Yup, you read the title correctly. I feed my family of 7 for $100/wk. And before you ask, no we don’t starve……..no we aren’t always hungry……..no we don’t eat a lot of junk……..Yes, we eat pretty healthy……..and you can too.
Before I begin to explain how I feed my family, I will break down my household for you. I have 7 people in my house: 2 adults, 2 teens ( boy age 16 & girl age 15), my preteen boy age 12, & 2 elementary school aged kids (2 girls ages 5 & 7). As you can see, I have a lot of mouths to feed, and some that are eating as much, if not more, than me. Because of this, it can be tricky but we manage. And piece of information you should know is that I don’t utilize places like Costco, where you can buy in bulk and really stock up. I live about an hr away from any places like that and because of where I live, I have to shop accordingly. Not everyone has access to those great stores. Living where I live in New England, we don’t have those great door to door veggie deliveries either. So, I make do with what I’ve got. The local stores that I use regularly are: Shaw’s & CVS (are in town)….Market Basket, Hannafords, Walmart,& Dollar Store (are a 15 min drive)….& Walgreens & Aldis (are a 30 min drive so I only use when I know I’ll be in the area). That’s it. As you can see there isn’t a lot to choose from and usually I stay with the local & 15 min drive stores. Or else I will be wasting more in gas than I am saving. Ok now on to the tips.
Below are 6 tips that help me keep my weekly budget of $100/wk. And so weeks I’m lucky enough to go under budget saving the money for the weeks that the deals aren’t as good.
6 Helpful Tips:
1. Shop clearance meats but make sure the meat looks healthy not browned or grey. Or stock up when a super meat sale is going on
For me I always check out Hannafords & a certain Shaws (the one in town meat is gross) because they have amazing meat deals and I’ve always had a great selection to choose from. I get a few packages a few extra to help me stock up for when there isn’t any good meat deals.
2. Think outside the box for snacks
Most households eat snacks. But snacks can get costly and a lot of them are unhealthy. Because of this, I now have my kids help make a lot of their snacks. So I thought about what I could make or have on hand that was cheap enough to fit our budget. And I came up with some good ideas. Some of the snacks we have are: pb sandwiches or their own uncrustables using cookie cutters, homemade bread, baked goods (like cake without frosting, muffins, quick breads, & brownies….side not when there is a huge sale for box mixes I will buy a bunch and stop up. But other times when we don’t have any, we make it from scratch), rice pudding & other puddings (like tapioca, hominy, & chia), homemade jello, & different kinds of oatmeal cookies depending what we have on hand.
3. Combine ingredients with numerous meals
For ex. cabbage this week is only $.17/lb so I’ll stock up & use it in most of our dinners this week and my lunches. Thank goodness we all love cabbage. My go to cheap dinner that my pickiest will eat a never ending amount is Cabbage & Beef fry with homemade taco seasoning.
4. Buy spices by the bulk saves a lot of money
In our small town we have two choices of health/Organic food stores but usually I can’t afford them. Have you seen some of the prices? Anyways, the only thing I buy there are the bulk spices. You can get as little as you need for your recipes and pay very little compared to buying them at the grocery stores. This is where meal planning comes in handy because if you know your upcoming meals for a few weeks or a month you can get everything you need at one time. Plus, you can try more expensive ingredients for less to see if it’s something you would use again.
5. Buy clearanced fruit & veggies- preserve them like dehydrating them
I invested in a dehydrator but didn’t really use it till recently. I was never able to cut the fruits & veggies thin enough to make it work. Then I found a mandolin slicer for super cheap and now I love using my dehydrator. It’s great for extending the life in the soon to go bad fruits & veggies. You can do a lot more than you think with the dehydrator. You can make numerous healthy snacks & raw cookies but you can also make camping meals too. That is something I will be touching base more on as the weather gets warmer. Be on the lookout for those recipes & tips.
6. Always check the clearance section of any store you are in
If you’re in a store, there is no reason why you don’t check the clearance section. The worst case there isn’t something there you want. The other day I went to walmart and saw old fashioned oats for sale the big packages for a crazy price of $1/package. I use them a lot so I got a bunch of them because there is so much you can do with oats so for $5/ I got 10 pounds of oats.
Any other frugal ideas you can share with me that saves your family money?