Feeding A Family Of 4 On $80 A Week

Can it be done?

I’m going to find out.

Our grocery bill runs anywhere from $110 to $120 a week.  And sometimes more than that!  I know we can eat on less than that.  But is my $80 goal realistic?  I don’t know.

I had originally set a goal of $100 a week.  But then decided that we could probably do better than that.  Or at least I hope we can.

You see, Brian & I are two very different people when it comes to groceries.  He is a fan of pre-packaged, convenience foods.  I am not.  I prefer fresh, make-it-yourself-and-save-a-bundle type stuff.  And I would love to tell you that it is only because I want my family to eat wholesome, real foods, and I do want that, but the main reason is cost.  It is just so much cheaper, if you have the time, to cook from scratch.  Case in point – granola bars.  I recently made homemade granola bars.  They were awesome and they’re good for you.  They are higher in calories than the tiny things you get in the box, but they also aren’t full of all kinds of bad for you ingredients like high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, etc.  AND my girls loved them!  I had everything I needed in my pantry…that was the best part!  I can make them over & over without having to buy anything.

He also drinks pop.  I do not.  I will occasionally have a Sprite at my MIL’s or a Big Red at the Spinster’s house, but I don’t buy pop for me to drink.  I drink water and sometimes I’ll have tea or pink lemonade.

Now, I do have to say in his defense, that since I have been cooking a lot more from scratch, he has really liked it.  Croutons are a good example.  I recently made a salad that I used my homemade croutons in.  I didn’t tell him they were homemade.  He took a bite and said “Did you make these, they’re awesome!”

I made them with leftover bread that would have been tossed out, some herbs from my garden and a little bit of olive oil.  Very easy.  VERY CHEAP!!!  And they were much better than the ones that I usually buy in the  store.

So, as long as he doesn’t have to be inconvenienced or sacrifice taste, he’s on board for the most part.  I just can’t get him to give up his expensive pop-drinking habit.  And he won’t go for the generic cheaper version, either.  Or his expensive chip eating habit.  But, he works hard for us, so I gotta give him a break.

We also do not do meatless meals like a lot of others do.  And I am in total agreement with him on this.  I have to have meat in my meals. And meat is expensive.

So, I ask you again.  Can we eat on $80 a week?  Well, we shall soon find out.  My plan of action is to plan my meals around the sales at my grocery store.  Then combine what I already have in the pantry and freezer with whatever I can get deals on at the store. I’m also going to try to start having a leftover night.   The problem area is going to be the pop and the meat.  I would LOVE to have a deep freeze so I could buy my meat locally once a year, but that’s definitely not in the budget right now.

And then there’s the whole coupon thing.  I go back & forth on this.  I know some people coupon like crazy and some don’t at all.  I have decided that since I have been able to get a lot of things free or close to it, with coupons, I will continue to do it, but only for things that we would  normally use.  For example, today I got 6 bottles of Suave conditioner for free at Kroger.  They were on sale for 1.00 and I had coupons for 50 cents off.  Kroger doubles coupons up to $1, so that made them free!  I don’t use Suave on my hair, but I do use conditioner to make my own fabric softener, so I stocked up and I’m gonna be set for a while on that!  However, I’m not going to clip 5 million coupons in the hopes that someday there will come a deal on something that I don’t even use to begin with.

All in all, this whole thing is time consuming.  It takes time to plan out each meal of the day, every day.  It takes time to read the grocery ads and plan accordingly and it takes time to clip coupons.  BUT if it allows us to shave $160 a month off the grocery budget, then I think it is time well spent!

I’ll let you know how it goes.

**I feel like I need to make a confession here, lest you think I’m a pre-packaged food hater.  I do prefer Tyson frozen breaded chicken strips whenever we’re having that type of thing.  I’ve tried several homeade breaded chicken nugget/strips recipes and found nothing that I like.  Or even come close to liking.  I want my breaded chicken to be crunchy and flavorful.  And not covered in oats or cornflakes.  And so I’ve given up on that one.  Fortunately, we don’t eat meals that call for them often.**

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5 thoughts on “Feeding A Family Of 4 On $80 A Week

  1. momstheword June 20, 2009 at 1:32 am Reply

    I got a recipe for tacos made with lentils and brown rice (from recipezaar) and honestly, my family loved it. They even asked for it again.

    So perhaps you may like something like that. Both my boys liked it and my husband did too, and they all love meat!

  2. Christy June 20, 2009 at 4:05 am Reply

    Good for you on the Suave conditioner deal!

    I think you can do it…especially if you shop at Aldi’s. Before we started raising our own meat, I would plan my meals around whatever meat was on sale…and if I could that week, I would buy a bunch at the sale price. A couple of weeks ago, 3 lb. bags of chicken breasts were $3.99…so I bought about 10 bags! I’ve also found that eating ‘casserole’ type meals save us money. We prefer to eat meat too, but with a casserole you don’t need near as much when cooking it. We have a family of 6 and I spend about $80-$90 a week (that includes toiletry and any other store items..cleaning…household items, etc.) We have our own beef and pork in the freezer, but I do buy chicken. Cutting out snacks saves a lot of money too. I’ve tried making my own, but I eat twice (or maybe triple) as much that way (and store bought aren’t usually tempting to me) so I usually buy granola bars for the kids.

    You can do it! Keep us posted on your progress and how you’re doing it!! I can use all of the help I can get in saving money!!

  3. Fencepost June 20, 2009 at 4:02 pm Reply

    I’ve got to give you kudos for even attempting. I believe it can be done,if you spend the extra time planning and clipping.
    My Captain is a chips eater and a tea drinker. There’s always 2 pitchers of tea in the fridge. Me…I’m a pop drinker. Although I have cut waaaay back on it and am trying to drink more water.
    Speaking of pop, I called it that all my life until I moved to the south. Then I either had to quit calling it that or put up with the comments from the locals. (I still call it that when no one is listening)
    I’d like to know how you make your croutons. I am picky about them and cannot find any store bought that I like.
    Good luck and keep us informed on your progress!

  4. Gretchen June 21, 2009 at 12:16 am Reply

    You can do it! You know how I go back and forth on coupons. Ryan is also a pop lover. His pop was a huge chunk of my weekly budget. I do try to watch for sales. Ryan also won’t drink generic for the most part. He doesn’t have to have chips but we do buy them if there is a good sale occasionally.
    Besides your husband told us what an awesome cook you were and I know that you like to cook so I know you won’t have any problems making things from scratch.
    We also are pretty big meat eaters. We usually buy our meet from Hoosier Grassfed Beef at about $3/lb. We are running very low and need to make another order, but we do have a deep freeze. The most we have ever bought at one time was 1/4th of a cow. I have to admit it is handy to have it in the freezer and it tastes so good!

  5. mel July 10, 2009 at 2:07 am Reply

    Sweetie,
    I have some coupons for those tyson things I will share with you if you like. (Christy can vouch for me)
    Just drop me an email with where to send them!
    hugs
    mel

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