my best to meal plan all dinners but tend to slack off on breakfast and lunch. We homeschool and it seems like there is always a kid searching for a snack even if a meal was only a half hour before. That is something I would love to get under control. Thank you for your meal planning ideas. We are a foodie family and would much rather spend our money on groceries than a trip…. Other meal plans I have seen just seem to be lacking what we are looking for. Sorry for the book:) Look forward to reading your blog.
    Monday’s making snacks for the week.

    • Tiffany says

      Welcome to Crumbs Lauren! I can totally relate on a homeschooling kid always searching for a snack, lol. I’ve instilled a rule lately where the kids have to eat their entire breakfast (1 cup prepared oatmeal w/half piece of fruit, or equivalent) PLUS an entire banana before they get anything ‘snacky.’ I’ve found that sticking to this often means they ask less often (because my answer is always “Did you eat a banana yet?”) and by the time they’re done with the banana, they’re genuinely full. For at least one hour. 😉

      Never apologize for long comments – I love reading them! Thank you for taking the time to share a bit of you with the rest of us!

  37. kate says

    Thank you for this great blog post! It offers some great encouragement to stay within our grocery budget! For our family of 5, 2 adults, a 7 yr old, 2 yr old, and 9 month old, a large dog and an acient cat, we should be staying under $500 a month including household items and baby items, but prices here are going up and up. Meat prices especially haven’t had great sales lately in my immediate area, but I usually luck out and find all our meats on markdowns. It gets frustrating sometimes, last month we went way over. I think it was just stress and mental fatigue that just let my brain buy whatever on earth I felt like. Thanks again for the great post, it reminds me I CAN make and stay within a set budget! (:

  38. Karen says

    I just found your page via Pinterest. Grocery budgeting is a big discussion in our house right now. We recently moved from CA to TX and are trying to break the habit of easy/prepackaged foods that were easy in the midst of house selling and single parenting (for 2 months when husband started job in TX and I stayed w/ kids to sell house). We currently spend $700 on food per month for 2 adults and 5 kids (ages 2, 4, 6, 9, 10). I would love to get down around $500.

    • Tiffany says

      Welcome to Crumbs Karen! We moved from TX to CA a few years back. :) The process of moving and re-adjusting is a big one, but you guys can do it!! Your goal is very attainable too! :)

  39. Allison says

    I just discovered this post and it couldn’t be more timely. I have been tracking my spending for January and February and am averaging about $550 on groceries for our family of 5: 2 adults, and boys ages 2, 5, and almost 7. We eat about about 2-3 times per month, which is not included in that budget, but is also rare and we plan to budget better for that in the future.

    My biggest hurdle is planning out meals AND snacks AND lunches AND breakfasts. I can do dinners — but in order to stick to my budget I really think I need to plan all of our meals/snacks out at the beginning of the week. I’m doing that for this next week and in the month of March, so we’ll see if that changes anything. Also, weaning my boys off of packaged.processed foods (even though some would consider these healthy — yogurt and cereal bars from Trader Joes, etc.), is another challenge. I would love to keep my groceries under $400, but living a “city lifestyle” makes it harder, I think. I need to start a garden in our backyard this year!

  40. MrsMomof6 says

    Just had to jump in here.
    I have been budgeting for years. I have a family of 8, 2 adults, kids 11,8,6,5,3,1. We buy almost exclusively Grass Fed beef, pork and chickens… and we buy raw organic grass fed milk (4 gallons a week). We have a variety of food allergies/sensitivities, and no two of us have the same ones… but we are limited by casein, wheat, certain beans, etc. I shop in bulk at Azure Standard, and weekly at our regular shops or a farmers market. My budget is $720 per month, some months are more heavily weighted than others… like last month I only spent 450. This month I ordered Azure Standard and spent a whopping 1200 total I believe. Next month I hope to get back to the 100 dollars a week. My weekly budget is supposed to be around 180. I consider myself successful if I am under it. Even though I know that this is a relatively high budget, I still have a very hard time getting enough food on it. I actually find that I spend more money if I make meal plans before I shop, than if I go to the store, shop only the sales, and THEN come home and make a meal plan based on what I found and what is in my pantry. I am very good at cooking without a recipe, so typically conforming to a recipe increases my costs.

  41. Claudia says

    Hi. I need help! I have 5 kids (all under 8 years old) and 2 adults to cook for. Just calculated our monthly food spending and it’s like 1500.0 a month. Yikes!?! I would really like to bring this down. I am looking forward to any ideas, meal ideas you have coming. Thanks!

    • Tiffany says

      Welcome to Crumbs Claudia! Go through the grocery budgeting process and I have no doubt you’ll trim some immediately. I’ve got lots of ideas in the archives, and there’s plenty more coming. I look forward to seeing more of you, and working towards a more frugal budget! :)

  42. TRACY says

    I subscribed but my newsletter won’t download maybe it’s my crappy computer or my email but i just won’t come through.

    • Tiffany says

      Hi Tracy! Are you having problems with receiving the email, or downloading the link? Can you email me so we can resolve this? tiffany(at)dontwastethecrumbs(dot)com

  43. Sarah says

    Family of 5 in the DC area. 2 adults, 3 kids (3 1/2, 2, 7 months). Grocery budget includes toiletries and paper goods, etc. not diapers and not eating out (but we very rarely are able to eat out). Our monthly budget is $300.

  44. Stephanie says

    Sigh. The grocery spending–my forever nemesis. We have a family of 9–2 adults and 7 kids (2 teenagers, 2 preteen boys, and 3 little ones). We spend….gulp…. $1200 a month. At least. That is our budget, anyway. When it is a milk week (we get raw milk from a local farmer every two weeks), we can spend $350-$400 a week. We eat mostly organic, and my husband does not think it’s a meal without meat, which I try to make sure is grassfed. I already make my own bread, some toiletries, and cook mostly from scratch. I have girls that Looooooove to bake, and we buy Kerrygold butter like it’s going out of style.

    As you can tell, I could really use some ideas, but in my experience, couponing when you’re buying real food does not work. I would really like to get ahold of this spending as we have no other way to pay off debt. Thanks for doing this blog!

  45. rosalie says

    love your blog :) we are a family of 10, with now only 4 children at home! 19-15yr 2 boys and 2 girls :) we spend anywhere from $80-$150 per week on groceries and thats everything! oh and thats NZ$

    I make our bread, laundry liquid, cleaning products, baking/snacks, grow our eggs :), and we have alot of fruit trees etc as well which i bottle (can) the excess of. i make all our ketchup and pasta sauces etc.

    i menu plan everyweek before doing the groceries and keep a full list of what is in the freezer as well so i can use and rotate items!

    no allergies here.. i would suggest to those wanting help.. that if you have the time.. even a spare 30-40 minutes a month.. make your own!! even laundry liquid will save you alot of $$ per year :)

    • Tiffany says

      That’s an excellent tip Rosalie, and I couldn’t agree with you more. Whatever time you can spare is always well spent in making things from scratch. It all adds up! Thank you for your kind works! :)

    • Cynthia says

      I’ve heard that making your own laundry detergent can save you money but I thought that was just urban legend. Is there any chance we can get your laundry soap recipe?

      • says

        2-3 Fels-Naptha (or soap bar of choice – ie dove, lever, etc)
        Baking soda
        Super washing soda

        Grate the soap, add all ingredients into a 5 gallon container. Mix.

        All the ingredients cost about $20 which is the same as any other brand of detergent, but it lasts a lot longer using only 1-2 tbsp per load.

  46. Gerri says

    Family of 4 adults here…husband is medically retired, so income is very limited. Both sons work so with their help we spend around $500/month.

  47. Simone says

    We’re a family of six – 3 adults, 3 kids(11, 6, and 20 months) We spend $700 per month on food and toiletries. We try to eat some foods organic and we include lots of fresh produce. We really need our budget and taste to meet somewhere in the middle. Thanks.

  48. Challie says

    I’m really hoping your budget will help us……we spend around $900/month on our groceries. We are a family of 4 (2 adults and 2 kids ages 6 & 4). We eat mostly organic and my son is gf/df. But I would still LOVE to be able to drop this amount!! I do cook most of our food from scratch and that has helped us bring it down from 1200 to 900.

  49. Kai says

    I have a family of 4; husband, & two boys (9 & 11). We typically spend about $460/month on food. We don’t eat out except 2-3 times a year. We don’t eat organic, but we eat whole foods. I make everything from scratch. I’d like to cut back on $ and still be eating wholesome foods, but my youngest son makes that difficult with his food limitations.

    • Jennifer says

      I have a family of 6. 2 adults and 4 teenagers. I also have 2 little girls at my house about 50 hours a week. I try to do only whole food/ paleo as much as my budget allows. I have a daughter who needs gluten free and a son with severe respitory issues so we use only all natural cleaners too. My budget is 1200 per month.

    • Tiffany says

      Hi Kristy! Would you mind sending me an email? tiffany (at) dontwastethecrumbs (dot) com. We’ll get you taken care of. :)

  50. Cynthia says

    I’m feeding 1 adult (myself) and 2 kids (14, 10). My 14-year old is a picky eater. Neither of them like vegetables but my 10-year old will at least try them. Regarding what I’d like to see in future posts: budget friendly recipes and meal plans with lots of fresh produce and if possible low sodium. Thank you for your website, I’ve already gotten a lot of helpful information from it! I love the name… Crumbs!

  51. Cristina says

    I am at a loss and overwhelmed. We have recently retired from the military so our income has been cut in half but our family size has not changed. I am feeding 6 adults and a 5 year old boy. I average 800-900 just on food alone. Eating healthy and spending less while feeding our growing family enough to maintain their growing bodies at times seems impossible. I would love to be able to spend 400 a month on groceries and be able to save the rest. If i were to follow the 5% rule we would be able to spend under 200 for family of 7 and 15 % would be just over 300.

    • Tiffany says

      I can relate to your frustration and feeling of loss Cristina. Feeding a large family with little funds is not an easy task, but I know that it’s not impossible. It will require creativity, hard work and some conceding in terms of what the family WANTS to eat versus what they are ABLE to eat, but it can be done.

      My immediate advice is to focus on the simple foods that offer great nutrition in return: beans, lentils, oats, eggs, whole grains, etc. Keep meals incredibly basic, like beans and rice with a side salad. Use various beans with various seasonings and a simple homemade vinaigrette. View meats as a condiment, never a main dish, and don’t worry about anything organic for now. Avoid convenience food and consider growing a garden, even if it’s just for herbs. Branch out of your typical stores and get to know your neighbors. Small, ethnic shops often have great deals on staple foods, and maybe a neighbor would be willing to exchange extras from their garden in exchange for sitting services? You also have five other adults living with you, so unless their physically/mentally unable to, they need to pitch in and help too. Someone learns the art of making bread. Someone else learns how to make yogurt. You’re not in this alone, both in real life and here at Crumbs. You’ve got a great community of support here, so anytime you need encouragement, have a question or just want to vent a bit, we’re here. :)

  52. Jan says

    I’m so glad to have found you on Pinterest! We are empty nested, with one dog who eats premium food, but that’s not even included in our $150/week budget. We made a commitment to organic foods on Jan. 1, 2013, and have struggled to stay within that budget ever since – we go well over nearly every week, and we rarely eat out. Truth be told, if I could get hubby to “turn in” his debit card, we’d be a lot better off! He always must have the perfect food items in the fridge and he knows where the organic store is. It’s nickel and diming us to debt. I subscribed to your site, your facebook and pinterest, hoping to find help! Thanks.

    • Tiffany says

      LOL, darn the husband who knows how to shop for pretty organic produce!! Welcome to Crumbs Jan, I hope you find some help with keeping the spending under control. One thought that comes to mind is definitely meal planning, but maybe if you give him the shopping list (with stern instructions to stick to it 😉 ) and let him get his “fix” twice/week, then he’d be less likely to stray on his own? In either case, I’m happy to have you and look forward to seeing more of you!!

  53. Liz H says

    Oh dear. We are a family of 4, 2 adults and 2 kids age 4 (twins). I budget $800 and we ALWAYS go over that. I cook mostly from scratch but we are a gluten free household and during the school year peanut products are off the menu due to a classmates food allergy. I REALLY need ways to whittle down our budget AND stick to it!

    • Tiffany says

      Hi Liz! Allergies can be tricky, but I know it can be done affordably! Welcome to Crumbs! I’m looking forward to getting to know you more, and helping you chip away at that budget!

  54. Lynn says


    I’m feeding two (working full-time) adults and I spend more than $500 per month. I’m very excited to put into play your Grocery Budget Worksheets!

    • Tiffany says

      Welcome to Crumbs Lynn! I’m happy to have you hear, and look forward to getting to know you more!

      • Cynthia says


        I’m just so very impressed with your website! I stumbled upon it while looking at DIY stuff and/or healthy cooking stuff. I love to cook and I make my own bread and stock/broth. I’ve found canning to be more of an expense than a money saver. Maybe if I had a garden…

        I have to admit I have never tallied up what I spend on food a month but I’m guessing $250 average. Which for just little ole me is outrageous compared to your other readers. I would love to learn how to save some money though so am more than interested in following your blog to see if I can make that happen.

        A couple problems:: I don’t care for frozen leftovers (I only keep ice cream, frozen fruit for smoothies, spinach and meat in my freezer) and it seems that all recipes are geared to four and food stuffs (can of beans for instance – although I like making beans from scratch too sometimes or say a package of mushrooms) come in the size for two to four people. So I end up throwing tons of food out. I do love leftovers, just not frozen. I typically make some meal for four and eat it for breakfast, lunch or dinner a few days in a row. I know that’s a little odd but that’s me. But things like cheese for instance I cannot eat fast enough and generally throw half away. I do take advantage of this a little though sometimes by figuring well since buying that normal amount of cheese for $4 when half is going in the garbage why not just go to Trader Joe’s and get a very small amount of expensive cheese which they only sell in small amounts anyway because people don’t want to spend a ton on cheese. At least it’s not going in the trash and I get to enjoy chèvre often. Still one cannot live on chèvre alone and would like to have some good old fashioned cheaddar sometimes. I’ve tried freezing cheese and it’s horrible. Oh but you know what freezes well? Butter! Get the 4pack at Costco and that definitely saves money but I don’t go there often. As if I’m going to need a bag of apples!

        Anyway I know you probably have little in the way of experience feeding one but perhaps from your readers you have picked up some pointers on how to budget/cook for one?

        In either case I will be reading up all that you have written here to see what things I might be able to apply to myself and am seriously thinking of keeping all my receipts next month like you suggest. Who knows maybe I spend less than I think. Or god forbid more!

        Thank you for any advise you may offer!



        • Tiffany says

          Welcome Cynthia! If you don’t like frozen leftovers, try planning your meals so that you can make/use a bigger batch of something (beans, for example) and keep them in the fridge for a few days to use them over various meals. No food or ingredient HAS to be frozen, it just makes it easier on those with more mouths to feed to have some ready in long-term storage. In your case, just make less in the first place and use it up within a few days and you’re fine. Or continue with your method of the same thing for several meals in a row – whatever floats YOUR boat! I don’t know if you do this, but it sounds like meal planning would greatly help yo with the dilemma of throwing food out. If you’re only going to eat 4oz of cheddar, there is certainly nothing wrong with going to TJ’s or Whole Foods to buy just that amount. But meal planning will help you use that as you wish, and then ensure that you finish it off before it’s too late. Frozen block of cheese doesn’t always work, but you can shred it first and then freeze. And when you have enough, use it in a casserole or mac and cheese dish where a combination of cheeses would actually be desired.

          I think cooking for one is tough, but perhaps shopping in bulk where it counts (meats, some fruits/veggies, butter, etc.) and then at small markets for others would be easiest? Also, if you by chance stumble across a big bag of apples, you can make apple pie filling and freeze it. Then you’ll have it ready the next time you’re hosting company. That is, if that type of freezing is ok?

          Another option to consider is splitting the cost of some bulk items with another family, or single friend. Best of both worlds!!

          • Cynthia says

            Gosh you are just too fantastic!! I can’t believe you got back to me so fast!! These are great ideas! And if I start using the freezer for things to make foods with then I’m not left with food leftovers to freeze! Brilliant!! Much better in my view and something that had never occurred to me – solves several problems at once! I can buy even larger amounts of preprocessed foods at a discount and freeze them in little containers to put into meals. Instead of buying small amounts of preprocessed foods at higher prices, making something and having leftovers galore, that most people would then freeze. I feel kinda dopey for not ever having thought of it that way (sheepish grin :)). And I am a good enough cook afterall to take a recipe and make it fit for one – have just been lazy because it requires breaking down the package of 4 chicken breasts, carton of mushrooms, large onion…. into smaller sizes and freezing them to make the dish or another using those ingredients later. But if I’m going to commit to spending less while eating better it behooves me to do so and I can see already just how VERY, VERY much less food would go in the trash! I cannot stress enough how very much less food would go to waste that way. You must be buying flours in very large amounts for your bread to be only 25 cents a loaf. I’ve been making my bread for about 6 months now and have easily gone through 6 bags of regular flour (unbleached white and wheat) and portions of bags of say oatmeal, rice, tapiocca..flours. Costing me about $50 which is way more than I normally spend on bread (although these specialty flours will last me awhile for sure). For several reasons: I find now that I loooove bread (homemade bread that is), it is only good for 3 days tops unless you put it in the fridge which does something to it that makes it less appealing to me. But I am making small loaves. Still, I don’t think I’m saving any money on this particular endeavor and am eating alot more bread than ever – but hey – it’s real food and not cardboard with chemicals. And for some reason it reduces my cravings for sugar – which gives you a very much steeper spike in blood sugar (or doesn’t it?) But I have just about completely stopped baking cakes and such. So while my intake in carbs is about the same, my intake in white sugar has been slashed dramatically. Have you heard of 5 minute bread – it’s the greatest thing since sliced bread lol. While of course I do make things like a roast and break it down into many meals it’s still so much food that I end up with too many leftovers and you really do need to cook the whole thing at once to get the correct result. Perhaps though I could make things like burrito meat, bbq shreadded meat and such and freeze those to put into meals – again not really freezing leftovers but the fixins for making new dishes. And this of course requires even more work. But I have the time to do it. So I think I’m going to give your ideas a whirl. This would be a rather large time and effort change of habits for me but it would definitely benefit me in the long run – both in the quality of food I eat and the amount of money I spend. I’m currently reading your 30 day plan to make these changes. I’m reading day 9 right now. It’s wonderful and I want to do it!! (I think I’m in love lol jk).. I’ve seldom if ever been exited to do something like this but it makes so much sense and the way you break it down makes it so much easier that it almost seems like fun!!
            Thank you so very, very much!


  55. Justine says

    I apparently spend way too much we spend about 860 dollars monthly for my husband and I and our 3 year old and our 5 month old is nursing exclusively!

    • Tiffany says

      I don’t think it’s fair to say anyone spends too much. Everyone’s situation is different. All that matter is that we do our best with the resources we’ve been given, and to be good stewards in the process! :)

  56. Lea says

    I just found your site and have been enjoying browsing around!

    We are a family of 4 (husband, plus a 4 and 2 year old) and spend roughly $200 each time we grocery shop, about 3 times a month. That is $600/month! And the worst part is, I don’t have a stocked pantry or freezer to show for it.

    After reading a post of yours last week, I read the sale ads and shopped mostly sale items and spent $80. I was so proud of myself! My husband and I are committed to decreasing our food spending so that we can save to buy our own home.

    I have a question though–What do you do if the ingredients for meals you want aren’t on sale? Also, do you have any tips on how to start stocking my pantry or freezer?

    Thank you!

    • Mrs.Momof6 says

      I have a suggestion regarding those specialty items for meals…

      Start by making a list of the ingredients you want, as you go… for example, you want to make meatballs, but you need oregano, since you don’t use it alot you don’t have any. Put Oregano on the “stock” list, and look for a time when it is on sale *spices do go on sale*, meanwhile, make the meatballs without oregano, use something you DO have like maybe basil.

      Maybe you like to make Thai food, but you don’t have rice noodles on hand, and they aren’t on sale. Buy just one box this week, but then, put the rice noodles on the Stock List, and keep an eye out for a coupon or for a sale, when the sale comes up, buy a few.

      You can’t always buy items on sale, not everything in a store goes on sale, at least not here…

      This is one way to slowly stock a pantry. Also, consider buying items in bulk at Costco or BJ’s. I have found that while I spend more the first time, 7.00 for a large bottle of spice, vs 4.00 for 4 oz. the savings is SO great per ounce, that it makes up for itself.

      Some people save back say 20 dollars a week, for a once a month larger trip where they buy bulk products to stock the pantry. Can’t save back 20? try 10, or 5, and put off the bigger trip for a couple months.

      You would be surprised how many recipes really still taste just fine, even without all of the ingredients.

      One other thing that I do, is instead of making a menu FIRST, I shop the sales and then bring home all the food, and create meals out of it. I use less recipes, because of course it means I don’t have cilantro or curry sauce from time to time… but by sticking to simple foods, simply prepared, we eat well (not gourmet), and save money. Sometimes I want to eat a more specific dish, so I plan one or two of those in a week, and make sure to get the details for it, but the rest of the week we eat more simply. A meat with seasonings from my spice cabinet, a veggie and a starch, or a double veggie and no starch. Sometimes I toss it all in one pan and make a quick stir fry, with just soy sauce and ginger. It’s super yummy and doesn’t require all the details.

      Just this last week I spent only 80 dollars for our family of 8. It’s my best week yet!
      Normally I spend between 180 and 200 a week. This is a very tight budget, one I don’t hope to live on for much longer. It is borne of necessity. But the longer I do it, the better at it I am becoming. There are many times now when I can “splurge” and buy something “fancy”, like coconut milk or a pre-made curry sauce. I can’t wait till we can buy some lamb again.

      Good luck!!

    • Tiffany says

      Welcome to Crumbs Lea! Having the husband on board is HUGE. There is nothing that will sabotage a budget like a spouse who doesn’t share the same goals.

      If I need something that isn’t on sale, I try to substitute with something else that is. It’s easier with produce, but thougher with condiments. I’ve also switched for a different meal altogether, or just not bought it and see what would happen as the week went on. Sometimes we’d have leftovers and that dish wouldn’t get made, or I’d come up with an alternate plan last minute. You can also see if you can make it from scratch with what you have, or at least come close.

      For stocking the pantry & freezer, my suggestion is when there’s a sale on something, buy just one extra. Don’t keep stock of condiments, but rather the kitchen essentials like pastas, rice, beans, healthy fats, etc. that you know can go easily in any recipe. Allow a set amount of money, $5-10 each week/month towards the pantry and fill it accordingly. It could be marked down fruit (that you chopped and froze or dehydrated), or a sale on meat or butter… just 2-3 items each month will really make an impact in the long run. Also remember that stocking is a long-term goal, not short-term, so this certainly won’t happen overnight. Take your time, and before you know it, you’ll have too much and need a no-spending challenge too! :)

      • Lea says

        Thanks Tiffany! It was overwhelming thinking about all we need to stock the pantry. I did buy an extra bag of beans and extra crushed tomatoes so I feel like i’m on my way (lol!). It’s another grocery shopping week and my local stores don’t have that great of sales. My goal is to stay under $100! Wish me luck! :)

  57. psods says

    in desperate need of help and excited to find your site! we discovered yesterday that in july we spent over $1300 on groceries and diapers… and we are only a family of 5- barely- two adults and two little ones (2.5, 1.5, and 3 weeks). we’re frugal in the other areas of our lives, but i had no idea how much we splurged with groceries. at that rate we’ll be overspending our income every month! we usually avoid money monitoring because it’s so stressful and we have enough going on with 3 kids under 3 but at this point we don’t have a choice. i just wish there was a way to make this so simple that i wouldn’t have to put any time into it- because with a newborn and a home business, i’m already not sleeping!

    • Mrs.Momof6 says

      One thing that might help you, to begin getting your budget under control without alot of thought is the website: Build A Menu. It has an 8 dollar fee per month, BUT, I found when I really needed to cut back quickly, and without much thought, that the 8 dollars was easily saved since I was sticking to my budget. Then, as I got more familiar with my local stores, and was working towards a more traditional/whole foods menu, I gave up Build A Menu, because I was saving MORE without them.

      The way it works is that they automatically check the local fliers (southern US), for places like Meyers, Walmart, Publix… and they also have a meal plan for “any grocery store”. Then they use the discounts, and their stock of meals, to offer you limited choices for all meals in a week. They tell you APPROXIMATELY how much this will cost at the store, so you won’t go into the store and be shocked, and then start wondering what you can put back. It takes about 1 hour the first time you use it, and then no more than 30 minutes per week after that, to put together a weeks worth of meals, plus a shopping list, and know you’re going to be under budget. Give it a go, to get your feet wet in the budgeting department without too much stress… then wean off of it to have more choices and to find even greater savings.

    • Tiffany says

      Hi Psods! I understand not monitoring money because of the stress, but I think you’ll find that when you don’t stay actively involved in what you spend, you end up going over! A simple weekly check-in, just to tally if anything, can make a big impact in the end. If you can spare 10-15 minutes over dinner, or even while preparing dinner w/your husband in the kitchen with you, you’ll be surprised at how much smoother the grocery budget will operate. Just keep every receipt and look them over together. When you guys can carve out a 30 minute block, that’s when you can set the bigger goals and look over bills and determine line-items, etc. For now, just start with a few minutes over Friday night pizza. Pizza always made our financial talks easier. :)

  58. Charlotte says

    There are seven of us, soon to be eight. There’s me, my farmer husband, a 12-year-old boy, a 10-year-old girl, an eight-year-old boy, a six-year-old girl, a four-year-old boy, and a baby on the way. This month so far, we’re at $801.

  59. says

    Hi, we are a two person family right now. Working on more. We spend about $300 a month.(Less some months, when I don’t have to buy flour or rice in bulk) But we are trying to get our hobby farm going, so I am hoping that will go down as we get more going on our farm. I can and garden and grow rabbits right now. I’m loving your chicken ideas for cutting chickens up. It will help me a lot when I’m doing 25 at a time or so. Then I can package up those “tenders” and organ meats. I love chicken livers so I’m excited to do that next year.

    • Tiffany says

      Welcome to Crumbs Stephanie! Thanks for sharing your budget with us. I think you’ll see a pay off if you’re able to garden year-round, especially if you’ve got green thumbs. I make no promises any gardening tips ’round these parts though – I have two black thumbs!

  60. Amy says

    We are a family of seven, 2 adults, kids ages 13, 11, 9, 7, 5. We are currently spending about $900/ month on groceries and toiletries. I am hoping your site will help me cut that down to $700 or less while helping us eat more real foods.

  61. JulieS says

    We are a family of 6. Me, my husband, 16 yr old daughter (who is EXTREMELY picky), 14 yr old son, 12 yr old son and a 6 yr old son. All 3 boys play hockey and ALL kids are ALWAYS hungry. I work full time as a nurse, and my husband owns 2 businesses and we are always busy working and running around during the week AND weekends. I try to buy/make/feed the fam as much real food as possible but am nowhere near where I would like to be. I try to buy organic dairy, grass fed/organic meats and organic produce when the budget allows. We also have 2 dogs and 2 cats to feed and take care of. I am guessing we spend including all toiletries, animal stuff, paper/cleaning products about $1500/month. That doesn’t include the maybe once a week pizza/wings. I would love to cut that down. I love to cook and bake. I am partial to more of a vegie based diet but my husband and boys are definitely HUGE meat eaters. It is sooooo difficult to find 1 meal that all 6 of us will eat. I’m tired of being a short order cook and have more or less said to the older kids that if they do not like what I have made, they can make something for themselves- I find this is where the “convenience” and packaged foods come into play (for them). Also see lots of lunch ideas on real food blogs but none seem realistic for the appetites of my growing boys. I’m all for making what I can- I have made home made yogurt, I also make home made granola weekly and bake a lot of muffins and desserts. But I do not have time to make homemade bread (esp with the amount we go through weekly). The decent store bought stuff is expensive @$5.00/loaf. Even to use a bread machine- I would have to make 1 loaf/day…. Not very realistic. Same goes for making my own cleaning products, laundry soaps, and beauty products… This is a huge dilemma and stress for me. I follow many real food blogs and have been researching real food eating and taking baby steps for a while now and while I agree with your statement that it is “baby steps”, I also feel that it isn’t possible to do (at least in MY situation) while decreasing the amount of $ I/we spend….

  62. Nannette says

    I am feeding 2 adults and 3 children age 9, 7, and 3. I spend around $450 – $500 a month. I think this includes everything, even eating out. But after a month of tracking we shall see if I am right or not. I am glad to have found your site. My biggest challenge is feeding hard to please eaters. My oldest has had troubles eating from the first time I tired to feed her baby food. She actually stopped growing by age 2, was diagnosed as failure to thrive, and we were sent to specialist. It is a texture thing coupled with an anxiety of new things issue. My youngest is not quite as difficult as the first, but I feel like it is close. It is a challenge to find foods they will eat and cut back on the budget, plus try to supplement their limited diets as much as possible. I can’t wait to see what I can find here!

  63. says

    Any resources for the single person. I find it hard to not waste food, eat healthy and stick to a budget. Plus I hate eating the same thing every day.

    Thanks! Oh and I love your blog, great stuff.


    • Tiffany says

      Thanks Crystal! Cooking for one… my best solution would be to halve, or even quarter every recipe from the get-go. If it’s more than you’ll eat for dinner + leftovers for lunch, consider freezing half for the next week. Then you won’t have to cook either, lol. Meals where one part can be re-used into something else, like the chicken soup –> chicken pot pie. Then you’re doing something with what you’re making, but it doesn’t feel redundant. You could even freeze some soup for later, then freeze a pot pie for later too.

  64. says

    We are a family of 5: 3 adults & 2 kids (4 & 3). We live with my father-in-law who buys groceries (we can’t afford to). I am the keeper of the house & do most of the grocery shopping. I meal plan & stock up on coupons I know we’ll need. I’m trying to keep our grocery budget under $80/week, but that’s groceries & not including toiletries, paper/plastic stuff, hygiene, & ooh preeetty. However, the 4 of us do a lot of fellowshipping with other people of the church as well as just eating out mostly because plans fell through & I didn’t have anything prepared for supper, which can get close to $100/week. Though I say budget, my husband and I are on a loose one at best while my FIL is not one one at all. He doesn’t care about money (it’s not really an issue for him) while we are almost struggling to make ends meet. I believe in homesteading (farming food, growing our own eggs, & getting milk from the backyard) on a supplementary basis which is my ultimate goal once we have our own place. I do wish to learn how to (ie have more confidence in my cooking to) make my own bread. We go through it enough that I could save us a few bucks however I want more. I want to keep our eating out down to $50/week, paying for it on our own (my FIL unknowingly contributes to this on occasion), & preparing our lifestyle (eating habits) for moving out one day. See why I need your help?

    I found you via & I’m glad I did. I do hope to be financially self-sufficient & I believe groceries are a great place to start. Thank you for all the time & energy you are putting into this blog to help others like myself. Sorry for the book I wrote :o/

  65. Jeanine Pate says

    I am not a blogger or responder, but I am so intrigued by this information and thankful you are sharing it! However, I am confused about one thing. First you say “For the next month, keep every single receipt you spend on food, including dining out.” Ok; we are talking about food. But then later on, you say, ” At the end of the month, add up all the receipts for a grand total. Include everything you bought for home and personal use in this – groceries, toiletries, kitchen gadgets, etc.
    Now we are talking about more than food/groceries. Much more! Why the discrepancy here? Could you give some clarification? Thank you!

    • says

      I think she’s saying to collect all receipts from eating out + whatever you spent at the grocery store, which would include all other non-grocery products.

  66. Marleen says

    Wow! Thank you for this wake up call! My husband and I have been eating Paleo for the last two years and really struggling with the food budget. Our last two kids left home just before we started changing our eating habits but the grocery bill has hardly gone down. Almond flour, healthy sweetener, organic vegies and fruit when we can,… all adds up. My hubby has been retired for two years and our income is way less than it used to be. 2015 is the year to get our grocery budget under control! Your website will really help us do this. I am printing off your 22 days to a fresh start as I type this. I have followed your blog all ways possible. Thank you, thank you for your determination!

    • Tiffany says

      You’re most welcome Marleen! I’m excited that you’re joining the journey, and would love to help in any way I can. If you have any questions, just let me know!!

  67. Amanda says

    Figures the actual meal plans cost money. If I had the money for this, I wouldn’t be searching for meal plans on a budget. I have a family of three including myself and only have $350 to spend a month. I do not know where to start and I certainly don’t have the extra money to pay someone to help me. Anyone know of some sites that have actual print-outs and shopping lists? I need something premade because like I stated, I do not know how to start this on my own.

  68. Lynn says

    My husband and I are retired on Social Security, however we feed an extra 2 mouth 5 days a week. (Adult son and teen grandson). You would think our food bill would be within our limits. it is definitely not! Thank God for our garden, buying in bulk and so on. My personal challenge is to bring my spending in line, provide filling, wholesome, tasty food to the group and still have at least some money left over at the end of the month. I want to pass good habits on to my kids from what I learn at this site.

  69. Chris says

    It’s just me at the moment (soon to be another) but I’m currently doing $30/week for food (and only food). For me it’s easier to go on a weekly basis rather than monthly even though I do purchase food with a longer time period in mind. I also shoot for the average of $30 rather than keep my budget to strictly that each week. For instance, I went on about $20 per week for about a month, then the next month I ate out a number of times (charity events) which jumped those weeks to about $40. Overall the average was right. The past shopping day I spent $90 but that included a lot of bulk purchases that should last some months.

  70. Doug says

    As part of the grocery budget, do you include household supplies such as toilet paper, soap, laundry detergent, dishwasher detergent… In you budget or is that a seperate line item in your overall budget?

    • Tiffany says

      Doug – it’s part of our grocery budget. Some families prefer to have a separate line item, but we rarely need all of the above in a single month so we include it for simplicity sake.

  71. Jessica says

    I have a family of 5: 2 adults and 3 toddlers 2, 3, &5 yrs old. I have a dairy and nut allergy and my husband is diabetic. Im not a good cook and I get overwhelmed easily in the store finding all the ingredients and herding 3 toddlers. I have kinda accepted our grocery budget will be out of control and we will have boring food to eat. mostly I spend easily average $150 a week on produce alone since that is mostly what my family snacks on. We average around $800-$900 a month that includes buying a 1/2 cow and pig from a local farm or other bulk free range meats but It still seems like a lot of money. Not sure where to start to reduce it but looking forward to this subsciption!

  72. says

    Hubby and I have 9 children, all still at home. So I am feeding 4 adults (2 of them men), 2 teen boys, 1 teen girl, 2 pre-teen girls, a 7yo and a 3yo. I spend about $2100.00 per month, but that includes clothes, school supplies (we homeschool), cleaning supplies, and minor house repairs.

    Normally when I read a “save money of food” article I not only know and am doing everything the author recommends, I could tell her some things she left out! Yours looks like the first one that might actually help us, especially since we just got rid of our chickens (no more using leftovers for chicken feed.)

    I look forward to your posts.

    • Alyssa says

      We have two adults and two (and half- due in a few weeks) children. The oldest is 4 and the middle child is 2. We currently spend around $320 a month.

  73. Beth Winchester says

    I have 2 adults in my household, me and my mother, who has just retired! We currently use about $300 a month on groceries. I just did the worksheet #2 where you add up all your purchases…..little flabbergasted on how much we spend on dairy! I ran into this website by pinterest and got intrigued on what would be different on saving money. I have printed out the 22 day “challenge” (Fresh Start) and cannot wait to implement one and two days! I live in a small town that only has one large chain grocery store and one small town grocery store, there is no Costco/Sam’s Club and with our house being small we don’t have the room for some of that stuff to buy in bulk anyways.
    My mom and I are pretty good at budgeting meals – we write down what we want for the week and one of us makes it for supper. I add two additional suppers as alternatives, with the supplies I have on hand already (i.e. soup and grilled cheese sandwich or homemade pizza) and my lunches at work consist of sandwich, salad and/or soup. Breakfast is yogurt, fruit, piece of toast or homemade poptart, sometimes a crossiant breakfast sandwich if I make them.
    The other thing I have started doing – grocery shopping early Saturday morning – then washing and cutting fruits and veggies and putting in individual bags/containers for work. This has worked out great for the last month.
    I am excited to try a different approach to saving money and eating healthier!

    • Tiffany says

      You’re most welcome Beth! It sounds like the plan you’ve set out for you and your mom works well for you guys – kudos!! I think it’s eye-opening for everyone to see how much they spend in certain categories… and it always seems to be where we least expect it!

      Welcome to Crumbs Beth, and please let me know if you have any questions about the downloads! :)

  74. Teresa says

    Just found your site and am loving the info and inspiration, but this post threw me for a loop! I know it’s an older post but Oh, dear me!!! Do you do personal consultations because I must be doing something wrong!!!! We have 5, 2 adults, 1 teenage boy, and 2 girls 10 & 8 – we spend over $1000 a month on household items/grocery budget and eating out!!! I have to get my budget down, but unless i buy prepackaged food it doesn’t seem possible. Mac and cheese is cheap y’all!!! I mean for $.50 I can buy a box of mac and cheese and feed my kids lunch, or I can buy 1 apple and 1 kid can have a snack! I do want to point out that we homeschool and my kids are here all day, everyday 3 meals and 2 snacks EVERY DAY!!! Will keep perusing for more info, but WOW!!!, what an eye-opener!!!

    • Tiffany says

      Hi Teresa! I know it seems overwhelming, but I promise – real food is cheaper if you employ a few smart shopping techniques. I encourage you to keep searching around Crumbs – especially where I share what we bought in groceries that month – there’s TONS of great information to get you started!!

      And I’m not sure if it helps, but our budget includes toiletries and we’ve been homeschoolers too!

      • Teresa says

        Awesome!!!!! Have been sidelined with starting homeschool this week, but plan on getting back and studying your blog with a 3 subject notebook for taking notes, VERY SOON!!!! :) Thank You!!!!

    • Kim says

      Teresa, you read my mind! I just found this site and was reading comments thinking the same thing. I am very frugal but we spend 700-1000 a month at least. 5 of us total, 12, 8, and 3 yr old boys and we home-school. I have been trying to figure out if this is too high or average. My kids eat ALL THE TIME! Maybe they don’t NEED that much food? My husband is weightlifting and wants tons of meat/protein and I try to buy organic and we do use a co-op for fruits, veggies, and grass-fed beef. I cannot imagine spending much less than this unless we only meat maybe once per week? Definitely interested in looking around the site for help. I wonder if where you live in the country also affects food budgets? We don’t have a ton of shopping options in my town.

      • Teresa says

        Hey, Kim, we are in a rural area of Texas, stores are limited to Wal-Mart or Brookshire’s. The closest Aldi’s, Costco/Sam’s or even a Kroger or Tom Thumb is at least 45 minutes a way. We do have an HEB that we shop at occasionally, but it’s still a 35 minute drive!!! We use to garden but the last couple of years it’s been either too wet or too dry to get anything to grow! :( If I am very diligent and shop the sales, we can spend about $125 a week, but I have not been able to get it lower than that, EVER!!!

  75. amanda says

    We have a family of 5 – 2 adults and 3 teen girls–I spend about $900/month and can no longer afford to do this!! I am here for inspiration and can’t wait to cruz around your blog because I am in desperate need of some good – edible – ideas! Thanks for the inspiration :)

  76. Lauren says

    We are a family of 5– 2 adults, kids ages 5, 2, and 7mos. We have been averaging $450/month but need to cut back as my husband just finished grad school, loans are about to kick in, and we are building a home.

  77. Anna says

    We are a family of four: one BIG husband, a 7 year old, a 4 year old, and myself. We spend about 150-180/week on groceries, but we try to shop as ethically, naturally, and locally as possible, which drives up the cost (especially with meat and dairy).
    Lately we have been getting lazy about eating out and I want to reign in our over all food bill.

  78. Ashlen says

    We are a family of four. My husband and I. With two boys ages 3 &4. About to have a baby girl in March, who thankfully will eat for free for at least the first six months (hooray breast milk) We started Dave Ramsey’s path to financial peace in September. Our grocery budget is set at $440 every two weeks, or $880 every month. I’ve been meal planning for months, and even with strict grocery lists and planned eating out, we still find ourselves exceeding our budget. We try to eat paleo, and we can’t buy enough meat and veggies for everyone to feel full. I love the way I feel not eating grains, but it does not help our budget. I’d absolutely love to see it drop to $350. Or even $500!!! We are starting the two week sample plan to see how we do. And from there I’ll sign up for the monthly meal plans. Because I need HELP!! The lower we get our food budget, the quicker we get out of debt.


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