Thinking about groceries

By Mir
March 4, 2008

Every now and then I sit down and think about two of my pet topics simultaneously: Feeding my family, and saving money.

And then my head explodes.

If you’re a fellow penny-pincher, you—like me—need to hear it again and again: Food is not the place to go frugal. It just isn’t. It has taken me a long time to come around to the place where saving money on other things allows me to spend the money on food that I should be spending, without guilt.

But other people always say it so much better than I do: Check out The Cleaner Plate Club for a stark visual on what is happening to the food chain in our country, and then, if you find yourself depressed by that (I did), go read Alanna Kelloggs’ kick-butt post on the right way to save money on groceries. And then? Buy real food.


  1. Perfect timing. We’re in the middle of analyzing our grocery bills, and it is depressing. Alanna’s article was smart and specific. Thank you for sharing this!

  2. Thanks for these links. We’ve had our food budget on our mind a lot at our house as we look for ways to save money so we can live on one salary and feed our pre-toddler.

  3. We resolved to give up processed junk and eat real foods at the first of the year. So far, we’ve done pretty well with sticking to it. We’re actually saving money and we feel better because we’re eating healthier and because we’re doing something we believe in, and hubs and I have even dropped a few pounds. I do spend a lot of time cooking on the weekends, but it’s been a win-win situation for us.

  4. I used to obsess over clipping coupons, I used one of those websites that tells you what the deals are. Well anyway, it was still way to time consuming for me and I found myself with a ton of over-processed garbage, that I wouldn’t normally buy. I had a baby a few months ago, and not only do I not have time for the coupon game, but I want to lose a few (ahem…lots of) pounds.

    My saving grace has been Trader Joe’s, while my monthly bill is higher than what it was when I clipped and shopped at a “regular” grocery store, I feel good about feeding EVERYTHING I buy to my family and (most) of their prices are unbeatable when it comes to organic/healthful and even convenience foods. I have been able to feed a family of 3 (not including baby) on $75 a week shopping 99% at TJ’s and a little at Costco, and that includes “splurge” foods and a few bottles of 3-buck-chuck 😉 hehe.

  5. Great reading. I’m already anxiously awaiting the re-opening of our farmer’s market this spring, and we have a great deal with our pastor and his wife, who are huge gardeners: We share the spring garden gruntwork with them, and then get to drive over and share in the garden harvest throughout the summer. (They do all the watering and “keep alive”ing, which is what we’d have trouble doing ourselves.) They get to have the massive garden they love without having to do all the initial startup work alone. Everybody wins (but I think we win more)!

  6. I’ve been using coupons for things we’d buy anyway (in our area we do get dairy & cereal and sometimes even produce coupons in the paper). I use the bulk section for pasta, spices and grains.

    I use my mom’s Costco membership for some processed things we really like (pot pies for hubby’s lunch, our toddler’s dino-shaped chicken, cheese made in-state and shredded for easy freezing).

    We just started doing this, so I bet all this is obvious to most folks. Our biggest savings? Orange juice from concentrate, soda in 2-liters (we drink less that way for some reason), and no more quick-to-spoil flavorless bagged lettuce.

    I like that you are into feeding what you feel good about. For me that means the occasional frozen pizza (loaded with my own toppings it’s cheaper than ordering in) and some processed stuff for my own sanity/time management.

    Thanks for this post and for the link- I would have commented on hers, but I’m not signed up for Blogher yet.

  7. I always seem to spend a lot at the grocery store, even though I cook from scratch, but then, I bake so much that I’m always stocking up on flour, butter, sugar, choc. chips, etc.

    And, sadly, if I cook a large roast thinking I’ll get to freeze leftovers and use them in future recipes, my husband finds the leftovers and eats them. No money savings there!

  8. Thanks Mir, I liked this article, especially the part about making your own spice mixes.

    I’ve also fallen off the meal planning wagon big-time, but this article inspired me to get back on.

    I also enjoyed the fact that the author told everyone to take what she said and start with little steps–dont expect to be able to incorporate every idea and use some common sense when adopting it to your individual situation.

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