Food Budget September/October 2012

by Merissa on October 22, 2012

in Featured, Food Budget

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This month was another big month for buying bulk. Some big goals were accomplished this month though.

  1. We finished purchasing meat for the winter. I may need a few whole chickens to make chicken broth but otherwise we shouldn't have to buy any meat the rest of the winter.
  2. We finished with the rest of our cold storage items and should need minimal produce for the rest of the winter.

So here's what we bought:

Safeway - $10
Bananas and Lunchmeat for snacks and lunches.

Zaycon Foods - $50
80 pounds of chicken breast (thanks to credits I had earned!)

Azure Standard - $186
40lbs oranges, 40lbs onions, 40 lbs apples, 10lbs frozen strawberries, 5lb cocoa powder, Vegenaise, romaine hearts, yogurt (x6).

Total for the month:


As I've mentioned in previous months posts, our normal food budget is $200 and I'm allowed to add an extra $25 per our irregular income budget. The last 2 months I've over-spent this amount but I've been stocking up on bulk items. That stocking up is over now so our food budget should go back to under the amount we allot. I will have pictured of our updated cold storage up soon!

I know that our eating habits are not typical so make sure you contact me or comment with any questions! You can also find some examples of our meal plans and get my ebook on meal planning and how to make it work for your family.

Do you have a food budget? How did you do this month?

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9:00 am

{ 40 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Amanda Ortega October 22, 2012 at 9:52 am

Would you care to elaborate on “our eating habits are not typical”? We spend close to $700 month on groceries, mostly organic for a family of 5. I shreak every time I swipe my card. Would love to cut this by even 25% if I can.


2 Amanda Ortega October 22, 2012 at 9:53 am

Mind you $100 of that is on organic coconut milk for my 21 month old twin girls =)


3 kendra @ A Proverbs 31 Wife October 22, 2012 at 9:58 am

That’s so cool to be able to stay in that low of a budget!
I’m not sure what we spend on an average. We don’t have any discount stores like Safeway, Save-a-lot, or Aldi nearby and we can walk to Meijer. So we do save on gas anyway 🙂
And we eat mostly organic, I can a lot, and we buy our meat, 1/2 cow at a time. So it’s impossible to tell. But I do know that we could spend less. 🙂


4 Amy Schmelzer October 22, 2012 at 9:58 am

Amanda, an easy way to cut your spending is to use cash instead of plastic. It is weird, but cash is even more painful to spend than plastic, so it causes you to be more mindful of what you buy. Do you really need X or can you wait until next week when it will be on sale and you stock up?


5 Little House on the Prairie Living October 22, 2012 at 10:04 am

Amanda, our eating habits tend to not be typical since we buy solely produce, dairy, and meat. Occasionally I buy a few other things (like rice, oats, salt, ect) but it’s almost all fresh foods. We preserve, preserve, preserve! Cold storage, canning, freezing ect.


6 Little House on the Prairie Living October 22, 2012 at 10:05 am

The “mayo” we purchased this month is about as close to processed foods as we will get. (And we only buy that instead of make it because it’s egg free and I haven’t been able to create an egg free mayo yet!)


7 Amanda Ortega October 22, 2012 at 10:16 am

I’m sorry when I said, “swipe my card” I was referring to my debit card, which as you know comes right out of our bank acct =)


8 Nicole Carr October 22, 2012 at 10:18 am

Amanda- we eat all organic too. I cut my bill by making everything home made. We also meal plan. I usually cook double every recipe and freeze the second half. This really helps with not eating out and buying ready made food.We to have food allergies. So I understand its hard. We also have an awesome bulk section at our WF. You are averaging 3.88 per person per day. Cash does work too.


9 Jolynn Letcher Clark October 22, 2012 at 10:19 am

Amanda I make my own coconut milk. Do you happen to have a strong blender or a vita mix? I buy whole coconuts, drain the “milk” out (and reserve it) and scrape the coconut meat. Take filtered water (a cup or so) and about 1/4 of the coconut and whiz it like crazy in the blender. Strain it thru a “milk bag” sqezzing the pulp dry(er) now put the strained milk back in the rinsed out blender, add about 3 or 4 more cups of filtered water. You can now add 2 tbs or more of the actual “milk” you drained out (the rest gets frozen for future batches)sea salt, vanilla and some sort of sweetener. Whiz again. This is very easy, (and super cheap) once you get the steps down. Coconuts here are around $2 each and I get 4 servings like mentioned above out of them! The pulp can be used in smoothies, muffins etc too.


10 Amanda Ortega October 22, 2012 at 10:20 am

My kids eat alot of cheese, yogurt and fruit. I honestly feel that those items are what rack up my bill. We do eat potatoes, rice and pasta though so I can see where you’d save a lot there. Organic potatoes run $7 a 5lb bag here in Florida!


11 Kendra October 22, 2012 at 10:21 am

Awesome! I try to have $200 amount for my month also, but always find myself buying items in bulk! Someday I’ll get ahead and stick to a very low monthly budget!


12 Amanda Ortega October 22, 2012 at 10:23 am

Do you grow a lot of your own vegetables?


13 Mary October 22, 2012 at 10:24 am

How do you keep your onions, apples, oranges and yogurt from going bad?


14 Merissa October 22, 2012 at 10:30 am

Yogurt all goes in the fridge, we will eat all of that within a month. Oranges are juiced and I freeze the juice. Apples and onions are going in cold storage for the winter. I will have another post up on that soon! Here are a few more tips in the meantime:


15 Amanda Ortega October 22, 2012 at 10:25 am

Jolynn, my girls each drink 20-24 oz a day. Do you think I’d save making it homemade?


16 Little House on the Prairie Living October 22, 2012 at 10:26 am

Amanda, I use my debit card too. We actually get paid for every swipe so we make money shopping! And most years I grow what I can but because of the drought this year I was limited. We did take whatever we got for free (apples for sauce, zucchini, ect) and canned and froze it. I think the dairy is our highest cost too.


17 Nicole Carr October 22, 2012 at 10:26 am

That is alot of why its higher. We buy on average 40-60 worth of fresh fruit ever week. It is our snacks too. If anything else I make it. We have to stay way from soy too. Wow! Your potatoes are 2 dollars more then our organic ones. We don’t eat cheese or yurgot (allergies to milk). Do you buy it in large containers?


18 Amanda Ortega October 22, 2012 at 10:27 am

Nicole, how do you figure $3.88 per day. I came out with 4.52 per day. Do you mind sharing your grocery bill? I know you buy all organic. I’d say 75% of what we eat is organic.


19 Nicole Carr October 22, 2012 at 10:31 am

You are right I used my family size sorry. I was adding a kid for you 🙂 I will pm you tonight it.


20 Nicole Carr October 22, 2012 at 10:32 am

I also have a price book Amanda. So I can adjust our menu if need be. I also know if it really is a sale too.


21 Amanda Ortega October 22, 2012 at 10:33 am

My kids go through 2 tubs of Stonyfield yogurt a week, $3.99 a tub. Each eat a slice of organic cheese a day, $8/week. They eat 2-3 fruits a day, usually bananas, strawberries, apples or blueberries. I spend about $25/wk in fruit alone.


22 Amanda Ortega October 22, 2012 at 10:36 am

Thanks everyone for sharing!


23 Laura @ Real Momma October 22, 2012 at 10:38 am

Thank you for sharing, I am working on getting our grocery budget down so this really excites me!


24 Nicole Carr October 22, 2012 at 10:39 am

Where are you shopping Amanda? Where we live stony fields is cheaper at Kroger and Gaint then our whole foods. Are you buying processed American cheese by the slice? If so the deli at our wf is cheaper by the lb then packaged cheese. Just some ideas.


25 Little House on the Prairie Living October 22, 2012 at 10:50 am

Amanda, where do you live at? Is Azure Standard available in your area?


26 Carrie Bergstrom October 22, 2012 at 11:11 am

We joined a produce co op about a month ago and it’s made a HUGE difference in how we shop and eat. Bountiful baskets. If its available in your state check it out. It’s a laundry basket full of fruit and veggies for $15 a week…


27 Nicole Carr October 22, 2012 at 11:14 am

Amanda you sound like us. I wish we had a
Cosco closer to us. I would love to buy chicken in bulk. We don’t eat any beef(allergy)


28 Mike Smith October 22, 2012 at 11:23 am

My wife and I meal plan around what is on sale and her coupon stock pile, she is amazing at getting the kids snacks and household products for next to nothing. Think last month was just over $400 for a family of 5 with a teenager!


29 Patricia Burroughs October 22, 2012 at 11:56 am

that is great


30 Amie October 22, 2012 at 12:06 pm

I am curious, how many people does this feed? I have a family of 7 soon to be 8 and I could really use my food budget to be that low. We do eat gluten dairy and egg free. I just started ordering from azure standard a few months ago however my order alone from them ends up to be about four hundred a month. Any tips or advice you could give would be appreciated.


31 Merissa October 22, 2012 at 2:26 pm

This is for 2 & 1/2 (baby that doesn’t eat much yet!) I think basing a budget off at least $100 – $125 per person per month is a good place to start.


32 Amanda Ortega October 22, 2012 at 12:39 pm

I live in the Orlando area. I’ve never heard of Azure =) I might look into the co op thing that Carrie mentioned though. Mike, I haven’t found there to be much available in couponing for organic foods. $400 is amazing though for a family of 5. Thanks everyone for all your input =)


33 julie October 22, 2012 at 1:54 pm

Is it really worthwhile juicing and freezing orange juice? Or do you just like it?


34 Merissa October 30, 2012 at 2:12 pm

Here’s my explanation for this: All juice from the store is processed and pasteurized, no matter if it’s organic or not. What happens when your body drinks this store juice is that it basically treats it like pure sugar. I would rather not be drinking pure sugar so I choose instead to juice my own juice and get the benefits of the fruit or vegetable. I hope that helps!


35 christine October 22, 2012 at 4:32 pm

I have been reading and enjoying your postings. As far as your food shopping and food storage for the winter – do you guys eat any fresh greens and other vegetables such as broccoli, green beans and corn? If so, do you prepare this and freeze it or just buy it fresh as you want it? I also must say that I am not able to shop and buy the same way your able to because I live in the NY/Long Island area. Stores around me (except for Costco) dont sell bulk and most bulk services like Azure standard dont deliver here. I am a country girl at heart and although I do have quite a food stash in my home it is just to take advantage of the sales and buys I come across to offset the crazy prices we pay here for everything. I have a large chain supermarket 1 mile from my house! Keep blogging!! I will keep enjoying.


36 Merissa October 22, 2012 at 4:47 pm

Yes, I have frozen broccoli, green beans, and some other veggies that I didn’t can or put in my cold storage. Lettuce is something I will either have to grow in my winter garden or just purchase.


37 Tina Watson October 22, 2012 at 8:55 pm

I think you are doing a pretty good job given the times. Keep up the good work and thank you for sharing.


38 Heather October 23, 2012 at 4:41 am

That made me feel much better. For a family of 5 our budget is $550 and it is difficult some months to stay within that, but it’s our goal. We order from an organic co-op, barter for our milk, and buy our meat in bulk. Thanks for the tips and ideas!


39 Connie October 25, 2012 at 5:28 am

This month, we spent $198 for two. September, $326. Our median over an 18 month period is: $315.73. Why such a big difference? Notwithstanding we still have a few more days in October to go and a big shop coming up tomorrow, I am using a new counting system – Prior to October, I was also including items like laundry soap, toothpaste, kitchen gadgets etc…. in the big grocery bill. We live in Victoria and I would love to start a research project on actual costs folks have across the country. Anyways, tres cool site. Thanks for maintaining it!


40 Angie January 14, 2013 at 3:43 pm

Amanda Ortega – If you are buying all organic, then I think you are doing really well to only spend $700 a month for your family! I was spending almost that much just for my 10-yr.-old & me. Now, I’ve reduced the budget a bit by eating some non-organic things & growing a garden, but I don’t know how I could have done it otherwise. We both have roaring metabolisms & just eat a whole lot. I can’t eat starches, either, so that makes our budget go up, too. Sorry, I know that’s probably not very helpful, but I wanted you to know you’re not alone in struggling with the food budget. I’m always looking for new ideas, too!


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