Saturday, January 2, 2010

# budget # grocery shopping

Grocery Shopping

Remember how I was saying that I want to cut down on our spending money?

Well I've started looking into ways of doing just that and the first big change we're making is on our grocery shopping. That's not to say that we'll go without, it just means that I've found a way to cut down on our food budget dramatically while still getting everything we need.

Far too many times we get stuck in our ways and don't realize that if we just look around or even ask those who have lived in the area longer, we may just find that there are cheaper places to shop.

That is exactly what happened with us.

A few of my friends had mentioned the Food Value Club, so last payday I decided to give it a try and see just how well it would work.

This is what the FVC say:

Open to the general public, the Food Value Club helps families and individuals stretch their grocery dollars. Food Boxes include a menu of purchased canned and boxed food and frozen meat items in a variety of packages. You will also receive a Bonus Box of donated items with each purchase!

Now I know I've said this many times before but I still come across people daily who think that military people get paid really well. We DON'T, unless you're an officer. Times are tough for everyone and prices are constantly on the rise, it makes it very hard to get by if you don't count every penny and watch every move you make.

But back to the Food Value Club, here are the packages available.

$13.00 Pantry Box - one *Bonus Box given with this purchase
Approximately 14-16 non-perishable pantry items i.e. canned soup, vegetables, fruit, pasta or rice, etc.

$16.00 Meat Pack - one *Bonus Box given with this purchase (pork free and vacuum sealed meats)
1 lb packed Beef Tips
1 lb 80/20 Ground Beef
6 - 4oz Individually packed Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast
1 lb Chicken Fajita

$ 18.00 Entree Boxes - one *Bonus Box given with this purchase
7 individual 14 oz entrees rotated for a variety
All microwavable or oven heated.
One Bonus Box included.
Great for kids, teens, and elderly.

$20.00 Griller Box - one *Bonus Box given with this purchase (vacuum sealed meats)
4 - 4oz Individually Packed Sirloin Ball Tip Steaks
1 lb 80/20 Ground Beef
4 - 4oz Pork, Italian Sausage
4oz Individually packed Chicken Breast
4 - 5oz Individually packed Pork Chops

$30.00 Variety Box - two *Bonus Box given with this purchase (vacuum sealed meats)
1 Pantry Box (see above for contents)
1 lb packed Beef Tips
1 lb 80/20 Ground Beef
6 - 4oz Individually packed Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast
1 lb Chicken Fajita

$35.00 Meat Lovers - two *Bonus Box given with this purchase (vacuum sealed meats)
1 lb packed Beef Tips
2 lb 80/20 Ground Beef
6 - 4oz Individually packed Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast
1 lb Chicken Fajita
4 - 4oz Individually Packed Sirloin Ball Tip Steaks
4 - 4oz Pork, Italian Sausage
4 - 5oz Individually packed Pork Chops

*Bonus Boxes
Our Bonus boxes contain donated items such as produce, fruit, bread, pastries and other food/non-food items. Contents of the boxes varies daily and at each location based on current inventories.

As you can see they are very affordable.

I got the Meat Lovers and a Pantry box and I'm not kidding when I tell you that 6 big boxes later, I have most of my two week groceries done for $48.
There are a few things that I will have to get at the commissary, like the toiletries and cleaning supplies but that is IT, so I'm counting on spending another $20 which would bring my total to $68 for two weeks of groceries.

Compared to the usual $250, I would say that is a HUGE difference, wouldn't you?

Let me show you what we go, you'll be shocked at how much food you get.

That's only two of the boxes unpacked. We have an assortment of canned goods, pastries, tons of bread and salad and fruit.
2 Gallons of milk
4 Gallons of orange juice (gave two gallons to my friend)
6 dozen eggs (gave two dozen to my friend)

There are two meat boxes which include:

1 lb packed Beef Tips
2 lb 80/20 Ground Beef
6 - 4oz Individually packed Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast
1 lb Chicken Fajita
4 - 4oz Individually Packed Sirloin Ball Tip Steaks
4 - 4oz Pork, Italian Sausage
4 - 5oz Individually packed Pork Chops


I've had to start freezing bread, I have so much of it.


As you can see, my refrigerator is full and I gave two boxes of food to my friend and in turn she will also pass them on to the church.


I have bananas coming out the wazoo, so this weekend I'm making a couple loaves of banana bread to freeze.

I'm not sure if there is a Food Value Club near you guys, but I would certainly look into it if you're wanting to cut your grocery budget down.

So every payday, my first stop is the FVC then I make my menus according to what we got.

Here's the menu for the next two weeks:

Saturday 2nd

  • Sam Burgers
  • Fries
  • Salad

Sunday 3rd

  • Split Pea Soup using the leftover Ham bone from Christmas

Monday 4th

  • Meat Lover's Lasagna
  • Salad

Tuesday 5th

  • Chicken Fried Chops in the Slow Cooker
  • Rice
  • Veggies

Wednesday 6th

  • Beef Kebabs
  • Garlic potatoes

Thursday 7th

  • Chicken a la King
  • Mashed potatoes

Friday 8th

  • Beef Stew

Saturday 9th

  • Breakfast for dinner
  • Bacon, Eggs, Pancakes

Sunday 10th

  • Beef Curry

Monday 11th

  • Bean Soup

Tuesday 12th

  • Quick Hamburger Stroganoff
  • Egg Noodles

Wednesday 13th

  • Italian Sausage Hoagies
  • Corn
  • Salad

Thursday 14th

  • Baked Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Are you trying to cut down on your Grocery budget too? I would love it if you could share some tips on how you're doing it.


  1. That is incredible! We don't have that near us, but I would sure go there if they did. Hooray for you!

  2. Anonymous1:12 PM

    Well done. I really need to cut down too, but have no words of wisdom about how I'm going to go about it.


    Sarah x

  3. Wow, that is so cool- I have never heard of the FVC! Thanks for the review- we are moving soon and I will keep my eyes peeled for any nearby stores.

    I love to coupon, and I save some money on the food budget that way, but I think the two most important things I do to save money on groceries is planning out my meals in advance based on what is on sale and by shopping for basics at Aldi (I am working on getting our grocery budget down to $180 mo). I check the sales ads for ALL the grocery stores in the area and will shop only the sales at multiple stores. You have to be careful though, because sometimes stores will advertise something as on sale when in reality it's only 2 cents off. Keeping a "price book" of the items you regularly buy can help with this. I also stock up on items when they are at their bottom prices (by stocking up, I mean one season's worth or what you can reasonably store). For example, I only buy laundry detergent when I can get it for under $2 a bottle and I only buy cereal if it's less than $1.50. Cooking more meals from scratch helps too.

  4. Sandra first let me say I love your blog as I have been a reader for awhile. This post is a great post however, I feel the need to make one small correction where you said "Now I know I've said this many times before but I still come across people daily who think that military people get paid really well. We DON'T, unless you're an officer." This is not always the case. When my DH went from E to O we took a big pay cut. We are just now getting to a more comfortable level. Also, you have to look at family size and of couse bills. I have known many E families who are banking money. I am not trying to start a fight but having been on both sides of this debate I have seen it first hand. A lot of times "O" have more that they have to put put of pocket simpy because "they make more money". I hope you understand where I am coming from. Thanks for always having good posts.
    Wishing you a Happy New Year!

  5. Wow. That's impressive Sandra ! I will look forward to hearing about all the ways you save this year ! We are not looking specifically into cutting down our budget (although I'm always thrilled when we spend less) but we've gone unprocessed this year and already I think we will spend less. We will see though ... we're only a couple of days into it !!

    Happy New Year, by the way !!

  6. I'm always surprised at the military wives that think the commissary is the best price. Hah! For name brand maybe...but if you are willing to step away from the name brands you can do so much better off base. Good for you Sandra!

  7. What a great post, Sandra! I can't seem to find a Food Value Club anywhere other than in AZ so you are lucky!

    I'm trying to trim the grocery budget but it's tough when I live with two of the pickiest eaters on the planet! My goal is to make a weekly menu and a grocery list to go with it and stick to the list at the store!

  8. Wow! That is very nice! It sounds very similar like what we have here called 'Angel Ministries', only it's more expensive. It's $25 for a box. I've never gotten one because it's kinda far to where you have to go to pick it up, plus it's only on one Saturday morning out of the month, and sometimes I forget. Wish it was like you'lls where it's a club and you can go shopping whenever you want.

    Very wise to look for ways of spending less Sandra. Great job!

  9. Anonymous5:35 PM

    Wow Sandra,
    I'm glad I browsed your blog today. My brother participates in "Angel Ministies" and I had been putting off ordering food for my family. Reading your blog has inspired me to participate. Thanks for the good advise.

    Chancellorsville, Va

  10. We don't have a FVC, but we have the SHARE program which sounds similar, and we also have Ruby's Pantry which for $15 per month you get a whole load of stuff, you never know what you will get but you get way more than $15 at the store!

  11. That is such an awesome deal. I wish we had something like that in our area, but alas GOD still provides. But I think I will put in a prayer request to HIM to open doors to something like this.

    Happy New Year!

    ~Mrs. M

  12. Wow. Thanks for sharing. I have heard of organizations and clubs like this, but have never really looked into it. Looks like you really get a lot for your money!

  13. I did a give away for a food coop here in San Diego! Such an awesome thing. I think it is a bit much for me and the kiddos though.

    They have great prices and awesome service.

    Glad you found a away to save money!

  14. That is so great Sandra. You got a heck of a deal. We don't have this in our area, but I am hoping when we move we will have this or something comparable. I am also trying to cut back on food spending since this is an area we spend a lot of money. I put coupon queen into the search engine and came up with some great websites. One called 918moms that had a few free classes on how to save. I will say it was a great website. I am floored by all the food you got at this place. Who knew!!!!

  15. What a great deal you got! We do appreciate all our service men and women. I don't think you get paid enough! I'm trying to be careful with our grocery money. I check the ads, clip coupons and really try hard to have meals planned a few days in advance so I'm never going,"What should I make?" Also, I'm making more and more things from scratch. I'm even making my own laundry detergent!


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