I have been getting many questions about my monthly budget and how it exactly works. So today I thought I would break it down for you and hopefully you can get some inspiration from it. Here we go!
My husband get's paid only once a month so I have to really budget my money or we will be up a creek if we don't. I head on up to the bank and withdraw $600. I immediately set aside $50 for 4 weeks which is a total of $200. This is for my $50 weekly food budget that I use to keep fresh seasonal items in the house.
I then head on over to Winco to fill up on bulk items that I still cannot find cheaper or local. I know that Winco helps people with their super cheap prices but I just don't like to shop there for a few reasons.
-Produce is not organic or local
-Only has a few local company product options
-Not many organic products
-Plastic bags are the norm there.
-Crazy busy and way too many people for me.
-Not many products in glass containers
-Will not allow you to bring your own container for meat etc.
-Meat selection has no non hormone/nitrate free options
-Etc need I go on?
I am almost ready to stop going there but I have just a few things I still cannot find cheaper alternatives to. Rice and cheese is my biggest problem. I can get rice in the bulk section for .50 cents per pound or up to $1.50 per pound for organic. This is way cheaper than Whole Foods or New Seasons. I am pricing it out on Azure later to see if I can find rice in larger quantities. But until then I buy my rice from Winco. I usually will pick up about 6 pounds of white rice and 4 pounds of brown rice because this will allow me to only shop at Winco once a month.
My next problem is cheese. I have a love hate relationship with cheese. I really really love love cheese of all kinds. I DISLIKE all the plastic involved. So I either need to learn how to make it or just get over it. Ugg. So I buy about 6 pounds of assorted cheese blocks. I will figure out if bulk or name brand is cheaper and go with the cheaper one. Sorry but I just cannot live without cheese. Not happening.
I also pick up my dog food from Winco. She is on a raw food diet due to all her allergies and Winco has the cheapest meat around besides a butcher which i'm still deciding on whether or not to check them out. 88 cents per pound is a steal. This does not come out of my food budget but out of our main account. I buy animal fat for her and also eggs as well. None of this is organic because honestly we just can't afford it. I love my dog but I love my kids more. Sorry Riley....Anyways my dog isn't picky about what type of meat or part of the animal so if I find a deal somewhere else then I buy it. I just scored some chicken skin (with meat) for 50 cents per pound and some beef fat for 25 cents a pound. I randomly went into Albertson's (which I never shop at) and asked the meat counter guy if they sold it and he off loaded a ton to me. I think he was happy about it and actually said they throw it out sometimes.
So rice, cheese, and things like that I pick up at Winco. They do have a bag credit of 5 cents for bringing in your own bag but honestly I rarely see people doing it. Its mostly those damn plastic toxic bags. UURRR.
The left over money from my Winco trip is use to get by as long as possible. The longer I put off using my $50 weekly money the better. The money I save can be used for other things we normally wouldn't be doing. Maybe pizza one night or maybe ice cream. I do need to mention that my monthly budget money also pays for anything the kids might need. All my Goodwill trips, random things the school will require my daughter to get, shoe's, laundry items, etc. I also will order or go in on somethings from Azure from time to time. If they have a killer deal on produce I get ours through them. My friend will sometimes want me to go in on a rather large item so we can both save money. For example we usually share a 50 pound bag of organic flour for $30. We each will pay $15 and split it up at her house. This is a killer deal.
Now onto my weekly $50 budget and meals. I usually will Facebook about what I make for dinner and how much it will cost to make it each week. I have had some inquiries about some items not being in my weekly $50 groceries or what not. The $50 is for the fresh in season items. Items like milk, butter, produce, or anything that I run out of and need now. Because I do my once a month shopping for things like rice, I don't need to buy it because I already did. I do factor that in when I do my total for the meal though. Make sense? So if you don't see it in the $50 a week picture its because I bought it in the beginning of the month. I also get some free produce from a friend once in a while which you will know because I always give her a shout out. Thanks Theresa!!
The rest of the month I shop at New Season's, Whole Foods and Trader Joe's in that order once a week. New Season's has the best produce and meat prices, Whole Foods has cheaper half n half and sells particular things I need, and Trader Joe's has the cheapest snack items. All of these stores are within a few miles from me and I only hit them up once a week and usually on a Sunday so I can leave the kids at home and actually think when I buy. Who would of thought? Thinking??? Crazy notion I know.
Now i'm not perfect but this is a plan that works for my family of 6. Thinking about it now my actual total amount for food each month is only around $400 or so. I should really sit down and write things down but i'm not that organized. Actually i'm surprised I stick to a budget as well as I do. Honestly its pretty pathetic how forgetful I really am. Just ask my husband. This plan keeps me from going to the store very often which makes me happy because I hate shopping.
One thing that I do not do when I shop is write a list down. You see the thing about buying in season to save money is that it's always new things each week. One week its oranges on sale, the next it's apples. You just never know. If I stick to a list I spend more money. You save more money using what is in season and on sale. We like it because each meal is different and meals don't get boring. I always try something new each week as well so the kids are excited to try new things out. Last week it was dandelion greens (which we loved) and this week its marinated tofu which will be used tonight. All this enables me to save money and keep it fun and exciting.
Hopefully this answers some of your questions but if not feel free to leave your questions in a comment below. I will answer them as quickly as I can. Thanks!