Sunday, March 2, 2008

How I Feed my Family of 8 for $300 a month - Part 2

Last week I introduced you to some basic concepts that I follow to feed my family for just $300 a month. This week I will start showing you how to apply those concepts to your personal situation. If you missed part 1 of the series, you can read it here.

The first step I follow to feed my family well on such a small amount of money, is to make a budget. Now don't groan! Just bear with me on this point. My husband has already informed me on how incredibly boring this is, but how exciting can I make a post on budgeting? Woohoo, it's time to make a budget!! Did that help? {sigh} I didn't think so.

Anyways, you have to have one in place to save money. If you shop without setting up a budget, you will spend more! Setting up a budget is one of the most important things you can do when trying to save money on groceries. No matter how much you may be tempted to skip over this part, it is integral if you want to succeed.

I also advocate paying with cash. It has been proven that using a credit or debit card will cause you to spend more. I promise that you will make wiser shopping choices when you only have cash to spend on all your groceries. Enough on that for now.

Now, there is one thing that you need to do first before setting up your budget. You need to figure out how much you are currently spending every month on groceries. If you find out you are spending $800 a month, you wouldn't want to cut your budget to $400 the next month. The best advice I can give is to slowly decrease the amount you spend over a few months.

The first thing I did when trying to find ways to feed my family for less, was to save my receipts for a whole month. I wrote everything down I spent. Before I did this I thought I was spending around $500 a month. When I totaled it up, though, I found out I was spending closer to $650-$700 a month. It was eye opening to say the least.

Another important fact that you can find out by keeping track of those receipts, is exactly what you are buying. You will be able to see what you need, and what you've spent money on that maybe wasn't necessary. This will help you when you actually sit down to plan your budget. Once you know how much money is going out, sit down with your husband and actually set a goal to decrease what you are currently spending .

The first goal my husband and I set after we saw what was going out, was $500 a month. After a few months I saw that I could spend $500 a month easily. I went back to my husband and we set another goal to drop it down to $400 a month. After another few months we decreased our spending, yet again, to $300 a month. Do you see how I did that? I didn't drop down to $300 from $650-$700 overnight. I gradually made the change, praying that God would show me how to save money along the way.

When setting your budget pray that God will show you how to save and give you the creativity to come up delicious, healthy meals while still saving money. You will be amazed at what you learn, and what you can do with the money you have.

Coming next: I'll start delving into basic menu planning


D&Xmommy said...

Hey, I am loving your blog. You are totally a woman after my own heart. I will be sharing your blog with friends who have the same desire--to give to their home and family first. Hugs, hope to see you soon!

JadeMerie said...

Thanks for the post, I found you though moneysavingmom. I fed my family of 9 on $385 last month, I thought I was doing well. Great job of cutting it down to $300. I'm not sure how much more I could cut it. My $25 bag of flour that I get went up by $4/bag since last month. I really hope it doesn't go up much more, but I don't see how it can't.

Kim said...

Tell hubby we frugal types love posts about groceries :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the encouragement! I have 9 to feed... but we haven't quite got it to $300. how do you convince the kids they don't need milk ? :) I buy whole milk, pour out about 1/3 and fill it up with cold water... no one complains and when it goes down, I add the other 1/3e plus more water! any other tips?

Mama T said...

Haha, Kim. I passed on the word to my sweet, but clueless dh. He loves that I save so much money, but he just doesn't get it!

Anonymous, I do give them milk. I have enough in my budget for 1 gallon of milk a week. I then work another 2 or so gallons into my CVS deals per week.

mama7times said...

Hi, I was just wondering when you say you feed your family of 8 for 300 a month, is that just for food or does that include other things such as paper products, feminine care, cleaning detergents, etc? If it doesn't include those how much do yo budget for those other things? I'm a mother to 7 children and really need to find a reasonable amount.

Mama T said...

Hi mama7times, this includes everything. I have to say though that I rarely, if ever, buy any paper products or toiletry items. I shop at CVS and Walgreen's and work their deals.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I am enjoying your posts, but I have a question about the ages of your children. Do you have teenage boys to feed? I have a family of 8 too, which includes 3 teenagers. One of them works a full time construction job and NEEDS lots of food. I make all of our own bread and baked goods (with freshly ground wheat). I don't buy packaged food or boxed cereal. I make our yogurt and granola. I buy almost everything I can in bulk from a food co-op. I still find it very difficult to keep the food costs under $900 a month. Just curious...