Tuesday, August 23, 2011

No, we don't eat dog food around here.

Not too long ago I was discussing how we budget for grocery money with a few people.  They were shocked to hear that we only spend $200 a month on our groceries.  I happily explained that we have budgeted for spending $80 every two weeks on normal groceries and we set aside $40 a month for Sam's Club, which we make a trip to about every three months to stock up.  Their reply "well you must be buying dog food or something because that would never work in MY house, and we only feed 4 people."


Well we sure do not eat dog food around here, that stuff is expensive!  I could buy a lot of groceries with that money, and I do!  Now I know not everyone is able to make a meal every night, some have busier schedules than others.  Some prefer to eat out more often, some don't know how to cook, or are trapped in the ease convenience foods offer.  Some also live in a higher cost of living area than where we do.  There are lots of things that factor into a grocery budget.  Believe me, I didn't get here over night- we used to be all those people!  But I have been asked several times for a walk though of how we do it.  So here it goes.  I'm going to take you along with me on our two week meal planning journey!  Are you excited yet? I am!  I have to say this post is going to be a bit challenging for me, and it might get long, you have been warned!  But you will see just how we make it all work.  And I promise, no dog food!  But there will be some yummy dinner pictures!

Where it all starts.  We have decided that every two weeks we do our meal planning and grocery shopping. I buy and plan for enough to get us until the end of two weeks and then we start it all over again, rinse and repeat, you get the picture.  First it starts by sitting down with Mr. Bacon and the kids.  This is usually done around a big breakfast on the weekend (normally a Saturday unless we are busy).  After breakfast we talk about what we'd like for meals the next two weeks. Yes completely as a family!  The kids get to pick out one meal each that they would like to have.  This helps get them involved. They also get to help make that dinner the night we are having it.  

my crazy insane way to organize it all, yes I'm a list person!

Here is what we came up with for the two weeks (this was from Aug. 12-27th). These are in no particular order. We do check out the calender and see if we need to make adjustments for anything that is scheduled, like when one of us works.  I also check out the weather! Yes I do.  Why? Right now it's grilling season and I want to make sure if I'm planning to grill out, it won't rain on my parade!

Here is our dinner meal plan.

Spaghetti, garlic cheese bread, salad
Grilled chicken, wild rice, sauteed mushrooms, peas & carrots on grill, garlic toast
Grilled steak & shrimp, grilled taters, corn on the cob We ended up having fresh grilled fresh veggies from the garden!
crunchy fish, homemade fries, veggie
Tinfoil meal (burger, taters, carrots grilled)
Beef stir fry over rice
Grilled hamburgers, beans and fruit
Italian diced chicken, bread sticks, salad
tacos and fruit
meatloaf (Nancy's!) taters, veggie
chicken wraps & fruit
Breakfast for dinner
homemade pizza
Curly chicken and peas

Yes I really DO know what is in there!
Now that we have that figured out.  Time to make my grocery list. I start by scouring the pantry to see what we already have.  I always say shop at home first when making your meal plan. You already have the food, you better eat it up!  Then it's on to searching the fridge and freezer too.  What ever I don't have for a recipe goes on the grocery list.  For example we have tacos on our menu.  I was out of shells, so they went on the list.  We are lucky this summer to have a very good garden that is producing quite well.  I know not every has room for a garden but if you do, for a little work you get a lot in return! 



Want to know what my shopping list looks like for this trip?  I have included the prices for each food I bought as well. I know these costs differ depending on where you live.  We are in central Minnesota and thankfully the prices are not super high here yet. 

Ma Bacon's shopping list:
Wheat Germ $3.50
Liquid smoke  $.98
Carrots  $1.48
mushrooms $3.18
1 Lemon $.48
1 Red pepper $1.64
Lettuce $1
taco shells $.38 x4 (I bought 4 boxes! They were priced $1.38 and had a $1/1 coupon on them!)
tortillas $2.08
bacon $3.48
fresh fruit
-bananas $1.12 for 2lbs
-apples  $3.97/4 lb bag
-pineapple $2.10
-strawberries 1.48x2
chicken lunch meat $5.91 for just over 1 lb from deli
hamburger & hot dog buns $1.25 each
coffee creamer $2.38
1lb margarine .92
bread $1.50/loaf x2
cool whip $2.88
provolone cheese slices $3.38
cheese $4.28 1lb block of co-jack
summer sausage $4.98
Oregano $1.98
Milk x3 gallons $3.26 ea
dozen eggs x2 $1.48 ea
frozen juice concentrate x3 $.92 ea
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While these were on my list, they do not count to our $200 for groceries. That money is for food only.  We do budget $60 a month to spend on 'other' items such as these.  Most months we do not spend the whole $60.
Toilet paper
paper towels for garage
Tylenol for my teething Bacon Bit

things I picked up that were not on my list
Taco sauce $1.77
BIG can mandarin oranges (Miss Bacon's favorite) $1.66
 2 loafs discount french bread $1.04 each

That's it!  The rest we had at the house already!  Most of what I bought we will eat up within the two weeks, a few are pantry items that we were out of like wheat germ and liquid smoke. Each shopping trip I seem to have something that needs to be restocked in the pantry, but at least I'm not replacing everything all at once! 

So my total for my entire shopping trip to buy food for two weeks = $82.71!  I'm over by $2.71, I guess I should have put back that cool whip, but it's so yummy on my coffee drinks and the kids like it as a treat on their ice cream, and it was delicious on those waffles we had for dinner the other night!  But it wasn't something we needed.  In the end. I don't think we did too bad considering how the prices of everything has gone up.  Has anyone else noticed this too? It seems almost everything we bought we had to pay about .20 more for.  Honestly Mr. Bacon and I have been thinking of increasing our food budget by $20 because of that. Right now we are trying to keep it at that $200 level as much as we can.

Now we also buy food from Sam's club like I mentioned earlier.  We budget out $40 a month from the $200 and keep it separate.  Then about every three months we stock up on things like meat and frozen veggies.  This is the cheapest way for us to buy meat we found.  We used to search the sale ad's and shop several different stores to get what is on sale, but since moving a few years ago we don't have access to all those stores without a long drive.  This is easier and cheaper for us. So here is what our trip there looks like with costs.

Sam's Club List:
25# flour-8.96
2- 6# bag frozen chicken breasts 12.98
3# pepperoni 8.18
3 cheese blend (for pizzas) $14.24
10# 93% lean ground beef  $27.73
Round steaks $12.58 (can't remember how many pounds this was, but it's enough for 2 meals)
4# apples 6.48
animal crackers 6.68
container of taco seasoning $3.98
3# bananas $1.48
Giant can ketchup $3.28
6 pack black olives $6.78
Total $137.31

Yes I know, I'm over by $17.31.  It's not always perfect and thankfully I had extra left over from a few weeks back in the grocery budget.  When I have extra left over in my grocery budget and there are no good sales to stock up on, many times I move the extra to the Sam's club folder.  That way we are covered when this happens.  Also I was shocked once again on the rise in prices.  Flour went up $2, pepperoni almost $3 since the last time we shopped.  I still don't think we did too bad to get though the next three months.  We do still have a few things in the freezer like pork loin, and a few roasts that help to get through too. 

Now that we are fully stocked for two weeks, I can relax and not have to worry about last minute items I forgot to buy and running to the store for one thing and coming home with three bags of things we didn't need and fifty less dollars in my pocket!! 

So are you curious about what else we eat besides dinner? I assure you we have 3 meals a day and even a few snacks added in there, no one goes hungry around here.  All the items I needed to make the rest of what we eat I had on hand. 

Breakfasts are pretty laid back here:
Waffles- usually I make them ahead and freeze them so we just pop them in the toaster
pancakes
scrambled eggs (with ham I found in freezer & cheese)
cereal
oatmeal
toast
homemade muffins
Amish friendship bread (I have tons of these loafs in the freezer, a month ago I did a double batch which made 16 loafs of bread!!)

Lunches around here look much like this:
PB & J
tuna salad
hot dogs
lunch meat sandwiches
cheese quesadillas
homemade pizza (of some form)
waffles or pancakes
BBQ sandwiches
Homemade lunchables
leftovers from dinner
All lunch is served with some type of fruit or veggie  and usually homemade yogurt.

Snacks:
Animal crackers
muffins
fruit/veggies
homemade pudding
homemade popsicles
circle crackers (like ritz) with peanut butter
homemade cookies, or bars (I usually make a batch a week or every other week)
air popped popcorn
homemade granola bars
homemade yogurt
homemade trail mix

So once again, we don't eat dog food around here!  And no one can complain they can't find anything to eat either!  I hope this has helped you figure out how exactly how we shop and plan to feed the Bacon family and just how to spend around $200 a month to feed a family of 6.  I'm always busy planning and working hard to keep it at this amount.  I actually like showing just how it can be done.  And I know a lot of you are thinking, sure I could do it one week, but every week I'm not sure on.  So I'm going to do this a few times so you can see it does work!  You have to put some effort into it, you have to be willing to learn to cook or make meals yourself too.  If you are going to try to start to trim down your grocery budget I suggest to start small with baby steps.  Replace a few convenience meals with homemade meals (I have lots of yummy one's on the blog if you need inspiration!).  Try your hand at making a few snacks at home too or cut out a night of out to eat.  All these will help you slowly add more bacon to your own pocket!

And hey I promised some yummy dinners right?  Here are some shots from our dinners over the past few days.  If this is dog food, there is one happy dog out there! 

Do you like this post? Click Here to see another meal planning grocery shopping trip of ours!
Tinfoil dinner
Spaghetti
Italian Chicken
Waffles with strawberries and cool whip,
homemade yogurt with apples
curly chicken and peas
Tacos
Fully loaded hamburger and beans
Grilled chicken, wild rice, veggies and garlic toast
Steak, shrimp, grilled garden vegeies
grilled taters and sauated mushrooms
Homemade pizza

348 comments:

  1. Thanks for breaking it down! I get the concept of meal planning, but it helps so much to see sample lists like this. If I save on the food budget, maybe I can get a maid to clean my kitchen every now and then, which would make me want to cook more! :)

    http://bfab11.blogspot.com/

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  2. I love this post!! Sooooo awesome!

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  3. Jen that rocks. We are a family of 6 too and I'd love to feed us for $200 or close to that :)

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  4. This is a pretty awesome article. If I'm not wrong though, a portion of the savings comes from carb heavy and veggie/protein light meals. For me, this means though its awesome, as a diabetic, I couldn't touch half of those meals with a ten-foot pole.

    But the other half of your savings comes from pre-planning and judicious shopping. Insight into your organizational system is very helpful. Thanks for a great article.

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    1. I was thinking the same thing. I'm not diabetic, but carb-heavy eating would make me gain weight in a flash. I need higher protein, and we typically eat grass-fed beef, so I'm thinking that the $200/month isn't going to be realistic for me. I do appreciate the planning element, though! Going to work on that this academic year!

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    2. we are just starting the meal planning thing - and we are vegan. I am not at $200 per month yet - but I spend WAY less to feed my family than most....

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    3. Same here! I'm diabetic & low-carb, our youngest has food allergies, and we pack three lunches a day. $20 isn't feasible without hours of couponing or skimping on nutrition for some of my family members. The planning does help though!

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    4. Whoops! $200!

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    5. Ditto on the carb heavy diet. We just bought well over a weeks worth of fruits and veggies (we eat 8 servings of fruits and veggies a day)for only $25. You can eat healthy on the cheap too. There is too of us, but this is way more fruits and veggies than most families of six eat in a week.

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    6. No offense to 'Mrs. Bacon', but almost every meal posted here is full of junk. Yes, maybe you can feed your family for $200 if you're feeding them things that aren't good for them. There's no way I would have this list as my two week meal plan - my family MIGHT eat three meals a month that we call our "cheat" meal and usually it's still better than the ones listed here. With the menu listed above, you might as well take your family to McDonald's and order off the dollar menu everyday. It would be the same nutrition and probably save you even more money.

      I'm not trying to be hateful, but posts like this really irritate me. This is why American's are unhealthy. Because people see no wrong feeding their families meals laden with processed foods, carbs and fat just to save a buck. Sory if I'm being presumptuous and or generalizing, but how about you cancel cable and internet and feed your family a better diet if you're really trying to save money.

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    7. "No offense" to crazy Anonymous, but if you read any of Mrs. Bacon's blog you would see how much homemade, repeat "from-scratch" items, she makes for her kids. Homemade yogurt. Come on! That's awesome. She knows exactly what's going in her kid's bellies. Furthermore, you ARE being hateful and presumptuos and generalizing and might I add arrogant. She didn't have to take the time and share her strategy to help us budget our grocery bills and plan weekly meals. So learn gratitude and if you don't have anything nice to say, shove a Big Mac in your mouth and move on.

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    8. LOL! You said it perfectly!!!

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    9. I meant Anonymous of Sept.13..... :o)

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    10. MY HUSBAND AND I LIVE ON SOCIAL SECURITY, PERIOD, OUR FOOD BUDGET IS $200 A MO, AND THAT'S NOT ALWAYS 3 MEALS A DAY, WE DON'T EAT OUT, I MAKE OUR CLOTHES DETERGENT, COOK, CAN, FREEZE, SEW, WE DO NOT GET FOOD STAMPS,OR HAND OUTS, OUR INCOME AFTER ALL OUR HEALTH BENEFITS ARE DEDUCTED COME TO $1600. THEN COMES THE FOOD, MEDICINE, UTILITIES,ETC.WE BARELY MAKE IT TO THE END OF THE MONTH.I APLAUDE THIS FAMILY WHO BUDGETS TOGETHER. THEIR CHILDREN WILL CERTAINLY KNOW THE MEANING OF A DOLLAR. PLEASE DO THINK I AM COMPLAINING, I AM GRATEFUL I KNOW HOW TO GET BY AND I AM 65 MY SPOUSE 72. WE SHARE EVEN WHAT WE HAVE

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    11. Just because they aren't vegan's doesn't mean they aren't healthy. I think that planning a meal everyday is great! They have a variety of fruits, veggies, meat, milk, and grains... these meals have at least 60% less fat and 50% less sodium than McDonald's, so saying she might as well eat there everyday is ridiculous, especially because she is putting fruits and veggies on the plan for every meal!

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    12. I am definitely trying this, thank you! I have gestational diabetes so I will be tweaking a few things, but brown rice and pasta really isn't that much more anymore! I really don't see all the 'Junk' others are speaking of. I'm sure that family is active and balanced and that is all that matters, balance! God bless!

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    13. Question for Ma Bacon. Do you really only buy 10# of hamburger meat for 3 months or did I read that wrong? Great planning. I myself do something similar but I haven't been able to get it down this far. I have a challenge and inspiration to try. Would love to see some of your homemade recipies. Please share.

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    14. I think you are doing a great job of keeping your family feed.I have managed the food program under wic for a large daycare,with u.s.d.a prog. Your children are eating well, little do many know a small child only needs 2oz of protein for a two or three year old per meal and 1/4 cup veggie or fruit along with a whole grain. Keep up the good work home cooking is what saves money and a well stocked pantry,I retired this summer and run my home like you ,and live on a modest income,not much room for bad choices. Congrats on your choices

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    15. I agree, these meal offerings are mostly high-carb and low protein. My family consists of only my husband and I, and I spend $600 a month, including non-food items. Fruits and meats are the most expensive. I shop at the Dollar Store and discount grocery chains whenever I can. I'm in California so the prices are much higher.

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  5. Kathrine- yes we do love our pasta here! However we do eat plenty of veggies with our meals. Perhaps some of the pictures don't always show it, many meals we have salad with too. As with any food/diet restrictions you will have to adjust your meal plan accordingly. And that may increase how much you spend. I hope this post showed how with some time and effort though meal planning really does help to lower your grocery budget. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

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  6. Would it be possible to maybe do a post with all the homemade mixes-like waffles and the pudding? I would be really interested in any other "homemade" mixed you use instead of store bought.
    thanks

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  7. Nice post, thank you! Fellow DS mama here. I noticed we have the same plate pattern, which made me wonder do you often serve yourself or the kids on the dessert plates? I like using salad/luncheon sized plates for myself, dessert plate for DD (2 y.o) and the big plates for DH. Every dinner is like the three bears. Anyway, do you find smaller plates is better for portion control and cost savings?

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  8. Thanks for stopping by Amy! (I love seeing DS mamas here) We do eat off the smaller sized plates around here. Normally everyone eats off the lunch sized plates. Mr. Bacon and I have found it really helps cut back on how much we eat, and making us stick to our portion size.

    As for the kids, they get the lunch plates for dinner times. Lunch times we give them some kid friendly (plastic) plates that are an in between size of the lunch and dessert plates. I do believe that the plate size has helped with both portion size and our budget.

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  9. Ds mama here too ! :) I'd love to see another one of these posts . You know , menu , groceries , prices :) That's really helped me out big time .

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  10. just found this on pinterest! I cannot wrap my mind around spending only $200 a month!!! DO you cut back some weeks to take advantage of sales? It seemed like you just bought stuff for dinners, do you not buy a lot for lunches?

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  11. It for sure doesn't work for everyone due to dietary needs and prices where you live, but hopefully you can use some of the princaples to help lower your food bill. If there is a sale I try to stock up. Some weeks (especially if we travel) we don't spend the whole amount and then I just keep the extra money in the envelope to spend on sales. As for lunches, at our house they are usually leftovers. I do buy some lunch meat, we make muffin tin meals for lunches a lot, pancakes and waffles I have on hand all the time too. But lunch is when i just up what is left in the fridge so it doesn't go to waste!

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  12. I have to know how old your kids are. I have come across many of these posts through Pinterest and there is always a catch. (The last one said a family of 4 for $200 a month. One was a toddler and one was an exclusively breastfed baby.) I have a 10 year old girl and 11 year old boy. Apparently they eat a lot. I don't buy convenience meals and we eat at home. Both kids take their lunch every day to school as well as a small snack. While I have cut our grocery bill a LOT, I still can't get it down to $200 a month.

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    1. I was thinking the same thing! I have two 12 y/o boys and a 10 y/o girl. The girl is still eating like a reasonable person but the boys are OUT OF CONTROL. All three are extremely active/athletic and healthy, infact underweight compared to peers. I could possibly get away with the dinner plans but they pack lunches (becuase school lunch is SO unhealthy)and the lunch list would not cut it. The boys lunchboxes consist of multiple sandwiches, several pieces of fruit and some crackers with peanut butter/pretzels or granola. I am at about $400 a month for 5. I shop at Aldi and Kroger for the things I cannot get at Aldi. I don't clip coupons but I don't buy much that I could even find coupons for.

      I could do better at shopping in my own pantry. Today I was looking for the Cinnamon and found three jars of paprika and three jars of nutmeg. Not sure how that happened but I need to do better and knowing what I have in the house already.

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    2. I am guilty of this as well..3 containers of cinnamon, and no nutmeg!
      Our store brand flour and sugar look the exact same. I have 3 bags of flour and NO SUGAR. Now I know I will use that flour up for bread,and baking and is good to have a stock pile coming into fall when I start baking more, but NO SUGAR??? I need to keep the pantry shopping first on the agenda when planning.

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  13. Leslie- you're right everyone has different aged kids and that accounts for things. Our kids are 9,6 (almost 7), 5 and 2 yrs old. So they don't eat anywhere neat what a preteen or teen would eat (although Bacon Bit could give them a good run for their money! He eats more than my 9yr old most days) Also take into account I live in the upper midwest- central Minnesota to be exact and we have fairly cheap grocery prices compare to many places. However I hope you can take some of the planning methods and apply it to your budget and meal planning to help lower your grocery costs. Groceries is the one area that is easy to cut in the budget when needed if you meal plan, stick to a list, and eat up what is in your cupboards! Thanks for stopping by!
    Ma Bacon

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    1. Thanks for clarifying where you live. That does make a huge difference. We live in Alabama and groceries are INSANE here. I also live in a small town where we have Walmart and ONE other grocery store. Meal planning and cooking from scratch is how I cut a budget pushing $200 a WEEK (this includes eating out at least twice a week) to around $100 per week. I am super excited about making my own granola bars. The yogurt scares me a little but I am going to at least try it!! :)

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    2. OMG this is amazing, I spend over 400 a WEEK!! and it's only me, my husband, a 2 year old and 4 year old, unfotunately where I live (Los Cabos, México) everything is very expensive, I guess what would really help is to do homemade stuff instead of store bought...for example, cookies, bread, juices, etc. what would you recomend??

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    3. making your own is a huge savings (I think)... I got a bread machine this year for mother's day. SWORE I would never get one - but now we have fresh bread even on super hot days! My kids (8,7,4 and 3) are all on a lemon water kick - NO juice! Our dietician (the baby has health issues) recommended cutting juice ENTIRELY. She called it 'empty calories' - as bad as soda. When we have it, we cut it about 50/50 with water.. I find making breakfast item (as on this menu) vs boxed cereal is cheaper too...

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  14. Thanks so much for this post! We live in North Dakota and our prices are pretty comparable to yours. I am desperately trying to cut down on our food bill but it seems like if I can keep it at $400 a month I'm doing good. I like that you separate your non-food items from your food groceries. I think that may help me. Right now I just lump it all together (if I buy it at the grocery store it all comes out of the same money). I would love to see a post on your muffin mixes and muffin tin meal lunches (what are those)?

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    1. Thanks Alma for stoppig by! I do have the muffin mixes and muffin tin meals posted on my blog. If you go up to the labels box on the left hand side and click on muffins all of them will show up. Also the muffin tin lunches are found under the lunches label. I hope they help you out!

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    2. Thank you for the post! I'm going to try and cut down our grocery bill we spend about 100$ a week on 3. My husband does eat a lot and my 4 year old is kinda picky. I only shop at our winco foods which is low cost, sounds like where you live is alot cheaper for food. I never shop at the specialty store as much as I would love to. We are a young couple and still trying to budget our money. You putting it all out in writing is going to help me I would love to try and cut down some on our grocery expense.
      Could you share some of your homemade recipes please?

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  15. is the food you purchase for b-fast and lunch allocated into your monthly budget of $200. in the shopping trip you spent $137, but i did not see any items for lunch and b-fast on there. what about cereal, coffee, yogurt, crakers etc. i would love to make $200 work for my family every 2 weeks, much less every month. i am struggling to get our budget down as well, and its a challenge. we live in midwest and are a family of 4 (13 and 18 year old kids). I cook from sracth alot. do you cut coupons, shop sales ads, shop mutliple stores. I have to say i am impressed.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by! I love all the new visitors I'm having. This also includes breakfast and lunch in my meals. We are not big cereal eaters at our house so I don't buy much of that. The cereal I had listed I had already had in my pantry. I check what I have in the pantry before I shop so I don't buy things I already have at home. Instead I usually make a big batch of my homemade waffles and pancakes and freeze them to make quick mornings. (you can find the recipe to the mix by checking out my breakfast menu above and clicking on the yellow words, it will take you to the link.) It's really cheap and easy to make and the mix stores for up to 6mths! Toast, eggs and other homemade breads are breakfast staples around here too. Those are all made from scratch so all I need to by is things like flour or sugar ect. for them.

      I did buy things for lunches too like deli meat, summer sausage, tortillas and cheese for quesadillas, ect. We also do leftovers for lunch if there are any from dinner. SO it is all there, it's just not prepackaged stuff, more ingredients to make homemade things.

      As for coffee we buy that in bulk so I only have to buy it once every few months- this shopping trip I didn't need it. And yogurt I make my own. I have the recipe posted on my blog as well. It's super easy to do and all you need is a galon of milk and a cup of starter yogurt (I usually keep mine in the freezer from my last batch of yogurt!) Crackers I bought on the sams club trip and others we had left over in the pantry still from the past trips.

      I'm not a couponer for the most part. I find they are for name brand stuff or processed food which I don't buy much. We pretty much only shop at walmart and Sams club as we only have them close to us too, unfortunaly there are not many store choices near us. Main thing is hopefully to take some of the recommendations like the meal planning, sticking to your list (this is HARD but it gets easier with practice!) and shopping in your pantry first to use up what you already have!

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  16. I just saw this posted on pinterest today and with a family of 6 I was very interested! However, in looking over your grocery receipts, where is the milk and the orange juice? These are most definitely staples in our house! I can certainly see doing without the OJ but what about milk? Do you buy a large box of dry at Sam's? Thanks for the info and being so open!

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    1. They are there! Check again, I bought 3 gallons of milk on that trip and 3 frozen 100% juice concentrates. We only give one cup of juice with breakfast each morning. And nope they don't get a big glass either- they are 'juice' size cups. Juice has a lot of sugar in it so we prefer them to drink water the rest of the day, and eat fruit instead. Also milk is given with lunch or dinner. We are not big milk drinkers in our house either which helps the budget too, we find 2 gallons is enough for us for 2 weeks and one of them I turn into yogurt. We get our dairy from yogurt and cheese too. I know this doesn't work for every family but it does for us. Hopefully the meal planning, sticking to a list and shopping in your pantry first can be some helpful tips to save you money on your budget. Thanks for stopping by!

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  17. thanks for answering my questions about coffee, lunch, bfast etc. would you ever consider posting a months worth of shopping lists and meals. also, what about detergent, dishwasher tablets, cleaners etc. i lump all of this in my grocery budget since i shop at walmart super center, even tho these things are not food. i am only brand loyal on a few things so i shop store brands too. last month i budgeted 400 for 2 weeks and spend every bit of it and my kids still say there is no food in the house. i think what may blow our budget is several misc trips to the store when we are out of milk, bread etc. any advice?

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    1. Those little trips add up a LOT! This is where the planning comes in. I will make sure I have everything for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks before I go shopping. It does take some planning but once you get used to it, making a meal plan and grocery list take us less than an hour. Good Luck!

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  18. We can all learn something from this blog and that would be that meal planning saves money. I have a family of four and while I know I could feed all of us on $200 per month, I don't want to because it usually includes unhealthy, prepackaged foods boxed cake mixes, Buddig meats, canned soup, and cool whip. I still budget and try to stick to it but I'd rather spend more on food and have less money in my pocket and know I'm feeding my family healthy food. If it can be helped, eating should not be all about saving money.

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    1. I'm sorry if you think that feeding a family on $200 a month requires all prepackaged foods. I'm not sure how you come to this from my posting. I guess I did buy one thing of cool whip and deli lunch meat (not buddig). I don't buy box mixes or much of anything that is processed. So no eating is not all about saving money, however most people don't stick to a list or fill their cart with pop and chips. Careful planning, sticking to your list and not buying a lot of other unhealthy foods so you have money for the good stuff like fruits and veggies is what counts. Perhaps you need to re-read my meal plans and see that most my food is home cooked. Thanks for stopping by.

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    2. The things I listed were all things I saw that you've used and posted about on your blog.

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    3. Well ladee freakin da lady! Good for you on feeding your family healthy food options. Go write your own blog. And while you're at it make sure you're teaching those brats of yours some manners because if they have half of your no- good attitude they will need all the help they can get.

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    4. Why the hostility? I don't have a bad attitude at all. I'm just pointing out that you're choosing saving money over health and you don't like being called out on it.
      Does feeding my kids healthy food make them brats or is that your "no-good attitude" showing?

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    5. Anonymous...
      You should notice that the last answer to you was not from "Ma Bacon", but from another reader. I haven't seen any rudeness or hostility from this blogger. I have started reading her blog today and from this entry giving a 2 week shopping plan and details of her trip.....I am in agreement that it looks like most of her food is homemade. She mentions eating salads and veggies from her garden, etc. So, let's be fair and kind in any criticism given. I very much appreciate any tips in helping save my family money, while still providing healthy meals. Thanks, Ma Bacon!

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    6. If these suggestions don't work for you, simply close your browser and stop reading. There is no need to "hate" on Ma Bacon.

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    7. To Ma Bacon: Thank you for inspiring me with your blog.
      To Mr Anonymous: Your message about feeding the family Macdonalds instead wasn't convincing and was lacking factual information. Making a statement that a mother should feed her children MacDonalds everyday as opposed to a home cooked meal is outrageous! Did you do the math before you commented that the dollar menu would not only be healthier, but also more budget friendly? If so, you should recalculate and post both the financial and nutritional facts to back your comment up...if not, maybe you should think about what you post before you post it!

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  19. Could you please post the recipe for your Curly Chicken and Peas? Sorry if you already have and I just missed it. :)

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    1. Yes I do have a post on it! Here it is. You can also type in the words in the search box at the top. Thanks for stopping by!
      http://baconinmypocket.blogspot.com/2011/09/busy-busy-busy.html

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  20. I am curious as to your attitudes on food portions. I noticed you had two pounds of bananas on your list. My four kids would plow through that in a day or two. Do you limit what your kids can eat? "Sorry, dear, you can only have one pork chop tonight." that sort of thing. Every budget meal planner I've seen makes me have to tell my kids "no" to more food, and I don't like doing that. :(

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    1. Melissa, sorry you feel like you have to tell your kids no to think you can have a low grocery budget.
      We have never felt that way and if you asked our kids they wouldn't say they are deprived of food in any way. We do teach our kids about healthy food portions and also we eat 5-6 smaller meals a day. This helps in several ways. One it helps so no one gets too hungry because they have something in their tummy about every 2-3 hrs, and it helps that they don't overeat at meals because they didn't let themselves starve. We don't ever tell the kids "no you can't have seconds, we're on a budget!" But if they would like a 2nd helping of potatoes and haven't touched their burger or veggies, they need to eat those first. We also allow them to decide when their tummies are full. We don't have a "you have to clean your plate rule here" because that forces over eating. Babies are born with the knowledge of when their tummies are full and over eating is a learned thing as we grow. If they eat everything that is on their plate and they'd like more, we happily dish up a 2nd hepling. But many times when they actually finish, they realize they are no longer hungry. Often we were finding the kids were asking for more food just because the beans on their plate were not their favorite thing to eat. I hope that makes sense. Thanks for stopping by.

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    2. I was raised with the "only one pork chop a person" thing until we were teens (then my teen brothers would have the appetite of an elephant so of course they had to eat more by then). But we sure would have more of other things that were less expensive. The results? We don't have any obese at home, we are all well mannered as kids and as adults later on and not rebellious in any way, we love our parents immensily and respect them and finally give the right value and gratitude about food. While I know most parents don't like to budget on food (some thing is usually related to your own past experience and we all would like to have no ending money) the thing you must have in mind is that grocery budget"ing" isn't for you, unfortunately. There is no magic! Although this doesn't mean at all your kids are starving or not eating healthy like ms. bacon explained numerous times on the comments.

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  21. I was very interested in seeing what you have on your lists because I too have a family of 6. However, my kids are 3 boys (ages 16, 9, & 3) & 2 girls (12 & 11). I think I am going to try your strategy next month! Do you use coupons at all? I have been interested in starting to coupon but being a single mom of 5 very busy kids I don't have the time (or patience) for it. I will also be looking into getting a Sam's Club membership. Do you have a deep freezer to store the bulk foods (like your chicken breasts or meats)?

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    1. Thanks for stopping by Dawn! I don't use many coupons at all. For one we don't get the Sunday paper. However I found most coupons are for name brand foods or processed foods we don't buy. Also I don't have a lot of time to spend clipping away either. I do have a deep freeze and I food saver machine which has helped save us tons of money over the years.

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    2. I have found that buying items such as toilet paper, zip lock baggies, laundry detergent, fabric softener, aluminum foil and syran wrap at Sam's club is a lot cheaper in bulk. I've had my syran wrap since 2008! Granted I may not use it often as I mostly use rubber maid containers (also a sam's club purchase. :) but regardless this stuff last a long time. I do use aluminum foil quite often and that lasted me two years. Out of pocket costs are higher but in the long run it will pay off. I tend to buy the high out of pocket long lasting stock up purchases from sam's club one at a time to save on a high bill. Also I have found some things there are not cheaper there I have found meat to also be much cheaper there and that's where I purchase all my meat for the month. I buy a pork loin, ask the butcher to cut it up, or freeze it for twenty mins and cut into 1" chops. You have boneless porch chops then for $1.99/lb. Cant beat that! If you have a food processed you can grind it up and you have ground pork for cheap too. Sorry for all my typos it won't let me fix them for some reason. :)

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  22. Walmart will "price match" other ads. So, you can sill look through other weekly ads. Just show the ad to Walmart and they'll match it. Just an idea!

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    1. Thanks for sharing the tip TJ. Our Walmart does price match but only for local stores in town. This works great though for those who live where there are multiple grocery stores!

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    2. Walmarts corporate policy says they will price match for any store within 75 miles of the store your shopping at! They should be price matching for you. I have a family of 8 and I keep our grocery bill about $300 a month by price matching. Never pay full price for milk at walmart. It's always on sale somewhere. I love your meal plan. I added the tinfoil dinner to our meal plan for next week. Great tips!!!

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  23. I am in AWE, I can only dream of being able to cut my grocery bill that significantly. We are only a family of four! My husband is a US Marine, that eats everything in site, 13 yr old son, 16 yr old daughter, and then me. My daughter and I don't eat that much and practice portion control. The other two have no idea what that is, neither of them are overweight by any means just an appetite of a bottomless pit. At times I believe they eat out of boredom, I'm constantly trying to send them out to do something, anything! I will continue to try to cut my costs, with my fingers crossed!

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  24. Meal planning is the key here (at least for me). Using coupons and ad matching is also a wonderful thing to do. Yes it does take some time but if you are on a budget (not all are) it is worth it. Thank you so much for taking the time to post (everything) for us to see.

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  25. Love this idea. Just my husband and I now. But grandkids over a lot. I might could get us down to $150.00 every 2 wks. And I see nothing wrong with teaching a child not to over eat. I wish someone had told me to stop when I was younger. I use to plan meals and grocery list years ago when daughter was growing up. Got to get back to that now. Everyone has to tweak this process to their own family. And learn to cook a lot. Much healthier.

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  26. Thank you so much for this post! I just saw this on Pinterest! this will help so much for the next year as I am unemployed(FT student) and depend on just my husbands income! However we may have to tweak our budget to $250ish as we live in a VERY small town(1400) where a very small grocery store and a dollar general are the only stores we have within the next20-30 miles,depending on which direction we choose!

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  27. Cool post, I really could do better with all this stockpiled food I bought while couponing and get back to the basics! Thank you Bacons!

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  28. I just found you from a post on pinterest. I also check the weather and am a list person. thank you for sharing this. :)

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  29. This was great to read. We are a family of 10 and I spend about $500 a month on all groceries which includes food and paper products etc. without using coupons. I also shop every 2 weeks and plan out our menu, 2 weeks at a time. Glad to see there is someone else out there who realizes that you CAN make it work without spending so much and doesn't just live on dog food! ":0)

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  30. Thank you for sharing.. We to do something quite similar. Even though, Sams and Walmart are my main two places we shop, I always, print from the internet my shopping lists of Sale items and take those with me to Walmart and price match. Usually Sprouts, and Sunflower market have the best prices on produce. King Soopers, Safeway, and Albertsons sometimes have fabulous sales which all help to make that shopping trip a bit more affordable.

    At our Sams, I have found that the Chicken breasts in the meat section actually work out cheaper than the bags of Chicken.

    I however, have to go shopping once a week as I find the fresh fruits and veggies will not last for two weeks.

    Thank you for the meal ideas!

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  31. I am 'lucky' to find a pound of store brand cheese 'on sale' for $6.99. Strawberries are 'cheap' when they are down to $2.50 a clam shell (usually $4.99). Anything less than $1.20 a pound is a good deal on apples. Sadly, our soil is terrible, and I have a black thumb, so a garden isn't a good option either. Last year I could shop for about $80-90 a week, and save $10-20 for the case sales at our local Kroger. Now I am struggling to keep my regular budget down to $125, and not have any left over on payday. Our closest bulk stores are 2-3 hours away. Living in the middle of nowhere is hard on a budget!

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  32. So glad I'm on Pinterest, I have found so many awesome blogs! Thanks for motivating me to get back in the habit of meal planning. I use to plan a week at a time but have gotten lax about doing it. I think a two week period will be better than the weekly planning I did. Not sure I can get down to $200/month, but am aiming for $100/week which includes paper, cleaning and HBA products.

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    1. due to finances taking a hit last year I too needed to find a way to save money to actually pay BILLS and the mortgage. I would spend $200 a week, for my family of 5 and my in-home daycare. I had lost 3 three full timers to parents loosing jobs, or taking another shift at work to eliminate the need for childcare. Says a little about our economic times, right?

      I decided to see if I could cut the grocery bill in half. This was my goal. I was able to do it too. Planning meals by sales, by what we had in the freezer and using up what was in the pantry. It was amazing ALL that I had in there. It became like a quest, a game. How far could I make it stretch.

      Funny though...things have gotten better here, my daycare numbers are full...and we are not as strapped. I have found myself making mid week trips again. Buying on the FLY again. I need to do this all the time, but when its not a game, and NEEDS to be a way of life ..it can get old. Does that make sense? struggling to keep food on the table over keeping food on the table because its meal time.

      This blog put it back into focus...why should I spend more then I have to. Thank you for that Mrs. Bacon!

      Might I add, that every Tuesday is our local farmers market. I would keep out $20 for fruits and veggies. The same amount of produce would have easlily been $50 in the grocery store. 3 heads of romanine lettuce for $2.Zucchini is 4/$1. apples and pears and fruits in season are way cheaper as well. That is a weekly trip and meals are planned around seasonal items as well.

      thats the end of this novel.

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  33. So glad I found your post on pinterest. You made it so clear. I never understood why people meal planned but now I get it! This is also perfect timing for me as we are working on lowering our budget. Thank you! Also a DS Mommy

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  34. It's great to be able to save money with budget shopping however it is another thing to be feeding your family all that unhealthy food (Especially all the animal protein) just because it is either inexpensive, on sale or you have coupons. There really are hardly ever any coupons for the healthiest foods - aka as vegetables and fruits. You can feed your family for even less if you just don't buy all the packaged, processed foods not the animal products. You'll be healthier, stronger and get sick less often (Save money from less doctor visits and medicine or weight watcher memberships) and be able to maintain a healthy weight naturally.

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    1. I'll keep my animal protein, thankyouverymuch.

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    2. I really don't see that much "unhealthy" foods. If you are some veggie head, then maybe you should take you postings to a site where there are others that eat like you. Most normal people enjoy their meat -- if God didn't want us to eat animals, He wouldn't have made them out of meat! Humans are omnivores we NEED meat in our diet - and I don't think she uses an excessive amount and does a good job of mixing in fruits and veggies. Why so negative? You say she should not buy all the packaged, processed foods - haven't you read this blog? She's said over and over she does NOT buy or use these things! I'm guessing you're one of those people that when someone else has a good idea and makes it work and others are taking advice from someone other than yourself you get jealous and automatically attack them, as you have done here. Ma Bacon has clearly helped inspire many people save money on their food bill. Get over yourself! . . . KEEP IT COMN' MA BACON! :)

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    3. I'm sorry some people are being rude here, and their comments (about coupons, etc.) show that they didn't even read the whole post. I know Ma Bacon didn't name everything they eat each day. They really may be each having four cups of vegetables per day, and she didn't say. We don't need to judge, just work on our own selves.

      Why are people offended by the idea of being healthier? I feel better since reducing the amount of animal products (especially beef and dairy) we eat. Have you read any books about WHY people don't want meat? It's not true that we need meat in our diet. Check out anything by Joel Fuhrman, MD, especially his book Disease-Proof Your Child: Feeding Kids Right. He also has a website and blog. It's about the science, and preventing cancer and other problems. It's fascinating! Leafy green vegetables are the foods with the highest nutrients per calorie. Salad can be a main dish. Beans are MUCH cheaper than meat. Broccoli (inexpensive) has more protein per calorie than steak does, but in general it's nearly impossible not to get enough protein, anyway . . .

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    4. Why do people feel the need to attack anyone on here who has an opinion? I don't get it. This was put on pinterest, where millions of people see it, so obviously they are going to come look on here and if they don't like what they see, well they can say so. Just like if you do like it, you say so. But I don't understand why anyone who say's hey I don't agree with this gets hounded for it. The facts are the blogger does buy many veggies, but she also cooks with processed foods. Anyone who checks out the recipes in the side bar above can see for themselves. Which is why people say stuff. Just because she didn't buy any in the shopping trip she wrote about, doesn't mean she doesn't cook with it. But the point is, it's her family, she can cook and eat whatever she wants. We don't all have to agree with it, but we also don't have to be so negative towards anyone who says they don't agree either. I like this blog, especially the homemade recipes. My husband LOVES the apple pie muffins. And I have started looking in my pantry and freezer before I make my grocery list, and also started meal planning, and it helps tremendously with saving money. So thank you for sharing this blog. :)

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  35. I wanted to share that I am also a meal planer and a budgeter for our family of 5, got to love Dave Ramsey. I also have a gluten intolerance so I have to watch what I eat. I wanted to share my life saver for those who are not great meal planers or just don't want to spend the time. eMeals is a great site and only cost $21.00 every 3 months (this is added to my food budget) but you can also pick your diet specific meal plan. You can also pick if you’re preparing for one to two people or a family up to six. Now it only plans your dinners but that’s the hardest one for us. It gives you the 7 dinners along with directions to prepare (so my husband can cook also), the grocery list and an estimated cost amount for that grocery shopping outing. LOVE IT! I hope this helps. -Mary Vassar wife of Aaron Vassar

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  36. I do the same exact thing when it comes to planning out meals a couple weeks at a time, but I have a hard time getting the MR. of the family to follow the list and eat food around the house in moderation! Thanks for these extra tips I haven't seen though.

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  37. it's nearly a year later....what is your budget these days? i just moved to a smaller town, and the prices are pretty high compared to where i lived before. i've always been frugal and spent less than others i know but am looking for more drastic ways to cut the grocery bill. i'd also like to know how you keep your non-food items budget so low...it seems like razors, feminine supplies, trash sacks, dishwasher soap, and things like that have gone up tremendously.

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    1. Yes everything has gone up. I'm going to work on a new grocery post. I'm saving my next two shopping trips. While we have had to add a little more to our budget we still have kept it fairly low! As for non food items we don't buy tons of things. A big box of trash bags ($8 generic) last us almost 3 months. We do have a garbage disposal and recycle so that helps with keeping garbage down. Feminine supplies are $0 since I have switched to a cup, razors- Mr. Bacon has an electric (no buying blades), There is always toilet paper to buy too, paper towels we use about a roll every 3 months, spills get cleaned up with towels or rags instead and it really cuts costs down.

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    2. We started making our own laundry detergent ( found on Pinterest of course!)

      It cost $17 to make ~ I added a container of Purex fabric softner beads that wasnt part of the RECIPE.It has lasted 5 months and I still have at least 2 months left. That is for a family of 5 and an in-home daycare business.

      When I thought of making it, I was a TIDE only kind of gal. I thought well, even if I only wash the towels,rags, area rugs etc. it would save me money. I havent bought HE detergent since....thats some kind of savings. We all know the weeks that we have to add the laundry or personal care items to the grocery list what that does to the food budget for the week. Thats the weeks that the pantry gets hit extra hard.

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  38. Eh, you might be saving a lot of money but you get what you pay for. You're definitely not eating very healthy. Maybe it's not a priority for you and I am not one to judge, but there is no way I could feed my family to my standards on so little. To each their own!

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    1. Nobody asked for your opinion

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    2. I completely agree. It's easy to eat so cheaply when you're not buying healthy food.

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    3. Everyones idea of healthy id dffernt. I believe we eat fairly health. Lots of fresh fruits & lots of veggies with meals. We don't eat out at all so we don't have unhealthy food there or wasted budget. I make almost everything from scratch because its cheaper and I know what is going into it. Nope we don't eat all organic, and gasp we do have pasta (whole wheat though) and occasionally I even use a box cake mix but when others are eating hamburger helper, mac & cheese, store granola bars, pop tarts, and more I think we eat better than those. This post was not about judging what we eat. I'm happy if your budget is big enough to include all organic things. This post was to try to help people to cut back on their budget and show if they did some planning, shopped at home and stuck to your list you'd be surprised how much money you can save with out the splurge/impulse buys.

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    4. I am really curious as to what these few posters view as "HEALTHY" if what Ma Bacon is putting out there is so "unhealthy". Anonymous from July 22, 2012 at 5:20pm - could you please give us a list of the foods you prepare that are so healthy -- and also a cost. Not all of use are bringing in well into the 6 figures and can afford to spend $1000+ a month on organic foods. But I'd be interested to hear what you feed your family and what brands of foods you buy - where do you shop? Whole Foods?

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    5. geez pasta and carbs are probably not healthy for people that are already obese! You probably did something wrong before getting to this post to have this idea! Gosh nobody never checked the pyramid food we are suppose to eat? This meal planning fits fairly good!

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    6. I'm the original poster of this comment. First of all, I just want to say that my family doesn't bring in anywhere near 6 figures, nor do we spend a thousand a month on food. My husband makes less than 30k at the moment, and I would say we spend about $600 or so a month on food. There is no possible way to eat healthy and do it any cheaper. In response to Ma Bacon's comment, I should have clarified in my original comment, I am about two credits shy of a degree in nutrition, so I am of course going to see things differently. In my opinion, if you need to cut costs, food is NOT the place to do it. What we feed our bodies is HIGHLY important. I would cut out almost everything else before I would buy the types of carbs you're buying (carbs themselves are not the enemy, but at the price you're paying for them, there is no way you are choosing healthy buns/breads/pastas/etc. In fact it's rare to find healthy versions of those things in your typical grocery store, but they DO exist! We love pasta in our house, but the good kind is not cheap!) Organic isn't an absolute must, I admit that even we do not do organic 100 percent of the time. Decent meat is also not cheap. Things like hotdogs, lunch meat, etc. are horrible for you. Full of nitrates, sodium, highly processed, soaked in antiseptics to kill all of the nasty stuff they pick up along the way. . .it's truly disgusting. You also mentioned cheap taco shells, Ritz crackers, animal crackers, I wont list everything because honestly I see very little on your list that is actually good for you. You say that "everyone's idea of healthy is different", but that doesn't change the fact that these foods are nowhere near healthy. Everyone has a different "idea" of what healthy is because most people have a poor understanding of nutrition and health. They truly don't have any idea, lol. I wish I had the time to educate everyone, because if you had even a fraction of the knowledge on this topic that I do (and I say that truthfully, not to sound "high and mighty". I care very deeply about this topic, and I mean this is the most heartfelt way possible.) then you would never feed your family most of this stuff again. I think it's a sad world we live in when we try to scrimp and save by going cheap on food, of all things.

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    7. We are a family of 6 as well but I live in Canada and our food prices are much much more expensive than those in the US. I sometimes make the two hour trip to Grand Forks, ND for a grocery trip. My budget is $1000.00 a month, sometimes I can get away with $200 a week, but I have 4 teenagers, 12,15,17 and 18 and the two older ones are girls and they can eat. I did appreciate seeing your lists and how you preplan your meals, I started doing that at the beginning of this year and has helped alot as one of my children is a vegetarian.
      Thank you posting, I for one have really enjoyed and learned a few more tricks to help with food costs.
      Thanks from Canada!

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    8. Dear original poster Anonymous/soon to graduate in nutrition: I sure hope you don't plan on getting a job that requires working with people one on one. Seems you lack the kind of understanding it may take to educate people in a way that doesn't offend or come across as arrogant. Good luck to you. Ma bacon, thank you for sharing your budgeting technique.

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  39. I just wanted to say keep on keepin on, and thanks for sharing your tips. We are a family of 4 who used to spend $60/week on groceries, but recently bumped it up to $80 (kids getting older, food prices, etc). For all the naysayers, it is absolutely possible to feed your family healthy food on that budget. It is EXTREMELY difficult at first. There's a lot of planning involved, but once you get the hang of it, it becomes 2nd nature. We eat very healthy, and most weeks our fresh food is about half our grocery bill. This isn't just to be healthy, but processed foods are so expensive. Yes, it takes work, so really you just have to decide what's important. If you don't want to give up eating out or taking the time to plan, then don't, but don't assume it can't be done in a healthy wonderful way.

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  40. I have a family of 4 my kids are 4 & 3 and we spend about $40-50 week and about $50 a month at Sam's. Thank you for your post! Planning and making things myself has helped to cut our budget way down and I feel like it is better all around. I plan and shop for a month at a time. I do watch sale ads and thankfully Wal-Mart price matches so I don't have to go to different stores! I also coupon. I am hoping that I can improve on these skills for when my kids are teenagers and ratting everything!

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  41. hi..i have family of four (two adults, 6year old and 3 year old) and we budget around 250-300 a month...I also plan my meals a week ahead, price match mostly at walmart, and 90-95% of all my meals are all homemade without a lot of perservatives and junk food, my kids always have healthy snacks on hand and I even have stock pile of certain things at all time. My budget also includes all of my cleaning supplies, diapers, baby wipes and dog food for two dogs (purina chow bags) Planning ahead helps a lot because you don't find yourself buying while hungry or stopping at fastfood places...thank you for your list and sharing

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  42. Ma bacon !! I think you are my new best friend ! We are a family of 6 living in a remote place in Alaska and our loves sound so familiar ! I budget 50$ a week , plus 100 every 3 months or so from Costco ! (we have to have this shipped here) that includes all toiletries except diapers . I make all our wipes, laundry soap, body wash and dish soap! Do you have a blog ?

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  43. First let me tell you that you are awesome! We spend about $400/ month on everything we need (detergent and toiletries and the like included) I do have a question and I'm surprised that I am the first to ask this.

    You have apples from Walmart on your list at 3.97 for 4# and also at SAMs club for 6.48 for 4#... Why did you buy them at two different stores when clearly dams club is more expensive.

    Bananas were also on there twice- Walmart was 1.12 for 2# and SAMs club was 1.48 for 3#.

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    1. Yes you are the first to catch that! Or at least comment on it. It honestly was poor planning on my part! At Walmart we didn't have our list planned out as well as I would have liked and I forgot to put how many of each item for the fruits on there. Mr. Bacon went to find them. So we had to add a few more at the Sams when we realized our error. A great point how when things are not planned out as well it can cost you! Thanks for stopping by.

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  44. I am TERRIBLE at keeping a food budget...I've recently started reading blogs like this in pinterest and am so thankful u posted these ideas! How should I begin? Ccurle1973@hotmail.com

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  45. I just wanted to applaud you for your willingness to share every little detail of your meal planning, shopping, and finished preparation with all of us. I think the most important thing that people should understand is you're trying to teach a method not a life style. You're not telling people what they should or should not eat. You are explaining how you achieve your goals by extreme planning and disciplined follow through. People should not be so focused on nit picking your families food choices, but instead pay attention to your techniques of staying true to a food budget. What I have learned from this amazing blog is to make a meal plan, shop at home first, make a list, know your budget and stick to your list while shopping. Thank you for sharing your money saving tips. Although I may choose to apply my budget differently you advice and techniques have helped me see extreme planning will pay off in the end.

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    1. Good post! I was unsure why people were making snide comments about the meals the Bacon family eat - as you say, it's a post about meal planning, not nutrition, although I thought the menus sounded great! Obviously every family is different though!

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    2. I was wondering what some of those who commented do eat? You make your own yogurt, kids getting fruits and veggies. Maybe just salads, idk. I do Sams about once a month, maybe longer between visits. I buy my tortillas there, found that you can get whole wheat ones really reasonable there. The pork loin is a great buy. I go with the 10# bag of frozen breast cutlets. It lasts us about 2 months. I have a family of 7 and the portion is better for us. Plus they are thinner and thaw quickly if I forget to lay something out. Another big saver for me is shopping the manager mark down bin on meats at Kroger. These are meats that are marked down for quick sale, also have a bin in the bakery and some fruits and veggies will be marked down. Baby spinach is often a find! I take it home and cook or freeze right away.

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  46. Such a good idea to shop what you have in your home first! I am so bad at that!! I think i remember but I don't!! One of the best ways I save on our food budget is by buying our dry goods at a store that sells it in bulk by the lb. We don't get there often though because it's about 40 mins away but I need to remember to go there the next time we head down south! It really saves SO much money!! If I remember right, flour is like 31 cents a pound there! The only thing is having storage containers for it ;-)

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    1. Check with a bakery department, sometimes they will give away or sell cheap the bucket they get frosting's and things in. They are low cost and food grade safe. Just an idea...

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  47. Being a mom of 5 boys(17,16,9,8,7) and the hubby i wanna thank you for the planning guide. We do paln our meals alot of the time because we shop for the month. I do have to go back every 2 weeks for milk and eggs but i am ok with that. love the reciepes and the break down of it all. Again thanks for your insight to help us all.

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  48. I'm a mom of two children, a soon to be college graduate and a police academy cadet. My husband works full time and teaches martial arts as well. Your blog has been very helpful to me. We live in southeast Ohio where cost of living is ridiculous. My time to create a decent meal is also very limited. I thank you so much for ideas to help make my budget and time more efficient!

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  49. your produce keeps for 2 weeks? I must be doing something wrong :)

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    1. I was also going to comment on this. I would love to eat salads more at home but I can only keep lettuce good for a couple of days. How can I make it last a couple of weeks?

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    2. One thing that I personally do with produce is pick the stuff that is a little less ripe. It will need a few days to ripen and will last a little longer. This is helpful for us especially when it is something I plan on using later in the week.

      As far as lettuce, we buy a head of lettuce and not the packaged lettuce. I tear it up versus cutting it. It does not turn brown as fast. I also will put it in a container with a paper towel in the bottom and change out the paper towel every couple of days. It will soak up most the moisture and also helps it stay good for a few days longer.

      These are just some things that I usually do!

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    3. wrap your celery in tin foil..will last over 2 weeks staying crisp . They have food saver bags for bananas and fruits. I can keep them for over a week ( which I do admit to buying 2or 3 ripe and then add another bunch of green ones to ripen in a few days. One more note on the bananas. Once they start to brown, I freeze them. I use them for smoothies, or for making bread or muffins. I never throw away a banana!!!

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    4. I wash then tear my greens, then put them in a salad spinner to remove the extra moisture. Then put in plastic bread sized bags and squeeze as much air out as possible, twist & knot the bags shut & keep in the crisper drawer. I make my entire salad, minus tomatoes this way actually. Squeeze out air and re-twist each time you remove salad. Lasts 2 weeks easily this way!

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  50. I would do some research on what your feeding your family from Sam's Club. Both Walmart and Sam's Club add "the pink stuff", which is left over animal parts, soaked in ammonia to add as a filler to their hamburger and other meats!

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  51. Thanks so much for your post!!! There are only 3 in our family and one is a toddler, but we still spend a TON on groceries (almost 600!!!!) We live in Los Angeles, which is expensive to begin with, and we don't have ANY supercenters here...but we are going to get a Walmart grocery store and I can't wait to see if they will A. price match and B. be any cheaper! I menu plan every week and use coupons when we can. We eat lots of fresh stuff, so most of the coupons we use are for personal products...we do splurge on the famers market every week (we have a 30 budget which is included in our groceries!). The oranges are much cheaper than the grocery store, but everything else is much more expensive...but it tastes much better and I found my toddler will eat more fruit since it tastes so much better!

    Thanks for your post and sharing your tips!

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  52. I just wanna say thanks for ur post. It cracks me up that so many people can get down to saying they couldn't possibly feed their family on 200. So what people?> Its bout staying home and cooking for your family. So what that its not organic and all "healthified" this post is bout saving money which I guess a lot of you don't have to worry bout. Do what you must, spend what you must, but I know that whether I spend 200 or 1000 on my familys groceries, I will know that at the end we will be sitting around the table, laughing, talking and enjoying being together and not worrying bout what all we could have bought on the money we just spent eating out. Thanks MS Bacon!!!!

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  53. So inspired to get back to my two week shopping plan! I used to plan menus for every two weeks. Then I'd have dh pick up milk (big milk drinkers), fruit, veggies, & bread. I could and did keep our food budget down. I'd be delighted to keep around $600 for our family of 13 (5 teens & 1 that eats like it-lots of boys). Thanks!

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  54. WOW! you sure are lucky to live in a lower-cost part of the country. The prices on those items seriously blow me out of the water! We are just 2 (living downtown in a mid-size West Coast city) and we can't swing this budget. I do shop 2-3 times a week at smaller local grocery stores, mostly out of convenience. It's tough to get out to the big box stores in the suburbs. How do you keep your meat and produce fresh? Especially fish? I usually don't let that keep more then 2 days after purchase. SUPER impressed!

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    1. Yes it makes a big difference where you live on how much it costs. But hopefully you can use some of the ideas to help lower your budget. As for meat, we do have a big deep freezer where we store it all. Fish included. Mr Bacon usually will bring home his fresh fish and we'll keep out some for dinner and the rest get packaged into dinner portions and frozen. Produce to keep fresh depends on what you are buying. I will buy things like berries and bananas for the first week and things like apples and watermelon for the second week. Thanks for stopping by!

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  55. So I found your blog on Pinterest. My husband has recently taken a huge pay cut when he changed jobs.He was an over-the-road truck driver and was gone more than he was home and missing out on things with our children was really starting to bother both of us. So...now he is home every night and making less money, which makes for 1 more adult to feed and less money to do it on.

    Just to let you know about my family. There is actually 5 of us living here. My mom who lives with us, my husband, myself, a 6-year-old girl, and an 11-year-old boy (who can eat more than his dad and I combined most days). Also, I watch my sister's kids during the day for the summer. So added to this, I have to feed another 11-year-old boy, a 7-year-old girl, and a 6-year-old girl every day for lunch. These kids eat a lot!!

    Also, during the school year (which starts in about 2 weeks)I will need to be making lunches for my children who are only allowed to eat at school once a week if they want (and usually they do not want to because they like their cold lunches). I also pack lunch for my husband every day. One thing we do is use spinach wraps or other wraps instead of bread. These are healthier and get less soggy. I pack usually a main dish (this rotates every week so they do not get bored with it), fresh fruit, a fresh vegetable, dried fruit trail mix, and usually a small bottle of water.

    I also shop every weekend just because we like a lot of fresh fruits and veggies and sometimes those just do not last as long. I have also decided that if something is forgotten or did not get put on the list....we do without it until the next trip if it is possible (obviously some things just cannot wait if it is a necessity). For those things, I run into some where like the dollar store or somewhere that I am not tempted to buy a whole lot of extra.

    Anyway, it is nice to see people can express their opinion about this (good and bad), but I thought I would share some things we have also found to eat for less and healthier. Now, I know this is not an option for everyone, but we just recently had a Whole Foods open close to us. Now for the person talking about boxed and processed food...we have been buying our pasta from there. It is $1.00 or less for a box and healthier than usual pasta. Also, we try to buy whole grain or vegetable pasta, etc. So, for that person, there are healthier options. Also, we shop the sales on meat at Whole Foods. Yes, it is just a little more expensive (and only just a couple dollars on sale) but worth it. Obviously, meat is then frozen in portions needed for dinners/lunches, etc. I also have just started with making my own mixes for pancakes, breads, etc. so I think that helps on the grocery bill. We also stock up. If something is on sale and has a long shelf life or can be frozen, I buy quite a bit.

    Another thing I have been doing is making menus like you do except that I just

    Another thing that maybe works to our advantage is the fact that my children LOVE vegetables! We will only let them have seconds on the main dish (for cost-related purposes and because that is usually the more fattening, high carb, etc. part of the meal). However, they are allowed to eat as many vegetables that they want...and it is usually a lot!

    We also do not buy much "snacky" things. If anyone is truly hungry between meals, we always have fruit available such as bananas, apples, oranges, etc. This keeps them from doing the "bored eating".

    Whew....this ended up longer than I planned, but I just had to share with you and others how I do some of my budgeting. And for the one who stated that you cannot eat healthy for that amount....yes, you can. And, I would like to see how that person feeds her family WITHOUT buying anything boxed or processed! I feel it is all about portion control.

    I think you are doing a great job! I will definitely be reading more of your blogs on your recipes, etc. My kids also love trying new recipes and then helping cook them!

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  56. Also a tip I read was if you wash veggies in one part vinager to three parts water, then store veggies in tin foil they last longer and tin foil is reusable. I bought some to try it and the have been in fridge for three weeks look just as fresh as day I bought them.

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    1. Have you tried this on strawberries yet!? Amazing...they last so much longer & don't mold! I haven't tried storing veggies in foil yet...I'll have to try that this week.

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    2. Did you put the vinegar on the strawberries or just the tin foil?

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  57. How do you make 4 type of vegetables (totaling ~$7.50) last 2 weeks??? I typically spend that much on vegetables for 2-3 days of meals, and all my meals are scratch-made. That part baffles me!

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    1. Thanks for stopping by. How we make it work? We buy most of our vegtables from Sams club in large 4-5lb bags. The sams trip shown here we didn't need to buy more because we already had them in our freezer (shop at home first rule!). We also took many vegtables we grew in our garden or got from farmers markets in the summer and froze them to eat all year long. This post was about ONE shopping trip we took. Depending on what we have on hand at home, depends on what we need to buy. Just like we bought flour on this trip, but we don't ever trip since we don't always run out of it every 2 weeks. I hope that helps clear things up.

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  58. Barbara in heart of TXAugust 9, 2012 at 8:36 PM

    ~Bulk grains divided up into 5 gal buckets to which are FIRST added dry ice, creating a vacuum sealed lid. Granted, a grinder/mill is necessary to create pasta, bread, etc. Having a basement/cellar extends the life of vegetables by idividually paper-wrapping apples, canning from the garden/farmers mkt. My husband paid to hunt on a deer lease and we butchered venison and frozen in portions. In Texas, there is a program called Hunters for the Hungry. Some hunters can't or don't want the extra deer (only allowed a low #) and donate it. I also recall a friend who had an afterschool care in her home in the country, qualified for food assistance for every child over a certain number as she was considered to be at an economic disadvantage to her in-town competitors. You can also shop online at Sam's and they will have your groceries ready for pick-up, saving time and impulse-buys.

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  59. Thank you so much for this. I honestly hate cooking and the kitchen is my least favorite place to be. I love your break down of everything. I am also going to start making sure to enclude everyone in the meal planning process, after all we are all eating it. Thank you again.

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  60. i love your blog!! I am trying to start my own garden (i kill plants some how lol) i have been trying to shop from my kitchen first, it so hard but i love how you laid it out. we do stock up on our meats. but our freezer is so small(hubby said he is going to buy a use freezer for me to use,he benefits from it) i need to work on my food planing and making better breakfast for every one, love what you do and can't wait to work on my budget i figure for 2 1/2 of us we should be doing less then $200 if i work on it i know i can get it down. thank you so much!

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  61. Thank you! I also have a family of 6 and currently spend that same amount every WEEK! I am going to try some of your tips and see if we can get my budget under control. With the kids getting into sports and activities, the money is disappearing faster than ever.

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  62. This was a great article!!!
    I found its easier to get started if you inventory what you already have. Plan meals around that, and fill in the small gaps.

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  63. how many of those 6 people are adults
    and what is in and how do u make ur Tinfoil dinner

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  64. I would like to Thank you for posting this blog and for all the help for hints...Yes I will have to adjust to what my family eats as will everyone else but just the fact you took the time to write us about how you save money and fill us in on your little secrets is a blessing.Thank you again

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  65. Were a family of 6 as well. 10yr old girl 9 yr old boy 7 yr old girl and 4 yr old boy 2 parents. Only 1 income.and its a farmers income so not aot of budget.

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  66. Loved reading your post! I'm the blogger that one of your first commenters referred to. (I did the blog post on how we feed our family of 4 for $200 a mo. That also includes all toiletries, household items like cleaning supplies, dish soap, paper towels etc. and diapers and wipes.)

    It was fun to see someone else using about the same amount that we do for groceries and to see how you do it. I find it ironic that people can get so defensive about why they CAN'T lower their budget. From my experience attitude is 75% of what makes a small budget successful. If you are willing to learn to shop sales and be creative you're going to see some savings. And yes, menu planning is a great way to save too.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Ps. I think you eat healthy. The downside of sharing things like this is that people can't see everything. I noticed a decent amount of fruits and veggies and not much prepared foods. Looked great to me!

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  67. I really enjoyed reading this article. The food looks delicious by the way. :)

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  68. Good tips for cutting a budget. I laugh though at what some consider pricey. I live in Atlantic Canada, and milk is $7-8/gallon. I'd love it if it were $3-4, as it's something we go through quite a bit of with six kids. For sure the main things though are planning and doing your own cooking rather than pre-made/boxed, etc.

    BJ

    P.S. Giggled at your Bacon Bit. Love it!

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  69. I found this post via Pinterest and I'm glad I did! I'm trying to see what you do differently than me and I'm just not seeing it.
    I menu plan but I do mine week to week, rather than 2 weeks at a time. I make most of our dishes from scratch - not a lot of processed foods here either. I don't really coupon (I agree that most of the coupons are for products we don't use) and I don't shop 500 stores to get the best price.
    I seem to average about $100-$150 a week for our family of 4 (and the 4th member doesn't even count, he's only 6 weeks old). could it just simply be geography (we're in Idaho)?
    You've inspired me to up my menu planning a bit, though. I think I'm going to try menu planning for a month out, seeing what items I can buy in bulk ahead of time at Costco and then do my weekly shopping based on what we need that week and see if that saves me any more money...
    Thanks for sharing your tips with us!! :)

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    1. I think Ms BAcon only included food items, so if you are buying any toiletries or baby items your bills will be higher than hers.

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  70. I am very very impressed. if you can feed a family of 6 for that. i should be able to do this for a family of only two. More than likly i should be able to keep it even smaller. but at the same time i live in a comunity where i cannot have a garden in my backyard (on a golf course). That is something i wish i could do to save some more money.

    Keepem comming ma bacon!

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  71. What do you do with your wheat germ?

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    1. I use wheat germ in many ways. I use a Tbsp of it along with ground flax seed on our oatmeal in the morning to give a good nutrition boost, when I make my homemade granola the recipe calls for 1/2 cup of it too. I also add it to many of my muffin recipes. Anyway to get more nurition into the kids without them knowing is good! THanks for stopping by.

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  72. Lots of good ideas. Just please remember it is loaves, not loafs. Sorry, elementary teacher who caught a typo. :)

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  73. I think I'm the first one to ask this but what do you usually grow at your garden?

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    1. Yes I believe you are the first! I think I did have a post about my garden somewhere too. But here is what we usually plant, We do have a 20'x10' garden and a seperate 5'x10' strawberry garden which produces in late may - early july. But normally we plant green & yellow beans, carrots, lettuce, green onions, sugar snap peas, yellow summer squash, zuchinni, cucumbers and atleast 10 tomato bushes. It is a lot and we are very blessed to have that much room to plant a garden. It does help with the budget too because much of the produce we freeze to use during winter months. However even if you have a small yard or just a patio you can help out your budget by planting a few things in large containers, flower pots or 5 gallon buckets. Thanks for asking and stopping by!

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  74. These are such great tips! I find meal planni definitely helps keep the budget in check and i can always tell the difference when i dont plan ahead! I cant wait for cooler weather, soups, chili and stews are all great ways to stretch a dollar!

    Www.ncdots.com

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  75. I have found that in order to make for a healthier more affordable option (presuming you have about 2 hours per week of time that is) that the BEST investment is spent in 5 minute intervals towards baking your own bread... Here is a few resources for it...

    First here is the video about it and then a few recipes...

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zMxJgIpe38Q

    http://www.formerchef.com/2010/03/09/healthy-bread-in-five-minutes-a-daywhole-grain-master-recipe/

    The SUGAR FREE bread recipe - http://www.artisanbreadinfive.com/2012/06/11/stevia-herbal-sweetener-works-in-our-whole-wheat-brioche

    Gluten FREE Crock Pot Bread - http://www.artisanbreadinfive.com/2012/06/05/gluten-free-crock-pot-bread

    http://www.artisanbreadinfive.com/

    http://www.motherearthnews.com/Real-Food/Artisan-Bread-In-Five-Minutes-A-Day.aspx

    http://www.foodess.com/2009/03/artisan-bread-in-five-minutes/

    We are home schooling and I am going to be teaching my boys how to do the same!!!

    Also ANOTHER option for us diabetics (which I am too) is to take the time to either buy or MAKE wholegrain pasta... By using the wholegrain it actually lowers the pastas glycemic index and thus lowers the spike effects on the blood sugars...

    Follow along on our home schooling journey! http://theaccidentalhomeschoolingmom.blogspot.com/

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  76. Yes, it works if you live in Minnesota. I live in Los Angeles, California where prices are double and that's not even shopping at a gourmet market but at our neighborhood Ralph's. I'm a stay-at-home Mom of 3 who cooks all week and eats out occasionally on the weekends. Our grocery budget is approx. $450/month and I'm always finding ways to cut down. But I wouldn't cut cost at the expense of my childrens health. I pay the extra cents for organic milk, extra cents for 100% whole wheat bread, extra cents for "no salt or low sodium" foods. I don't buy anything with high fructose corn syrup. Also, weekly market trips make it possible to always have fresh fruit and vegetables in the house. I can't imagine how fresh veges would be after 1 week in the fridge...yuck. But I do appreciate the time you put into your post and if anything, it will help me try to continue to budget better. Thanks!

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  77. We are just in the first 2 weeks of our 2 week meal planning and its going great! Though my budget will have to be more because I have to be gluten free due to allergies. My ingredients will be a tad more than regular ones but this is an awesome place to start. We have done tinfoil meals for years but we call them hobo meals. The kids love them because we allow them to make their own. We lay out the choices in veggies and seasonings, and they go to town. Everyone has their own meal, though the ingredients are the same.

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  78. We are a family of 8... Four boys, two girls plus momma and daddy. Do you think its possible to do this same budget with a family of 8? Im also very interested in learning how to make some of your homemade snacks and dinners. I cook at home but I need some new recipes. Do you have any recipes posted? T

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  79. I absolutely love finding posts like yours!! I have a family of 7. Myself, the hubby, and 5 boys (ages 15,14,12,8,&4). I have used a combination of your post and several others to cut our grocery bill down to $450 am month from $1100 a month. I use to be a spur of the moment meal planner (UGH, I know, running to the store everyday was getting annoying). One thing I would like to suggest to those who have older kids, use homemade snack recipes that produce a lot. I make my own (healthier, I might add) brownie/cake mixes, cookies, even fruit snacks. I shop at Sam's also for big bulk items like flour and sugar. 25lbs of flour and 25lbs sugar plus a large box of cocoa and baking powder, I can turn into 30 cake and brownie mixes. In our household that can be 60 nights of deserts/treats! I will add that cutting your grocery budget does take time, patience, and dedication to achieve. Stick with it and you will see the difference, it took me about 3 months to get our bill down to something I was happy with!!

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  80. Thank you for your post. I am trying to be more responsible with what little grocery mone we do have. I have also learned that by making things from scratch (muffins, pancakes, breads, snacks) is not only healthier but also cheaper. Also, I never thought of serving fruit with tacos, I usually cringe and buy chips but I love your ideas here. Thank you so much for sharing.

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  81. I tried this for a month, I thought what's the worse thing that could happen? I tried it and it WORKS! Of course we live in a higher cost of living area than Minnesota but I still cut off two hundred dollars off of a six hundred dollar grocery bill a month. I had to tweek some things that would work for our family but TWO HUNDRED dollars worth of savings is still astounding and fantastic start. Thank you so much for great tips. :)

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    1. This is AWESOME! Thanks for stopping back and sharing your story. I'd love to hear if it stays this way. when I started seeing a difference I kept challenging myself to see what we could do different to lower it more. Just think if it keeps up with a $200 savings that's and extra $2400 in your pocket come next August!! What woudl you do with that extra money! Glad it's going well and keep it up. These stories are why I posted this on my blog. I love hearing I've helped others save money.

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  82. In my quest to cut my grocery bill in half...

    When its not just about saving money, but actually putting FOOD on the table, a person can be mighty resourceful.

    I found WHOLE chicken legs on sale for 99 cents a pound ( sold in 10 lb bags). I split them up. 3 bags with 6 per bag and 5 bags with 3 per bag.

    The 3 bags of 6 were made ONCE on the grill, ONCE baked with garlic, and ONCE brushed with bar-b-que sauce.

    The 5 bags of with 3 in each bag were made into broth.
    *3 whole legs,
    *celery ( I save the tops, the leaves etc in tin foil after we cut up celery for snack to not waste a bit of it~ it will last at least 2 weeks, not browning or going limp)
    * 2 whole carrots
    * one whole onion
    * salt and pepper ( and this is where YOU can be sure of your sodium intake)

    I bake in the oven in a roaster full of water for two plus hours. YOU would not believe the rich broth you will get. This could also be done in a crock pot if you work outside the home.

    A can of chicken broth is $2.69 in Lancaster County PA. I KNOW by buying my veggies at the local farmers market and the sale on chicken I am making at least 2 cans of broth from those 3 legs of chicken. $5.78 versus $2.50. Plus I know what is in it, and pull the meat off the bone and use it in my soups. I some times freeze the broth for those nights when I am rushed with a kids sports/dance class, so we still can all have a meal together. AGAIN , its called PLANNING. I use it right away in chicken noodle soup, chicken corn soup, spinach soup etc.

    So for under $10 for the chicken ..I have eight solid meals. I make my own noodles for the soup. SUPER EASY...

    Homemade noodles
    *one cup flour
    *one egg
    *pinch of salt
    * teaspoon of milk ( more on humid days or if dough feels dry)

    roll out and cut into pot pie squares, noodles etc. Want to figure out the savings there????

    With the cost of veggies( for broth), chicken, bar-b-que sauce and side dishes of steamed veggies I figure those 8 meals cost me under $25. So it can be done, a meal on the table that makes me feel good that its NOT chocked full of preservatives, sodium etc. and IT MAKES THE WHOLE HOUSE SMELL AWESOME. I take pride in my kids saying " My mom makes us everything from scratch"

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  83. I love ur idea of how to plan meals ahead of time I'm going to try that our next shopping trip... me and my lil family just got our own apartment an the freezer is kinda small any tips on how to make more room in there? And what about when u make muffins and cookies and granola bars how do u store them an how long?

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    1. Thanks for stopping by! Small freezers always take some planning on how to make things fit. We have a food saver for packaging foods that helps because I can lay things flat then. But otherwise decide on what you really need to keep on hand in the freezer and when it starts to fill up too full, make sure you meal plan from what is in there. As for muffins, cookies and bars I store then in air tight (tupperware type) containers in the pantry. They do pretty well for about 3-4day. Usually within that time they get eating up! I make sure I don't bake too much all at once either. If the Bacon kids have too many choices things doen't get eaten before they go bad and then I have to throw them out which I hate doing! Hope that helps.

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    2. Oh ok yea that really does help thanks!

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  84. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  85. I loved reading this post. It's not really aimed at me since it's just me and my husband, but the post was really well thought out and helpful. It's wonderful that you make so many things from scratch. I was surprised to see you buying taco seasoning mix though. So simple to mix up at home. I guess you just really like the brand you get at Costco. You're doing a great job and thanks for sharing!

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  86. I am rather ocd (or as I like to say cdo) when it comes to shopping. I have always made a weekly list for the grocery store after meal planning. But I still cant spend less than $500 a month. Of course I spend about $100 on bottled water for my son who is on a medical formula.

    I dont buy organic but I do make everything from scratch. I make 3 lunches a week and breakfast every day.

    I do have a question. If you spent 83 and 137, wont you go over $200 for the month?

    What about toiletries? (shampoo, razors, deoderant, etc)

    Anzd what did you spend at the begining to stock your pantry?

    I can see this working if you have a.fully stocked pantry but if not it will cost a lot to do so.

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    1. Yes if you are starting from a fresh pantry it would be hard to stick to just what you need, however you can buy as you meal plan. As you continue on the weeks you will find you have to buy fewer and fewer things for your pantry since you have them in bulk (sugar, flour, spices ect). When we started we had quite a pantry full already. We were not wise with our grocery spending and would buy what looked or sounded good and didn't search our pantry first and just bought. That lead to many more trips to the store when I didn't realize we didn't have all the ingredients to make a meal (and then we'd add a lot of those impluse buys too which really added up again). Also the other problem we had was we thought we were out of something only to find we already have 2 or 3 containers already! So it would be a bit harder if you don't have some things in your pantry already. But once it's fully stocked you should be able to follow the planning to cut back on your budget.

      As for the math question I did address that in the post that I was over. Thankfully when i don't use my entire budget for groceies each week (it does happen sometimes, especially if we are travel and won't be home to eat for 2-3 days) we just keep the extra money in the envelope for the next shopping trip or when I see a stock up sale so I have extra to spend on those times.

      Toiletries come from a differnt budget- we budget $60 a month for things like them, toilet paper, medicines, ect. You can read more about how we budget for that here
      http://baconinmypocket.blogspot.com/2010/11/whats-in-your-envelope.html

      Hope that helps and thanks for stopping by!

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  87. thank you, thank you, thank you!!......just what i needed....i learned in church that i don't have to live with the spirit of fear but instead i can have (God's) power, (God's) love, and a sound mind....and learned that a sound mind is one that is in control and self-disciplined.....for this 54 year old with 3 of my 6 children still at home this has been such a comfort to me and i am determined to follow a budget, menu plan, keep lists, etc.....i know i spend WAY too much for food every 2 weeks and i want to do better....i found this blog on pinterest....i've only seen this page and am looking forward to exploring it all.....VERY WELL DONE!!

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  88. This was so helpful and encouraging, thank you! Just a question-how do you budget for snacks, lunches, beverages and breakfast? I see you have them listed but it doesn't look they are included in your $200 a month budget. How do you budget or organize for those? I really do think your budget and meal plan is the most realistic I've seen so far. Thanks again.

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  89. Ok! So i found this post on pinterest, my family has been spending $250 or so on groceries for 2 week periods which is ok but i need to get more frugali know prices have went up a substantial ammount this year... we have recently joined the Sams Club so we are just starting and thats what i have questions about we are just starting this out and on Sas Club i went through and made a list/added the items to our cart that i kne wwas cheaper therer when considering the quanit and the total was $700+ for a first time shop, i am sure that those items will last us atleast 3 months... i see that you Ms Bacon have responded to posts lately so i was wondering with the GAs Prices rising causing groceris to rise in turn, what have you changed and when you first began was it more expensive to get everything in place... and what tricks and advice do you have for someone who does want to start this?

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  90. i don't even know what we spend on groceries--but i do NOT love to cook--so that is a real drawback for me--plus, I can't stand on my legs for very long without them aching. i have kids with celiac disease--which really ups our prices. However, I do make my own flour mixes and have been thinking that if I used some of the bean flour mixes I could get alot more protein in to my family in bakes goods----they just couldn't sample the raw batter--it is so bitter!! But, bean flour mixes bake up really nice and when they are fully cooked the bitter taste is gone. Also, our pasta is made from brown rice, so it is a little better for us than regular pasta. If I were really ambitious, i might try making my own. What I really am seeing from this article is that i am severely lacking in organization----and we have 11 children---only 4 are still at home. I used to cook more when I felt better, but i am battling something that causes me alot of pain, depression and anxiety. I am sure that an improved diet would help--as would having everything for several meals planned, purchased, and as much prepared ahead as possible.

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  91. I didn't read through all the posts (145 is a lot!) so if this was already answered I apologize. I'm curious where the ice cream fits in the budget! You mentioned that your kids like Cool Whip on their ice cream but I don't see it listed anywhere on your shopping list. In my family ice cream accounts for $5.00 of the weekly budget ($2.48/gallon for store brand x 2). I have a family of four and our grocery budget has skyrocketed in the past few years (I have teenagers). We go through 5-6 gallons of milk A WEEK so that alone is about $20 of my weekly budget. Produce also a large part of the budget - my husband and I go through 3-4 lbs of bananas a week (that's one banana each every day). In the summer I buy watermelons for about $5.00 each and the family will eat the whole thing in about 2-3 days. Like you, I plan my meals ahead of time basing my menus first on what I have on hand, then by what's in the sale flyers. I notice your receipt is from Walmart. I never buy produce or meat at Walmart. The produce at my local Walmart is always rotting and the meats are just plain gross. I get my produce and meats at our local grocery store. They're more expensive but much better quality. I don't think we could survive on $80 every two weeks! We'd be living on nothing but produce and milk!

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    1. Oh wow...I totally agree about Walmart meat & produce! I'm sort of glad it's not just our store but it's disgusting that the company's fresh food standards are apparently so low...

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  92. Thank-you for sharing your ideas with us on how we can cut down on our spending. I am embarrassed to say that I buy and spend WAY too much for my adult son and myself. (my son lives with me, he was born with down syndrome)And I too suffer from a disability of my own (I suffered a mild traumatic brain injury many years ago) so I know about compulsive spending. I really like that you mentioned a list and to shop at home first! My cupboards are stocked full!! Guess where I work?? AT A GROCERY STORE. So I constantly buy items on sale and use coupons BUT I spend about 150.00 a week on groceries (including toiletry items) If I were to look now I would see 4 boxes or raisin bran cereal 3 ketchup bottles 6 twelve packs of pop ... you get the idea. I also am what I call a junk food junkie!! I love my chocolate, chips, and donuts... Please help with any suggestions! Thank You for any advise!

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    1. I have a suggestion...learn to make your own donuts & chips! It's not at all hard (just time consuming),the varieties would be endless, the result is superior and I find that the work involved is a bit of a deterrent to eating those things too often. I think it's fun too, if you have the time. No sense stressing if not! :)

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  93. I think the ideas are great. I've done most of them but need to re-assess and work on it again. I am surprised that 19 kids and counting spends 300 a week on groceries. I can't imagine other than having a tv show how they are able to pay for the bus, the food, the house and so on. She is pregnant again and doesn't want the house to be empty (anyone say bording house?). But they are good christian people and doing well on raising their kids. God bless.

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  94. Thanks so much for posting how YOU guys do it, a peek into someone elses budget is a rare thing and it does help you take into consideration what you can do to adapt your own situation. I'm a single girl who used to cook for 4 or so, depending on who was living at home, so it's hard to wrap my head around meals that are cost effective to make smaller / what you can make ahead and freeze. My pantry doesn't look like that anymore! But you're right, twice a month can DEFINITELY stop those extra purchases or those convenience meals...the more you buy, the easier it is to grab extra things you don't REALLY need. Even if it's a sale, if you don't need it, it's not really a deal.

    Thanks for taking the time!

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  95. I just came across your blog on Pinterest! I have a family of 7 ( 5 daughters 14, 11, 9, 3, 18m: they eat as much as 5 teenage boys, lol ) I have clipped coupons for years as well as price matched. I just recently started planning a menu prior to grocery trips. I have found that by using current sales to plan menus combined with coupons I have managed to reduce our grocery bill by $75 every two weeks. It's not where I would like it to be but we are getting there. Thank you for sharing! Can't wait to make my own yogurt :)

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  96. My mom was a big cool whip fan but if you'll go so far as to make your own yogurt, grab a small container of heavy cream next time and whip your own to order w an immersion blender. Your coffee drinks and waffles will thank you!

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  97. What a wonderful blog! and post! I am a 65 yo widow and I love learning how to be more frugal. I'm sure I won't do things exactly the way you do, but you have such wonderful ideas. The garden is perfect! and all that planning is key. I love recipes and ideas to give me variety in my meal plans. It would be easy to fall into eating "easy" things. But I raised nine children with a garden, canning, freezing, and shopping carefully. With the increase in the cost of living, we need all the tips we can get. Keep up the great work, Bacon family and ignore the negative comments. You are doing a great job. Oh, I forgot - eating appropriate amounts is important. When I was a child we had "juice glasses" that held 4 oz, the appropriate amount of juice for breakfast - giving children unmonitored amounts of anything is child abuse as they grow up to think more is better. I think unlimited vegetables and plenty of fruit is important, but water is the best thing to drink and one pork chop for dinner could be too much meat. Go Bacon Family!

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  98. I enjoyed your article and I'm glad to see that you explained that people have different situations. There's no way my fam could do this. We spend $350 for a family of 5 and here's why: Wheat, nut and egg allergies mean we have to buy different (and more expensive) products. Also, we live in the Southwest and our garden is tiny and expensive to water. And, as others mentioned, such a high-carb menu would cause some problems for most of my family. We mainly do proteins and produce and we buy organic when we can make it work with our budget. We watch sales and coupon and I make everything from scratch. While we all make choices on what kinds of foods we eat or buy (or the choices are made for us due to allergies) I think your post can teach just about anyone some important things about menus and food budgeting-- PLAN your meals & plan your shopping, make your meals from scratch, use what you have. Kudos for doing a great job with your food budget!

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  99. How awesome!! My kids and I both have food allergies.. To gluten, dairy, and soy. This of course makes are grocery bill so much higher. I wish I could see how others cut back their food bill, with food allergies. Almond milk is almost 4 dollars for a half gallon. Not to mention I can't use real butter or cheese. Sigh.

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    1. I'm with you! Highly allergic to gluten and married to an athlete with a crazy high metabolism (who has to eat what I consider a "meal" every two hours). There's just no way we could make it at $200. Wish I knew how folks with food intolerance(s) and allergies budgeted. I make meal plans, coupon, research what's on sale in advance, and spend over $400/month for the two of us. Granted, I'm in a large metropolitan area. May have something to do with it. But restrictive diets are tough!

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  100. Love Love Love your Blog!!! Don't let the negative comments get You girl ..Opinions are like fannies everybody has them!! Love Love Love this blog!! JUlie
    Have a blessed day!!!

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  101. Thank you for sharing your steps. In Alaska, a $200 budget is not entirely realistic, but I am working towards $400-500 a month budget for a family of 4. I would say an organized pantry, fridge and freezer is a must; it has helped me tremendously. I can now shop my home first before going to Costco or the grocery store. I thank you for that suggestion very much. I am making sure that we are no longer wasting unused items (the stuff I've thrown away:( I am limiting myself to 1 convenience food (ie. 3 pack of cheese pizza, 2 pack of lasagna, sirloin patties) per shopping trip (2 trips a month). I'd love to be the person that makes everything from scratch, but I'm not and I figure it sure beats dining/ordering out on those nights that someone is sick or we're too busy. I cry when I think about the times we've eaten out and I realize we actually spent 1-2 weeks of grocery money in one sitting (shame on us). We are a work in progress, but I think the first step is just to be aware there are tools, like this blog, to get us on the right track. Yesterday, I spent $306 and I expect that and what I have in stock to last me the entire month of October. Happy budgeting and planning everyone.

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  102. "Shopping at home" seems like a good idea--but that food had to come from somewhere. Having a stocked pantry is great, but that cost has to be included. I've done cheap grocery trips...until the stocked freezer/pantry is depleted, then the tally goes up.

    I also agree that a diabetic will have to greatly modify these meals--way too many carbs, so maybe we need to have someone try this who has other challenges to meet.

    For the rest of y'all, good job. :)

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  103. I was a welfare mother back in 1978-1979 and the state of VA gave me $1.10 daily for me, the 6 yr old and the baby, who fortunately was almost entirely nursed. I discovered the Cornell Triple Rich Formula for baked goods in my Joy of Cooking. I found it a wonderful way to increase nutrition in my bread, pizza crust and homemade noodles rolled thin and cut with a butter knife-
    For every cup pf flour called for in your your recipe, start by adding in the bottom of your 1 cup measuring cup-
    1 T wheat germ, 1 t soy flour, and 1 T dried milk solids.
    Then fill the rest of the cup with sifted enrisched flour.
    Ground flaxseed would be another nutritious addition, perhaps quinoa flour for those allergic to soy, since it's supposed to be a complete protein.
    Unfortunately DH doesn't care for homemade bread or noodles, and every time I find a recipe I like he goes on a hunt to find it premade. This while assuring me I'm a great cook.
    We mostly do stirfries from our garden now, alternating with Hispanic or Italian food, using the Ronzoni Garden delight pasta, which counts as a serving of vegetables. This enables us to use small amounts from our garden that might otherwise be wasted, and if he insists on buying it's cheaper to bring in Chinese carryout or Lupita's carryout than to go out for dinner.

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  104. Came across your blog on Pinterest and had to stop and peek! I don't have a big household to feed-just my two pre-teen daughters and me-but without meal planning my grocery bill would be out of control! Love your ideas and organization! I plan on a weekly basis and honestly hate going to the grocery, but I can't figure out how to spread it to two weeks and still keep fresh fruit, vegies and lunch meat on hand. How do you manage those things on a bi-weekly basis? Thank you SO much for all your tips!!!! :)

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  105. Thank you for sharing with us how you budget with your family!

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  106. Thank you so much for breaking it down! I'm going to try this plan because we are spending HUNDREDS on groceries, eating out, junk, and convenience foods and it really needs to stop. Thanks for the encouragement. :)

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  107. So glad I found this!! You have helped my family with planning our meals out(:

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  108. Thanks so much for a great post. I really do think the people who are complaining about the lack of nutrition here are being ridiculous and you are a class act for not arguing back with them. I'll be sticking around.

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  109. awesome I love this post and plan on trying it since I'm a young mom with 4 almost 5kids (due Nov) we spend around 1000$ month would love to cut that atleast inhalf would also love to invite all of u to like my page on fb we talk about all kinda stuff on there and right now I'm trying to do topics on money saving its a open group no spam no drama just ppl talking about differ topics loom up Momtalk101 on facebook hope some of u join

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  110. So glad I found this Blog on Pinterest! I am trying to cut our grocery budget as well(family of 4 -2 adult a 9 year old and a 7 month old). Right now I do a big shop once a month and usually spend @$200 at Walmart (sometimes I do have to stop and get a gallon of milk in between trips). We also go to Sam's Club once every month to month and a half and spend about $175 on bulk items (mostly meat and veggies). I also do the Bountiful Baskets about 1-2 times a month and make my own baby food. I love your tips and ideas, I am definately going to use them, and look forward to reading more of your ideas!

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    1. I do it a little differently - maybe this will work for all of the non-planners out there. I don't plan meals. I mean, how am I supposed to know on Friday what I will want to eat on Tuesday? ;) Instead, I work off of a pantry concept. When I started, I kept track of absolutely everything I used for a month just making normal meals. Then I made a master grocery list on the computer with that quantity listed next to it. For instance, we went through 6 boxes of pasta in a month, so pasta (6)___ went on the list. Before I shop, I print off a copy of the list and have one of my kids go through the pantry and write down how many I need to have that quantity. If we still have 2 boxes of pasta, the list would say pasta (6)_4_. Then I know that I need at least 4 boxes of pasta, but if I find a great sale, I'll get more. I don't include meat or produce, because I pretty much get what's on sale/seasonal in those departments.

      Doing it this way lets me make pretty much anything throughout the month without the tedium of sitting down and planning out every meal. I shop once a month and run in for milk and fresh stuff when I'm gonna be out anyway.

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    2. I stumbled across this yesterday - great blog! It's helpful to see how other people manage their food costs, and I came away with a few good tips.

      Ma, I hope you'll forgive me if I hijack for just a moment, but I wanted to gently point something out to the dietician student who commented above (I hope he/she is still reading!) and anyone else who feels the need to criticize your food choices. For a large percentage of the population right now, there is $___ available for food, period. Peter was cleaned out long ago, and Paul is still coming up short. There is nowhere else to pull money from. People cannot worry about WHAT they eat until they pass the point where they have ENOUGH to eat. If it's the day before payday, we're out of groceries, and I can scrape up $3, I have to spend that $3 in a way that will hopefully fill the stomachs of the 5 people (all over the age of 15) in my home. I can buy a small amount of produce, a smaller amount of meat, or a $1 box of pasta and a jar of sauce. No one would argue that the produce would be the healthiest choice, but if I do that, my family will still be hungry. If this is all the food we're going to get that day, I'm going for the pasta, even though I agree with your assessment of cheap carbs.

      Yes, there are still people who have places they can cut back in order to reroute money to the food budget, but there are many who passed that point long ago. While I am all for helping people make the healthiest choices possible with the resources they have, please be sensitive to the fact that many people cannot get enough to eat without consuming the cheap carbs that you scorn. A judgmental attitude only adds stress to families who are already struggling. If you have trouble accepting this, then when you graduate I urge you to limit your practice to those who have the resources to eat the way you think they should. If you're positive it can be done and we're all simply not educated enough to figure it out, email me at kidzoo05@yahoo.com I'd be happy to share my budget and have you show me how to get enough food to feed everyone for a month without resorting to the things you deem unhealthy.

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    3. I understand the no money thing as my hubby and I are both artists. Work has been scarce and the need to change was something forced upon us. Not the quality of our food but how we got it on the table.

      I spend less than what this woman has presented by making and growing everything I can and we eat only organic and non GMO.

      My advice to those of you who cannot cook - learn, even if you live in an apt you can grow veggies, herbs and fruit and that put aside money spend it on buying in bulk (flour,grains etc.,). You can grow lettuce, carrots and herbs in a plastic bottle, potatoes in a laundry hamper and so on. Romano lettuce, sweet potatoes and celery you can propagate. Potatoes you cut the eyes off and plant.

      I have chickens and live in the city, they eat the bugs, weeds, eat all the scraps and provide fertilizer for my small garden besides giving us organic eggs.

      There are countless ways to save money on growing, making your own salad dressings, sauces etc.,all from what you have in the pantry.

      Most people are more than willing to give excess fruit and veggie plants away on craigslist, use the seeds to plant. Just check out Pinterest or UrbanHomestead.org they grow everything on 1/10th of an acre, make their own fuel and their electric bill is $12 a month to give you an idea of what I am talking about.

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  111. If you shop at Walmart you can price match and save even more. I try to stay around $100/month but with price matching and coupons I'm able to get $120-$130 worth of groceries for $100. I'm still not sure how to cut back to $80 for 2 weeks worth...

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  112. We are in texas with 5 kids ranging from 6 to 14 and i do many of the things ma bacon does, but it still takes a bit over $800 to feed us all. Tons of homemade, bulk bought, lots of pastas, and homemade snacks and breads, produce co-ops, comp ads, and such...kids are active and eat a bunch, but are not overweight, though we could cut back the snacking a little. We go through at least 3 gallons of milk a week( mainly for cereal and coffee), and almost 3 loaves of sandwich bread, too. We do our best to stay on budget but with prices like they are, feeding a bigger family is tricky on a budget...but I do plan to try to get the cost down more. Love the post and suggestions. I know my cost is higher than most listed above, but it is now Novewmber 2012...and prices are rocketing...about to seriously cut down meat, which has often been just an ingredient, not a dish. Thanks for sharing!

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  113. Maybe I am not seeing the same thing on here as other people, but your list only include enough meat for 9 meals by my counting and doesn't include the cost for food aside from dinner, AND it is already over the MONTHLY budget for these two weeks worth of meal planning.

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    1. I'm sorry Melissa you must not have read the article the whole way. Are you talking about being over budget because of the sam's club shopping trip? If so I do say in there that we budgeted $40 a month for Sam's club and only shop every 3 months there. So this showed how our sams club trip works to stock up on bulk foods. Also I'm not sure how you get the 9 meals? Can you comment more? When I shop my cupboards are not bare either so we do still have food in the freezer/pantry that I meal plan with first to use up what we have on hand. This type of budgeting/meal planning works best with a fully stocked kitchen. I hope that clears a few things up. Thanks for stopping by.

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  114. Omgoodness we want world peace but we even argue about food choices. Personally for my husband and I we buy a mixture of organic and regular. We eat a lot of verges and meat. The way we save is to not plan meals or only 3 a week. It does not bother us to eat the same thing 2 or 3 days in a row. We shop at Costco and winco. We buy a bag of broccoli, bell peppers, asparagus etc and eat it all up. I eat peanut butter every day either on WW toast or an apple for breakfast. I was shocked at the price of food in the south when my daughter lived there. Everyone can learn from Mrs. Bacon's method...which is pretty much what we did when the girls were all home.

    Good on you Mrs.Bacon for taking the time and the flack on your post. We honestly do not keep track of what we spend but the worst thing is throwing food away and waste which I work on constantly.

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  115. Have you every done a cost comparison with buying your cheese in a block and grating it yourself?

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    1. Kathryn, I have and sadly it's about the same cost. A few months ago it was actually cheaper to buy shredded cheese vs. a block. I do watch the prices and compare when I shop. I have recently found that the bigger 'value' size products are not cheaper per oz. either and it's a better deal to buy 2 of the smaller bags. It's all part of the planning when sticking to a budget. Thanks for stopping by!

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  116. Thank you so much for this post. I know it's a year old but I just found it and love it. We have been doing $250 a month for a family of four. But we are growing so I need new ideas to cut down more costs. Thank you!

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  117. Great Job Ma Bacon! I was reading those posts that were saying you were not serving healthy food... and I wonder if they do not know that in reality your kids are probably eating healthier than 95% of the population... by cooking from scratch you are eliminating so much of the sodium and sugars that are embedded in processed food... You get High Fives from an old mom of six... now a grandma of seven...

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  118. Wow! If I could only find a Wal-Mart around me that had prices as low as those, I'd be set! There is the issue I have, though, with Wal-Mart's rotting fruits and veggies and slimy meat! I've been to Wal-Mart in Florida, Virginia, California, Ohio, and Louisiana and they've all been awful with produce and meat. :(

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