So guys. I was recalculating our budget at the beginning of the month and it hit me: once we get moved into our new debt-free house and therefore stop paying rent, we will easily be able to live on $1,500 a month or less.
To say I’m excited about this is well, an understatement. I’ve been kind of floating on cloud nine all week.
I mean, we won’t live on $1,500 a month, because we’ll probably start putting the kids in more activities like homeschool group this fall, traveling more and, well you know, spending more.
But we’ll be able to, which is a big sigh of relief for me, because no matter how much money you make, I don’t think you ever lose that feeling of knowing the rug could be pulled out from under you again once you’ve had it happen, and I feel a lot safer knowing that we could live on so much less.
No more rent/mortgage, lower electric bill (smaller house), lower transportation bill since we won’t be driving from town to the farm every day, no more bill for city water/sewage, our cars are paid for…
Our biggest expense will literally be health insurance.
Our second biggest expense will be food. We’ve been very intentional about keeping our grocery bill low, because it’s one of the biggest recurring expenses we have, but to be honest, I’ve always been a little hesitant to publish our actual food budget.
Partly because I don’t want to go to the trouble of gathering up my grocery receipts from the three different stores I shop at, and partly because I know that we don’t stick to our budget perfectly.
You see, if I showed you what I actually bought in a week, it wouldn’t help you at all, because I don’t just buy what I need for that week.
For instance, I recently went shopping and walked out of the store with 40 pounds of ground turkey, and 8 pounds of frozen broccoli. The turkey was on sale, and since that store, which I don’t go to often, has the best price on broccoli, I figured I’d get a bunch while I was there.
That’s pretty much all I bought that week, thanks to some garden produce and frozen chicken.
So while we will eat $10 worth of ground turkey this week, I didn’t actually spend the money on it this week.
See what I mean?
So here’s a fairly accurate sampling of the groceries we go through in a week, and what they cost. This is like the $20 grocery budget, but better, because the list is shorter, and it doesn’t call for trying to find single servings of groceries.
Our $40 Weekly Grocery Budget (For a Family Of Four)
- 2 5lbs bags bulk chicken leg quarters – $5.90 (Walmart)
- 10 lbs ground turkey – $10 (H-E-B)
- Eggs – 1 dozen – $0.69 (Aldi)
- 1 package of corn tortillas (80 count) – $1.98 (Aldi)
- 1 lb. dry pinto beans – $0.80 (Walmart)
- Shredded cheese 1 lb – $2.99 (Aldi)
- 1 package of baby spinach – $1.98 (H-E-B)
- Yellow squash 1.21 lbs – $1.55 (H-E-B)
- Zucchini 1.68 lbs – $2.15 (H-E-B)
- Frozen Broccoli – $2.09 (H-E-B)
- Salsa – $1.49 (Aldi)
- Oatmeal – $2.39 (Aldi)
- Butter 1 lb – $2.39 (we don’t use an entire pound of butter in a week, but I’m just going to pretend we use ALL butter instead of olive oil and coconut oil and say we use a pound) – Aldi
- Bananas – 4 lbs – $1.56 (Aldi)
- Brown rice $1.50 (Walmart)
- Potatoes or sweet potatoes – $2.39 (H-E-B)
You’ll probably notice that I buy most Produce at H-E-B – a Texas grocery chain similar to Kroger – and most everything else at Aldi. Walmart is pretty much my back-up plan for when I can’t make it out to Aldi.
I want to make it clear that we don’t always by the same things every time, especially when it comes to produce, we will often mix it up, and buy what’s in season or on sale. For instance, we ate a LOT of asparagus this spring! but right now, squash and zucchini are coming out of the gardens by the bucket load, so we’re using it a lot. This winter, I’m sure we’ll eat a lot more cabbage.
But you get the idea, things like the chicken, turkey, eggs, beans, cheese, salsa (yes, salsa), oatmeal, rice, and potatoes, are staples for us, so we do our best to get stocked up on them when they go on sale.
And yes, our day-to-day meals are pretty darn basic.
we have bean and cheese quesadillas using homemade refried beans, with salsa for lunch a LOT, and we have other forms of tacos – chicken tacos, ground turkey tacos – at least once a week, because we genuinely love Mexican food, and since it’s cheap, why not?
I personally eat a lot of stir-fried veggies and chicken.
Chicken and rice with broccoli or another veggie in the instant pot is an easy, and super cheap dinner we often have.
And of course, many weeks we don’t buy salsa, or tortillas, because c’mon, who eats 80 tortillas in one week?! So maybe on those weeks we buy pasta and sauce, or baking flour to make casseroles with.
Certainly we don’t need a container of oatmeal every week, so that money may go toward a 5 lb bag of grits (which will last at least a month!), or a jug of milk, or baking ingredients.
During July, I bought a lot of peaches. Because Texas peaches straight off the trees are Ahmaaaazing!
Again, you get the idea.
So now you have a rough list, and some substitution ideas.
I know that you’re not going to want to eat or shop exactly the way we do, but I hope this list gives you some inspiration about how YOU can make your grocery budget cheaper.
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