Can i feed my family of 5 on $75 for a whole week?? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 11 Old 09-18-2008, 04:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We are really tight right now financially, and DH just informed me that I have $75 to grocery shop with. Does anyone have any tips or good recipes? 2 of the 5 are toddlers, so they dont eat much, but I am a little stressed about it, and I would appreciate any tips. Thanks so much.
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#2 of 11 Old 09-18-2008, 04:48 PM
 
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Yes! You can do it! Search your pantry, cupboards, freezer, etc and take stock of everything that you already have and can use and make a meal plan for the week using what you have and inexpensive staples like rice, beans, lentils, eggs, etc. Round it out with whatever produce is on sale and your family will eat. It may be a tougher week, but you can definitely do it. :

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#3 of 11 Old 09-18-2008, 05:02 PM
 
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Yes.. beans and rice will be the cheapest options for you. Also, soup is easy and cheap.

Here are a couple suggestions:
Bean burritos with spanish rice
Cajun Red Beans & Rice
Bean Chili (black beans, red beans, pinto beans)

If you can make your own bread, that can provide toas for breakfast t and PB sandwiches for lunch.

Cook one pound bag of rice at a time, and use them 2 nights in a row.

Farmers markets are great for fresh veggies, too.

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#4 of 11 Old 09-18-2008, 06:03 PM
 
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Here is a menu that says it's for 4-6 people for $70 for a week.

Hope you'll be able to find some good stuff in your pantry and some good deals at the store.


Kristy, wife to Josh proud mama to Katie: since 3/08 and Emma since 8/12.

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#5 of 11 Old 09-18-2008, 07:07 PM
 
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Dried rice, beans and lentils, millet and quinoa go a looooooooong way. You can usally buy them all in bulk too, at a health food shop. And then supplement it with squash or meat (the meat as like an accent to the rice and beans).

My most favorite breakfast meal is to simmer millet on low with water (1 part millet, 2 parts water) for 20 minutes, adding vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, lima beans and sliced carrots (all which you can buy fairly cheaply frozen and keep them on hand in the freezer) and simmer for an additional 10 minutes. At the very end, after taking it off the heat, add miso or this is cheaper, a little bit of soy sauce. It's REALLY good and my toddler eats it up. Veggies for breakfast! Yay.

ETA- you can add red lentils in with the millet too, for extra nutrition and they "dissapear" when cooked, adding a nice mushy texture.

And of course, oatmeal for breakfast is cheap.

Bananas are cheap and a good snack.

Any grandparents nearby? Because I find they really like to buy grapes- for some reason! Always giving me grapes... LOL And grapes are kinda expensive so I'm always happy to get them.

If you're out in the country you might be able to find someone who is selling eggs, the local country people usually sell them much, much cheaper than in the grocery.
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#6 of 11 Old 09-18-2008, 08:09 PM
 
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Definately shop your cupboards, fridge and freezer first. Unless you've already hit them pretty hard you'll likely have more food than you realize.

Do you have an Aldis grocery store by you? They have good quality food (usually not organic though) for relatively cheap prices. Do you get WIC? For a family of 5 if you make less than $45,880 you can apply and you'd get food for anyone under 5.

Let's see...do you have any staples in the house?

Breakfast --
Pancakes - 1c flour, 1tbsp sugar, 2tsp baking powder, 1/8tsp salt, 1c milk, 2tbsp veggie oil Mix dry, add wet, cook. -- virtually free maybe $2 for a bag of flour if you don't have any

French Toast Casserole I don't do the whole butter, corn syrup, sugar thing in the bottom of the pan. I butter the pan put the bread in. Dump the eggs/milk over it and then lightly sprinkle some brown sugar over the top. I sometimes chop up an apple or two and sprinkle it in between the layers of bread. If you want to have sausage with it you can stretch that by chopping up a box of breakfast sausage links and scattering that in the casserole too. At Aldis a loaf of bread is $.79, we get milk & eggs from wic (otherwise they'd be about $5 and you would have left overs), a box of sausage at Aldi is $1.

Baked oatmeal -- Ends up being more like a cake instead of gushy oatmeal. A big tub of oatmeal is less than $3. Everything else is stuff you probably have on hand. http://kidsarevegantoo.blogspot.com/...d-oatmeal.html

Muffins - if you get the cheap Jiffy mixes they are usually less than $.50 a box (or make them from scratch which would be even cheaper)

Potatoes are cheap 10lbs for under $4. You could make fried potatoes, maybe a little onion, and 1 egg per person (left over from the baked french toast).

Do you have any fruit? Any family or neighbors with fruit trees? Farmer's market where you could get 2nds? Smoothies would be cheap if you could get lower cost fruit. Sometimes it's cheaper to buy frozen fruit.

Lunch --

Sandwiches - if you can do pb and jelly you could get 2 cheap loaves of bread for under $2 for both, a jar of pb for less than $2 and the same for jelly and have the main part of lunch for the whole week for under $6. If you skip the pb you could do an alternative butter like sunflower seeds or almonds but it would be a little more. For side dishes you could do carrots (cooked a little for the little ones). 3lb bags are usually about $2. Again some cheap in season fruit (apples/peaches) and you'd be set.

Left overs -- for you or dh's lunch, if you have enough some for the kids too

Ramen -- 12pks for less than $2, mix with veggies

Dinner --

Rice is cheap and you can do so many things with it. I just got a 20lb bag on sale last week for $9!

Buy one Zatarran's Jambalaya mix for about $1.50 add extra water and extra rice. I add a half of a smoked sausage rope (diced up small) so that would be about $1.50 too and a half a bag of frozen corn $.50. It will make a big dutch oven's worth and be enough for dinner and lunch the next day.

Fried rice - rice, 1/2 bag of peas & carrots or mixed veggies $.50, an egg and a little onion if you've got it, left over meat (1-2 pcs of chicken chopped up small or shredded or a left over pork chop), mix it all together with some soy sauce.

Mexican - 1/2 lb hamburger, taco seasoning (whole packet since it's also seasoning the rice), rice, can of black or pinto beans, mix all that together. Roll up in tortillas with cheese and salsa. Or eat it plain. I throw corn in it too. (If I mix the veggies in my dh will eat them, lol)

Pasta is cheap too --

Spaghetti with red sauce can be less than $3. Add a salad and you're set for under $5 total.

Twisty pasta (one box), jar of alfredo sauce (or make some even less expensively), can of diced tomatoes with green chilies, couple peices of chicken chopped up small.

Ramen noodles with hamburger and veggies.

Potatoes --

Baked potatoes with left over meat, veggies and cheeses as toppings.

Mashed potatoes with gravy (just a little meat, lots of gravy)

I'm pretty sure you could get all that for under $75 and that's starting from not having anything in the house.
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#7 of 11 Old 09-18-2008, 08:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you so much everyone for all the tips, I think the beans and grains is going to be the way to go this week, and I think I will buy a whole chicken and make a stew, and then use the leftovers throughout the week.
I have looked at that hillbilly housewife link, and I cannot imagine all that food being only $70, at least here!!
And I wish I had an Aldis, the prices seem unbelievably cheap!! I live in SoCalifornia, and groceries are sky high!!! But there are lots of good tips, great recipes here! I am gonna put together a meal plan and go shopping, thanks soo much everyone, and keep them coming, I know I cant be the only one in this predicament
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#8 of 11 Old 09-18-2008, 09:16 PM
 
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Also there was a big thread about meals under $5 I think on the frugality board. Let me see if I can find it...

eta...here it is... tons of good ideas there! and they're under $2! http://www.mothering.com/discussions...d.php?t=520224
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#9 of 11 Old 09-18-2008, 11:13 PM
 
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You may fine that chicken leg quarters are cheaper than the whole chicken. Here I can get a 10lbs bag of them for under $10. I like to oven roast them. Then use the meat for everything from burritos to chicken and dumplings to chicken noodle soup (use the bones to make broth).

Kristy, wife to Josh proud mama to Katie: since 3/08 and Emma since 8/12.

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#10 of 11 Old 09-19-2008, 12:54 AM
 
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I also think the Hillbilly housewife stuff is a little out of date, those prices seem really low, especially now.

I'd scour the weekly ads-also I'd be getting a news paper and clipping coupons-I do both of these things. I scour the ads, and make my list from those. So many times you can get really quality food for pretty great prices using ads and matching coupons. I know this week I'll be buying granola bars for example-they are 2/5-but if I buy 3 I also get a dollar off so they'd end up being 2.16 a box or 3/6.50. so we'll get a treat and a deal. Also check the discount area in meat/dairy/veg-you'd be surprised at the deals to be had. I cannot believe what great deals I get at Safeway when I go there-last time in the clearance area in meat I got organic boneless/skinless chicken thighs for half price-each pack cost about 2 bucks, great deal. I also got organic milk for 3.50 a gallon, I put these in the freezer.

I'd be pantry shopping firstly-see what you have-it's amazing sometimes what you find in the pantry. Get creative.

I know that it's not your question but I am a firm believer in stock piling for these types of situations-when $$ is better you could get a few extras to have on hand in case of an emergency. I started my real stock pile about May this year and now I am just in a rotation. I have my lists of things and my pantries are stocked and we have a lot of food. I seriously wouldn't have to shop for at least a month-except for produce and milk(although I even have powdered and would drink that if necessary).

We were super broke last winter and I made do with what we had-we did have to buy milk, but for cereal and cooking I used powdered that I mixed and kept in the fridge. These are ideas that can help-get creative.

Check ads, and use coupons-also ethnic markets have good deals on rice/beans etc...and being in SoCal you should be able to get some good deals on produce. HTH.

Me Wife to T (14 years)Mama to Princess(4) and Monster Boy(my 1 year old ):
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#11 of 11 Old 09-19-2008, 11:44 AM
 
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I agree that Hillbilly Housewife's prices are out of date, but the info is still good. She's got a lot of good ideas and tips.

Another website I go to is www.thefamilyhomestead.com. This lady has 8 kids and knows how to cook lots of food on the cheap. Lots of good bean recipes and low-budget. Click on the Kitchen link. Just be warned...her recipes are for 8-10 people, but sometimes she gives it for less. I usually make the whole thing and then freeze 1/2-2/3 for later. That way you have at least 1-2 more meals.

Mommy to DS (8/21/02), DD 4/13/04) and DS (1/2/06) : Improving every day! See my profile page for my blog address!
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