Grocery shopping on a budget for a family of six can be challenging. I shop every other week and try to stay out of the grocery store between trips. Before I go to the store, here's what I do:
1. Take inventory. Am I out of oil? Do I have enough spices for another two weeks? What staples am I missing?
2. Check the ads. New ads come out every Wednesday. I look through the ads for Aldi, Fareway, and a new, local grocery store that just opened. I do all of my shopping at Fareway and they will price match everything as long as I have the ad or can pull it up on my ipod (or smart phone, but I don't have one of those). I look for things that are super cheap. I've been shopping for awhile so I know that if cheese is 2 for $3 that I need to buy a lot of it this trip. If apples are $0.69/lb, I will buy more apples than other fruits. I only ever buy fruits and veggies that are on sale and I always buy fresh and not canned.
3. Go through my recipe box. I look for recipes that will use ingredients I already have in my pantry and ingredients that I saw in the grocery ads. I make a big list of dinner meals for two weeks and add any needed ingredients to my grocery list.
There is a program called Bountiful Baskets. I think Bountiful Baskets is a great idea and want to jump on the bandwagon, but I don't think it's cost effective for a big family. I buy a lot of produce.
Here's an example of my latest grocery trip:
20 lbs of apples
8 quarts of strawberries
5 pints of blueberries
3 heads of broccoli
a 4 pack of peppers
15 lbs of potatoes
3 stalks of celery
a bunch of bananas
I spent $74.66 and am happy with what I paid. I price matched the blueberries and strawberries and the apples were $0.99/lb. Fareway had already marked down a couple of other things that I can't remember to match either Hy Vee or Dahl's ads.
When I got home from getting groceries, I got out my list of meals and my calender and planned out breakfast, dinner, snacks, and daily food tasks for the next two weeks. I have found that I save a lot of money and don't waste food when I plan out detailed menus.