Very very limited amount for groceries...wwyd? - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

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#31 of 49 Old 01-13-2009, 03:19 PM
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Eggs, lentils, potatoes, pasta, frozen vegetables. Make lots of soups. Oatmeal, homemade bread. Sorry that's scattered, I was just typing things out as they came to me.
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#32 of 49 Old 01-13-2009, 07:55 PM
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See if your library has the book "Not your mother's slow cooker cookbook"

It's got 500 pages of slow cooker recipes, and just the first 100 (that's as far as I've gotten so far) are chock full of cheap, filling recipes. (Cereal grain breakfasts, soups, stews, etc)
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#33 of 49 Old 01-14-2009, 12:23 AM
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You've gotten great advice! I know fruit and veggies can be hard on a tight budget, especially fresh. Can you go grocery store to grocery store and talk to the produce manager about what they are going to throw out? If oranges are blemished you could still eat them or juice the, or veggies could be cooked for broth and veggie soup,etc.

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#34 of 49 Old 01-14-2009, 09:00 AM
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I used to spend about $10/adult/week - eeek! so I know where you're comming from.
Brown rice and chicken are probably the cheapest healthy foods that I buy. Make stock from the chicken carcas, freeze if necessary to make it last till next payday. Use stock to cook rice to give it flavor and nutrition. I put butter or coconut oil into rice to make up for the lack of meat fats. If you are going to splurge on hamburger, then spaghetti is a pretty cheap meal, or I have made it meatless when we were poor. Mixed nuts are very very expensive but make a much more filling snack than chips or popcorn. I think boxed flake potatoes are cheaper (in bulk storebrand of course) than buying real potatoes and you can beef them up with stock and butter when you get tired of rice.

If you can get bread at an outlet store, it's cheaper than making it (IME) and for me
bread and butter sandwiches go a long way - and travel well. Somehow I don't get tired of butter - I have to get my fats.

My grandmother was a big time bread and butter sandwich eater. As a child I thought it was weird, my parents never fed us that, but as I have grown up I realize it may be what she ate during the depression. If you had a farm and cow already, it certainly seems better in the long run to eat the butter all year than to kill the cow once.
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#35 of 49 Old 01-14-2009, 11:37 AM
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Everyone else has already offered great ideas. Here's a couple more I could think of:

-- use eggs all the ways mentioned, including egg salad. great on its own or for sandwiches.

-- bone-in chicken thighs are often at publix for $.59/lb. I ALWAYS stock up on these and end up getting 3-5 thighs per package for about $2.30. They are of a nice size, as well.

-- vegetable soup -- not expensive to make (I use 1 lb. ground beef, english peas, two cans of vegetable mix, green beans, carrots and potatoes -- canned since you're going cheaper -- and my husband, daughter and I can eat off it for 2 meals a day for 3 days, at LEAST.

-- you can get oatmeal at Wal-Mart in the big canister for $.97 and it last forever.

You'll make it through this tough time. Hugs!

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four angels watching over us -- 4.2003, 3.2004, 2.2009, 9.2009
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#36 of 49 Old 01-14-2009, 11:43 AM
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Oatmeal, Ramen noodles, potatoes, dry beans, eggs, wonder bread, peanut butter.

Eggs can be hard boiled the night before to take for lunch. When you get sick of that, turn them into egg salad on wonderbread. Then pb sandwiches on wonderbread. Fried or scrambled eggs for dinner with a side of potatoes. Ramen noodles with beans for dinner. Oatmeal is pretty quick to make for any meal. I am sorry things are rough right now.
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#37 of 49 Old 01-14-2009, 02:45 PM
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This is approximately what our budget is for two adults at this time. I'm not sure how much throwing another adult into the mix would change things...

The first items I make sure we have are meat and canned vegetables. As long as we have these items, there is always something to make for dinner and I always make sure to cook plenty for leftovers. My husband and I both eat a lot of leftovers for lunch. Easily microwaved. We do eat a lot pasta and tacos... these are cheap for us and make for good leftovers.

Chicken is something we always have... I think this was already mentioned, but whole chickens are pretty cheap. Around here, pork is also reasonably priced. Beef is only if it's on sale. Luckily, we live in a farming community which brings our price of meat down a little. It's always cheaper to buy more at one time. If you can plan ahead and take one week's worth to bulk up your meat supply, take the next week to bulk up on non-parishable items... you'll have several weeks worth of dinners you can cook.

I don't know if this is an option for you, but on weekends we usually eat with our parents. They enjoy the company and it gives us a break from cooking.

We always go with the off-brand cereals, but sometimes the sale prices on others are cheaper. Luckily, we get our milk for free (my BIL works for a dairy company nearby and is nice enough to share the free dairy products he brings home).

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#38 of 49 Old 01-14-2009, 03:05 PM
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Also...if you have an Aldi's in your area, shop there! I saved almost 150.00 when I went there verses our normal chain in MN.

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#39 of 49 Old 01-20-2009, 10:42 AM
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If you are on a tight grocery budget, I highly suggest coupon clipping. If you do it right, you can save a TON of money. I know a friend who spends about $30 a week on her groceries and saves about $50 a week just with coupons. Try visiting Its a coupon site that will really help you with how to get started with the clipping. Good luck!
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#40 of 49 Old 01-20-2009, 11:26 AM
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You've had many excellent ideas posted!

We live on basically $20 a week for our family of 5. My husband is a trucker and gone most of the week, but my 3 young boys, 7 and down, eat well on the limited budget.

We do get some canned goods and a few cereals from a food bank once a month and WIC checks for one child, so that helps.

I agree with others on taking stock of what you actually have in the pantry and do "survival" cooking. You would be amazed at what you actually have in there!

Every 6 weeks or so we go to a butcher, where the meat is preservative/additive free and buy about $100 of various meats. Chops, chicken, hamburg. We freeze them in individual packets.

We check out sales and buy as much frozen veggies, canned tomatoes, pasta, potatoes, rice, eggs, garlic, onion as possible. We avoid buying any processed foods such as boxed mac & cheese and the like.

I will take 1/2 a chicken breast and cut it up into small pieces and make a stir fry or casserole so the meat lasts longer. We fill up on rice, which is a family staple, most nights. It's hard to remember, but a serving of meat is only 3 oz and we as a populace, usually eat too much.

I'll make a large meatloaf and use the left overs to make spaghetti sauce for a spaghetti feed the next night. I will make a double batch of pancakes or waffles to freeze for quick breakfasts.

Lots of recipes on the web to give you new ideas for stretching the food!

Good luck and know it is possible to eat relatively healthy on a tight budget!
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#41 of 49 Old 01-20-2009, 11:39 AM
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I second the coupon clipping. It's not as hard as I thought it would be, and it has really stretched my food budget. I am actually living on $35 a week for two adults and a baby, so my situation is somewhat similar.

Because I use coupons, I get many foods for free or nearly free. Where do you live? I ask, because Southern Savers focuses on grocery stores in the south. They tell you what's on sale at local stores, and also tell you where to print corresponding coupons. It couldn't be easier!

Oh, and Centsible Sawyer does the same thing with Wal-Mart.

You also might want to check out Grocery Cart Challenge. She feeds her family of 6 on $60 a week. She shares lots of recipes and tips. This post show you how to find grocery outlet stores in your area.

Good luck. I know it's hard, but you can do it! Hang in there until things get better.
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#42 of 49 Old 01-20-2009, 12:41 PM
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I'd also suggest angel food ministries. It is mostly meat, which lasts much longer than a week for us because I use it sparingly in dishes.
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#43 of 49 Old 01-20-2009, 12:57 PM
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One of our best finds was a breadmaker that a friend no longer used and gave to us for free. I poked around online and found a PDF of the manual which included many recipes. We make about 2-3 loafs a week now for under $1 a loaf (and the loaves have no preservatives). I have heard of other people getting bread makers for practically nothing at GoodWills.

My new favorite on the cheap meal (and this last month has been on the cheap) is French Onion Soup. Slice up a whole onion and saute in 2 tablespoons of butter or cooking oil for 15 minutes on medium low heat. Add a tablespoon of Worcester sauce (which I almost always have in my fridge) and a 2 tablespoons of cooking sherry (my grocery store sells cheap cooking sherry that has practically no alcohol content about $1.50 a bottle which lasts a long time when you use only tablespoon at a time). Then add two 14 oz. cans of beef broth (lately I've been able to get two cans for $0.88, generic of course). You could also just add water and bullion. I serve it with a piece of toast (sometimes with a little cheese on top, if we are splurging), and a bean salad on the side (also cheap to make, just use whatever beans I happen to have, and throw on some oil, vinegar and spices). This meal is great because it feels a bit decadant even though it is super cheap to make.

Oh, also I didn't see that anyone had mentioned, buy the dried beans in the bags and cook them yourself. It is way cheaper this way than buying beans in cans.

In the summer times my DH and I grow a lot of our own veggies to save money. We are also considering getting 2 egg laying hens to save money on eggs as well.
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#44 of 49 Old 01-20-2009, 04:38 PM
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Did you know that you can make an incredibly tasty chicken broth by boiling the bones leftover from dinner with a tablespoon or so of vinegar which pulls the calcium and minerals into the broth, and salt? Just gather them up, cover them with water in a good sturdy pot, add the vinegar and salt, bring to a boil and simmer covered for a couple of hours. If the water gets low, just add more. Then you can strain it and make a great soup with it...either just add spices and flour or oats, or any other veggies you want. Our favorite is zucchini, and then we blend it to a velvety smoothness and spice it up with salt, pepper, cumin, and a touch of hot pepper. Even if we had a lavish food budget, we would never toss out our chicken bones without wringing the very last drop of goodness from them. My daughter-in-law even accumulates them in a zip-loc bag in the freezer till she has enough for a good potful. There's a south American proverb: "A good broth will resurrect the dead." visit: for "Wise Traditions in food, farming, and the healing arts."
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#45 of 49 Old 01-20-2009, 05:18 PM
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My biggest suggestion would be rice. My DH and I buy a 50# bag at a time, and go through it in a month. Jasmine or Basmati has a nice flavor, and we have found that once you wash the rice thourally double the amount of water to the rice minus a half cup. So if you have 1 1/2 cups rice, it would be 2 1/2 cups water-- bring to a boil, turn to low and walk away for 20 minutes. It comes out perfect every time. (This is the amount we use for 2 adults and 1 child) We use very little meat, diced up small and stirfried with what ever veggies we have.. it's never the same twice. There is infinate ways to season and it's very filling with out the bloating feeling that you often get from pasta or bread.

Hope this helps!
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#46 of 49 Old 01-21-2009, 01:29 PM
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Have you tried dumpster diving? Friends of ours (two adults) eat on only five dollars a week. They get all the rest of their food from dumpsters outside food markets. Poke around and see if you know someone who does it. They can show you the ropes. My husband is going to go for the first time this week because we can no longer afford as much food as we bought in the past. It makes me feel good to know that we are "rescuing" food from getting thrown away. It doesn't really gross me out. Our friends that do it are normal people who are really frugal. The husband is a Ph.D student and the wife is an elementary school teacher.

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#47 of 49 Old 01-21-2009, 02:48 PM
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Don't forget to spend some money on flour, sugar and a little yeast-make some bread. It is fast, easier than you'd think and cheap. It will make cheap potato soup stick to your ribs, allow you to make sandwiches of your leftovers, and always taste good. I would definitely head to a local food pantry and try to get some staples. Don't be ashamed. We all donate to them (at least most everyone I know does) on occasion, so screw up the courage to go and get what you need. Pride goeth before the fall-don't be too proud. That whole chicken idea above is also excellent. I can make a large pot of soup, take the carcass out, pick off all the chicken by hand, and have tons of chicken for casseroles and sandwiches plus some back in the soup! Add rice to your soup and even just carrots or celery and my family can eat for at least three days. (Add bread to it and you'll be filled) Good luck!
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#48 of 49 Old 01-21-2009, 06:34 PM
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We're in here too. I love the ideas at the 'emergency' menu is actually alright, although we didn't eat the ramen (soy and dairy allergies) but rather just used rice or rice noodles. I love the tortilla recipe there, and we bake them instead of frying them and they are great that way! Just put them in the oven at 350 for up to 10 minutes. You can even wrap some refried beans and rice in the tortilla dough, roll them up, pinch the seam and bake for about 12 minutes. OMG they're so good!

Just make sure you buy your beans at a place where they are fresh (like a Mexican store) so you don't get too hard beans.

And don't forget nutritional yeast! It is loaded with protein and B vitamins. It makes a great cheese replacer (since we are dairy free).

And making your own bread is great. My dh and I do it in the evening, or I do it during the day. It really doesn't take that long and is super easy.

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#49 of 49 Old 01-25-2009, 01:55 PM
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I have (at the most) $100 a month for 5 of us - 2 adults, 2 teen BOYS & 1 toddler. I found a local food pantry that sells "beat up" groceries, some out of date (but still good) & some donated food items.

To top it off, 2 of our family members must eat gluten free - not cheap! However, I can fill one of those big sized grocery carts with lots of GF stuff, canned & boxed items, frozen meat, produce & fresh milk for around $10 - YES, $10! All this is just from a local church that receives donations & they sell it for pennies just to cover some of their costs. (Transportation mostly - they have only volunteers that work)

So call around all your local churches & see if they have any kind of food pantry type ministry!

Also, I've been told about this:

I guess it's really high quality food that will feed 4 people for a week for $30. I don't even have that much to spend so I haven't tried it but I have friends who literally live off of it.
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