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Old 01-22-2018, 10:32 PM   #41
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Re: New Year’s Budget/Debt Free/Financial Goals Chat

We eat as lot of very simple meals. Yogurt and rice, scrambled eggs and a frozen veggie, bean burritos, rice and beans, home made soup, popcorn and fresh veggies and yogurt ranch. I actually don't mean plan and we just eat what's on hand. For example, we had pork pot roast, salad and frozen green beans. I had cooked plain rice the night before so we had that too. Not a cookbook combination, but it worked. I make the kids finish dinner the next day for lunch if they have a lot left over. Drinks are water, milk or herbal tea. Dessert is for birthdays and holidays. Breakfast is usually oatmeal.

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Old 01-23-2018, 07:20 AM   #42
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Re: New Year’s Budget/Debt Free/Financial Goals Chat

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I'll list what we do (probably things you all already do.)

-There is no free access to all the food. They can have a snack but until they figure out portion control we get it for them.
-We don't waste food. So they serve themselves some and can have more but we don't do big initial servings.
- We stay away from most packaged prepared food like frozen waffles etc. We make our own.
-Price book. My dh kept it in his head. I finally have a hard copy. We don't pay more than price listed unless absolutely necessary.
-We limit meat intake. We have meatless Fridays and we aren't huge meat portion people. I wish we had an affordable reliable meat source.
-We usually have a fresh bread available and that cuts down on snacking on other things.
-We eats what is in season and/or what's on sale. So meals are based on what's available for the best price currently.
-We love beans.
-It's much harder to keep budget low when there are food/allergies etc.
-Aldis has helped with our food budget and we figured out what's cheaper where and we try and pick those items up only there.
-We don't do daily dessert. We bake often and we will have dessert but it's not an everyday expectation.
-We make our own broths and stock.
-We drink primarily water.

That's some of what we do. I'm sure there's more.

Just watching other families I notice that food waste is a big issue. Food goes bad before used or portions of food served gets tossed.

Jen that figure sounds on track for me. Remind me, there's 9 in the family?
We do most of that....
Three meals a day for adults and big kids. Little kids get a snack in the afternoon, Addilyn gets an additional snack in three morning. Occasionally the big kids have a snack in the afternoon but not typically. And this is done very cheaply because our discount store sells big boxes of random snacks for $8. Dried fruit, nuts, popcorn, granola or cereal bars, etc.

We don't waste food...a lot of times the kids eat three plates of it though! I have no idea how they do it.

The only time we get packaged food like that is when we get it extremely cheap at the discount store, and then it's usually saved for when some of us are gone. Convenience food it not that convenient for large families, not to mention expensive.

I do ok with the price book in my head bit I could probably do better. We do buy in season and on sale to save on cost.

We go through a lot of meat but we get beef and pork locally, and chicken from the discount store, so it is well priced at least. My Matt budget is seperate from our grocery budget since my meat budget it not spent at the store. We do meatless meals sometimes, and lots of meat-extending meals.

We like beans too. And rice.

We don't have an aldis. We do have shelters discount store and it's amazing. We always shop there first and just fill in what we can't find there at the regular grocery store/Wal-Mart.

We don't do daily dessert.

We only drink water and milk. You can have milk at breakfast and supper, the rest of the time is water. Except we do buy powerade/gaterade for DH for work, much more so in the summer, he works outside and it's pretty much necessary to keep him hydrated and avoid heat stroke.

We make our own broths and stocks the majority of the time but not 100%.

3 of our kids are gluten free and we are trying Addilyn on gluten free right now to see if that helps with her night waking and weight gain. We always have bread available...but gluten free bread is not cheap, whether it's homemade/from a mix/store bought. We plan our meals and snacks with this in mind, so a lot of times we will do like potato soup, chili, chicken and rice, tacos, etc that are naturally gluten free so that I don't have to make multiple meals and we avoid the increased cost of gluten free.

There are nine of us. I probably just need to suck it up and increase the budget because it's only going to get worse as they keep growing but it seems like SO much money in food, and I feel like I should be able to cut it back but I am not successful.

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Do you completely utilize leftovers? For us, that helps our grocery money go a long way. And sometimes we all eat sandwiches for supper. We are happy with that and my kids don't eat a big supper, usually. They do eat a lot at lunch though.

What about soups or "one dish" type meal? Those are lots cheaper and I'm sure I'm not telling you anything you don't already know.

Man, groceries must be extremely cheap here? My grocery budget is $500 but DH eats lunch out everyday so that number doesn't include his lunch. And it doesn't include beef as we have homegrown beef.

I haven't tracked what I have actually spent in quite some time though. I budget at the beginning of each month but then don't track food purchases.
We do use up all leftovers. We don't usually have sandwiches for supper but we do for lunch sometimes. It isn't very cheap for us though because of the gluten free bread. We do them in tortilla shells or on crackers sometimes, I can get both of those things at the discount store significantly cheaper than bread.

We do soups. We have to cook it in two big pots lol. We don't do one dish meals because of the amount of food we go through, I am not even sure how I would do that. The other day we are two entire 9x13 casserole dishes ++ sides. Seriously, we go through a TON of food. I have no idea how the kids eat that much.

How do you know how much you spend if you don't track? How do you know whether you stay within your $500 or not?
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Old 01-23-2018, 07:44 AM   #43
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Re: New Year’s Budget/Debt Free/Financial Goals Chat

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We do most of that....
Three meals a day for adults and big kids. Little kids get a snack in the afternoon, Addilyn gets an additional snack in three morning. Occasionally the big kids have a snack in the afternoon but not typically. And this is done very cheaply because our discount store sells big boxes of random snacks for $8. Dried fruit, nuts, popcorn, granola or cereal bars, etc.
How do you decide how long little kids need snacks? We've been discussing this a lot, not to save money, but because I think snacking creates bad health/nutrition habits that I don't want DS to have to deal with. DH is a big time snacker, and I am a little, and every time we have a snack DS wants one. I think we're training him to be a snacker; DH worries that he might actually be hungry or need the food for growth.

We have a rule that all food has to be eaten I'm the kitchen/dining room. This has cut down on snacking immensely and also on the number of dirty dishes I find in random places. If DH wants popcorn, he sits at the kitchen table to eat it. If DS wants some peanut butter crackers, he sits in his high chair for them. Half the time we decide we're just not hungry enough to sit there.

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Originally Posted by jen_batten View Post
There are nine of us. I probably just need to suck it up and increase the budget because it's only going to get worse as they keep growing but it seems like SO much money in food, and I feel like I should be able to cut it back but I am not successful.
My MIL had 9 kids and she has told me before she doesn't know how they made it. She canned jam in quart jars and the boys (my DH being the biggest) would go through a quart a week. She says DH would come in from doing chores and lay out an entire loaf of bread and make it into pb&j sandwiches as his after-chore-snack. He now denies this, of course, but my MIL is not the type to lie. I think large families and growing girls and boys just go through lots of food.

I don't fully believe that canning/preserving can save everyone money. I think it's handy to have that food in hand, but not always cheap. I did applesauce this summer, but had to buy the apples. It's probably cheaper than buying applesauce, except that applesauce isn't something we actually use a lot. Most canned fruits have a ton of sugar in them. Canned veggies don't, but I can buy canned or frozen for very close to what I can can them for if not cheaper, and we prefer the taste of frozen. If you can start all your own seeds as gheera does, and have room for a large garden I think it can help with the grocery bill, but it's a lot of work. I have a decent sized garden, but I've never had luck getting my own seeds to grow so I end up buying plants. I don't have a good source of horse manure, so I buy it. I do have a compost pile, but it doesn't make enough to fertilize my garden each year. I just don't think gardening helps the budget as much as many will claim.
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Old 01-23-2018, 08:40 AM   #44
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Re: New Year’s Budget/Debt Free/Financial Goals Chat

Morning snack usually gets cut around 2ish I think.... If we are busy doing activities and they don't notice that they are hungry or get whiny because they're starved, they can do ok til lunch. I can tell Addilyn is getting closer because we used to do her snack around 9:30 or 10 and now some days it's like 11 before she starts acting like she needs one. Lunch is at noon(ish), so she doesn't get much anymore and pretty soon will transfer to no morning snack. Just like during a nap schedule transition they might have a bit of a crabby transition period but they adjust pretty quickly. The littler ones usually stop getting afternoon snack at maybe 6 years old or so, and we use the same cues for that. Now there are occasional days when we have been running around like crazy or something where we all feel starving and those are the days that the bigs get a snack too. I don't want them to go hungry, I just don't want them to snack and not eat meals. Also, if you don't want to eat lunch, that's fine, but that's what you'll have at snack if you are hungry. Although I can't remember when we used that last, my kids are all eaters lol.

For canning/preserving I think it makes a huge difference where you can acquire produce and the price. If someone gives you a ton of something I think it absolutely does save money, or if I run into a stellar deal on produce at the discount store. If you have to buy pretty much regular price to preserve I think you are better off just buying it. One thing we do is freeze stuff that we find really cheap, like grapes might be on sale for .99/# in the summer so I will buy extra and freeze them. Right now they are almost $4/#. No way I would buy fresh right now but we can eat the ones out of the freezer. I need more freezer space to utilize that more though. I do can a little and dehydrate a little but both of those options are quite a bit more work than freezing and a lot of times we prefer frozen.
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Old 01-23-2018, 08:53 AM   #45
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Re: New Year’s Budget/Debt Free/Financial Goals Chat

Jen- I don't know! That's my budget problem. I limit my trips to town. I will do a "big grocery shop" and usually spend about $285. Then I will do a smaller shop and spend about $140. That's $425. These amounts are really consistent because I buy the same things usually. We are not big on variation.

Then I will call DH and ask him to pick up things a few times during the month, milk, bread, something to complete a meal, etc. So I do know that that number is roughly correct. But I need to track to double check myself.


These past couple months I haven't been grocery shopping regularly because of the holidays. We have eaten at my grandmother's a lot, things like that. Of course we bring food to those gatherings, but it's not like providing a whole meal.

El-about the gardening.... I think preserving and growing food depends on where you live as to how much you can save. It helps us a significant bit to grow our own vegetables in summer. Now... I haven't been very successful in preserving very much. We do freeze some things but they are to be eaten within a couple months, it's not long term preserving. I can get 12 green pepper plants (which we eat a lot of) for around $6. Those plants will grow well over 100 peppers which would cost me $83 at the store. And if I do chop and freeze some, I'm only out the cost of a few ziplock bags. We eat lots of squash also and squash plants are dirt cheap. I don't know the price right off....

All that long novel to say, it depends on what you plant, how you preserve, and how much vegetables are where you live.
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Old 01-23-2018, 08:59 AM   #46
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Re: New Year’s Budget/Debt Free/Financial Goals Chat

Oh and Jen- I truly wish my kids would eat like yours!!! Mine eat raw vegetables, meat and fruit. That's it. A couple of them eat rice and a couple different ones eat pasta. No tortilla shells, no meat mixed with cheese, nothing mixed together, actually. They are just not big eaters. DH and I both cook all manner of things and offer it to them, make them try different things, insist that they eat things, all to no avail. DH and I both were the exact same way as children. Now, he and I eat everything. So we just keep working on them and we do require them to try foods, and hopefully one day they will be like us and eat everything. We have noticed some progress with two of them. So that gives me hope.
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Old 01-23-2018, 10:27 AM   #47
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New Year’s Budget/Debt Free/Financial Goals Chat

We still snack and my oldest is almost 8. They aren't scheduled snacks, if we're hungry, I look at the clock and if it's time for lunch I fix lunch if we still have a way to go, we eat a snack. Our snacks are apples,other fruit we have, carrots, celery, occasionally crackers or something special like that. We all eat popcorn at night if we watch a movie. I do buy grapes as long as they aren't $6 a pound. The kids will eat 2-3 pounds in a day.

Jen-how do you freeze grapes? I have tried freezing them before and they were gross.

A eats cheese like crazy. She and I both love cheese and crackers. Sometimes a bow of cereal is a snack. Only two Chirpys eat cereal or else I wouldn't be able to buy it regularly. Ha! I never bought cereal much before until M was born and now I still buy it because L can fix him and A a bowl and they can eat it while I'm getting ready or doing something else. We eat a lot of grits and oatmeal, eggs, bacon and sausage. Anytime of day. Scrambled eggs are Logan's afternoon snack sometimes. That's one thing I've noticed that is expensive here. Eggs!!! They are upwards of $2 per dozen. Always. We are getting more chickens in spring though.

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Old 01-23-2018, 11:07 AM   #48
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Re: New Year’s Budget/Debt Free/Financial Goals Chat

I just came back from the market. Y'all going to have to hold my hand as I transition to this being my responsibility. It takes me so much longer than my dh. I'm not sure how I did today. I think I did ��ok. I'm about to go menu plan and then read back answers on here.

Jen or anyone else-Try this experiment the next time you serve casseroles (or any main dish.) Don't bring main dish to the table. Serve everyone from the stove and then have them sit down. Keep salad, veggies, sides on table. Let us know if less casserole was eaten. Curious to know everyone's results.

Also there is no getting around packaged drinks adding up $$. It sounds like they are needed but I know I get sticker shock down the beverage aisle.
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Old 01-23-2018, 11:23 AM   #49
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Re: New Year’s Budget/Debt Free/Financial Goals Chat

Eggs are only $1 here.

We freeze grapes all laid out on a baking sheet, then once they are frozen we bag them. We don't unthaw them because they would be mushy, the kids love them frozen or we put them in smoothies. We do the same thing with a lot of other fruits, berries, cherries, etc get stemmed/pitted and frozen on baking sheets. Peaches, apples, etc get cored/pitted/sliced and laid on baking sheets, then bagged.

We don't bring any of the food to the table. When kids gets firsts/seconds/thirds, they get some of everything. You have to finish everything on your plate to get more, so we don't have anyone only getting main dishes and leaving the other stuff. We do sometimes start with veggies as an appetizer but I'm not convinced it helps. Maybe we have worms lol. They are like bottomless pits!
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Old 01-23-2018, 11:28 AM   #50
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Re: New Year’s Budget/Debt Free/Financial Goals Chat

Chirpy--it sounds like you only do two store trips a month. How do you store everything? We have two fridges and we still have to go once a week because we can't fit all the milk and produce if we go every other week. Although if your DH is bringing milk that would help.

Next time you are frustrated at the kids for not eating remember they are saving you money. I sometimes watch mine in horror as they have gone back for thirds while I calculate our meal's total price in my head lol. I am glad they are good eaters, but geez.
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