$150 Dollar Grocery Budget

Discussion in 'Countryside Families' started by homefire2007, Feb 4, 2013.

  1. homefire2007

    homefire2007 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Now, that oldest son has his own place it's just youngest son and I at home. Oldest DS could eat for two people at 6 '6' . Youngest DS is 6 '3' and rising. I figure I am grocery shopping for just three people now :) This weekend I shopped the sales, used a few coupons and managed to save $77.

    My strategies include a pitcher of iced tea always available in fridge, lots of cut veggies and black bean dip ( home made) and apples for snacks. No red meat. Plenty of chicken and a frozen turkey in the freezer. DS is really getting into the swing of things, he made a tasty rice and bean supper last night. Today, I will make several loaves of bread. I have $92 dollars left for montlhy grocery budget....wish me luck!
     
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  2. emdeengee

    emdeengee Well-Known Member

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    This is going to be quite difficult and require a lot of planning and invention. I do wish you luck.

    I have found that soup (mostly vegetable), served at the beginning of the meal, with hearty homemade bread not only provides a lot of nutrition but also helps fill hollow legs. Whole grain breads with homemade yogurt cheese, hummus or peanut (or other nut) butter makes a great and filling snack.

    Another important step in controlling the food budget is portion control - the size and number. When we started this a few years ago no one ever left the table hungry but no one over ate anymore. And it made an instant impact on the grocery dollars.

    The pitchers of orange juice and milk used to sit on the table and they were always emptied and refilled. A serving size of juice is a half cup (a cup for growing kids) not two tumbler fulls. Juice is for nutrition, water to quench thirstl The size and amount of food differs with each person but what is a proper serving size has really become scued in our society.
     

  3. homefire2007

    homefire2007 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Emdeengee, you made some excellent points. Portion control is important and something we've needed to work on for quite a while. Oldest DS rode his bike, worked outdoors and burned calories like nobody's business. Youngest DS and I aren't nearly as physically active.

    Hummus, I make once a week. Soup is a favorite here also. Oatmeal for breakfast is filling and quite tasty, much to my surprise. I've noticed after eating less but better these past few days...I FEEL better!
     
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  4. ItchingDuck

    ItchingDuck Well-Known Member

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    I like stretching my food. I boiled 4 chicken legs/thighs yesterday and got chicken stock as well as the chicken. Then I used my cast iron skillet and sauteed some rice with butter and onions. Added chicken stock, 1 can diced tomates and garlic, bay leaves, seasonings and 1/2 diced chili pepper. Add 1 cup chicken and cook. Best meal and fed 5 people with large appetites yesterday. Cost me maybe $2.50. Love recipes that stretch your food.

    $150 for a month can be done, but takes diligence and planning. Try to hit double coupon days, no coupon-don't buy it, look for recipes that fill but stretch your food. I only spend $350-$400 on my family of 7. Not including paper and cleaning products. But even those we save a lot of money on. If you find any tips that work for you be sure to let us know :)
     
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  5. emdeengee

    emdeengee Well-Known Member

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    This was my discovery as well! And over time you will find you have more energy. The whole process of digestion uses up an enormous amount of energy which is why all the uncles and fathers and grandfathers fall asleep on the couch after a big feast at our house.

    When people work hard physically they do use more energy so require more fuel. We never denied anyone food when they were hungry but we did "control" over-eating. The whole portion thing for us started when I wanted to lose weight and it quickly became obvious just how much we were eating in excess of what we really needed. And we ate better quality food.

    Processed foods and ready to eat foods cost much more than their value. It sounds like you are a cook who makes from scratch and this is a great way to save.

    My family loves pasta dishes. Whenever I make them (lasagna, spaghetti Bolongnaise, Chicken Alfredo, Macaroni and Cheese) I make big quantities and then I freeze them in small portion sizes. If someone is really hungry between meals they can always take one from the freezer. Same with Chilli. I make both a meat and a vegetarian version. A cup of chilli and a slice of bread will satisfy even the biggest appetite between meals.

    I have always canned a lot of fruit "compotes" when the fruit is ripe and in season. Apple sauce, pear compote, peach compote, plum butter , berry compote etc. These are always available. Bananas are also a good snack especially when they are on sale. I buy very ripe bananas and slice them onto a baking tray and quick freeze them. They make a great frozen snack and can be thrown in to a blender with some fruit and yogurt for a quick energy drink.

    I don't buy cookies and only make them once in a while but they are very filling and a nice treat (oatmeal, peanut butter and chocolate chip). I also make bran muffins. I make extra oatmeal (cook until thick) and throw in some raisins. I then put it in a rectangular container and cut into squares. Refrigerate. One square heated in the microwave with some brown sugar or maple syrup on top is also a good between meal snack. I cook my oatmeal in milk which makes it very creamy.
     
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  6. Elizabeth

    Elizabeth Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Sounds like you and your DS are doing a great job by eating low on the food chain, using plenty of unprocessed whole foods, and making your own bread, hummus and bean dip.
     
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  7. Yvonne's hubby

    Yvonne's hubby Murphy was an optimist ;) Staff Member

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    Theres no better way to stretch the grocery budget than rice n beans. Well, other than maybe beans n rice. :)
     
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  8. danarutan

    danarutan Well-Known Member

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    Try budget101.com's $50 week menu with recipes
     
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  9. soulsurvivor

    soulsurvivor Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Don't forget eggs which make a great omelet or fried egg sandwich.
     
  10. rags57078

    rags57078 Well-Known Member

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    X2 ,I will also add , french toast, pancakes , egg burritos , get that son out fishing and put a bunch in the freezer . get ahold of the local game warden or sheriff and see if you can get in on a fresh road killed deer or 2
     
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  11. Joshie

    Joshie Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Coco wheats are tasty and very filling.
     
  12. Bettacreek

    Bettacreek Well-Known Member

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    Eating HEALTHY foods can be expensive, if everything has to be purchased from the store. I can either buy a big tub of cheese balls for, what, five bucks, and have snacks for a month for the kids, or I can spend $7 on a bag of apples and have snacks for a week. It kind of stinks! HOWEVER, yes, you can eat on a severely limited budget. I'll be following along to see how everything goes for you!
     
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  13. okiemomof3

    okiemomof3 Well-Known Member

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    when i have to really buckle down and get the budget down low, i immediately try to cut down on the amount of cheese intake..as it is so expensive.

    we do one or two meatless meals per week and have lots of meals where one whole chicken can be stretched to at least 3 nights of meals. as you are doing, i also make my own bread to use for sandwiches, french toast, popovers (if you have chickens for "free" eggs, otherwise each batches 3 eggs, not economical if using store bought), biscuits, use powdered or canned milk to make gravy, make your tortillas to help make those meat stretching meals.

    so we don't feel so restricted, i will try to budget in fresh fruit, but limit to once piece a day until its gone, and then its gone until its time for shopping again...that way, you at least get some fruit, but i buy what's on sale or i use canned also.

    also, i make any snack foods like inexpensive homemade cookies (usually snickerdoodles) or no bakes, or granola bars, etc.
     
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  14. Grandmotherbear

    Grandmotherbear Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Don't forget Cornell Triple Rich Bread formula to increase protein and nutrition- when making bread, pizza crust or noodles, start by adding to the cup measure you will use for flour- 1 tbsp dry milk solids, 1 tbsp wheat germ, and 1 tbbsp soy flour. Then fill the measure to the top with flour.
    I also sometimes thro in flaxseed meal.
    Back in the days before bread machines, when I was a welfare mom with a 5 year old and an infant and $33 a month in food stamps, saturday was baking day- 2 loaves of bread, a pizza crust for that night's dinner, and noodles for Sunday dinner with the above formula. Edited to add - noodles rolled with a rolling pin and cut with a butter knife- you don't need a pasta machine!!
     
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  15. salmonslayer

    salmonslayer Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I just spent $60.00 for a leg of lamb roast for next Sunday's dinner....add a bottle of wine at $19 or so, frisee and arugula salad fixings at $7.00, some Yukon Gold potatoes at $5.00, some heavy cream at $1.50, fixings for home made crusty dinner rolls at say $3.00 and then a chocolate mousse for dessert at about $7.00 and I am already over $100 (this is for 4 adults). I personally could not make it on $150 a month.

    Of course we dont always have expensive meats like that and we grow most of our own vegetables, have chickens for eggs, cattle for beef and we hunt but if you take the time to cost out how much those "free" veggies, eggs, chickens, deer, turkeys and the beef actually cost the $60.00 lamb roast doesnt come out that bad.

    Another poster hit it on the head, its expensive to eat healthy. We dont have a microwave and eat virtually no processed foods but high quality meat, vegetables (in the off season) and fresh fruit is expensive and I kind of wonder if these extremely low food budgets are real healthy. I have always thought that food stamps and the like should be on a graduated scale; i.e., you get more purchasing power when buying raw ingredients and fresh fruits and vegetables. As it stands we almost encourage poor health in the very people who cannot afford ill health.

    Milled rice is filling but even when enriched (required in the US) its not a very nutritional staple and the heavy reliance on pasta and breads doesnt seem all that great either. Its frustrating that with all the money spent on various safety net programs that we cant come up with a simple solution to get produce down to a level where it can be considered a go to for those with pecuniary challenges.
     
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  16. pattycake

    pattycake Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Salmonslayer, You must be what my Mom would say people living high on the hog!!
     
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  17. Awnry Abe

    Awnry Abe My name is not Alice Supporter

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    DW makes quite a bit of bread. A good bread maker pays for itself, eventually.
    I also find that certain, unpopular white fish varieties can be an excellent protein source. A new one for us here recently was Swai. It showed up around May of last year and they were practically giving it away.

    Any chance you can grab some food for 'free'? Deer, turkey, rabbits, squirrel, fish, etc. How about foraging? I bet a few $ can be saved there. (They aren't really free, I realize. But maybe you've already spent the cash on gear).

    ...don't fall for cheap calories...You need to keep those boys growing up, not out.
     
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  18. salmonslayer

    salmonslayer Well-Known Member Supporter

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    No, we have a big Sunday dinner coming up and I was just using that as an example of how expensive it is to eat well or even healthy (lamb is a good meat but very expensive around here for some reason). We dont usually eat expensive meals like that but we do eat a lot of fresh vegetables and fruits which are really expensive even here in the Ozarks. We also eat a lot of sea food which around here consists of frog legs, tilapia and catfish so we order our sea food from a specialty shop, again not cheap. Nutritionists say to eat a healthy and balanced diet with lots of fish, vegetables, and fresh fruit but more and more thats very hard to do on a limited food budget.

    As for the wine, its medicinal.[​IMG]...my last AARP mag says dark chocolate and a glass of wine or two is good for you.
     
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  19. Wendy

    Wendy Well-Known Member

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    That would be very hard as most things I buy do not have coupons. We grow most of our own food & I still spend on average $150 a week for a family of 8. That includes all toiletries, laundry supplies, etc. Shoot, I spend at least $25 a week on milk. All of the goats ahve finally kidded, so that will be gone soon.
     
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  20. vicki in NW OH

    vicki in NW OH Well-Known Member

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    The only things I can think of to add are popcorn for snacks popped in a pan on the stove; bean burritos and tostadas made with cooked-from-scratch beans; homemade pizza, go light on the cheese; burgers made with beans, lentils, rice, etc. I had a black bean burger with corn salsa, and it was very good. My dh also likes cinnamon toast for a snack. My budget is a little less than yours, but I have a large garden, fruit trees, berries, and eggs. I also know that food costs more in Vermont than here.
     
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