How on earth do you only spend $300 a month on groceries for a family of 5? I'm impressed!
My grocery budget is roughly $75 a week. Sometimes I go over and sometimes I go under, which means that it does average out to about $300 a month. While the price of groceries does depend on the area where you live, the type of food that you eat, and the meals that your family likes - it is the best area in your budget to save some money. Just cutting your food budget by $25 weekly will save you $100 a month!
First and foremost: make a menu and a detailed shopping list. You have to know what you are buying before you walk into the store in order to stick to your budget.
Stock up on great sale prices. When something is a loss leader, on clearance, or just a spectacular sale which you know you won't see for quite some time, stock up! These are the weeks that I spend a bit more on groceries but it evens out in the long run when I can pull these items out in later weeks to use for meals. One recent example is Hebrew National hot dogs. I'm not a huge fan of hot dogs but since my kids like them I compromise and buy the "higher quality" hot dogs. Super Target one day had the 24 packs of Hebrew National hot dogs on sale for $4.99, typically $9.99. I stocked up on a couple packages and stuck them in the freezer. If it's something you typically buy and it's at a price you've never seen it at before...buy as much as you think you will use before the expiration date.
Use coupons. I've fallen off the coupon wagon as I no longer purchase a newspaper so have no source for coupon inserts. Yet, company Facebook promotions are everywhere and it is so simple to sign up for free coupons. I keep track of where to sign up at Hip2Save and get many free food and beauty coupons or samples this way.
For an example of my shopping, I am giving you a picture of this week's grocery trip and my menu. Be aware that my menu is paired down to my easy and quick meals this week as I am preparing for a garage sale at the end of the week and therefore chose things that would be quick to prepare once home from the long sale day, or something that my husband can cook. I only plan out our suppers. Breakfast is always something simple such as cereal, toast, oatmeal, pancakes, cocoa wheats, or even just a yogurt parfait. Lunches are leftovers, sandwiches, pasta, cheese and crackers, and other easy and simple foods. I don't feel the need to plan these and fly by the seat of my pants when it comes to breakfast and lunch. Lately it's been a lot of tomato sandwiches, sliced peppers, sliced cucumbers, and mixed fruit.
Menu for the week:
Roast chicken, potatoes, and vegetable
Hot dogs, potato salad
Pepperoni rolls, salad
hamburgers, corn, baked beans
Tuna on toast, vegetables
Beef Stroganoff, homemade rolls
spaghetti, garlic bread, vegetable
The vegetables listed are frozen, canned, or most recently - fresh from our garden. Fresh or canned fruit is added to our meals, along with a glass of milk. We often have popcorn later in the evening for a snack.
With this menu in mind, I went to the store and bought:
(The orange juice, spaghetti, spaghetti sauce, and Dannon drinkable yogurt was all free with coupons.) I spent $64.45. This includes ingredients to make several desserts, kitty litter, and dishwasher detergent. That leaves me with $10 left for the week to buy milk, which I get at a different store in town which sells non-homogenized milk.