One question I see a lot on various websites and blogs is how much people spend on groceries. Usually when they ask the question, they include the number of people and ages of the kids.

There are many factors that can affect how much you spend on groceries. Prices may be higher or lower depending on the part of the country you live in. Also, if family members have special diets or you choose to eat a special diet such as gluten-free, organic or some other diet, you will likely be paying more than other people.

Even though some foods are less expensive, they may not be the best choice in the long run. Many processed and prepared foods may be less expensive and less time consuming to use but they may contain more preservatives, sugar and other ingredients that are not so good for you.

If you have a larger family, shopping at warehouse clubs may be a way to save on grocery expenses. Even though I cook at home most of the time, since I live alone it doesn’t work for me to shop at warehouse or bulk stores. Even if the prices seem lower at warehouse stores, you may not save as much as you think if you throw a lot of it way before you can use it up.

Two of the blogs I follow are MoneySavingMom and LifeAsMom that focus on recipes and tips to stretch your grocery budget. Some of the techniques they discuss are meal planning, freezer cooking and crockpot cooking.

By spending a little time each week or month to make a meal plan and watching store sales you may be able to save some money on your grocery bill. When you have something planned to cook or it is partially ready, it may be less tempting to stop for take out or to go out to eat.

Nancy Kvamme

The Costco store in our area opened almost a year ago, but I have not been there yet. Since I live alone, I don’t feel shopping at bulk buying stores works for me. I have a Sam’s membership that I got a deal on but I don’t use it very often with the deals I can get at other stores and since I don’t need to purchase items in large quantities. But for larger families it can be a way to save money on groceries and other items.

There have been a couple of recent posts about shopping at Costco.

Erin Chase is an author of cookbooks on making meals for $5 and under. She recently did a shopping trip and meal plan to make 20 meals for $150 from Costco. In the post she lays out the ingredients you need to purchase at Costco and recipes for the 20 meals.

There was also a reader submitted post on about how her family saves about $2,000 a year by shopping at Costco.

Shopping at bulk stores can save money but you also need to keep an eye on your budget and make sure you are not just buying things because they seem like a great deal.

Nancy Kvamme

$5 Dinners

Erin Chase blogs at $5 Dinners with recipes of meals that don’t cost more than $5.

She has made a listing of the Most popular recipes. She has also had a couple of cookbooks published containing recipes of $5 meals.

Nancy Kvamme

If you are looking for ways to lower your grocery bill, one is to try a Pantry Challenge. A Pantry Challenge is attempting to cook as many meals as you can from ingredients you already have on hand. Besides saving on grocery expenses you may also be able to use up items before they expire.

Jessica from is hosting a Pantry Challenge for the month of January. She usually does a Pantry Challenge in January and July.

Sometimes when she does it, she attempts to only purchase dairy products, produce and items she needs to go with the items she has on hand to make meals.

No matter how you participate, any little bit will help your grocery bill and use up some items you have on hand. When you look in your cupboards and fridge you may think you have nothing to eat but if you take an inventory and see what you have you may be able to come up with meals by only needing to purchase a few items.

I do a version of this most of the time. I buy items when they are on sale and buy additional items to go with them.

Besides gifts, there may be many other extra expenses that come along with the holiday season. With Thanksgiving and Christmas coming up many grocery stores will be having baking and other items on sale.

Sunmart has Our Family flour, 2 five pound bags for $3. That is almost the regular price for 1 bag. I bought two the other day. The sale runs thru Saturday, November 10.

The Hornbachers weekly flyer began today. There are many baking and holiday items on sale thru Tuesday, November 13.

A few items in this flyer are:
Pillsbury flour 5 lb bag $1.88
Butter $2.48 a pound
Keebler Ready Crust 2/$3
Diamond Walnuts $6.98 (16 oz bag)
Baking mixes

It is a great time to start stocking up for the holidays as your budget allows instead of having to spend a lot of money at one time later on.

Besides stocking up for holiday supplies it is a great time to stock up on items you will also use later, such as flour, butter, shredded cheese, baking chips and other items. Butter, cheese, baking chips and nuts can be stored in the freezer.

This morning I spent about 1 ½ hours in the kitchen and made 16 personal size pizzas, 18 ham/cheese hot pockets and pepperoni pizza pockets and 12 small bread bowls.

Here are the recipes I used Pizza dough, Pizza pockets and bread bowls. I have made the pizza dough before and kept in the freezer until I need to use it. Now I have been making personal size pizzas, cook and then freeze so they are handy to grab for lunch.

The pizza dough and pizza pocket recipes were part of a month long series that Crystal from Money Saving Mom did on freezer cooking.

Some of the freezer cooking sites talk about spending a whole day cooking a bunch of meals. You can also do freezer cooking by doing an hour or so at a time or make extras of certain meals when you making them such as meatloaf, lasagna, etc. Make up a few at one time when you have the ingredients out and put the extras in the freezer for a quick meal when you may not have time to cook.

Another good resource for freezer cooking is Jessica at Life as Mom and Good Cheap Eats. Jessica has also written a book with freezer cooking recipes which was recently released.

Hornbachers has a sale on Ore Ida frozen potatoes thru Tuesday, October 16. The regular price is $3.29, they are on sale for 2/$6. There is a coupon in the sale flyer for a free package if you purchase 2, 3/$6. In one of the coupon inserts in Sunday’s newspaper is a coupon for $1 off two packages. Using both coupons makes the final price 3/$5 or about $1.50 a package.

Posted in Saving
Nancy Kvamme

When you think about groceries at a dollar or discount store you may think of expired items and dented cans. This is not the case in most instances. There are various reasons that items end up at dollar or discount stores such as changing of packaging or discontinued items.

The above photo shows 10 items I recently purchased at our local Dollar Tree store to show what can be found. There are a variety of other items available. Dollar Tree and Family Dollar stores now accept manufacturer coupons. Some stores are adding dairy and frozen food items. Many of the frozen food items are processed items but some have frozen vegetables and other items. Some also carry fresh bread and buns at certain times.

The items in the photo were each a dollar, I figured you could save more than $5 on these items compared to the prices at grocery stores. Savings per item is between $0.30 to almost $1.00. The sell by dates were between 2013 and 2015.

You will not have the selection that you have at a grocery store, but you may be able to save some money on items you need.

I have written an E-book about saving on groceries without using coupons, it is for sale on Amazon. Even if you don’t own a Kindle you can download a program to read Kindle books on your computer, IPad or mobile phone.

Some of the topics covered in the book are what to look for in the store, menu planning, freezer cooking and more. It is $0.99 and currently can be borrowed for free if you have an Amazon Prime Membership.

My upcoming classes are based on this ebook. The classes also include information for the Fargo Moorhead area stores.

With the current economy, people are looking for ways to make their money go further. There are small changes you can make in the way you shop to save money instead of clipping coupons.

I am offering classes on how to save money on groceries without needing to clip coupons. $10 fee, Thursday, September 27 from 6:00-7:00 pm or Saturday, October 6, from 11:00 to noon. The classes will be held at 1100 32nd Ave S, Moorhead. Please RSVP to or (701) 293-8808. I also have other upcoming classes planned, let me know what days and times work for you if these dates don’t work for you. The fee includes a workbook and doorprizes.

Topics covered in the class are shopping tips, where to shop, making the most of your grocery budget, using what you already have and more.