What’s YOUR Grocery Budget?

I remember the first time that, as newlyweds, Reed and I went over $100.00 for groceries.   It was kind of a shock.  $100.00 was a LOT of money back in the days when dinosaurs roamed, even though in reality it was just $50.00 for to feed each of us for a month, along with things like toilet paper and cleaning supplies.

We kind of looked at each other at the time, took a deep breath, and expressed our concerns about the rising cost of groceries.


If I only knew then what I know now.

At least back then we had no kids and both Reed and I were teaching with paychecks coming in each month.

How much should a family of 6 spend on groceries anyway?  (Two of my kids live on their own.  Bailey is married, and Brant lives in off campus housing while going to college.  Although number 2 child is known for raiding my pantry each Sunday when he comes home for dinner. So maybe I should include him into the grocery budget after all…..)

A lot of it will depend on what part of the country you live in.   We’re in Utah where food prices are rising with hair raising speed.

Some will depend on whether or not eating organic is important to you or not.  For us, organic is important in Parker’s diet.  When my garden is in full swing we can accomplish organic for all of us with no problems.   My dehydrated and frozen fruits and veggies last us until about April.  I seriously need another freezer if I want to make my frozen garden veggies last longer.

And there may be those of you, who like us, eat as simply as possible in order to have the funds to keep a medically fragile/kid with special needs alive.

I’ve mentioned before that many families use their grocery budget to draw off of in a tight month in order to make ends meet.  These months are known as Ramen Noodle months at our house.

Share your grocery budget below!

How much do you spend per person each month?

What system do you use when paying for your groceries? Cash? Envelope system?  Credit Card to accrue points and then pay if off that same month?

Groceries for us were pretty simple this month.  I spent $398.00 at Costco.  With my day nursing hours cut way back, I’m not going to have much time to do my usual cherry picking.  I plan on doing some ad matching and coupon doubling at WalMart later in the month.  I’ll get more into that below.

About $50.00 dollars of that Costco money went to items for Parker’s blenderized diet.  Organic olive oil.  (We go through a bottle a month.)  Organic quinoa (we were totally out) .  Organic steel cut oats.   4 pounds for a little over $4.00 was a GREAT deal. And an organic dry bean mix.  I use a lot of beans and nuts in Parker’s blenderized diet. I also get organic apples (two flats) and organic spinach (two boxes) for Parker to use in his blenderized diet.  I’ll use one box of spinach fresh, and saute the other box with garlic and olive oil in and put it into daily sized portions in our freezer.

Part of my dehydrated stash.

I  spent about $50.00 dollars at the health food store on goat’s milk for Parker’s blenderized diet.  I buy a month’s worth, divide it up into quart mason jars and freeze it.  Each month I also buy a can of powdered goat’s milk in case of an emergency.  I don’t have the time to run down to the health food store each week.

Milk from the freezer to make Parker’s goat milk kefir with.

While at the health food store I grabbed 20 pounds of organic broccoli @.89 cents a pound. (GREAT DEAL!)  This I will blanch and then freeze for dinners (and Parker’s blenderized diet) through out the month.

My Costco run included enough stuff that two of my kids can pack lunches all month long.   Home lunches, when done right, are MUCH less than purchasing school lunches.  The key is thinking outside of the (lunch)box.  A piece of string cheese, an apple and some whole grain Kashi crackers purchased on sale with a doubled coupon and a homemade pumpkin cookie makes a great lunch!

I have a freezer full of frozen pumpkin (home grown!) to use in baking and Parker’s blenderized diet.

Later on I’ll be doubling these coupons at WalMart.   I’ll be stocking up on Ragu pasta sauce for .67 cents each and Dr. Pepper (my vice) 2 liter bottles @.28 cents each.

I have $1.00 off Chex cereal coupons.  I’ll be able to grab this cereal for a little over a buck a box at Walmart after the coupon!  We won’t eat 12 boxes in one month, but buying in bulk at a great price with help out with next month’s grocery bill.

I have frozen fruit (that I froze myself) in the freezer for smoothies, home canned green beans, pears from my parent’s trees, carrots, potatoes from my parents garden, and that frozen broccoli, along with some fresh salad stuff…plus my strawberries are still producing!

I’ll most likely spend another $20.00 mid-month on fresh fruit (those teeny little oranges should be out soon!) and salad stuff.

So, after spending a bit over $100.00 for Parker’s blenderized diet items, I will have spent about $450.00 for the other 5 of us for a month’s worth of groceries…….and the oldest boy child who likes to use my pantry to shop from. * <g>

Thanksgiving dinner will be purchased with the gains from some cloth diapers I’m selling.   My parents will bring a ham and the pies.  My Mom bakes her own pies.  Yum!  I’ll make my own bread for the stuffing.  And I’ve got the makings of fudge stashed away downstairs.

This is actually a really great grocery month for us.  I’ve made do on much less many months in a row.  And I’m sure I’ll need to do it again.

Except for Parker,  the rest of us eat on less than $100 dollars a month each.  Actually, this isn’t just for food……it’s for EVERYTHING this month from food to toilet paper to laundry detergent to Reed’s Tums and my Allegra…..all of which I purchased at Costco.

I’ve done it on MUCH less, but it’s nice to have a month where I can actually stock up on a few things as well.  Makes the lean months that much easier.

*The 22 year old came over yesterday for dinner……and left with brand new bottles of laundry detergent and fabric softener.  heh.

PS:  Have you entered our AbleNet switch adaptive toy giveaway?  Go and enter now!



About Tammy and Parker

Special Needs Blogger, and homeschooling Mom, heavily involved in advocacy for all kids with special needs in Utah.


  1. Stacy says:

    You’re GOOD! Our grocery budget is less than that but there are only 2 of us- we are working on converting to a cash system.
    I don’t know what the price of olive oil is at Costco, but you may want to double check it against Amazon’s price. We’ve gotten great prices with their Subscribe and Save program on several things- olive oil, maple syrup, coconut oil, etc. They tend to have good prices on bulk things too, or find out if anyone near you runs a Frontier co-op.
    I just learned that you can pressure can dry beans and the price difference between dry vs canned beans is huge. We canned a bunch of our own and will be able to open and use them just like store-bought canned beans.
    My only other thought would be to see what you can make yourself or reuse vs. dispose- laundry detergent, cleaning stuff, paper towels (use rags if you’re ok with that). Soap nuts make pretty cheap laundry detergent but some people find they don’t work as well. Oh, and we’ve never used fabric softener or dryer sheets- I’m allergic to both. We throw a few tennis balls in the dryer and it helps soften the clothes.

    • Tammy and Parker says:

      Stacy, I actually LOVE Amazon’s Subscribe and Save program. They just offered a 25 pound bag of ORGANIC hard red wheat for $25.00 delivered. I could get conventional wheat at Costco for a few bucks less…..but not many! I’ll check out their olive oil prices! Great idea.

      You are so right about the beans. I do them in the crockpot and freeze them. Are you putting them directly into Mason jars and pressure cooking them that way?

      I’ve also been able to pick up some stellar deals on Vitacost.com. on cleaning supplies, especially when they offer free shipping. I do use fabric softener, if I don’t I run around itching all day. I’ve tried using vinegar, but that doesn’t quite cut it either.

      I love, love, love vinegar to clean with. I always have several jugs on hand.

      • Stacy says:

        Yes. Canned beans are pretty easy. Soak overnight in LOTS of water, drain, simmer 30 min, drain and rinse . Fill jars a bit more than 3/4 full and ladle boiling water over the top to just below where the rings start. Add 1tsp salt per quart. Process 90 min at 10 PSI (I think). This works for black beans, pintos, red beans, chickpeas (garbanzo beans).
        http://www.pickyourown.org/canningdriedbeans.htm is more or less the method we used, but we did both pints and quarts for 90 min. Its awesome to be able to open a can of beans- we’ve tried freezing them but they turned out too mushy and took FOREVER to defrost.
        Things we have on Amazon’s subscribe and save or have in the past
        Olive oil
        Maple syrup
        printer ink
        coconut oil
        grapeseed oil

        Almost any time I find a price on something (especially in bulk) I double check the price on Amazon. We’ve also gotten supplements or vitamins cheap there or on Vitacost.

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