A few months ago I shared about my family’s current grocery budget. Some of you felt a mighty relief that you weren’t the only one spending so much each month to feed your family . But others of you fell over with shock. (Sorry ’bout that.)
Before I get too far in to today’s post, allow me to catch you up on some grocery budget posts that will help you understand where I’m coming from here:
- How Much I Spend on Groceries for My Family Full of Teenage Boys
- That Time I Stopped Buying Groceries in an Attempt to “Eat What We Had” and Save Money
- Ways Our Family Saves Money So We Can Afford Our High Grocery Bill
Long story short, we are a family of 6. We have four sons ages 19, 17, 15, and 12. Our oldest lives in the college dorm, but comes over from time to time (sometimes with friends). We almost never eat out, we don’t have cable, and we drive old vehicles. Our health care/insurance costs are amazingly low (praise the Lord!). But…we spend a boat load of money every month on groceries. Eeeeek!
Almost every month, we fork out somewhere between $800-$1,100 dollars for food to feed our family. Yep, sounds a little scary to some of you. We used to get away with much less back when all four of our boys could share one apple for a snack and be fine until they ate their tiny little dinner.
Now it’s just not possible. Our four boys are teenagers now. They are tall. They are extremely active. We care about wholesome nutrition. Our grocery bill reflects all of this.
One of the most difficult questions I’m asked by people is this one:
If you had to cut back on your grocery budget, what would you cut?
I open my mouth in an effort to answer, and nothing comes out. Of all our groceries, what would I not buy? What do I buy that’s a splurge that I could give up? How could I cut back?
Honestly, I’m not sure I have a good answer. I buy food. My family eats it. We waste almost nothing.
Okay, here’s one. Sometimes I splurge and buy juice. This is fun, but not a necessity. We could give that up, which would save, what? About $8 a month? I buy La Croix sparkling water, and this is a total splurge. It’s a fun drink that I could give up. Again, this offers a savings of just a few dollars every month.
Could I (tearfully) give up on buying a grass fed cow every year? Maybe. But even with that, would I really be saving money? Buying our meat in bulk like this really cuts the cost down.
And speaking of cows, I really can’t skimp on the meat at our house, as far as quantity. I feed my boys plenty of rice, potatoes, and pasta to help fill them. But they never feel satisfied without substantial protein.
How about produce? The thought of cutting back on fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables makes me feel sick inside. Our bodies need nourishment from these, and I would hate to cut back. Fruits and veggies are a big part of our meals, and I believe the variety of nutrients they provide helps to keep my boys feeling satisfied, especially when compared to cheap crackers or whatever else I’d offer to fill in the gaps.
Also? I’ve already stopped buying “only organic.” I gave that up several years ago when I realized the cost was keeping us from eating enough fruits and vegetables. I buy organic when the price is reasonable, but otherwise, I trust that God is bigger and we just wash and eat the nourishing conventional produce. (I save a lot of money price-matching our produce, so I’m so thankful our Wal-mart still offers this!)
We already skip the milk. We buy one gallon each week (to use for cooking) from a local farmer, so it is organic and grass fed. But one gallon. For $5.00. It’s more expensive than store-bought, but the $20 I spend on milk each month doesn’t make or break my budget.
So I guess that brings me back to:
My family eats a lot of food.
That, and we feed extra people quite frequently.
Our grocery budget allows for including extras around our table regularly, and for that, I’m extremely thankful. I wouldn’t want to ever give that up, and God continues to provide so I don’t have to.
But truly, if I had to cut back on my grocery budget, I think my kids would be hungry.
Either that or I think they might get sick more frequently. There’s no way to know that for sure, I guess, but after so many years of filling them with nourishing foods, including a lot of fruits and vegetables, I really think their bodies are thriving on the nutrients. To cut back and substitute them with “filler foods” could potentially hurt them and make our doctor bills increase. Worth it? Absolutely not.
This is where I land for my family right now. If our income decreased and we would need to cut budget in order to make it, food would be one of the last things I would/could adjust. And I know, without a doubt, that God would provide for my family’s needs. He is God and we never need to doubt him.
What are your thoughts on this topic? If you had to cut back on grocery spending, what would you/could you cut out?
A Freebie for you!
Here’s something exciting!
Want a recipe eBooklet full of my Top 10 Money Saving Recipes? Join our Heavenly Homemakers Savings Club, and we’ll send it to you for FREE! (Joining means we’ll also keep you informed of all the latest money saving groceries and homemaking items we come across. A win-win!)
Also for Savings Club Members, we just finished a project we started a couple years ago (no time like the present, right?).
Another NEW Freebie for you!
If you’ve been reading here for a while, you might remember that about two years ago (I’m embarrassed that it’s been that long!) I asked all of you to submit your best ways of saving money on real food. I FINALLY compiled these into a fun downloadable resource for you!
This eBooklet is full of 30 Real Food Money Saving Tips. This resource is super practical and easy to read through. I bet you’ll find some ideas you hadn’t thought of before, some that you can work toward now, and some that might benefit you in a different season.
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What are your best ways of saving money on real food?