Every day for one week, I will write down the recipes for the meals I feed my family and include a summary of how much everything cost me. Now, I realize that cost varies widely across the country, but I have lived in Idaho, California, Arizona, Utah and now Texas as a parent and have had to learn to budget wisely everywhere I've lived. I have had the same approach in each place. I wait for the grocery store circulars to arrive in my mailbox and I plan my budget according to what is on sale. I also have a fairly well-stocked pantry that I add to every week. Part of it is my food storage for hard times, but the other part is the food and ingredients I use regularly in baking and cooking. When we moved, we got rid of most of our supply, keeping mostly spices and food storage items and anything that was unopened and unused, but we had to restock the entire pantry, which we did with some of our leftover moving fund, for around $300-$400 in one shopping trip (things like baking soda, vinegar, shortening, etc.
For my meals, I don't have a plan for breakfast or lunch meals, only dinners, but the foods for those meals do come out of my weekly grocery budget, so I will include those. See my meal-planning post from several months ago.
For this next week, the week of April 12th-April 19th, I spent $131.45 on groceries and added $16 worth of food supplies to my food storage in the form of flour, sugar, shortening, oil and canned fruits and veggies.
Some of the ingredients I will be using this week were things I already had in my pantry or fridge and freezer. However, once you start building up a supply like that, it's not too hard to stay within a decent budget. I will note which items came from freezer/fridge/pantry and which I bought. Keep in mind that my "grocery" budget includes things like laundry detergent, toothpaste, cleaning supplies, and dog food, so when I spend an amount like $131.45, that actually included some of those items as well as the food.
Let's get started!