Take a BITE Out Of The Grocery Budget

by Tammy Taylor

I was shocked recently when I read from the Texas Health & Human Service Commission that the average monthly food allotment for a family of two in our age group is $367.  WOW!  Our average monthly grocery cost in 2012 was $111, which includes wild game processing costs as well as non-consumables such as bathroom tissue, Kleenexes, toothpaste, etc.  Of course everyone is at a different stage in their lives and with different family circumstances and needs. But most folks are still looking for a way to lower their food expense.  Here’s how we keep ours down:

Read various ways we keep our grocery budget low by using planned leftovers, eliminating food waste and reducing convenience foods. #TaylorMadeHomestead

Now that we’re working for ourselves at the ranch we’re very protective of our financial resources.  We eat well, have a variety of foods, fresh veggies, and even desserts. But our pantry is primarily stocked with the basics – dried beans, dehydrated veggies from the garden, homemade granola, homemade pasta, etc.  If there’s too much month and not enough paycheck, one place I’ve found that can have an exorbitant cost is convenience  foods – even the healthy ones.

Now I’ve never thought of carrots as a convenience food but think about it – for the cost of that small bag of frozen carrots you can typically buy a very large bag of fresh ones.  If you’re afraid your family won’t go through the entire bag before they spoil those carrots can easily be sliced, blanched & frozen in a matter of minutes for future meals.  The same can be said of most fresh veggies.

And if you can raise a garden – all the better!  We have several raised beds and we grow our own organic veggies during the summer.  Then I freeze, can or dehydrate them for winter consumption.  It works for me since it’s an activity I enjoy and it’s great exercise.  We just finished the last of our home-raised green beans from the freezer but don’t worry, we’ll be planting our garden in a few weeks to begin the process again.

Read various ways we keep our grocery budget low by using planned leftovers, eliminating food waste and reducing convenience foods. #TaylorMadeHomestead

Avoid Food Waste

Avoiding food waste is another place where lots of money can be saved.  Eating the food you’ve already spent your money to buy without it going to waste is obviously going to be a huge benefit to your budget. In the past I had the same problem many people have of placing leftovers in the fridge with good intentions of consuming it at a later date, only to have it get shoved to the back of the refrigerator and forgotten. Once that happens the battle is often lost.

A simple change in my storage procedure has made all the difference in the world.  I now place my leftovers in see-through glass containers.  It didn’t cost anything since I had family members save those large-mouthed jars from queso, pickles or other items and I store my leftovers in those.  Easy to see – easy to use!

Read various ways we keep our grocery budget low by using planned leftovers, eliminating food waste and reducing convenience foods. #TaylorMadeHomestead

Eat Your Leftovers!

And finally, I often cook with Planned Leftovers incorporated into my meal plan  or using the Cook Once, Eat Twice method of cooking.  Recently I cooked a large pork roast in my slow cooker.  It cooked to perfection during the day while we were working out in the pastures.  We came home to the delightful aroma of dinner ready to put on the table.  After dinner I shredded the remaining pork and put it in a glass container in the fridge.

The next afternoon I pulled out a couple of servings and added BBQ sauce – we had pulled-pork BBQ sandwiches for lunch.  A couple of days later we added gravy to a couple of servings of the leftover pulled pork and we enjoyed it for dinner with garden green beans from the freezer and roasted potatoes.  The remainder of the pulled pork was frozen for use in subsequent dinners.  So far that one roast has fed both of us several meals and there are still at least two more meals in the freezer.  The freezer can be your best friend!

As I mentioned above, we’re all in a different place in our family lives and our budgets.  But we can still learn from each other. It’s time for you to weigh in – what do you do to keep your food budget low?

I share lots of fun stories & recipes on our facebook page, so c’mon by & follow us on Facebook.

~TMH~

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115 thoughts on “Take a BITE Out Of The Grocery Budget

  1. Emily

    Once I started weekly meal planning, we did a much better job of not wasting leftover or food we’d bought and intended to use, but didn’t. It is incredible how expensive groceries can be! Thanks for sharing your tips with Merry Monday!

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Homestead Post author

      Meal planning is so helpful Emily – you know what you’ll be eating and when, making it easy to incorporate either leftovers or leftover ingredients. Love it! ~TMH~

      Reply
  2. Cynthia D

    I had read this post before and thought I would reread to reinforce some savings tips. As I read through the comments I was hoping to find what you pay for groceries now. In the last few years my cost have really gone up where the retirement income as increased very little. Can you post somewhere what your average monthly budget is for groceries?

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Homestead Post author

      You’re right Cynthia – food prices have gone up in the stores and our income has NOT. Our grocery budget is extremely flexible and based on what I’m able to grow/preserve from the garden and how much wild game RancherMan is able to put in our freezer. We have a full freezer of wild hog currently, but last year’s garden was a bust. But I was gifted bushels of apples from my aunt’s trees which we ate fresh & I also preserved into apple chips, apple butter, and apple pie filling (some given as gifts) And I’ve learned to dehydrate small leftover veggie scraps for seasonings or to put in the pantry to add to simmering soups. And of course keeping leftovers in glass jars in the fridge helps us to see the food ready to be eaten. But I think the greatest impact to our grocery budget has been looking in the fridge & seeing what needs to be consumed and using that first. For instance I had 1/2 head of cabbage in the fridge that’s been there for over a week, so when deciding what’s for supper last night I grabbed that cabbage and a couple of leftover smoked sausages from the freezer, as well as the last 1/2 onion from the fridge and made sausage & cabbage for supper last night. Using food that that’s getting past its prime keeps it from being wasted, and that’s a HUGE grocery budget saver! ~TMH~

      Reply
  3. Britney

    I love your idea about storing left overs in glass containers so you can see what’s inside! My family has such a hard time remembering what left overs we have in our fridge!

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Homestead Post author

      It’s certainly made a difference in reducing food waste for us Britney. And since the jars are repurposed it cost nothing to do. ~TMH~

      Reply
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  6. Morgan

    Love your post. I save in different ways, but I’m going to try and incorporate some of this 🙂 I live in a TH now, but can’t wait til we get our house with a yard so I can plant a small garden! I will definitely be looking to your site for advice on that soon! Thanks!!! ML

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Morgan, many people currently residing in TH or apartments are opting for simple container gardening and maybe planting a single tomato plant with a few peppers around it or perhaps some fresh herbs. No matter where you live, bloom where you’re planted. 🙂 ~TMR~

      Reply
  7. Nancy W

    Great post! Thank you so much for sharing on the HomeAcre Hop, as one of the co-hosts I will be featuring your post tomorrow! – Nancy Nancy On The Home Front

    Reply
  8. Terri Presser

    Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom on this subject with us at Good Morning Mondays. You are such a huge blessing to many helping them keep their groceries bills down. I find a huge saving at the store in just having our own meat, I don’t know how the average family affords to eat meat each night at the prices they have to pay. We have our own pork and beef and we are just about to have a bill butchering session and then the freezer will be full again. We have an Aldi in our local town and I find that by shopping there (up against the other major supermarkets) we save heaps and by also using our own canned produce. Thanks again and blessings to you and Rancher Man.

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      I know Terri, the price for meat is through the roof. We usually have plenty of wild pork from RancherMan’s hunting prowess but they’ve alluded us this year somehow. Even then the processing cost always surprises me at how expensive it is since we’re providing the meat itself, but it’s still less than buying it commercially at the store. I’m very particular with food at the Taylor Household – careful to use or preserve all that we have. It really does make a marked difference in our cash outlay for groceries, but it takes being mindful of your meals that’s for sure! ~TMR~

      Reply
  9. Stephanie Volkert

    Up in the Pacific Northwest, food costs are insane. I’m very frugal and don’t do processed foods, but it’s still $150/week to feed two adults. That’s the lowest I’ve been able to get it. I pay more up here for groceries than I paid for my mortgage back in New Mexico. How depressing is that?! I’m going to have to go through this post and the replies with a fine-toothed comb to see if there’s anything I’m not already doing. Visiting from the Pretty Pintastic P arty.

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Food costs certainly vary from region to region. Although not everyone has time to garden, oftentimes even container gardening can trim some grocery-budget dollars while providing some healthy food for the table. And using all of the groceries you purchased helps too such as buying whole chicken, cooking it and then using the bones to make healthy (and cheap) broth for soup another night. Although I enjoy milk during the day, we also enjoy sun tea instead of colas, it’s a healthier & lower-cost alternative to juice & soda. Everyone is in a different place in their lives and not everyone has the time available to go all out, hopefully you’ll find a few gems in the comment section that might be easy to implement. Thanks for stopping by Stephanie. ~TMR~

      Reply
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  11. Melissa French, The More With Less Mom

    I love that you reused all kinds of jars, instead of Pinterest-perfect matchiness. Thanks for posting. Hello from Inspire Me Mondays.

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      I’ve never been a Pinterest-perfect kinda gal anyway Melissa, so using the jars that come my way certainly works for me. Thanks for your sweet comment. ~TMR~

      Reply
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  14. Cindy

    So healthy looking until I see the two jars of candy on the right! 🙂 One of my favorite non chocolate candies. Great idea with the jars. I’ll have to start asking my relatives to save jars for me. I don’t like to use plastic. We buy in bulk to save money. 50 lb bags of rolled oats and flour. 25 lb bags of rice. Bulk dried herbs. Much more. Homemade: taco seasoning mix, hamburger helper, spaghetti sauce, hamburger buns, bread, tartar sauce, mayo, salad dressing, huge pots of soup, raising our own chickens, steers, turkeys, goats, sheep and this year some pigs. Planning for a HUGE garden this year! Learning how to ferment veggies.

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Oh yeah Cindy, you can bet I’ll always have sweet treats for my grandbabies when they visit! ~TMR~

      Reply
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  18. Lynn H @ Turnips 2 Tangerines

    So many great tips!! Thanks for sharing at the Four Seasons Blog Hop~ Lynn @ Turnips 2 Tangerines

    Reply
  19. Diane Barnard

    Great tips! I found we used a lot more leftovers when they were stored in glass. My weak spot is not planning for the leftovers in a smart way. We will happily incorporate the pork roast idea.

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      I’m fortunate that RancherMan is very tolerant of eating leftovers either as a repeat performance the following night or remade into a completely different kind meal. A tolerant palate goes a long way! ~TMR~

      Reply
  20. Ashley @ PioneerMomma.com

    I totally agree that the freezer is your friend! I have a big freezer that I use for EVERYTHING. It has helped immensely in lowering the cost of our meals, and the only thing I regret is that I didn’t start using it sooner! Pinning 🙂

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      I love my freezer Ashley. I have a chest freezer (that’s totally packed right now due to RancherMan’s hunting prowess) and of course the refrigerator/freezer – again fully packed! We fill the freezers with meat in the winter & work through it until late spring when we start filling the freezer with veggies from the garden, which we work through until winter when we repeat the process again. Right now we’ve got freezers full of pork! ~TMR~

      Reply
    2. Heather @ My Mothermode

      My energy company auditor suggested that we really need to get rid of that second fridge/freezer- not a chance with a family to feed on a dime!

      Reply
  21. Tanya @ sevenspringshomestead.com

    These are great tips. I am always looking for ways to make our dollars stretch a little more. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  22. Tracy

    I loved looking into your pantry! I store a lot things in glass jars so I can see exactly what I have in them as well. Our grocery budget is the one item I know I can control …thank you so much for sharing your tips.

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      You’re so right Tracy, we all have control over our grocery budget to some degree. Thanks so much for stopping by! ~TMR~

      Reply
  23. Crystelle

    What a great idea to put left-overs in see-through containers! You are right, even the person who originally put the left-overs way forgets what is in the fridge….. I am going to have to adopt this plan….. 🙂 hugs x, Crystelle Crystelle Boutique

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      It sure has made a difference in our household with leftovers being enjoyed instead of growing into a science fair experiment! ~TMR~

      Reply
  24. Gentle Joy

    Good ideas……we also live like this and have a large household of people to feed – it is amazing how much money can be saved……..and still eat well. Thank you.. Gentle Joy

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      …and if you don’t get overly fancy with your recipes, cooking is a SNAP too! I consider myself a very ‘country cook’ and RancherMan loves it. ~TMR~

      Reply
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  26. Stephanie @ Six Figures Under

    Using clear jars so you can see your leftovers is great. My grandma always uses plastic wrap and a rubber band to cover her tupperware (even though they have lids) for that same reason. We keep food costs down by having a large garden, only grocery shopping once a month and buying in bulk!

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      The garden makes a huge difference here as well Stephanie. I’ve been a dehydrating fool this year dehydrating as much as I can of our garden overage and I’m really enjoying cooking with them now that it’s turned cold outside – warming winter soups are a favorite in the Taylor household! ~TMR~

      Reply
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  29. Sandra

    great advice! I like to keep the basic stocked and plan meals from that and the weekly sales. Thanks for sharing at the HomeAcre Hop! Sandra

    Reply
  30. CTY

    Great ideas here! Thanx. One thing that used to kill our budget was fruit juice. I stock up when there are sales–but better yet I can my own cranberry juice (& other juices) concentrate. The cranberries are easiest. I make a medium sugar syrup & keep it hot. Fill hot, sterile canning jars with washed cranberries and add syrup leaving 1″ head space. Process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes. It takes 2 months for the berries to “give up” all their juice. The juice is a concentrate so I dilute before serving. Huge bags of cranberries are on sale now at Sam’s

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      OMGosh – LOVE THIS! Cranberries are on sale now like you say, this is a great idea – thanks for sharing! ~TMR~

      Reply
  31. Linda @ A La Carte

    Great ideas and thanks for sharing at TTF. I live alone and have to find better ways to cook and use up leftovers without eating the same thing for days one end!

    Reply
  32. lorraine williamson

    thanks for sharing great tips. I need to freeze more and I do a lot of couponing to help. Following from thrifty groove. I’m lorraine at http://lorrainesresources.blogspot.com. Have a happy and safe holiday

    Reply
  33. Kate @ Teaching What Is Good

    Great thoughts! I have even begun to incorporate leftovers into my weekly menu so I don’t forget!! But with 8 of us still at home, we don’t often have leftovers around. Coming over from Encourage One Another link-up this morning.

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Kate, when I had 6 at home there was seldom leftovers as well. It took me quite a while to finally learn to cook for 2, although the cook-once-eat-twice method actually helped as well. Thanks for stopping by. ~TMR~

      Reply
  34. Marla

    We all have to be frugal these days with our pennies and make sure we get the best bargain for our money. Food is something that we need to be sure we are getting the best quality but also the best bargain. You have some very good ideas in your article. I love using the crock pot too – roast always taste so much better. Good luck with your ranch and I envy you for being able to be in nature every day. Visiting from Tuesday with a Twist.

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Thank you Marla. I enjoy reading the ideas of others as well, we have so much to learn from each other. ~TMR~

      Reply
  35. Lady of La Mancha

    Wow, I would hate to have to admit what I pay on groceries each week… and, yes, I’m frugal, cook once & eat 2-3 times, base our meals around vegetables and legumes, and the only pre-packaged food you’ll find in my pantry is tuna and ketchup (although if my husband has done the shopping with my boys, there might be chips and processed cookies, too). Our food prices in Europe are so high, mostly because of our higher gas prices and less land to farm on. As a country, we in Spain are quite self-sufficient when it comes to food production, but since we export to the northern European countries, our food prices rise with the lower supply. We even have to buy bottled water because of the lime scale! I keep telling myself that I have to learn to trap the hares and partridges that run rampant in our yard, but I just can’t bring myself to do it…

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      The cost of living & cost of groceries certainly varies from region to region. And different households have different requirements and restrictions, both in food and in time. For instance, I love to garden and I have several raised beds that provide almost all of our vegetables in the summer, leaving me with plenty to share with friends & family. I also preserve some of the garden overage by either canning, freezing or dehydrating so those same veggies can provide for us during the winter months. Not everyone has the time or space to garden but it sure does help both lower the grocery bill and increase the quality of your food. ~TMR~

      Reply
  36. Alison Bayne

    Come and grab your “I Got Featured” button at http://mumtopia.blogspot.com/2013/08/Hop5.html because this post was pick of the week at the Creative Home and Garden Hop. Thanks for linkin’!

    Reply
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  38. Nancy W

    Great tips for staying in your budget and not wasting food! So glad you shared your post on the HomeAcre Hop, I’m going to feature it tomorrow so be sure to stop by and pick up your featured button! Nancy On The Home Front

    Reply
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  40. Barb @ A Life in Balance

    Incorporating leftovers into my menu plan is a biggie for me! It’s also a great time saver. Thanks for sharing your tips at Fabulously Frugal Thursday.

    Reply
  41. Judith

    Oh, I almost forgot… it’s the one thing that really started me saving stuff in the freezer. I juice stuff. Mostly fruit and veg. If I think fruit or vegies like carrots, celery, cucumber, spinach or kale are going to go bad before I can use them I just juice them and freeze the juice in ice cube trays. Then I dump all the frozen cubes of juice into large bags and keep them handy for juice drinks or smoothies. In the morning if I’m in a hurry I throw a hand-full of juice cubes in a blender cup, add some yogurt and or some coconut or almond milk, give it a whirr and I’m out the door. Being frugal not only saves you money but it can save you time too.

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      I love when you say ” Being frugal not only saves you money but it can save you time too.” Hear, Hear!! 🙂 ~TMR~

      Reply
  42. Judith

    Such awesome tips!!! I got away from using coupons when I went back to work… I just didn’t have time to shop and ended up just getting what I needed in a hurry when I would shop. I really should go back (thanks Glenda for the links.) I love using my recycled glass jars. I use them in the freezer as well as the pantry. I like flash freezing pre-cut or chopped fruit or herbs and veg like onions, peppers and celery. Then transfer them into jars. They easily scoop or pour out to be used in smoothies, or on yogurt or the herbs and veg can be put right in the pan to start cooking. I also oven can dry goods like flours, corn meal or cereals. Never heard of Oven Canning? Just google it, there are also good videos on You Tube showing you how to do it. I will be stocking up on baking goods this winter when they go on sale! For leftovers I’ll portion them out in serving sizes and either put them in glass Lock-n-lock containers or vacuum bags to freeze.

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Thanks for your comments Judith. I’ve heard of oven canning – I’ve never done it before but I think I may very well try some oven-canning of rice & flour for my pantry. Great ideas, thanks for sharing! ~TMR~

      Reply
  43. Bee Girl

    Great tips and reminders here! We’re the worst at eating leftovers! It’s on my list of things to improve upon 😉 My tip would be to buy in bulk and when items are on sale. This can be flour, canned tuna, 1/2 a cow, or while veggies are seasonal and in abundance (whether directly from the farmer or in the grocery store. You may spend a little more up front, but it will last much longer and your savings will add up in the end. Hope you have a fabulous weekend!

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      That’s a great tip, buying in bulk can save lots of money. Thanks for sharing. ~TMR~

      Reply
  44. Jacqueline @ Deeprootsathome.com

    TMR, These are such practical and valuable tips!! it took me years to do what you just shared! This is great info for newly married couples struggling financially or for those of us with incomes slowing down! You ARE a blessing! Hugs! Jacqueline

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      (blushes) Thank you for your very kind words Jacqueline. I think each of us have our own way of holding down our grocery budget – especially during the hard times many have been experiencing lately. ~TMR~

      Reply
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  46. Glenda

    Store what you eat. Eat what you store. Buy as much as you can afford in bulk the items that are on sale that you definitely use. Your post is picture perfect for inspiration! Thanks again!! You asked us to contribute with things we do to save $$. Where possible, buy a year’s supply, even with Sundry Items. One time the store had a BOGO on my husband’s shaving cream AND they were marked down to $1.99. I bought 12 items of each one and only paid for 6. The same deal was also available on the deodorant we use. That took care of a year for his shaving cream and our deodorant needs. Now I can put that money toward another item that we use that is on sale and get as much as possible in multiples. I keep going with this until I have a year’s supply of canned items and staples and mostly need fresh produce to fill in the gaps for meals. If you don’t use your entire grocery budget, add that extra to the next round and keep going to give yourself room to take advantage of sales. Even just $5 might get you more than you thought possible especially if you have coupons. ( I put something in just for you Tammy girl at the end of this!) Putting together pre-made mixes is so economical. Have you ever added a cup of shredded zucchini to chocolate cake batter and then sprinkle the top with chocolate chips/bake 350 approx 30 minutes? SO DELICIOUS and MOIST and no frosting necessary. Great way to use up those extra zucchini from the garden! I also save us $$ not visiting doctor’s offices by studying and putting together home remedies that God gave us to heal our bodies naturally. I make my own Garlic Oil, Anti-Plague Tonic, Cold Kicker Hot Drink, Cough Syrup, and use essential oils that are medically documented to kill the worst of the worst pathogens like MRSA. Wild Oil of Oregano, Lavendar, Lemon, Peppermint , Tea Tree, and Eucalyptus oil I am never without. I even learned to make my on Nu-Stock ointment…that wonder of wonders for healing of wounds! I can my own butter, hamburger, stewmeat etc. when it’s on sale. I found this recipe on Whim-Z B’s blog. Only 2 T. per large load is needed! Add a little bit more of a few of the ingredients and this does 330 loads for around $24! New Homemade Laundry Powder 4 c. Grated Soap ( I will use my own lye soap. Fels Naptha gives me a headache to grate it… WARNING SIGN!!! But if you do use it, you will need 2 bars) 4 c. Borax 4 c. Super Washing Soda 4 c. Oxygen cleaner (I used SUN brand) 2 c. Purex Crystals Mix all ingredients in a large tub like a used ice cream bucket. The most valuable lesson I have learned is that you can give yourself a raise in pay just by being frugal and cutting cost at every turn. Yard sales are a treasure trove for much needed items at a fraction of the cost which then frees up the savings for other much needed items that also must be sought out for as little as possible. Bartering trade skills with neighbors is also invaluable. Perhaps your husband is an electrician but doesn’t know squat about plumbing. Your neighbor’s husband is a plumber. Well now…… Perhaps you can teach a friend to crochet and she can teach you how to make soap. The local library is a gold mine for free books/videos self-taught education/entertainment. I go on Amazon and find books on subjects that interest me. I then get on my local library’s website and see if these books are shelved. If they are not, I request them through interlibrary loan and the will search the state’s libraries for the item I want and get it in for me. Sometimes there may be a minimal fee, perhaps $2. That’s nothing compared to paying full price for an item that may contain only 10 recipes you will like and use which you can copy and give the book back. And Tammy, here are some coupon sites I found that you may benefit from. I love those days where I come away with the grocery store deducting $15-30 off of my bill! Here is the entire article I have in my archives: Best online couponing sites… As I promised, I have put together my all time favorite sites for printable coupons. I have used most of these for at least 4 or 5 years and have never had an issue. 1.) coupons.com I use this at least twice a month. It updates at the beginning of each month, and restocks new coupons. My average monthly savings from here is about $50. 2.) redplum.com I visit this at least twice a month as well. It has a great selection, but I love it’s selection on toiletries, and bath and body, the most. My Average Monthly savings from here is $20-$30 . 3.) eat better America This does have a smaller selection than most of the others, but when you find one of their great coupons, it’s well worth it. My average monthly savings is between $5 and $10. 4.) ValPak I love Valpak! It has local printable coupons, as well as general. It’s fantastic, and very easy to print them off. My average monthly savings is between $10-$50, depending on if I use one of their car coupons, or restaurant coupons. 5.) Smartsource I love, love, love Smartsource. The one thing you need to know before using this is that you will need to download their coupon printing software, but it’s never had a bad effect on my computer, and once it’s installed, you can just scroll through the site and click and print. My average monthly savings is between $30-$50. 6.) target.com I do a huge part of my shopping at Super Target! I LOVE them! The coupons are fantastic. I usually save at least $50 a month with these coupons. After sitting down and doing the math and averaging out what I spend each month (and what I save), here are the totals: Groceries- $573 Toiletries, laundry soaps, and paper goods- $95 Random stuff like clothing, eating out..you know, the extras.- $100 TOTAL: $786 Now here’s what I spend after coupons: Groceries- $236 Toiletries, laundry soap, and paper goods $27 Random Stuff $21 TOTAL: $284 TOTAL SAVINGS: $502 It does take a little time to do this, but you CAN do it! I spend about an hour to hour and a half each Sunday clipping, printing, and sorting my coupons. I also bring my Coupon Binder with me everywhere!! I have also made sure that I have $100 set aside for those REALLY good deals so I can stock up. Don’t be afraid to shop in the clearance area. MOST coupons can be used on those items too, and usually there isn’t a thing wrong with them. Right now Target has TONS of clearance. As a matter of fact, I had 6 coupons today(I stacked up) for $1.50 off of a 3 pack of Airwick air fresheners. They were on clearance for $1.48. I bought 6 of them (18 air fresheners) for a profit of 12 cents. That’s right, I made 12 cents on the deal. The key to these deals is that sometimes you need to be patient…but they will come around. 🙂 I will be doing more couponing posts in the future, now that I see how many of you are interested. I’d love to hear all of your success stories once you’ve started couponing. After you get into it, it becomes a game. 🙂 The more you can save the bigger winner you are! 🙂 Sorry this is so long but hope it is of value to you or anyone. These days we need all the help we can get!

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Glenda, that’s a great list – good tips for folks to try to help keep them out of the store. I’d like to add one of my favorite coupon sites: couponing101.com . I especially like your bartering suggestion – we can all help each other very easily and it also builds a strong community. Thanks for sharing! ~TMR~

      Reply
  47. Hannah

    We just bought afreezer for garden goodies and venison as well as sales. Thanks for all the helpful hints! Thanks for sharing with us at Eco-Kids Tuesday!! Hope you stop by again today! http://likemamalikedaughter.blogspot.com/2013/03/nifty-thrifting-at-eco-kids-tuesday.html

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Hannah, a freezer can hold LOTS of garden goodies. Our routine around the ranch is: Summer I fill with veggies and we eat it down month to month. Winter he fills with venison and pork and we eat it down month to month. 🙂 ~TMR~

      Reply
  48. Pingback: How To Tuesday Link Party #12 and Features - Housewife How To's

  49. Nora aka Mrs. DaybyDay

    Way to go! Our family has implemented this same things into our life…it is a great help on the food budget and great stewardship of what God has bless us with. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      I agree Nora. It’s an easy way to use those blessings to their fullest with as little waste as possible. Thanks for stopping by! ~TMR~

      Reply
  50. Pingback: Welcome to the Farm Girl Friday Blog Fest ~ The Adventure Bite

  51. Pingback: Small Footprint Friday - A Sustainable Living Link-Up!

  52. Tammy B.

    My husband and I have 5 children and live on his income. I have totally changed the way I shop for groceries. Taking the weekly ad I list main dishes, sides, lunches, and breakfast i can make. That is what we eat, no more running to the store, I’ve learned to roast a chicken for one meal and save the prices, boil the carcas for soup the next night. With this process i spent $255 at the store for food to feed 7 people for 2weeks, and included diapers for 2, wipes, paper towels, etc…

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Wow Tammy, that’s amazing. It’s funny how much money you *don’t* need for groceries when you’re careful to use all of what you’ve already purchased and plan it all out carefully. You’re doing an awesome job – thanks for sharing! ~TMR~

      Reply
  53. Ellen Christian

    I work hard to eliminate as many convenience foods from diet as possible. My husband has a few hold outs he insists on still. I do find cooking from scratch is a huge help.

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Ellen, getting the whole family on board is sometimes a fine balancing act. Sooner or later I think most will see the huge budgetary benefits of the work you’re doing. You’re so right, cooking from scratch is a huge help. Don’t beat yourself up for the occasional need for convenience foods – it’s all about balance. Thanks for stopping by! ~TMR~

      Reply
  54. Lisa Lynn

    It’s tough because I try to buy organic. But I order from buying clubs and cook from scratch, use my homegrown foods from the freezer and pantry…it helps! Thanks so much for sharing this on The HomeAcre Hop! Hope to see you tomorrow for a special hop and a giveaway announcement! 🙂 http://www.theselfsufficienthomeacre.com/2013/03/the-homeacre-hop-9.html

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Lisa I also try to cook from the freezer and pantry first. It’s funny how many meals you can get from food you already have and have either forgotten or they were just not on your meal-planning radar. Thanks for stopping by! ~TMR~

      Reply
  55. Katie B. of HousewifeHowTos.com

    That Texas HHSC estimate for two people boggled my mind! I feed a family of three, sometimes four if my daughter’s home from college, on less than that per month. Of course, like you, we keep the pantry stocked and do our best to use every scrap of food rather than throw things away. Knowing how to cook at home really does make all the difference, doesn’t it? If you haven’t already, I’d love if you’d come join my How To Tuesday link party, too. http://housewifehowtos.com/link-party-2/how-to-tuesday-link-party-11/

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Thanks for stopping by Katie. You’re right, cooking at home makes a tremendous difference in your grocery budget. The food doesn’t have to be gourmet either. I consider myself a country cook not a gourmet cook, and I certainly can keep my family’s appetite satisfied and coming back for more! Thanks for the link party invite~ ~TMR~

      Reply
  56. Redd

    I like the use of wide mouth glass jars to see the leftovers. I used to do that, about 25 years ago, but then I had kids and switched to plastic. Butter tubs, etc. because I was afraid the kids would break the glass and cut themselves. (It is truly odd some of the strange (fearfilled) thoughts you have when your kids are babies – they couldn’t have gotten in to the fridge!) I digress… I think I will start that practice again – but I might lean toward plastic peanut butter and mayo jars…because seeing the food reminds me to use it. Great idea, thank you!

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Each family works within their own comfort levels, I also used primarily plastic when my kids were young. Now I also use plastic peanut butter and mayo jars, although typically these are the items that go in the freezer with homemade chicken stock, soup, cooked beans, etc. But they have the same see-through benefit in the fridge as the glass ones. Less grocery waste = a happy food budget! Thanks for stopping by. ~TMR~

      Reply
  57. Kristi @Let This Mind Be in You

    I love the idea of planned leftovers. I was just thinking about pulling together some kind of menu with a roast or baked whole chicken as the center–or both! Great post! Thanks for sharing at the Farm Girl Blog Fest–always a was a pleasure to find your posts in the list! ~Kristi@Let This Mind Be in You

    Reply
  58. Ginger Zuck

    Great ideas for your pork roast. I do exactly the same thing. Love me some pork roast, anyway, we just downsized our home, retiring and not as much storage space, etc. I definitely shop with a list, if not, I buy all the wrong things. I also clip coupons, but only on items that I buy, especially toothpaste and paper products. I buy Colgate all the time for .25 to .50 cents. I also make soups a lot and we eat on it off and on all week and it’s also great to freeze. Thanks for the tips!

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Thanks for your comments Ginger. I always try to get coupons for toothpaste but since we don’t take the paper, coupons are hard for me to come buy. I’m jealous of your toothpaste deals! I agree with your comment about soup – so good, so filling and very easy to freeze for future meals. Thanks for your input! ~TMR~

      Reply
      1. Tabitha

        Thanks for your post. I’m Restocking my staples, but hope to get a garden to produce something This year. Have you thought about making toothpaste? It can be as simple as coconut oil and baking soda or a little fancier like Wellness Mama’s remineralizing stuff. I think the coconut oil is the key. No Bleeding gums and smooth, clean teeth.

        Reply
        1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

          Hummmm… I want to replace my toothpaste with something homemade so this is something I might just look into. Thanks for the suggestion. ~TMR~

          Reply
        2. Barbara

          Great suggestion, Tabitha! I make my own toothpaste as well. The coconut oil may feel a bit strange at first (we expect a squeaky-clean feel from brushing but actually all the junk in store-bought toothpaste greatly reduces the good bacteria in your mouth) — BUT the benefits are unsurpassed! Coconut oil is anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, “anti” a bunch of other threats, it’s a miracle cure for many ailments. Whenever one of my crowns makes itself known (those of you who have crowns know what I mean), I make sure to oil-pull with coconut oil and more often than not the discomfort/threat of inflammation is gone the next day. If not, I do it as many times as necessary (never have more than twice). Now this beats a visit to the dentist with a looong stick!

          Reply
  59. KarenLynn@Lil' SuburbanHomestead

    First of all your pantry looks amazing! I love all of the jars filled with different goodies! YUM! Isn’t it funny when I see a pantry loaded with commercial boxes etc… I think YUK! But yours I just wanna’ come on over and admire it with you. You have an awesome food budget we are still a work in progress on ours one thing is that I have a teenage lineman football player the other thing is my nutritionist is making me eat two salads a day well wanting me to to eat anyway. Well I hate eating out of season non local food but if thats what it takes for now to get to my next weight loss goal its what I am going to do but once I get my weight off and maintain I am going to find some other solutions it just doesn’t seem practical to me. Sorry to go on and on 😉 I am so glad you linked this post up to “The Ole’ Saturday Homesteading Trading Post” blog hop this week!

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Thanks for your comment Karen. I really feel that each family has different needs and they will work out what works best for them. Our food consumption is still a work in progress but it’s all about moderation (and not driving the rest of your family bonkers. LOL) Thanks for stopping by! ~TMR~

      Reply
  60. Anna@stuffedveggies

    I completely agree that dried foods (lentils, beans & rice) in the pantry are a great help! I have also noticed that during Lent, when the whole family goes vegan (usually it’s just me), we save about 30% on groceries during that time. Making food ahead for the freezer saves a lot too – mostly because on busy days we’re not forced to go out to eat when we don’t even feel like it!

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Anna – the freezer can indeed be your best friend. It was a little bit of an adjustment moving from a suburban environment where take-out or delivery was always at our fingertips to a more rural environment where delivery isn’t even an option! I had a family member visiting once that exclaimed “Really? You can’t get a pizza delivered?” LOL I’ve relied on my freezer for quick meals on the go when I just don’t feel like cooking. Thanks for stopping by! ~TMR~

      Reply
  61. Lorraine

    I love getting a peek into your pantry. Not only are you minimizing your budget, but you’re reducing so much food and trash waste as well. We’ve been on that reducing our footprint journey as well, but I have to admit we have convenience food items in our cupboards. It’s hard to make radical changes with a teenage boy in the house, but we’re making it a slow process. Thanks for your inspiring post! I’m here through the Small Footprint Fridays.

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Lorraine, thank you for your kind comments. Each family is in a different place and has different needs. I must note that there are convenience foods included in my pantry as well, I simply strive for primarily base food items. I think convenience foods have a valid place in a typical busy family’s lives – some more than others. My goal for my own household is to reduce convenience foods and the landfill contributions they make as much as possible, but it’s all about balance. Thanks for stopping by! ~TMR~

      Reply
  62. April

    Thanks for this! We are about to transition from active duty Army back to part-time national guard, and our income will take a huge hit. I’m looking for great ways to minimize our expenses and feed a family of 4 on less. Thanks for the tips! Visiting from Thriving Thursdays!

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      April – thanks for stopping by. Even though each family has different budgets and needs, it seems we’re all just looking for ways to use what we’ve got. ~TMR~

      Reply

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