How much should it cost to feed a family of four

I am always looking for ways to save but I am not about to send my kids into a dumpster nor do I have and extra 25 hours a week to find, cut, seek, and  dive for dels. I do use cupons when I can & always shop on sale but I find myself still around $150 a week. Before food went up I was doing about $100 but it seems it has gone up with no more food in the basket! You hear others talk about how much the spend or save so....... How much should it cost and how much time should it take to get the best saving?

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Our family of 4 used to spend about a $125 to $150 a week. Since using coupons we are down to about $40 to $75 a week, and some weeks we don't have to shop. We could probably save more if I had the time, but between a job, kids, husband and a blog, who has any time to spare?!  =)


My husband and I probably spend about 3 hours combined each week doing coupons and deals, but we keep it pretty basic. We only cut coupons and buy products we will realistically use (not 400 roles of toilet paper) and we don't mess with minor savings or small amount coupons (since there is no one around here that doubles.) We just do what we can with the time that we have, everyone has different amounts that they can save depending on their situation.


Our biggest savings is probably from stockpiling or stocking up when stuff is dirt cheap. That way we can wait to buy again until it's on sale, or also have a cushion to live off of when money might be tight, or we have unexpected expenses. If spaghetti sauce is on sale this week, buy a bunch, the next week if noodles are on sale, buy a bunch of those. Then you have a supply you can constantly pull from without paying the highest prices. I love our stockpile and use it daily. It saves huge amounts of $$$, but also time as well. No last minute runs to the store for ingredients for meals, or to buy diapers when you run out at 11 o'clock at night.


I'd recommend you find a blog or 2 that does store coupon match ups for your area. They tell you exactly what to buy and what coupons to use based on the sales that week. It saves a ton of time, and does most of the work for you. is also a great site, and it has store shopping lists and coupon match ups for most major chains.


Some folks like on the new TLC show take the coupons to extreme, but there are realistic ways too to use them to save too. If you're interested I did a post last night on 10 Extreme Couponing tips for real people. You can find it here.

We only buy what's on sale for the most part, although sometimes we can't. We have a family of 5 eating on $125-$135 a week, almost 100% organic; two suppers per week are meatless (eggs one night, whole-wheat pasta another). The things I found that were really eating up my grocery budget were (a) waste and (b) prepackaged foods.

So waste - that's a simple thing, but also tricky. Throwing food away was fairly constant in our house. The kids would grab an apple each, eat most of it and throw the rest away. So now I buy smaller apples, the size they will eat, and if I can't and have to buy big ones (because they are on sale or whatever), I wedge two apples with my handy wedger and divvy up two apples between the three kids. No waste. Not even the core, because I compost that. Also, since my family generally despises leftovers (except me), we prepare only the food that we plan to eat that day. If there are leftovers for supper, I immediately pack them up for my lunch the following day so that I can grab them, drop them in my lunch bag and go. If I buy a breakfast cereal the kids don't like, they still have to eat it before they can open another box. Same for fruit. You begged me to buy green grapes, now we have to eat them before they go bad, even if you like red ones better. Nobody wants salad for the third night in a row, but the lettuce will go bad if we don't eat it tonight, so that's what we are having. We also try to make sure that staples are properly stored so that they don't go bad or get stale. 

Prepackaged food was trickier. But think about this: I can buy a 24-oz jar of applesauce for $3.25. That's six servings. Or I can buy six fresh organic apples for $1.69, about half the price. Whole, raw apples also have more fiber and vitamins than applesauce, so it's a healthier choice, too. I can buy a 10-ounce box of frozen chicken nuggets for $6. Or I can get a pound of fresh organic chicken for $2.50. Granted, it takes  a little more work, time and planning to toss the chicken parts with olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic powder and cook them under the broiler or on the grill, but it's cheaper -- even counting the cost of olive oil and spices, and even if you subtract a 50-cent coupon from the frozen nuggets on double-coupon day. And once again, it's healthier. Meanwhile, I've kissed couponing goodbye. I've got a cousin who does extreme couponing, but I couldn't make it work with organic whole foods, and I've noticed a positive difference since we switched to organic whole foods.

We also do a lot of gardening in the warm months. I'll be able to pick baby lettuce and spinach from the garden in a month, green beans shortly after that, tomoatoes, cukes, peppers, squash and more July-Sept, October if I'm lucky. I also made friends with an egg farmer, and I get organic free-range eggs for $2.50 a dozen.

I can feed my family of 5 for about 65.00 a week. All fresh food. I've learn to only buy the amount of food I know we will eat in 1 week. And actually fresh food comes out cheaper that buying the processed stuff. Check out my website to get some ideas.

We're a family of four and I spend about $100 per week on groceries. We eat mostly organic now though. When I was buying the cheapest stuff I could with as many coupons as I could, I spent about $40 per week. One of our biggest expenses was meat, so I now plan one (if not two) meatless meals per week. We also grow a lot of our own veggies in the summer. It takes me about an hour to do meal planning (break out the cookbooks!), clipping or sorting coupons, and making a list for usually two stores, then about an hour to shop. I watch tv while I work though, and tend to browse for manager's specials at the store now that I can go while kids are in school.

I think a lot of it depends on where you live. I'm in DFW, so organic chicken is $6 per pound. Meanwhile, Sparki (above comment) said organic chicken in her area is $2.50 per pound! Also, almost every store here doubles coupons and some allow you to stack a store coupon with a manufacturer's coupon.

Have you checked out the food section on Its actually pretty impressive if you want to buy packaged items (even organic ones) in larger quantities. You just have to be sure it really is cheaper than the supermarket.


Hope that helps!

We spend about an average of $125 a week for our family of 4.  And i hate it, and have recently decided I want to learn how to do not quite "extreme couponing" but close.  I've always used a couple of coupons here and there, saving maybe $7 bucks on my $150 bill.  My hubby is self employeed in construction, so the economy has slapped our budget around big time.  I'm a stay at home mom, have one child in elementary school, and one at home with me. 

Our biggest issue is buying so many convenience foods, like on the go snacks and breakfast items.  I try to get more healthy choices, like Nutrigrain bars, 100 calorie packs of cookies, fruit in the individual pouches, etc.  I do this because we spend so much time on the go.  We also spend on meat, and i can never find coupons for that.


I have started following a couple of blogs that have everything already done, with all the latest deals, which coupons to use, etc.  It really makes it easy to follow, and I just write down a list of each store, and if I have those coupons, I pull them out and organize them in which store I will be using it, and then in order of my list.  I also recently started going to more than just my regular store, and this has worked out to my benefit.  I even found one that doubles coupons everyday!


I've only been doing this for a couple of weeks, so I don't have all the right coupons right now, so I'm going to stick with it and hopefully in a month or so, I'll really be able to see the savings.  I was really excited to find a blog with my local stores' sales and coupons.  I live in a small town in Arkansas, so I never thought I would find a great blog with all that info. The site I follow even gives you the option to print the lists she makes for each store, which really saves a lot of time, which I don't have enough of.

It is called Passion for Savings.  You should check it out.  She also has deals for the big stores, Walmart, Target, Walgreens, etc.  If you have any other questions, feel free to email me and maybe I can help you.


BeeCute  (my blog)


we everage about $75 a week and that includs diapers. mostly from coupons and the stock pile

Keri, where I live, organic boneless skinless chicken breasts are $6-$7 a pound, but a whole chicken is only $2.50 a pound. Meanwhile, I can't get organic tomatoes for less than $4 a pound this time a year (cheaper in season). So it depends on what kind of food we buy, too. :0)

Keri Houchin said:
I think a lot of it depends on where you live. I'm in DFW, so organic chicken is $6 per pound. Meanwhile, Sparki (above comment) said organic chicken in her area is $2.50 per pound! Also, almost every store here doubles coupons and some allow you to stack a store coupon with a manufacturer's coupon.

I really love the way women are sharing information and helping each other out! We have a family of four and like others mentioned above we don't buy a lot of processed foods. Fresh food is cheaper; especially when it is in season or grown locally. If you want to feed your family on organic food, try gardening easy things like, potatoes, tomatoes, greens, basil, tyme, etc. If you don't have time for a small garden befriend people at a local farmers market and purchase items after you have prepared a menu, that way you will limit the amount of food you waste. For juice consider 100% frozen juice from concentrate, or drink herbal tea and water. If you need processed foods try purchasing them from places like Walmart when they are on sell. One of the sites I use is this blog offers an overview of great deals that are available.
Honestly, it depends on where you live, but I think that $100 per week is a good amount for a family of 4. I spend $120 to $150 a week on two adults and a toddler!
I love this information and it is very helpful! Have any of you seen the extream cuponing show? I just saw it last night and holy cow!

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