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Topic : Cost of groceries for a family of 6
Guest Member - `10` `2012-07-02 21:17:51` edit  
Was just talking with hubby tonight about how much groceries cost us each week now, esp as kiddies are growing so fast (2yrs, 5yrs, 11 & 13).  We used to spend $300 a week on groceries but over the past couple of years it's increased dramatically.  In fact it sometimes is around $400-$500 and that's with me not buying lollies, "goodies", chippies, fizzy drinks, biscuits, etc etc but just basics to get us through (we do have two dogs to feed also, plus littlie still in nappies).  Does anyone have any tips of helping to cut back a budget.  We don't have enough garden/land space to have a vege garden otherwise would have done that by now! 
Comments (18)
IceKiwi - 10:00 PM Mon-31-Dec-2012
The foodbox website looks very good unfortunately it doesn't deliver down to the bay of plenty but it sounds like quality fruit n veg. Maybe someone will start something up like that down these ways
MumBum - 7:21 PM Mon-31-Dec-2012
I just wanted to add that recently I have started making as much "home made" as possible.

My kids love hummus and I spew (excuse the term) at spending $3-$4 on a little tub when I can make huge bowls of the stuff by buying the chic peas and other ingredients myself! I worked out that a massive bowl which lasts about three days used in home made kebabs, as dip with crackers, on a salad instead of a dressing and even in place of marge in sammies costs about $4 in total. The most expensive ingredient is the tahini and a jar which cost me around $9 lasts for about 2 months and that's with me making a bowl at least once a week.

If you would like extra tips, you can check out BINN INN's website, they have heaps of tips on how to make your own laundry detergent, washing powder, dishwashing liquid, dishwashing powder, and even how to make your own booze, etc... it all helps to save money.
keznz - 5:36 PM Sat-14-Jul-2012
We have 6 in our family too. 4 kids aged 10, 8, 5, & 3 (the 10 & 3 year old are about to turn 10 & 3) ;) not that that's important!! anyhoo - we spend $250 every week, & will often need to get a few extra's. I also need to cut down, so am going to use some of the very helpful tips below. On weeks where I have been able to cut down it has been when I have actually planned the meals for the week & even thought about lunches, hubby & I are both home at lunchtime. I need to get into the habit of doing that every week, because it really does help. You are buying only what you need for the meals you are going to be eating then. Would love to hear how it goes for you & what changes you see after trying out some of the ideas given :) kez* x
MumBum - 6:26 PM Wed-4-Jul-2012
FOODBOX.CO.NZ do a fruit and veg box which they deliver and it is to cater to large families... they charge $68 per box. You can order it fortnightly if you find that weekly is too frequent.We get the fruit box and find that the quality of fruit is better than in most stores, it gets delivered straight to the door and we never ever run out of fruit!That could be a way for you to save a bit on fruit and veg?Their website is:
CamosMum - 1:52 PM Wed-4-Jul-2012

After reading all the other tips the only thing I do also is buy my meat in bulk when it is on special (like Pak n Save meat week) and when I get home it is like a little meat factory in my kitchen as I rebag all the meat into smaller portions, I also will reiterate ekubo's post, I used to use large portions of meat to fill everyone up but now only use 500g and pack loads of veges in for fillers.

LIVINGLIFE - 9:57 PM Tue-3-Jul-2012
We have a great vege shop where we spend about 1/4 the price compared to the supermarket fruit and veges, supermarkets are way over priced in this area, also at the vege shop they have a huge range of pre paked spices and herbs and lentils etc which I buy up on and they last ages. A tip add lentils and beans into meat dishes and you only need to use half the meat.With nappies I buy cheap ones for day use (homebrand) and keep the more expensive only for night.Dont be afraid to get budget brands as well because in alot of things they are just as good as the label brands.Is it $400-$500 a week you spend, as this seems pretty steep to me as we have 3 children, 1 being in nappies also and we dont even spend $200 a week (we have 2 cats as well). I'm sure with a bit of planning and shopping around you should be able to quite easily trim the bill.
SusanDax - 6:05 PM Tue-3-Jul-2012
We are having similar issues even though we have only two young kids - I think inflation is making it hard for almost everyone these days.  The only tip I have is about nappies - we always buy the bulk boxes of Huggies from The Warehouse or K-Mart.  If you only buy them when they're on sale you can save quite a bit compared to buying the small packs.
IceKiwi - 11:02 AM Tue-3-Jul-2012
We are currently a family of 5 me i'm unable to have wheat so that puts the cost up slightly straight away and my four children 7,6 5,4. They eat so much due to how active they are. We only have a budget of $120 a week I literally can't go over that or else thats the petrol.

My advice:

1. check the mailers at the start of the week if you have a preferred place to shop that is fine but see what meat specials and fruit/vege specials they have from there make a basic menu plan for the week and don't forget lunches too. I find doing this before I even think about going to the shops is a great start.

2. Shop the outside isles- I know this sounds crazy but start with your fruit/vege, then your meats, your dairy and your breads. After that you then get the essentials you need in the isles like cereal etc. I have found this saves me a huge amount.

3. Bake- i worked it out it definately is cheaper to do all your own baking my kids don't really ever see bought biscuits but love making scones, muffins, biscuits etc. Plus you know exactly what you're putting into them.

4. Take away meals can be home made- make home made pizza, burgers, or fish and chips or sausages and chips the kids will love it plus you save a huge amount doing this. It still feels like a treat and I will often set us up in the lounge for such a treat so it really feels like something out of the ordinary i use some baking paper and wrap the chips and sausages/fish up and set us up like we have just been out and got it.

5. Try to do one meatless meal a week- i find this the easiest to do after a roast as I do extra veges so then the next night mash them all up and make vege fritters or something else that your children and other half enjoys. Could you get away with homemade soup and buns?

Big cuts of meat like corned silverside are fantatsic when they are on special they always are enough for dinner plus sandwiches for the next day or two. We get it on special so when its round $5.99-$6.99 a kilo.
ekubo - 10:44 AM Tue-3-Jul-2012

there are five of us, kids ranging from 4 to a 10 yr old who eats like an adult. I spend $450 a fortnight, so $225 weekly. It's getting harder every week to stay in budget but I spend out of a separate account and once it's empty there's nothing else unless I use my own spending money.

I cook cheap cuts whenever possible and rehash the leftovers so we can pretend it's a new meal. Load up a casserole with beans and veges, I'll use less than 500g of meat for a meal for all of us. The next day pop some pastry on it and call it a pie, or on toast and grill a slice of cheese on top, or spice it up and say it's curry.

I shop at two supermarkets (sorry I can't do paknsave, it's more than my sanity can handle) and a variety of market gardens. I go to mad butcher, a regular butcher and a factory shop.

I do all our baking and make most of our 'take aways' and lunches for everyone.

I use very few cleaning products, most things can be cleaned with vinegar and baking soda. For windows I used microfibre cloths.

Try some meat free pasta meals, that was the easiest way to wean my carnivores onto vege meals. Now spinach cannelloni is a favourite. Or simply cut the portions back a little at a time until there's only a token amount.

thecoffeelady - 9:51 AM Tue-3-Jul-2012
At the moment there is pork at $6.99kg at lamb at $8.99 where we live which is great prices for a roast. I often buy up on meat on special so I always have it ready to use. I also do a meal plan and groceries brought accordingly, I have only just started doing this and end up saving quite a lot. I used to go shopping and buy things that I really didn't need or wouldn' use in the week and ended up throwing out a lot of food that didn't get eaten in time. Do you make cassaroles? You can get away with cheap cuts of meat cooked slowly and add beans or extra veges to make it go further. I only ever make biscuits/brownies/cakes etc too and make them one day a week, so much cheaper than buying them, especially if you have a few kids.
Dibbles3 - 8:20 AM Tue-3-Jul-2012
This is a subject my hubby and I were talking about just the other day!  I try to spend no more than $250 per week (we are a family of 5 with 1 still in nappies and 2 cats).  We recently brought 1/2 a cow so our freezer is full of beef, but of course, everyone likes other types of meat so I shop at the Mad Butcher or buy meat on sale at Countdown.  I do my fruit/veg shop at FruitWorld because it is the yummiest/freshest.  And I have to admit, I do buy some treats, mostly for hubby who will take a choc bar and can of fizzy everyday.  It's cheaper to buy these from the supermarket than for him to go to a dairy to buy them.  But I am on a mission to cut down our grocery bill, so I will be following this post! 
Guest Member - 8:09 AM Tue-3-Jul-2012
lotsakids I'd love to see one of your weekly meal plans!  If I could get my grocery bill down to even $250 I'd be thrilled.  Haven't heard of a Hellers factory shop where we live (north of Auckland) only Mad Butcher and their meat isn't that great and just about the same price as Pak n Save usually.
lotsakids - 7:33 AM Tue-3-Jul-2012
I have a family of 7.. my 5 kids are 16, 10, 8, 6, and 4 and i spend $200 on food for the week.. i shop at countdown, then get the meat from Hellers factory shop and Indepentant fishers factory shop and fruit/vege from the fruit shop - we eat well and the children still get "treat" foods in that as well.. i do a weekly meal plan as well..oh yeah we also have a dog and that inlcudes her food
Guest Member - 10:40 PM Mon-2-Jul-2012

Thanks ladies. Yes I shop at Pak n Save but no I haven't got a weekly meal planner. Sounds like this might help so I'll get on to that tomorrow! 

Would love to have meat free meals but hubby and older kids like their meat and 3 veggie meals 



lmiln003 - 10:31 PM Mon-2-Jul-2012
I think grocery prices vary so much, and depend hugely on which supermarket/s you have in town, if you have fruit & veg shops or butchers etcWhere I live I am limited to Pak n Save and Fresho (fruit and veg) apart from 4 square there is no competition so prices are higher than other places - although since Fresho arrived it has helped.I find that I have to meal plan and then write a shopping list based around that. I do a lot of home baking and very rarely I buy snack foods. I make my own yoghurt unless premade stuff is on a really good special.
SarahK - 9:42 PM Mon-2-Jul-2012

Wow! $400 to $500 a week sounds alot to me!!!

I have three children, but most often im feeding many others. During the week I feed 3 other carekids during the day, and often have extra's for dinner. My grocery bill, for everything is never anymore than $200. on a tough week i can get it right down to $140. I don't have any animals to feed however.


Where abouts do you shop? I find pak'n'save far cheaper than other supermarkets around. I shop for the specials, and don't buy the 'big brand' items, if there is a cheaper option I buy that (unless of course i really don't like it).

We also don't eat meat every night, and don't dine on the finest cuts. The only good quality meat i buy is mince. For stewing i usually buy gravey beef and cook it in the slow cooker until tender. Also in regards to meat, i don't usually buy it from the supermarket, i get it from the butcher, and its always brought on sale, and excess stored in the freezer.

Fruit and vege are brought from the fruit and vege shop, as that too is cheaper than the supermarket. I buy in season, and things that are on special.


Also, do you write out a weekly menu and then shop accordingly? I find that doing this saves me heaps!!!!

cherrytf - 9:34 PM Mon-2-Jul-2012
Hi theboysmummy. We're only 4 over here (no dogs yet), but used to spend $250-300 a week. That was cut down to $150-200 ever since I started making weekly menus and basing the grocery list on that. I do add a little that's not on the list, but no more than $10-20 once a month, as a treat.

We generally don't allow the kids to have fizzy drinks save for special occasions, so that's out of the grocery list. I find that making homebaked goodies (e.g., biscuits, scones, brownies) are cheaper (and yummier) than store-bought ones, especially since the kids eat heaps and at times have friends or cousins over.

As for veggies and fruits, buying them in Asian grocery stores are way cheaper than from Pak 'n Save, Countdown, or New World.

Hope this helps!

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