Feeding a family on a budget!!

So I don’t know your financial situation but for me the word “budget” holds a lot of stake in our home. Being a one-income household during this expensive stage of life, raising littles, means getting very creative with your spending. Hand me downs are a must, free fun around town is crucial & eating on a budget is just necessary.

Grocery shopping is that one tough spot for me because I can justify almost anything once I’m there! But that candle smells so yummy!!! Of course I need everything organic, have you seen the documentaries?!! (huge eye roll…that documentary also didn’t have 3 bottomless pit children on a very limited income) Wine is MY SANITY, ok this one is legit, it never gets knocked off the list…I will kick bread and milk for a week before I take this off! If you are so fortunate to have a tiny one in tow, you will often spend an extra $5…again on your sanity!

The struggle IS real ladies, but here are some of my tips on how I feed a family of 5 on $130-$150/wk!!! Yes, you read that right…a week!

Ok so tip 1: only buy what you need for THAT week (yes, it’s sounds exciting to buy that exotic spice because it may motivate you to fancy up your chicken, but if it’s not on your meal plan for the week…DON’T buy it! You will likely not cook with it, forget you have it & it will fall to the back row of your spice rack! Preach sister!) This tip also includes meal planning & making that fun grocery list! For you Price is Right pros, run through the list, put the dollar amount next to the item (give or take $.50-$1) and add it up. This way you can cut your list now & not when you are at the store…did I mention you may have a 30lb companion?! This is no time to have to think about prices.

Tip #2: plan to cook 3 meals a week (when I say “cook”, I mean actually chopping veggies, using raw meat & a stove) then plan on 2 “leftover days”, 1 pizza night (it’s Friday in our house) & 1 frozen dinner plopped in the oven night (this is my Saturday night, low maintenance & makes me feel like I’m not cooking (because I’m NOT) and prevents the last minute Chuy’s run that throws me back $40 because I needed to eat, NOW. Yes, I’m speaking from experience. Ps) my “goal” is to eat out 1-2x/month at a restaurant. You may be able to do this weekly, it just ain’t in my budget 😉

To elaborate real quick on the “leftovers night” this means cooking large portion dinners on the cooking nights & just having it 2 days in a row or every other day. Crockpot stews, Shephards Pie, Chili, Pasta Bakes are all great options to do this with!! For the pizza night, do NOT order delivery, I repeat do NOT order delivery! This adds about $10 to your bill between tip & delivery charge! Papa Murphy’s is our go to & if you fill out their little survey you can get a discount on your pizza or a FREE cinnamon/cheesy bread!!! FREE folks! I walk out of their spending $10 with a large pizza & free cinnamon wheel every Friday! I buy my 2L soda (for $1) from the grocery & a $3 salad kit to make this a full meal for $15 total!!! You can also shop the frozen section for pizza!! DiGiourno was always a favorite for me ($6!)

Tip 3: don’t OVER buy, put those kids & husbands on rations! For real, 1 yogurt/day, 1 cheese stick/day…you get the drift. They still eat their 3 square meals plus 2 snacks but it’s not an unlimited buffet here folks. I literally have what we need for the week. You come to my house the day before grocery day, you would think my family is starved. It’s damn near empty, but that actually makes me feel good knowing I ate what I bought! Staple ingredients are understandable…your flour, sugar, spices, eggs, butter, etc…but all your other needs…bread, milk, cereal, yogurt, cheese, fruit, veggies, meat…only buy what you need for THAT week.

Now what you won’t hear me saying is buy in bulk or buy from the club stores. This may very well be very fruitful & cost effective but so far, not going those routes has kept my budget in check. I’m not knockin’ em…just ain’t my thang.

So mommas, I know this is tough,especially if you haven’t ever budgeted for food but I assure you it is more than possible!! Creativity is key, cooking the same few dinners a month is totally ok & remembering we have more than most in the world reminds us how lucky we even are to live in a city where HEB & Walmart grocery pickup is even a thing!! (Ps: grocery pickup is my JAM! I prefer Walmart over HEB because they don’t charge or mark up the food…but either way, you see your total at the top of your screen as you shop & it works every time!!! You go $20 over?! Just start cutting your food, switching up your dinner plans, do what ya gotta do!)

Here are a few of my dinner options for $10 or less…

1. Mommas Pancake Dinner (eggs, bacon, pancakes) $10 (plus you have leftover eggs for other recipes

2. Chipotle Night (rice, beans, bell pepper, onion, corn, sour cream, cheese, avocado, salsa, fajita chicken (pre cooked if you are in a rush) $18 for everything but I put this in the list because half of these items will have several servings from it so if 2 weeks later you plan to make it, it will cost $7

3. Meatball veggie soup (cooked frozen meatballs, beef broth, carrots, green beans, cabbage, zucchini, diced tomatoes, Italian seasoning, elbow macaroni) ) $15 (This is a 2 day meal, making it $7.50/night!!! Plus, you will be able to make this dinner again next month, with several ingredients still left, bringing the cost down to $7 on round 2 of a 2 day meal!) Also, this is a crockpot dish!! It’s amazing & all you do is throw it all in and cook on low for 5-6 hours…pasta goes in the last 30 min 😉

4. Meatball subs (leftover meatballs from the soup, Hawaiian Sweet Hoagie rolls, pasta sauce) $4 since you don’t have to buy the meatballs, your meal is just $4! If you don’t have the meatballs, it’s still just $10. Simply heat the cooked meatballs in the spaghetti sauce, place in a warmed bun, sprinkle some Italian seasoning on top…if you have some cheese, slap them under the meatballs for melt in your mouth delicious meatball subs!

5. Sausage & Peppers Delicious-ness (Turkey Sausage, bell pepper, onion, pasta) $6…A-mazing! Takes about 10 minutes to cook & it’s so good! Carmelize the onions & peppers (I add garlic salt, pepper & Worcestershire) toss in the sliced (precooked) sausage…brown everything (this is where the flavor lies) & lay over a bed of veggie spaghetti….YUM!

So there ya go! Hope this helps & relieves some anxiety of the dreaded grocery bill! I know it’s not fun but neither is credit card debt or an annoyed spouse! You can make anything more expensive shopping organic, so be conscious of it. Chicken, yes…Goldfish, no… I mean come on momma, if you’re buyin goldfish…no one cares if it’s organic…it’s still processed and you just saved yourself $2 by goin with the ever delicious ‘flavor blasted’ cheddar! Your welcome 😉

Please feel free to leave your own budget conscious tips in the comments below! I’m no pro & can always use some fresh tips myself! These are just a few of the many ways I try to keep my cost down. Hope this helps, happy shoppin’ friends! See ya in produce!!

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said,

“Never will I leave you;

    never will I forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5

Xoxo,

Melanie

Ps) bananas are SO cheap! This is a staple item!! As is cantaloupe & a bag of apples…never buy presliced, you are just throwin money away!

Pps) I know those prepackaged snacks are SO convenient but buy a bag of 100 ziplock bags (generic brand) $2 stuff a few bags on Sunday night while watchin Netflix & call it a day…you’ve saved yourself more money & frankly those bags are all air anyway!

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