Can you feed your family for $75 a week? This has been my goal all summer, to feed the five of us for $75 a week. This means all food we prepare at home. Occasionally we will go out to eat but that comes from our entertainment money, not our food budget. And hubby likes to get lunch at work so spends $2 a day for that, so that brings it up to $85 a week. But my goal at the grocery store each week is $75. Sometimes I spend a little more and sometimes a little less. The worst times are when I don't write out a detailed menu and shopping list and spend way too much at the store, which just reinforces my thoughts that one must stick to a budget and shop carefully in order not to waste money at the grocery store.
The grocery budget is one of the only areas that we can control. We don't have cell phone bills, cable, or other luxeries that we can cut out. We can't control the mortgage, car insurance, life insurance, or phone bill. It is hard to bring the gas and electric bills down even further so that leaves us with trying to save money in the food department. $75 a week for a family of five gives us about $2 each a day to spend on food, or $15 each a week. It is do-able. And I'd like to see if I can get it even lower.
Casseroles and soups are one of the easiest ways to do this. They typically give us leftovers so end up as two meals or more. And they are an excellent way to get the family to eat their vegetables, although I don't have too much of a hard time with that as the children are not too picky. Pasta dishes are another way to stretch the food budget. Spaghetti, lasagna, cavitini, goulish, manicotti, and more are all dishes that are filling and that we all enjoy. Supper is our large meal of the day so typically the most expensive, maybe averaging out to about $6 for the whole meal.
Lunch is more simple. Leftovers, sandwiches, cheese and crackers, macaroni, or other easy foods. Things we have one hand that are easy to put together. Add a little fruit, a vegetable, and a glass of milk and call it complete.
Breakfast is either oatmeal, Cocoa Wheats (much like cream of wheat), toast, or cereal that we get on sale. Occasionally I will make a brunch on weekends. All those foods are inexpensive, healthy, and filling.The only way to stick to a budget is to actually sit down and make one. Figure out what you spend on groceries weekly and try to shave off $10 or $20 of that total. Then sit down and make a detailed menu for the week and a detailed shopping list. Stick to your list at the store. It may take a few weeks to see how fesible the budget is that you first wrote out and you can tweek it a little, either cutting it down even further or adding a little extra if you didn't make the cut in the previous weeks. Then you have a base plan of what your family needs to spend weekly and you can stick to it with some creative shopping. Future Frugal Friday postings will deal with saving money at the grocery store and stockpiling.
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