The Mommy Files: Feeding a Family of Four with $100 per Week

by stacie on April 25, 2021

As many of you know, we are big budgeters. We used the Dave Ramsey plan to get out of debt, we like to eat relatively “clean,” and I’ve recently discovered that we need to trim our grocery budget. When we sat down recently, we realized that we’re spending nearly $200/week on food!

I nearly had a conniption! Especially because we really only “budget” for about $140–$150 … and that includes pet food and household products.

It’s no wonder we were missing money every month! So my husband asked how far back we could reasonably cut our budget. As we started looking at it, we realized that because we both work so much, we were relying on a lot of convenience food … precut veggies, snack-sized packages of apples and carrot sticks for the baby, cheese sticks, etc. I had also gotten away from making a weekly menu, which left me scrambling for dinner and making last-minute runs to the store.

So, I challenged myself to cut all the way back to $100 a week, which was even less that we normally budgeted for. But hey, I want to add a new bathroom to our basement, so we’ve got to cut some money from somewhere! Naturally, I hit up the Internet for some ideas … there had to be other families that have done this!

Here’s what I found:

A few of the ideas I already had in my arsenal. Shopping the local farmer’s market, for one, is a great starter. You know your produce is local, fresh, and in-season. Not only that, after a while, you get to know the farmer’s and they’ll tell you what’s really good that day and what’s not.

I’m also going back to buying all our meat from the local butcher. I can get it the same day I need it and never have to worry about freezing it and risking freezer burn.

Creating a garden with the kids and canning our own veggies and jams this summer will help too.

This article on 10 Ways to Feed Your Family for $100 a Week is filled with basic tips around coupon use (or not!), swapping beans for meat, and avoiding getting sucked in to “good grocery deals.” Lisa Leake and her family took the challenge and chronicled their adventures … while they gave themselves $125/week to spend, she was also working with a few things her family didn’t want to give up (milk delivery for nearly $7/gallon!). Her site is definitely worth looking at.

And the Hillbilly Housewife has a menu that will work in a pinch. Though her pricing is a little out of date, I’ve looked at her ideas and I bet her plan would still be less than $100 for a week’s worth of meals.

Two other articles that I found interesting was this piece that CBS News did and these menus and shopping lists.

Do you have any tips for feeding your clan on the cheap? The one thing I’m really missing, I think, is snack foods … do you have any suggestions for good homemade granola bars? Or chunky granola? You know, the kind you can break into big pieces …

photo credit: wickenden

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Adventures In Babywearing April 25, 2021 at 8:01 am

Lately as we’ve tried to cut back our grocery budget I will shop for whatever I can get (basics, etc) from Aldi and then go to the other stores that have what I need that I can’t get at a discount. It’s hard! Definitely much easier when our farmer’s markets open up, too.

Steph

Penny W. April 25, 2021 at 11:40 am

It is a real pain to hop from one grocery store to the next in order to take advantage of certain deals. However, we have found that one is really great for fresh produce, and one is just overpriced in general (the nicest, biggest store, of course) so we have broken our shopping down to two stores to save a little. Also, eating something before going shopping helps ALOT on cutting down impulse purchases.

JDaniel4's Mom April 25, 2021 at 1:07 pm

I used to coupon a lot and now I depend a lot on deals and Aldi!

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