Jump to content

Menu

Please help me feed my family of 5 on $100 a week for the next 4 months.


Recommended Posts

Right now we have accumulated some debt that we want to get out of in 4 months. We are taking drastic steps to make that happen. I need help knowing how to do this. In recent months I have cut our grocery bills way back and usually spend $150-$175 weekly but I need to cut out another $50-$75 and I could use some help (okay, a lot of help :tongue_smilie:). I know that for some $100 a week is a reality not a drastic measure but for us this will be hard. Mostly b/c I am a control freak about what goes into my kids' bodies. :001_huh:

 

This $100 will include non-food items like toilet paper ($1 a week), generic paper towels ($1.50 a week), dishwasher detergent (once monthly), laundry detergent (once monthly) and night time pull ups for one child ($7 every other week). I only use vinegar and baking soda for the rest of my cleaning supplies so that cost is negligible.

 

I realize that our goals of no dyes, additives, preservatives, nitrates/nitrites and so on will, for the most part, need to be set aside for these short months. I can feed the boys lunch each day for less than $2 if we stick with raamen noodles, totinos pizzas, pb&j sandwiches and so on. I will also do only frozen veggies instead of fresh. Lots of soups with homemade stock and oodles and oodles of beans. Black bean tacos and red beans and rice are already a staple in our home.

 

I also am a big coupon user and my store does double and triple coupons.

 

Other ideas, suggestions, recipes or helps would be greatly appreciated.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 108
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

I do not think you need to set aside your health to get to $100/wk. You might, however, need to spend more time in the kitchen.

 

I would suggest 2 cookbooks, the first being the absolute BEST available for low budget cooking and still healthy.

 

More With Less http://www.amazon.com/More-Less-Cookbook-World-Community/dp/083619263X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1257343296&sr=8-1

Extending the Table http://www.amazon.com/Extending-Table-World-Community-Cookbook/dp/0836192648/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1257343326&sr=1-1

 

You can also check The Hillbilly Housewife website for all sort of hints and help. http://www.hillbillyhousewife.com/

 

You can also make your own laundry soap for pennies per load! I bought the ingredients to make 6=8 months' worth for $9.

 

Do you have a Costco membership? Veggies and Fruit are great quality and less expensive.

 

More suggestions to come but I have screaming banchies needing assistance at the moment.

 

Dawn

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I admire the fact that you want to get out of debt as soon as possible but I disagree with doing it at the expense of your health. If you make poorer food choices over the next few months it will only be harder to reign those food choices back in at. I would cut your budget slightly and take 6 months to pay off the debt instead of 4. JMO and good luck!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think this is very doable! I have to run at the moment. But I think you eat healthy for $100/week!

 

Pizza - I can make it healthy cheaper than I can buy it frozen.

 

Cutting out or back on dairy, meats, convenience foods and cereal are great places to save money.

 

Homemade laundry det. can save you $. I save $10/month using it.

 

Rice and beans are great - are you using canned beans or dry beans? Rice bought in larger quantities saves $$. I never buy it at the grocery store.

 

Costco saves me a ton on produce! Stick with the less expensive veggies and you should do fine. Stick with in season produce.

 

Oatmeal makes a good cheap breakfast.

 

Water - no juice or milk to drink saves $$.

 

PB can still be healthy and cheap.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you need to feed a crew on less, eliminate using meat as a main food. Since you're near Houston, look for a bodega and stock up on dry beans, rice, masa harina and harina pan. All of these are cheap foods that provide a complete protein when eaten together. Bodega's often have less expensive fresh produce too. If you can't find a bodega, WalMart sells the mega-economy size bags of masa harina and pinto beans. HEB and Fiesta both sell Harina Pan. You can also find good deals on whole wheat pasta at HEB sometimes and WM's regular price is good. I like using yoghurt, tuna and a bit of lime juice to make a very nice sauce. You can make your own tomato sauce when you find a deal on canned tomatoes. Check out Dollar Tree to find out when they receive their delivery of Nature's Own ww bread. They sell the no HFCS, no additive types for $1, but they go fast.

 

I'd skip the paper towels and use rags for the months you have to do this. I'd also go the cloth napkin route and try vinegar in the dishwasher.

 

Happy bargain hunting!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Jennefer if you are in Texas then you are a Southern girl like me and always think of rice. However, when I married my midwestern man I learned a bunch of different ways to fix potatoes! Mashed potatoes are inexpensive and filling.

 

Also, eggs are wonderful! Boil 'em, mash 'em, stick 'em in a stew.... well, not really a stew, but stuffed, egg salad, scrambled, omelets for dinner with a wee bit of ham or sausage and veggies...

 

Wishing you the best on this, I would like to cut my food expenses as well so I will also be...:bigear:!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Instead of paper towels, use dish clothes and dish towels for even most messes. I do and rarely buy paper towels. I use a new one daily and it doesn't add much to my laundry. For really big messes/spills I use bath towels LOL.

 

Have you gone thru your pantry yet to see what you have now? Make a master list and then see which meals you can make from this first. When I am trying to stay out of the grocery store this is my first action. Sometimes I find that I have forgotten some items that need to be used.

 

When our budget is low I often fix a bunch of pasta meals. Usually meatless. We also do lots of breakfast for dinner because homemade pancakes with scrambled eggs is relatively cheap to make as well.

 

I have started buying some items at our local Sam's club. I can buy organic/hormone free/etc for less there than our grocery store, especially since those items rarely have coupons. Most of their produce is also less than the local grocery stores. The soy milk we use and the regular milk my dh uses is also checper there. Not everything there is cheaper though so you need to know what you are shopping for.

 

I buy bread from the discount bread stores for a fraction of the cost. Almost all of it is what went to the stores that day but the stores didn't have room for. So, it is brought back to the distributer and sold at their store. I rarely pay more than $1 a loaf for the good brands. I buy several loaves at a time and freeze them. I also buy english muffins, french bread, bagels and so on cheaply and freeze it for use as homemade garlic bread. A friend buys a rack/half barrel at a time from her store for pennies a loaf. She just doesn't get to have a choice of the types she buys. The last rack she bought consisted of 12 loaves of bread and cost $3.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am seriously considering making my own laundry detergent. A friend recently told me that she spent $40 2 years ago for all the necessary ingredients and just ran out of them for the first time. That is really cheap-just a pennies a load!! Plus she has 3 boys and a husband that comes home very dirty due to his job. It has no dyes, no strange additives...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Soups will last us 2-3 meals...and they last so you don't have to use them as for meals right in a row so you grow tired of the soup.

Boiled eggs are good for protein.

Potatoes...stuffed baked potatoes, twice baked ones, potato soup with carrots, celery, corn(basically whatever sounds good in it that night)

Couscous/grains...mixed with peas, broccoli, mushrooms or whatever veggies your family likes.

Grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup are one of our favs.

Tortilla are great for wraps, breakfast wraps with eggs, bacon. We also make quesadillas out of them.

Skip the paper towels. I use dish rags where my sister-in-law and MIL use paper and I can't believe how many they go thru...it's just a change of habit.

FYI...we live in Illinois which is a great state for deer hunting...if you haven't tried venison...excellent source of lean meat. Most of the men in my family hunt so we usually have deer meat. We use it for meatloaf, roasts, baked in mushroom soup, chili, spaghetti. If you do not know someone who hunts, check with a local processor who handles venison. We have donated deer to them and pay for the processing...they donate to individuals.

Good luck...I struggle to find good healthy meals that are inexpensive as well.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

J-agreeing with the others-you do not have to sacrifice your standards but it is more work. I feed my family of 4 all organic whole food, inc. raw milk and all natural meat, on $100/wk. I don't really skimp and we're not pressed for money too bad-it just turns out to be about that amount.

 

I didn't read everyone's here-this may duplicate-we are a little looser than some things listed below-like they can have more OJ at breakfast if they're thirsty,etc., because we're not on a tight budget, but this is my suggestions for you:

1. One glass OJ for breakfast, milk for dinner, all the rest water-in your shoes I would even skip the OJ!

2. Buy in bulk at a local food co-op, if you can-things like oatmeal, flour, all dry goods, etc. We are blessed to have a wonderful all natural one near us!

3. Way less meat-like once a week for the 4 months-will not hurt you if you're careful about their protein sources. HUGE money saver.

4. Learn how to bake, if you don't know. Often our lunches here are homemade bread or muffins-with all organic ingredients and no sugar, with a piece of cheese and fruit and a veg, and it is SO cheap and healthy!

5. Agree with the two cookbooks mentioned-if you cannot afford to buy them, ck online recipes for frugal whole foods (sorry-I don't have any links but I know you are resourceful and will find a ton!)

6.BTW, my kids have not even had a sniffle in over two years eating this way, and they've only been on an antibiotic once in their whole life, so over time that has been a huge savings too! (Although right now they have h1n1 :glare:)

 

Sorry-not a lot of time to post-just wanted to let you know it CAN be done! I know there were some similar posts about eating frugally that had some GREAT ideas-maybe someone can link? Praying for the best for you!!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am seriously considering making my own laundry detergent. A friend recently told me that she spent $40 2 years ago for all the necessary ingredients and just ran out of them for the first time. That is really cheap-just a pennies a load!! Plus she has 3 boys and a husband that comes home very dirty due to his job. It has no dyes, no strange additives...

 

Slight hijack....We make our own detergent. It is so easy! I just use 1 bar grated Ivory, 1 cup borax, and 1 cup washing soda. We add enough water to make 2 3liter bottles. It costs us about $20 a year, and it works better than store bought.

 

Do a google search or I'll post how we do ours, if you are interested.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Slight hijack....We make our own detergent. It is so easy! I just use 1 bar grated Ivory, 1 cup borax, and 1 cup washing soda. We add enough water to make 2 3liter bottles. It costs us about $20 a year, and it works better than store bought.

 

Do a google search or I'll post how we do ours, if you are interested.

 

Please post yours! (When you get time, of course.) :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Right now we have accumulated some debt that we want to get out of in 4 months. We are taking drastic steps to make that happen. I need help knowing how to do this. In recent months I have cut our grocery bills way back and usually spend $150-$175 weekly but I need to cut out another $50-$75 and I could use some help (okay, a lot of help :tongue_smilie:). I know that for some $100 a week is a reality not a drastic measure but for us this will be hard. Mostly b/c I am a control freak about what goes into my kids' bodies. :001_huh:

 

This $100 will include non-food items like toilet paper ($1 a week), generic paper towels ($1.50 a week), dishwasher detergent (once monthly), laundry detergent (once monthly) and night time pull ups for one child ($7 every other week). I only use vinegar and baking soda for the rest of my cleaning supplies so that cost is negligible.

 

I realize that our goals of no dyes, additives, preservatives, nitrates/nitrites and so on will, for the most part, need to be set aside for these short months. I can feed the boys lunch each day for less than $2 if we stick with raamen noodles, totinos pizzas, pb&j sandwiches and so on. I will also do only frozen veggies instead of fresh. Lots of soups with homemade stock and oodles and oodles of beans. Black bean tacos and red beans and rice are already a staple in our home.

 

I also am a big coupon user and my store does double and triple coupons.

 

Other ideas, suggestions, recipes or helps would be greatly appreciated.

 

Yes, you can do this, and I disagree that it would be sacrificing your health, because I don't think that eating all natural and organic is *crucial* to being healthy. You don't have to use a lot of processed food to eat cheaply. For us, the key is shopping at stores that are cheaper than the usual grocery store chain. If you have a discount/surplus grocery store near you, those are the best place to save money. The one where I shop has great quality food for 75% off the normal prices. If you don't have any stores like this, a discount store like Aldi is the next best thing. It would be hard to stay under $100 for everything at a chain grocery store.

 

For us, breakfast is oatmeal, yogurt, eggs, or toast, always with fruit. Lunch is usually a sandwich with a veggie like carrots and dip. Dinner varies greatly, but one constant is that I use meat sparingly. I never made a chicken breast for each person in my family, for example, using up 5 at a time. Instead, I might chop up two and use them in a soup, or at most three in a hearty casserole that will last for two meals. I always stock up on meat when it is on sale, like chicken breasts for 1.79 this week. I buy higher fat ground beef because it's cheaper, but drain it well and rinse it before using it.

 

Another huge money saving strategy is buying whatever is on sale for the lowest prices, stocking your pantry and refrigerator with those, and then planning meals that use those ingredients. When I used to plan meals, then go buy the ingredients I needed to make them, I spent A LOT more money.

 

Good luck on reaching your goal!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Are you able to get fresh chicken without hormones or saline injected?

 

How much is it per pound?

 

I haven't found it near me yet but am looking.

 

Dawn

 

J-agreeing with the others-you do not have to sacrifice your standards but it is more work. I feed my family of 4 all organic whole food, inc. raw milk and all natural meat, on $100/wk. I don't really skimp and we're not pressed for money too bad-it just turns out to be about that amount.

 

I didn't read everyone's here-this may duplicate-we are a little looser than some things listed below-like they can have more OJ at breakfast if they're thirsty,etc., because we're not on a tight budget, but this is my suggestions for you:

1. One glass OJ for breakfast, milk for dinner, all the rest water-in your shoes I would even skip the OJ!

2. Buy in bulk at a local food co-op, if you can-things like oatmeal, flour, all dry goods, etc. We are blessed to have a wonderful all natural one near us!

3. Way less meat-like once a week for the 4 months-will not hurt you if you're careful about their protein sources. HUGE money saver.

4. Learn how to bake, if you don't know. Often our lunches here are homemade bread or muffins-with all organic ingredients and no sugar, with a piece of cheese and fruit and a veg, and it is SO cheap and healthy!

5. Agree with the two cookbooks mentioned-if you cannot afford to buy them, ck online recipes for frugal whole foods (sorry-I don't have any links but I know you are resourceful and will find a ton!)

6.BTW, my kids have not even had a sniffle in over two years eating this way, and they've only been on an antibiotic once in their whole life, so over time that has been a huge savings too! (Although right now they have h1n1 :glare:)

 

Sorry-not a lot of time to post-just wanted to let you know it CAN be done! I know there were some similar posts about eating frugally that had some GREAT ideas-maybe someone can link? Praying for the best for you!!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We have spent this for the last year, when hubby was laid off from his job.

The new job pays half of what the old one did, so we have changed our spending habits completely!

 

It IS possible to spend $80-100 weekly and still eat healthy.

We tried cutting costs by buying ramen noodles, etc and EVERYONE in our family was sick a month later.

I don't recommend sacrificing health to save money, EVER!

 

Your crock pot is your new best friend.

Use it to make pots of beans, the cheapest and yummiest food on the planet.

We have a pot of pintos or black beans or white beans going most days.

It's filling, which is KEY to spending less.

If everyone's still hungry when the meal is over, it was a waste of money!

We eat like this daily and we are not overweight, so carbs are not all bad. ;)

 

You can make tortillas with oil, flour, salt and water.

Add some cheese and you have burritos, quesadillas, soft tacos, etc.

 

Pizza

Soups

Pasta

Eggs - salad, scrambled, hard boiled, etc.

 

Stock your pantry with baking supplies and you'll never be without a quick addition to any meal.

 

I get Biokleen laundry detergent from vitacost.com for $17 + $4.99sh and it lasts me for 3 months, doing laundry every day.

I have sensitive skin, so this is a necessity for me~

 

I also can recommend inexpensive skin care, if you're interested~

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Are you able to get fresh chicken without hormones or saline injected?

 

Checking back in here quick-we finally found a great place but it is an hour away so we stock up. They do all processing themselves (and also for hunters, etc.) so that makes it cheaper. They are not certified organic but chickens are free-range, all natural, NO hormones or anything. Bnless/sknles brst is $3.19/lb-other cuts are a little less. It comes frozen.

 

I pray you can find something! Maybe check a little further out in the country?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I never made a chicken breast for each person in my family, for example, using up 5 at a time. Instead, I might chop up two and use them in a soup, or at most three in a hearty casserole that will last for two meals.

 

I agree!

 

Don't forget potatoes, oatmeal and rice.

Filling, healthy and inexpensive~

Link to comment
Share on other sites

http://www.e-mealz.com/

 

Check out that site. I've been following it for a couple months now. They have menus for Aldi or Wal-Mart, or you can go with the any store plan. I am following the two person, five meal a week, points, shop anywhere plan. I have been bad about clipping coupons lately. Even though we're only following the two person plan, there are many meals that feed more than two people, so they may feed the whole family or if my kids decide to get all picky, there are leftovers for lunch. I pretty much just buy what is on the list they provide then juice and other staples each week and spend about $60 on food a week. It's really helped me stop over-purchasing, which of course eliminates waste. And there are a lot of meals with frozen veggies, or you just have a salad on the side, do you do get some healthy food in.

 

ETA: It is $15 to join and that is good for a few months. When I joined I just looked online for a coupon code and found one that saved me a couple dollars. I am not good about saving the menus each week but you could do that so you wouldn't have to sign up again in the future.

Edited by OH_Homeschooler
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Are you able to get fresh chicken without hormones or saline injected?

 

How much is it per pound?

 

I haven't found it near me yet but am looking.

 

Dawn

You might check your stores for Amish chickens. The price is affordable and I believe they stay as natural as possible with raising them.

 

When we ate chicken, I would crock it or simmer it, debone it and get at least 2 meals from the meat by adding it to other dishes/casseroles. I also made stock for soup from the liquid.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm outside of Houston too, and I don't buy spinach, lettuce or carrots in the winter because they are so easy to grow. I have a bunch in pots on the deck around the pool.

 

I just bought a bunch more seeds, I could mix them with some of our great goat compost and mail them to you, or we could try to get together.

 

I also have turkeys, roosters and stewing hens all ready to be butchered. I've been putting it off due to the heat, and being 9 months pregnant. If that is something your Dh is willing to come help with, I'd be happy to pay him in natural humanely raised meat.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have a homemade laundry detergent photo tutorial on my blog HERE

 

I would suggest looking for where local restaurants buy their produce. We get it at the distributors and it's CHEAP. A 40# box of galas for $24. You can even split with a family if you can't eat it all in time.

 

I love youvegotsupper.com It's like e-z meals but it's free and the recipes are good, healthy and don't contain outrageous ingredients. You can also select which recipes you want and the grocery list is only for those recipes. They also have a great data base so you can find ideas to eat out the freezer.

 

We like breakfast-for-dinner once a week. Baked potato and salad night. Pizza night (homemade). Past once a week (cheap!) with veggies.

 

Heavenly Homemaker has great recipes that are very healthy and pretty cheap. Her blog is a great resource.

 

I think the best way for me to save money is to use everything. Don't overcook without a plan and reduce waste as much as possible. I plan on starting a "Weekly Waste" photo posting on my blog. Ouch.

 

You can do it!! Once you get rolling you will see that it's doable!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

I realize that our goals of no dyes, additives, preservatives, nitrates/nitrites and so on will, for the most part, need to be set aside for these short months. I can feed the boys lunch each day for less than $2 if we stick with raamen noodles, totinos pizzas, pb&j sandwiches and so on. I will also do only frozen veggies instead of fresh. Lots of soups with homemade stock and oodles and oodles of beans. Black bean tacos and red beans and rice are already a staple in our home.

 

I also am a big coupon user and my store does double and triple coupons.

 

Other ideas, suggestions, recipes or helps would be greatly appreciated.

 

 

I find your comment interesting....because I think buying those processed foods costs MORE around here, so we don't buy them at all.

 

Even if around you these things are cheaper, I'd caution you against doing this. I don't think it would ruin their health in just 4 months, but I think the real damage would be in their habits......they're not going to give those junk foods up easily after 4 months of eating them!

 

You've gotten lots of great suggestions, and I'll add mine:

 

Check your library for the books suggested.....but even if your library doesn't have those specific books, check for titles that are meatless, or vegetarian as those tend to use a lot of natural and healthy ingredients.

 

Definitely agree with the buy in bulk but ONLY after you're sure your kids will eat the meals you're considering. Nothing worse than buying 20 pounds of something no one will eat, lol.

 

Oatmeal is great for breakfast but we grow weary of the same flavor day after day, so we change its flavor every day. Add some fruit and it's even better both taste and health wise. We like to puree bananas that are a little past their ripeness (no one likes them when they get squishy, but they have the most sweetness then....so we either puree them into oatmeal or smoothies or freeze them for later use...warm banana bread as dessert is wonderful). I just bought 10 huge pumpkins in the "after Halloween" sale...check if your local store has some left. Cooking the meat and freezing for later use is pretty easy. A spoon or two in oatmeal with a dash of cinnamon is amazing! Apples are another relatively cheap fruit that we cook and freeze for use later in oatmeal and many baked goods in place of oils.

 

Check out farmer's markets in your area.....we get almost all our produce and fruit at several around town. Not only is it usually cheaper, but the quality is higher than grocery stores because the fruit/vegs are brought to market at the peak of ripeness, not having been picked a week ago and trekked across state lines in a truck. I can't say enough great things about farmer's markets!

 

If meat is an important part of your diet and you're not thrilled with the idea of giving it up to save money, check local farmer's markets or ranchers to see about buying a quarter or half side of beef. It's a big monetary outlay but then you don't have to buy again for months and months.....and it's cheaper BY FAR than even the loss leaders at the grocery. We have a large stand alone freezer and are able to fit a half side in with room to spare and it lasts us about 5-6 months and we eat meat 3-4 nights a week. We also get chickens from this same rancher....they'll even cut them up for us for pennies a pound more.

 

Bake your own bread...either by hand or scout around for a used breadmaker. Even new you can get one for about $50, but used I've seen them at $10 and $20......Ask friends if they have one hiding in a closet, check garage sales, etc. Instead of paying $2-3 or more a loaf for high quality wheat/grain bread, you can throw the ingredients in the breadmaker in maybe 5-10 minutes if you're slow, and the walk away.....the house will fill with wonderful smells and you'll have fresh bread in less than 3 hours. And half the price or better.

 

I find that the closer I stay to natural the cheaper it is.....fruits and vegetables, rice and beans....all are cheaper than "convenience" foods from the store, not to mention healthier by far....and heartier, meaning they won't be hungry an hour later!

 

Making your own mini pizzas is much cheaper, and healthier, than the frozen pizza rolls, PLUS the kids can have some fun helping you make them, choosing their own toppings (heavy on the veggies, light or no meats) and so they love this meal! We make the dough in the breadmaker and keep it in the fridge to break a small piece off and make our own. We make our own sauce as well, so we know what's in it, and it's cheaper and tastier.

 

Crockpots are wonderful for taking a really cheap cut of meat and making it tender....no need for expensive meat. Add more potatoes and carrots on the plate and you need a smaller chunk of meat as well.

 

Breakfast for dinner is the norm around here once or twice a week....eggs, omlets (great way to use veggies that aren't quite crisp anymore, no one wants to eat them raw in a salad, but sauted and in an omlet is great), even french toast (made with homemade bread!) or pancakes (don't buy the expensive premade mixes or frozen pancakes, make your own mix......make the pancakes in cut shapes and make the kids giggle over their dinner, lol).

 

Bean soup is great the first night as a main dish....and thereafter for lunches and even as a side dish to dinner that doesn't have a lot of protein (i.e. veg dishes). Even buying beans in the small grocery sizes it's a cheap meal....buying beans in bulk is almost free per meal per person! Lots of soups can be made cheaply....when we have chicken one night we almost always have chicken soup later in the week....boil the carcas with veg clippings for a wonderful broth which you can save to use as broth in other recipes, or use the broth as the base for chicken noodle soup....noodles are cheap and filling, add chunks of leftover chicken, some carrots and other veggies. A loaf of homemade bread and it's a main meal and then lunch for a few days.

 

If you're willing to do the work there is very little in the frozen foods section that you can't duplicate tastier and healthier and cheaper.

 

If your kids don't like the taste of plain water because they're used to juices......water down their juice a little more every few days.....they aren't likely to notice the gradual change in flavor but the juice will go much further.

 

If your kids are milk drinkers...try switching to the powdered milk. If they don't like the powdered right off, mix it 1/4 powdered to 3/4 fresh milk....and gradually increase the powdered and decrease the fresh until it's all powdered and they don't even realize it. Things like this are typically a matter of habit and taste......if you can gradually change the taste so they don't really notice it, then eventually you can ease them into the cheaper juice, milk, even soda. Years ago when DH drank soda many times a day he "had" to have the expensive name brand.....I wanted him to switch to the cheaper store brand....he complained it tasted funny....I asked him to drink the store brand every other can.....eventually he stopped noticing the difference in flavor and even found he liked the taste of the store brand better. I have a friend who tried this with her children and they still complained, so she was sneaky.....they used those big liter bottles of soda....so she poured the cheaper soda into an empty name brand bottle and they didn't even notice! That's when she knew it was a psychological desire for the name brand not even really a taste issue, lol.

 

Don't be surprised if all these changes feel a bit overwhelming for the first few weeks....but after 4 months of necessity, you may be surprised that you don't want to go back to most of your old ways when the budget relaxes again. We started quite a few of these habits in lean times but even though things got better financially we found we enjoyed the homemade items better. And that freed up money for other things!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My quick thoughts:

 

Make your own bread. It costs tons less.

 

Ask for spices if anyone asks what you want for Christmas.

 

Buy some cheap wash cloths at Target ($1 for 3) and use them instead of paper towels.

 

A small amount of leftovers can often be stretched into another meal by serving it over baked potatoes.

 

Don't buy cheese. Too expensive.

 

I like to make a shopping list with how much I am willing to spend for each item. So instead of saying I need 3 cans of tomato paste, I say that I am willing to spend $3 on tomato paste. If it's on sale, then maybe I'll get 5 or 6 cans--up to $3. If I am willing to spend $3, but it's on sale, then maybe I only have to spend $2 for what I need. Then I'll have $1 left over to splurge on something extra or buy something early that I know I'll be needing.

 

Spread out all holiday food items. Buy one holiday item each week. Cranberries this week. Pumpkin spice next week. etc.

 

Good luck! You are inspiring me!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Slight hijack....We make our own detergent. It is so easy! I just use 1 bar grated Ivory, 1 cup borax, and 1 cup washing soda. We add enough water to make 2 3liter bottles. It costs us about $20 a year, and it works better than store bought.

 

Do a google search or I'll post how we do ours, if you are interested.

 

Here's the recipe I just used (it made more than 3 gallons) -

 

12 C. boiling water

1 bar Fels-Naptha soap, shredded, added to water and stir until melted (medium heat)

 

Add 1 Cup Borax and 1 cup Arm and Hammer Washing Soda

Mix until all dissolved

 

5 gallon bucket put 8 cups *hot* water

Pour soap mixture into this and mix well.

 

Add 40 cups water from tap. Mix well.

 

15 minutes later mix

1 hour later, mix

4 hours later, mix

8 hours later, mix

 

You mix more early on because you're trying to keep it from congealing; it "learns" that it shouldn't do that so after awhile you don't need to mix as much. The mixing times build on each other -- i.e., it's 8 hours after the 4-hour time that you mix again (and at this point it's not hard-and-fast -- don't get up in the night to mix!

 

Okay, it should then be thickened and ready to use as detergent. Use 1/2 cup per large load.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Could you try cloth pull ups? You could trim about $12 from your second, third and fourth months' budgets if you'd buy 3 pair. If you use just the standard, Gerber-type training pants from the grocery, it's very cheap. Or you can go "cadillac" and get Bummis or the like. It's just a little more washing.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If it is really a small amount, it can be saved in small containers for a snack, too.

 

I have a friend who puts ALL her "freezable" leftovers into the freezer; then she uses them later for something .... soup, something where the ingredients go decently together etc. She says she rarely throws any food away. I can see where this would save a lot of money.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here's the recipe I just used (it made more than 3 gallons) -

 

12 C. boiling water

1 bar Fels-Naptha soap, shredded, added to water and stir until melted (medium heat)

 

Add 1 Cup Borax and 1 cup Arm and Hammer Washing Soda

Mix until all dissolved

 

5 gallon bucket put 8 cups *hot* water

Pour soap mixture into this and mix well.

 

Add 40 cups water from tap. Mix well.

 

15 minutes later mix

1 hour later, mix

4 hours later, mix

8 hours later, mix

 

You mix more early on because you're trying to keep it from congealing; it "learns" that it shouldn't do that so after awhile you don't need to mix as much. The mixing times build on each other -- i.e., it's 8 hours after the 4-hour time that you mix again (and at this point it's not hard-and-fast -- don't get up in the night to mix!

 

Okay, it should then be thickened and ready to use as detergent. Use 1/2 cup per large load.

 

 

Is this recipe alright for the HE washers? (I already use reg. detergent in lesser amounts and do not buy the HE detergent).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I feed my family of five on $120 a week. I simply can't get it any lower than that without resorting to low-quality food that would adversely affect our health. Personally, I think that flu season is the wrong time to put cost over quality.

 

I second the suggestion of Hillbilly Housewife. I also once read a book called Feed Your Family on $50 a Week. It was written in the '70s, so of course their prices weren't accurate for today, but I got a lot of good ideas from it.

 

My top suggestions for reducing your grocery bill (although, again, I don't recommend spending less than $100 a week for five people, as I don't think you will have quality food):

 

1. Make your own bread.

 

2. Don't buy boxed cereals.

 

3. Make your own pasta sauce from a can of tomato sauce, some olive oil, and some basil and oregano.

 

4. Stop eating meat (we are vegan, and I don't know any meat-eaters who eat as inexpensively as we do).

 

5. Pick a theme for each night of the week and have two or three meals for that theme that you just rotate through. For example, in our house Monday is pasta night, Tuesday is Mexican night, Wednesday is soup night, etc. That way you always know what you are having and can anticipate the grocery bill.

 

Tara

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Bake your own bread and sweets. It's cheaper and healthier. I like the Artisan Bread in Five Minutes A Day recipe. I even make our own pizzas weekly, and theres no one that sells a pizza as cheap as it costs me to make one.

 

Do not buy breakfast cereal. They are overpriced. Stick with oatmeal, eggs, fruit, etc.

 

Buy dry beans rather than canned. Cheaper and I've noticed a lot of the canned beans have sweeteners added.

 

Pasta can be a filling meal stretcher and there's so many different pasta dishes you can make.

 

This may not be an option for you, but I bought beef from a local guy that raises his own. I got half a cow for $125. It lasted us 3 months. He basically charged me $2.50 a pound. I got ground beef, round steaks, stew meat, t-bone and porterhouse steaks, and 2 different cuts of roast.

 

Lunch meat is expensive and not the healthiest. If you can catch a ham or turkey breast on sale (I've seen them pretty cheap lately) you can bake them yourself (some of the hams are already cooked) and slice them up for sandwiches, or even make a dinner out of them. The ham bones and little bits are great for soups.

 

Cheese is expensive. Cut back there, but if you find some on sale, grab it. I haven't had much luck with sliced cheeses, but I've done well with the shredded cheeses, and those are great for the pizza and pasta dishes.

 

Watch the sale advertisements. You can really get some great deals, especially if you are willing to shop at more than one store.

 

Definitely consider skipping the paper towels and use something reusable. I generally only use paper towels for spills on the floor so I buy the seriously cheap ones.

 

Make your own pasta sauces. You can get a can of tomato puree for about 88 cents, where a jar of sauce is $2. A can of puree makes a lot of sauce. You have to add some water and then your desired spices, but well worth the effort for money savings. You can make a large batch and freeze some for later.

 

I've seen the prices on whole chickens and thighs are pretty cheap where I live. Unfortunately, no one in my family will eat the dark meat. If yours will there's a lot you can do with chicken, especially if you have a crock pot.

 

You will find, once you get started, there's actually a lot you can do once you get creative. Good luck!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This $100 will include non-food items like toilet paper ($1 a week), generic paper towels ($1.50 a week),

I don't have time to read the whole thread at the moment, so I don't know if this has been mentioned yet...I love the "select-a-size" paper towels (half sheets), but they cost too much. I don't know if I read this idea somewhere or if I came up with it myself, but I cut a roll of cheap paper towels in half. The first time I did it, I used my electric knife. That worked pretty well, except the one I have is a cheapie and it struggled a bit to get through the roll. The result was great, though. I didn't have to use a whole sheet for a small mess or try to tear a piece off a whole sheet.

 

The second time I tried cutting the roll in half (just a few days ago), I used my bread knife, reasoning that since it's more serrated than my electric knife, maybe it would work better. It did the job (I had dh hold the paper towel roll while I cut), but it cut roughly and left bits of paper towel litter all over the place that I had to sweep up.

 

Next time I'll just use my electric knife again.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am completely overwhelmed (in a good way ;)) after reading all the responses. I am thrilled to know that we won't have to sacrifice our health to get it done either. I would love to go through and thank each person individually b/c you all gave so much great advice! I am so, so, so thankful to each of you. I am choosing to look at this like a game to see how much healthy food I can fill our pantry with for $100.

 

My plans...

 

  • I already make our own bread but am going to check a local discount bakery for bagels and tortillas to freeze.
  • Limit dairy dramatically. My middle ds has been having some gastric issues and we've wondered if was milk related. We decided this was the perfect time to take him off all dairy. :D
  • Already bookmarked the frugal sites mentioned and will be searching through them in next few days
  • Checked to see if my library carried any of the cookbooks mentioned but they don't. :( Going to check Half-Price Books since I have a giftcard there.
  • We were able to get a Sam's card through Dh's work today for free! I will be visiting there after we get paid on the 15th!
  • I already use dry beans for all my cooking but am hoping to save by buying in bulk.
  • Searching for lots more vegetarian recipes to add to our rotation.
  • No more juice. My boys only got one glass of watered down apple juice and sometimes one cup of oj, too. Taking this as an opportunity for us all to learn to love water.
  • Sure there are tons more but this is all I can think of off the top of my head. ;)

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Make your own pasta sauces. You can get a can of tomato puree for about 88 cents, where a jar of sauce is $2. A can of puree makes a lot of sauce. You have to add some water and then your desired spices, but well worth the effort for money savings. You can make a large batch and freeze some for later.

I like to buy cans of crushed tomatoes to add to my spaghetti sauce. I usually buy a cheap spaghetti sauce to use as my "base" and add crushed tomatoes, chopped or sliced mushrooms (canned or fresh), cooked ground beef and lots of seasonings (oregano, basil, thyme, majoram, onion powder, sometimes garlic powder). Whenever I add canned tomatoes, I add a pinch or so of sugar to my sauce to tone down the tart "tomato-ey" taste.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Right now we have accumulated some debt that we want to get out of in 4 months. We are taking drastic steps to make that happen. I need help knowing how to do this. In recent months I have cut our grocery bills way back and usually spend $150-$175 weekly but I need to cut out another $50-$75 and I could use some help (okay, a lot of help :tongue_smilie:). I know that for some $100 a week is a reality not a drastic measure but for us this will be hard. Mostly b/c I am a control freak about what goes into my kids' bodies. :001_huh:

 

This $100 will include non-food items like toilet paper ($1 a week), generic paper towels ($1.50 a week), dishwasher detergent (once monthly), laundry detergent (once monthly) and night time pull ups for one child ($7 every other week). I only use vinegar and baking soda for the rest of my cleaning supplies so that cost is negligible.

 

I realize that our goals of no dyes, additives, preservatives, nitrates/nitrites and so on will, for the most part, need to be set aside for these short months. I can feed the boys lunch each day for less than $2 if we stick with raamen noodles, totinos pizzas, pb&j sandwiches and so on. I will also do only frozen veggies instead of fresh. Lots of soups with homemade stock and oodles and oodles of beans. Black bean tacos and red beans and rice are already a staple in our home.

 

I also am a big coupon user and my store does double and triple coupons.

 

Other ideas, suggestions, recipes or helps would be greatly appreciated.

 

What do you have in your stockpile (since you are a couponer, I know you must have one)?

 

I am easily staying under $100 a week for alllll our food and HBC using coupons. You can totally do it.

 

Some ideas off the top of my head.

 

a) Buy big bags of potatoes and brown rice. . .Cheap, nutritious, versatile!

 

b) Processed foods are generally much more pricey and much worse for you. Mashed, baked, or roasted potatoes are going to be cheaper and much tastier than ramen or pizza. . .

 

c) don't buy and HBC stuff unless it is free or emergency. Use up all the "weird" bottles of shampoo, hotel samples, fancy soaps, etc.

 

d) shop the sale flyers, combined with coupons if poss. Hopefully you're already doing this, but it sounds like you are spending a lot for a serious couponer, so maybe you need to be matching with sales more effectively. For veggies and fruits, shopping in season and using the sales will help a lot. Remember that frozen veggies usually have MORE nutrients than the "fresh" ones in the grocery.

 

e) only use paper towels for NASTY stuff like vomit or poop. For everything else, use rags!

 

f) use that stockpile!!! If you know other couponers locally, see if they want to trade stockpile stuff (you have 100 boxes of spaghetti. . . she has 100 jars of pasta sauce. . . match made in heaven!)

 

g) veggies and grains are often cheap --- SO LONG AS THEY ARE IN SEASON. Processed stuff, dairy, and meat are usually the expensive items. I like Sam's Club for potatoes, onions, bell peppers, lettuce, carrots (unless there is a great sale at the grocery).

 

h) get your $100 in cash at the beginning of the week, put it in a change purse and ONLY spend that until the next "pay day". No one will starve if you have to wait 2 days to get to the store to buy more cereal. Buy your staples in sufficient quantity that you won't actually be hungry and try to save out $10 or more the whole week so if SURPRISE, you need more milk, you can go ahead and run back to the store.

 

If you still have it leftover next week, super duper because now you have up to $110 to spend! Saving the leftover grocery $$ in your little stash is important, don't redirect it to anything else! This is FUN because it gives you a lot of satisfaction and other benefits. For me, the main benefit once I started getting extra $$ in my stash was the elimination of financial stress. . . I didn't have to worry if I had enough to buy anything I wanted at the grocery, b/c I knew there was a wad of $20s and $50s floating around the bottom of my purse. Surprisingly, instead of encouraging me to spend more, having the excess grocery $$$ motivates me to save even more b/c I have something tangible that I don't want to let go of!

 

A year or so ago when I was just getting the hang of couponing, I told dh "give me $100 a week cash for groceries and $100 a week cash for all my other misc stuff and I will leave you alone about $$" He JUMPED at my offer, since we had recently been burning through at least 3x that much on groceries and minor misc purchases (misc music items, clothing, outings, household odd items, just stuff, etc.). Now, he still religiously gives me my $200 on Fridays and littledoesherealize I have like $500 or more in my purse at all times. . . HAHAHAHA. It just keeps growing. We're buying half a cow (locally raised & butchered) in a few weeks ($500 +/-) and I expect to be able to pay for it all out of my grocery savings. Likewise, we're buying wild salmon from Alaska in the near future at $10/lb. Grocery $$ has both splurges on high quality protein covered. We bought cheaper meats last year. . .but NOW I can afford them again. . . Of course, having meat in the freezer makes it that much easier to save on groceries in the following months, and the lovely cycle continues!

 

i) Count cost on your meals in your head when you are planning them. I am amazed at the variation in costs among our family favorites. I have a huge enough stockpile that I don't have to pinch pennies at this point so I splurge on pricey veggies, etc that I avoided for several months when I was just starting couponing and still building a stockpile. . . My $100/wk goes rrrreeealllllyyyy far now, but at first I was counting all the time.

 

I love it when I look at a meal plan and think . . . 10c for the box of pasta. . . 40c for half a bottle of sauce. . . $1 for lb of ground chuck . . . 10c for the half bag of salad. . . free dressing. . . free cake. . . 10 c egg. . . pretty soon I realize I spent $2 for a meal for 5 with left overs for lunch for a couple days.

 

So, if you are really counting pennies for a while, I'd look at your family routine meals and do a quick count of the cost. . . If you're like me you'll find some are $5 a meal or much less while others are much more expensive than you thought.

 

(FWIW, until I finally landed a great tortilla sale, tortillas were of our priciest routine meal items. It KILLED me to see the kids inhale $3 worth of tortiallas in a single sitting! I just didn't count these costs until I made a real point to a year or so ago. I could have had a $30 meal or a $5 meal and not thought any differently about them. Now I see the $$ in the food and I consider it -- although it doesn't rule every choice I make. I paid 50c a carton for organic eggs yesterday instead of getting cheapo ones for free (coupon deals, obviously). . . I didn't buy organic eggs last year, but now I can, much of the time, when it's only 50c extra. . .

 

j) Homemade isn't always cheap. It's good (and I looooove it), but not necc cheap. Today I made my very favorite butternut sq soup for dinner and for the freezer. I made about 8-10 quarts, so 20 or so big servings. To make about 4 qts of the veggie stock, I used $3 in onions, 80c in celery, 50c in potatoes. . . and I omitted the pricey leeks I would have ideally included and I had squash peelings and home grown herbs. Nonetheless, that was over $4 in veggies that were totally consumed in the stock. And $14 for the 10 lb of squash, and another $4 or so in apples and onions. . . and most of that stock. . . So, it probably ran me $20-$24 or so in ingredients for 20 servings of vegetarian soup.

 

Over $1 a serving isn't cheap for soup! Totally worth it for me, and it was in my budget, but I was fully aware that it was a pricey splurge. Last year, when I was really budgeting hard, I didn't make it often, and when I did I made smaller batches.

 

Sorry if I rambled on and on, but I've thought about this a lot in the last year and have learned so much. I've totally changed the way I think about food, shopping, money, material things in general. And, it has made my life so much less stressful and more pleasant to have a sense of abundance (love my stockpile) and thriftiness. I am very happy to see what we can do with the $$ we are no longer wasting by overpaying and underplanning.

 

HTH.

 

Good luck!!!!!!!!!11

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I use puree cans to make my own Manwich sauce too. The boys didn't even know I had not used the real manwich sauce! I read the back of the $1.45 can label and thought, "I can do this!" The ingredients came to about .35 total!

 

http://www.ehow.com/how_5034000_make-manwich-sloppy-joe-sauce.html

 

Dawn

 

Make your own pasta sauces. You can get a can of tomato puree for about 88 cents, where a jar of sauce is $2. A can of puree makes a lot of sauce. You have to add some water and then your desired spices, but well worth the effort for money savings. You can make a large batch and freeze some for later.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I use puree cans to make my own Manwich sauce too. The boys didn't even know I had not used the real manwich sauce! I read the back of the $1.45 can label and thought, "I can do this!" The ingredients came to about .35 total!

I know someone who makes Manwich/sloppy joe sauce with a small can of tomato paste as the tomato ingredient. I can't remember what else she puts in, but it was very simple.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I know someone who makes Manwich/sloppy joe sauce with a small can of tomato paste as the tomato ingredient. I can't remember what else she puts in, but it was very simple.

 

There's a recipe in the standard Betty Crocker and it's just like Manwhich but without the sugar and additives. LOL!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have more ideas but I will post this little tid bit for now. http://nourishedkitchen.com/food-stamp-challenge-the-end/ This is the last post this blogger did in a month long series about feeding her family of 3 (or 4) on a food stamp budget (I belive it was $236 a month). Her goal was to only eat healthy foods and stay within budget. Check out her menu lists that she has attached to each weeks post.

 

Good luck.

 

ETA: The meals on this site are a million times more healthy than hillbilly housewife and I do belive she does it cheaper! :)

Edited by caitlinsmom
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I love it when I look at a meal plan and think . . . 10c for the box of pasta. . . 40c for half a bottle of sauce. . . $1 for lb of ground chuck . . . 10c for the half bag of salad. . . free dressing. . . free cake. . . 10 c egg. . . pretty soon I realize I spent $2 for a meal for 5 with left overs for lunch for a couple days.

 

If these prices are for real, the way to feed your family on $100 is to move to WV.

 

Here, it would be: $1 for the box of pasta (1 lb of spaghetti or macaroni), $1.50 for the half bottle of sauce, $2 for the lb of chuck, $1 for the half bag of salad, .25 for the egg (at the absolute best sale prices ever available at the cheapest stores).

 

And the five of us would eat that in one meal with no leftovers, and two of them would stil be hungry.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I really enjoyed following this blog, Less Is Enough. It's one person who committed to healthy eating for one month for $30. She started completely from scratch and did not use anything in her cupboards (it was easier than trying to estimate how much a pinch of salt cost, a half cup of pasta, etc...)

 

She did go shopping nearly every day, which isn't really feasible for most of us, but she made it work. She wasn't able to buy dairy or fresh fruit/veggies for a while, but was eventually able to work them in. This was a one month experiment. I followed her blog every day, but have just had it bookmarked since she finished her 30 days. It looks like she's still blogging, but I don't know what she's writing about now.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If these prices are for real, the way to feed your family on $100 is to move to WV.

 

Here, it would be: $1 for the box of pasta (1 lb of spaghetti or macaroni), $1.50 for the half bottle of sauce, $2 for the lb of chuck, $1 for the half bag of salad, .25 for the egg (at the absolute best sale prices ever available at the cheapest stores).

 

And the five of us would eat that in one meal with no leftovers, and two of them would stil be hungry.

 

No kidding! I paid $3.50 per pound for hamburger today. What are wages like in WV? Are there any jobs?!?!?!:tongue_smilie:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If these prices are for real, the way to feed your family on $100 is to move to WV.

 

Here, it would be: $1 for the box of pasta (1 lb of spaghetti or macaroni), $1.50 for the half bottle of sauce, $2 for the lb of chuck, $1 for the half bag of salad, .25 for the egg (at the absolute best sale prices ever available at the cheapest stores).

 

And the five of us would eat that in one meal with no leftovers, and two of them would stil be hungry.

 

I assume that is with coupons - from the stockpile. Very doable no matter where you live.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Prices are lower here, but if I really try I can feed my family of 5 for around $60 per week. I usually average around $80 if you don't include pet food. We are vegetarian except for dh, and he only likes prepared (frozen) etc. meals so I buy those for him.

 

The way I do this is to combine coupons and sales. Durning the last two days I went to 5 stores and only bought the things that were great deals at each one. I have been stocking up on prepared/packaged food, because our stock was low. I try to buy only when the price is the lowest. (I live within 1-2 miles of these stores.)

 

Thus in my bedroom closet right now I have more than 25 boxes of cereal. I paid .50-.75 per box for these. Dc don't like oatmeal every day and this is quite inexpensive. I don't buy the kinds that are mostly sugar.

 

Today I purchaced cereal for .60, 100 ct. tea bags for $1.25, small jars of peanut butter for $1.00, cake mixes for .50, small frozen meals for .50 and granola bars for .75. Last night I bought 5 lb bags of flour for Christmas cookies for .99. I also got eggs, canned soup and tomato sauce for free with coupon deals.

 

I cook from scratch most days of the week and try to use produce that is in season, and bulk buy grains and beans are our grocery store. (I stock up when they go on sale in the bulk dept.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share


×
×
  • Create New...