Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Living on a budget - Food

From the last post you can see that we are living on a budget now. We have to prepare for and get used to this lifestyle for another 5 years or so, but really this is for the rest of our lives. Why make a change and not carry it on...so, we are dealing with food.

Our budget allows us $500 in food for the month. This food budget does not include diapers, cleaning supplies, personal products - razors, shaving cream, feminine products etc...that comes out of a whole different area.

So, $500 a month for food for 7 people: 2 adults, a 13 year old boy, and 10, 7, 3, and 1 year old girls. Sound impossible? We were fortunate to be able to start this journey with a stocked freezer. We have lots of chicken, ordered from a church fundraiser and a few other meats that were picked up on sale in December. We also have a fair amount of canned veggies, plus a mistaken purchase that led us to have enough frozen veggies for about 6-8 months...don't ask;-)

This week, we spent most of our money on fresh stuff. We bought melons, and clementines, bananas, and tomatoes, lettuce and we scored baby romaine on the clearance rack to throw in with the salad. Juice boxes were on sale again, so we bought 3 more cases for school. We have enough now for about 2 months and will watch for it to go on sale again.

I figure the key is to not let anything run out, and we will never have to have huge grocery bills. Ground beef was not on the list, but it was on sale, so we bought some. We are just paying more attention to what is important and what it not. School snacks and pop were the items we chose to stop buying...much to my husbands discontent!!

Back in December those packaged cake and muffin mixes were on sale for .75 each. I stocked up!! We are not very good at baking from scratch here and just don't have the time, so the packaged stuff comes in handy, plus the kids can do most of it themselves and it is a fun activity!! So, this weekend we made 3 dozen mini muffins of each: chocolate, apple cinnamon and chocolate chip. We wrapped them in packages of 2 and put them in the fridge. We also made 6 dozen each of chocolate chip cookies and oatmeal chocolate chip cookies and wrapped them in packs of 3.

We are fortunate to be able to buy bread at the outlet, 2 loaves for $1.70 While there, we found a mega sized bag of cheese flavoured nacho chips $1.29. We bought them and packaged them in containers for the kids to take to school. There is still a bunch left over to package when we have more containers to fill again.

We also had bought some apples when we were planning a Sunday school class recently. We didn't want to spend a lot, since we don't have a lot, and found a nice little apple farm that sells a half bushel of seconds for $7.50. We got at least 75 apples in that half bushel. We will buy our apples from there again!! But they were starting to go bad, so the kids peeled and sliced them with our handy gadget, that we haven't used in a long time. They had a blast with that!! We boiled them down and made applesauce with them. They are in containers too for the kids to just grab and go. Today I am making banana bread with the rotten bananas from the countertop.

Eating well on a budget I think is all about using what you have and not wasting anything. Also, looking around where you live and finding those outlets or local places. Watching for sales when you are at the store and buying one extra each time.

We were fortunate to find eggs on sale and bought 3 dozen. We made Egg McMoms to freeze for breakfasts or lunches. They are easy to make and taste as good or better then the original from you know where...;-)

All in all we are looking forward to doing this all the way. We have spent $200 of our monthly grocery budget and that should last for at least 2 weeks. We will continue to buy milk on an as needed basis along with other fresh things. We are excited for the fresh choices and that they are healthier choices too...

Which will help with my weight loss and other medical issues that I will blog about at another date...when I know what is going on!!


  1. Going through the flyers on Fridays and planning your meals around what is on sale is a great way to stay on a budget. Shoppers has the cheapest milk in town, we happen to pass one when going home so that's where we buy our milk. They have good sales from time to time. I still think we should continue that "see a sale and tell a friend" thing. :-) We could all use the help in keeping costs down right?!

  2. Ruth check out websit Hillbilly Housewife.com great money saving tips

  3. You will also find that the less you buy pre-packaged the more money you save... but it does mean a bit more work on your part.
    The biggest help I found is menu planning. Another good site is http://frugalabundance.com/

  4. Wow. Feeding 7 people on a $500 a month budget is quite a challenge! These are some great tips. I've really been trying to buy more local and really used our Farmer's Market in the summer. It saved quite a bit.

    My biggest money waster is running to the grocery store to grab a quick and easy meal at the last minute.