Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Our "Drinking" Habits

I have received a few questions on how we keep our grocery budget at $300/month or under when adding in the cost of milk and other drinks. Honestly, what works for us in the situation may not work for most. And that's okay. Every household is different, and hence everyone's budget has to be different. So, this is just what works for us at this time in our lives.

On an average day, Eric and I drink only coffee and water. We tend to watch for coffee sales and stock up when we can. Kroger's cycle for coffee sales is fairly predictable, and we are not loyal to any certain brand, so we usually manage to not pay more than $6/39oz can. A 39 oz. can will last us about 10 days, so that's $18/month. Occasionally Eric will make tea or iced tea for himself, but that isn't regular enough that I could even give an estimate on what we spend on tea. We buy a large box a few times a year. Also, Eric will occasionally buy Pepsi for himself, but that's also not an everyday occurrence. If it's on sale it fits into our budget as a once a month treat.

The children drink milk and "apple juice." The apple juice is really just water with a small splash of juice added in. A 64oz. container of apple juice will last us two weeks. At $3.99 each, that's $8/month. We limit the amount of milk the children drink because their diets are very dairy/calcium-rich. They each have around a cup of milk total for the day, 4 ozs. in the morning and 4 ozs. in the evening (although Gracie has a bit more). They get plenty of dairy every day from yogurt and cheese (and ice cream or pudding for dessert) so we don't feel as if we are restricting anything here. We go through about 2 gallons of milk/week. That works out to about $25/month or so.

In the kitchen, I use powdered milk whenever possible, but only if it will not adversely affect a recipe. For example, I don't mind using it in baked goods but I will not use it to make a white-sauce based meal. So the 2 gallons/week includes kitchen use as well.

It's pretty boring, but that's how we do it. Everyone is healthy and happy. (Yes, I know, coffee is not exactly healthy, but what can I say? )I guarantee if we ever felt the children were lacking in dairy/calcium we'd up their milk intake, and up our grocery budget in turn, but that's not the case right now. And I love the fact that a glass of chocolate milk in the middle of the day is a HUGE treat for everyone. We're just simple people. :-)


Joy 1:27 AM  

I figured that your milk intake had to be pretty low to maintain a $300/month food budget.

I have always been a HUGE milk drinker, and Jerah is one too, so we usually go through a gallon of milk in only a day or two. Milk is one of the reasons our monthly food cost is often through the roof! Then of course there's the 2 liter of diet soda for my husband per day...

I'm not sure I would handle drinking a lot less milk per day. I went to Belarus a couple summers ago and didn't have milk for three straight weeks and I practically went through withdrawal. I know I could (and should) cut down, but milk is just so delicious!

The Happy Housewife 10:45 PM  

We are a water family too. I use powdered milk for all my baking and I have mixed in with our milk for drinking too. I don't care much for milk, unless it is raw milk and that is not readily available in Maryland. We don't do any juice... (well oj at breakfast) but if we did I would definitely use your method and water it down.

Carlie Faulk 4:13 PM  

Water and sweet tea. That's what we get here. It won't kill them always say - it will make them have good drinking habits. They are allowed milk for breakfast and that's it.

We don't do juice or koolaid and they don't miss it. They think it's a treat when they get something diffrent.

Too many kids today drink all their calories and society wonders why they are overweight? Silly.

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