Once again, I have been reminded of how incredibly brilliant and frugal as a shopper my wife is, groceries-wise. I saw a column about SNAP (formerly Food Stamps) being cut so a family of 4 would only be receiving $632/month in assistance. Including the amount we spend for our son’s lunches at his high school, for a family of 4 (and 6 when the two college kids are home), my wife does it on less than that and she puts good meals together. And, her grocery budget also pays for toiletries/cleaning supplies, etc. Her mother taught her well.
How does she do it? Her main shopping is done semi-monthly. She has a menu all planned out, shops her cupboards first so as to not to spend needlessly (unless something is on a ridiculously good sale, of course!), and then goes to get what else is needed. When her schedule isn’t ridiculously crazy, like it is right now, she sets aside shopping day, or the day after, as “freezer cooking day,” where she cooks in mass.
Doing her cooking in this manner does a couple of things for her. First, in the long run, it saves her time. She prepares multiple meals concurrently. Second, it saves money because it enables her to buy a single larger size of a product which is cheaper than two smaller sizes of the same product. Less of the product goes to waste because more of it is being used than being stored or refrigerated, just to be forgotten. Doing it this way also enables her to make a larger size of the entrees so that there are typically leftovers for me and others to eat as lunches. I cannot remember the last sandwich I had to make for a lunch. Also, I absolutely hate it when food has to be thrown out because it has spoiled.
Now, our menu doesn’t often include steak or other high-priced items, but it is delicious nonetheless. It does take time and planning and preparation, but living on a restricted grocery budget is very doable.
I have an incredibly brilliant and talented wife in many areas and ways. The way she handles her monthly grocery budget is just one example, but one that can get lost. And I wanted to take the opportunity to bring it to the forefront this morning in light of that column I read.