Is there a way to feed a family of Four on $30 / week?

Discussion in 'Food and Cooking' started by Mrsmissy, Feb 6, 2003.

  1. *~Disney_Jen~*

    *~Disney_Jen~* wishing on a star..

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    My dh works for Wonder/Hostess and he says the thrift shops there sell the bread way cheaper than at the grocery store, but its mostly fresh bread.

    They dont reshelve the bread that is close to expiration. Its easier for the company to use that as a write off so the bread that is in the thrift shops are from the stores that order too much and dont need it all, it ends up in the thrift store fresh!

    You might want to look around and see if you have a Wonder Bread thrift shop in your town and you can always tell the freshness of the bread by the date on the package!
  2. ivycircle

    ivycircle Guest

    DH has been unemployed about every other week so heres what we have eaten. If you need a recipe LMK.
    breakfast lunch dinner
    Day 1: cold cereal tunafish sand chili
    Day 2: oatmeal roast chkn stir fry
    Day 3: eggs and toast meatloaf ramen noodles
    Day 4: cold cereal shepards pie Chicken noodles
    Day 5: pancakes quesadillas spaghetti
    Day6: grits hash pbj
    Day 7: french toast veg. soup potato enchiladas
    Also If you spring for a roast you can have it all week long.
    Get the biggest roast you can
    Day 1 have pot roast Day 2 Barbequed beef Day 3 beef and noodles Day 34beef, rice and gravy Day 5 manhattans I usually make the roast then make all the other entrees up and freeze them that way we can mix them in with the other dishes. I know how the economy is lately so I HTH.
  3. Candace

    Candace Always a geek

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    Hamburger and potatoes can go a long way. Also, you can get a 25 lb bag of rice at Asian food stores for $9-18 . (yes that's 25 lbs) If you fill up on rice it helps. Beans are cheap and go well with rice. They're a good source of protein, too. My dh won't touch them, but the kids and I eat them.

    Check out Gary Paulsen's Beat the System from the library if you can.
  4. Gonna be the odd (wo) man out here and say avoid Aldis...

    I shopped there when we first moved to Missouri because I thought it was cheaper as well. However, you will find the meat, veggies and fruit (fresh) are not really great and they have a TON of processed foods that will tempt you to buy them because YES, they are cheap. Bottom line is you can get alot of food for the $, but, not alot of healthy food, and if you are on a low budget, you need nutriton from those $$$$$.

    I think you may have a Gordons Food Service, check them out, they have AWESOME prices and better choices for food. I also would cuess there are fodd co-ops in your area since you are near a college town...any co-op Mama's who can help Missy find this out? She is near Kalamazoo Michigan.

    I am going to second alot of ideas...rice (brown), potatoes, peanut butter, dry legumes (hey split pea soup with potatoes and a bit of ham is great as is potato soup!

    Lots of soups, stews, rice dishes may be in your diet for a bit. I know you can cook awesome, so maybe try to focus on enjoying the cooking instead of worrying about the $ will help you. Oh Missy, I wish I was there so I could give you a hug, I totally know what you are going through. If things get really bad (though I have a feeling they won't) please check out and see if they have a local food pantry. I had to do that years ago, and yes, it was very embarassing, but, it was that or starve the kids....alot of people fall on hard times..never be afraid to ask for help when you need it. BTW, do you still have a paypal account?
  5. Radha

    Radha Proud member of the 99's.

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    Mama, you are always full of good advice!

    xoxo
  6. herc

    herc Amity's Focus Member

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    The easiest thing to do is adapt what you normally eat, taking into account whats in your cabinet of course. If you can, make a trip to Sams and stock up on the basics-- beans, rice, flour and yeast are all super cheap there. You can usually get great deals on cheese as well. No idea if you still have a kitty, but food and litter are much cheaper there as well. DO not fall into the trap of their frozen food section-- their convenience foods are very $$$. They have large bags of frozen veggies and fruits that are a good deal. The large cans of tomatoes and such are a good deal, but need repackaging-- you can use tamatoes as the base for a ton of different dishes!I usually open them and freeze them in cooking portions-- I use large ziplocs to conserve space, but you cna use anything you have-- tupperware and whatever else-- just don't use aluminmum foil with tomatoes-- the acid reacts with the foil. Root veggies like potatoes, carrots and onions are cheaper than others. Sams has large packages of romaine hearts (6 of them, for a little over 3 dollars-- i think-- we have been buying lettuce through a veggie co-op lately). I suggest getting root vegs and then getting frozen-- maybe a few bell pepper if they aren't really bad up your way-- Sam's usually has a pretty good deal on a bag of 6 of these. This time of year in MI, the fresh veggies aren't really gonna be all that fresh or good anyway-- when May comes I notice that there is a Farmer's market there-- I know this is beating an old drum, but go to it-- food really is much cheaper, as farmers compete in price for vegs that are in season. Yogurt is cheaper to buy in the large container-- you can add frozen fruit to make it a tasty treat :)

    I can give you recipes, but if they aren't foods that your family normally eats, then they wont do you much good, y/k? There are ways to adapt everyday foods to make them healthier-- I can help you do that if you like :) We are in a neverending search for simplicity with our meals-- I am bad about eating out due to time constraints.

    Our menu for last month had lots of Indian dishes, a Thai dish, quesidiallas, spaghetti sauce (that inculdes lots of veggies), chili (also with vegs), vegetable soup, some nights we just do giant salads with bread.

    Post some of the foods that you usually eat, and lets see how we can adapt it to be both cheaper, and more whole food :)

    heather
  7. Candace

    Candace Always a geek

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    Miserly Moms has GREAT tips, too! :) Your library may have it.
  8. Wiggles12

    Wiggles12 New Member

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    The average

    meal at my house costs $6.00 or less for dinner. Lunch is usually leftovers for the whole family or something simple and inexpensive for the kids. I made tortilla soap tonight (2 cans of beans = .99) 1/2 chicken $1.75, tomatoes - .75 (mine where from my garden though) green chilies - .55, 1 onion - .25, cilantro - .50. That feed a 14yo boy, dh, myself, michael and Elizabeth. There is enough left for dh and all of us for lunch tomorrow - it was all from scratch and only cost $4.80. You could add in a package or 2 of cornbread mix at .33/ea or make it from scratch for about .15. So if you made scratch cornbread that would put the whole meal at $4.95! Not bad. If you need help with cooking ides and stuff, pm me. I have a homemade chicken pot pie that is to die for and feeds an army for about the same $$ as this meal.

    OH, don't buy cans of veggies or fruits - either buy fresh or frozen you get more for your $$ that way. You can buy inexpensive fruit in the freezer section add it to generic yogourt and viola - tasty and healthy snack. Bake graham crackers, they won't be perfectly shaped like the ones in the store, but kids don't care. Also, if you can swing 1 trip to SAMS - you can get HUGE bags of raisens and other healthy snacks for the same prices that the regular sized containers are at the store. It is really amazing how much more you get at Sams for your $$. Especially on cereals like oatmeal and cheerios!\

    Edited to add: That you can freeze tomatoes, applesauce and such! I buy the HUGE sizes from sams and then portion them out into baggies and freeze them. Also check out the price of frozen ground turkey. It tastes better than beef and is better for you. I have changed over almost completely to this and my family doesn't know the difference. It is .99/lb here.
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2003
  9. okmama

    okmama New Member

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    well i would love the pot pie recipe!! puleeaaze??
  10. lawyermama

    lawyermama not really a member

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    here are some more ideas

    We are also having a very tough time right now and so I have gotten pretty good at eating cheap...

    I have been making all our own bread, which is not only lots cheaper, but also a ton more yummy!! I have made this spread for sandwiches which is really good, just take a cup of cooked beans(or canned if you buy canned) and mash them in a pan with a little water, garlic powder and oregano and serve on the homemade bread...my little ones LOVE this and so do I. I add a little shredded carrot for veggie or a shredded apple for sweet and a change. Again, scratch cooking helps a lot. I went shopping yesterday and bought enough for the month...except the occasional need for apples and bananas and 1 jar of soy nut butter for $4!!!:eek: due to peanut allergies....and it was all $103 and that leaves room in my budget for the soy nut butter(1 jar per month) and the apples, bananas and carrots each week.

    Veggie fried rice is a great meal to have...dinner one night and lunch the next day...
    2 cups raw rice cooked as directed, 1 egg for each person in the family, 1 cup cooked beans, 1/2 bag thawed frozen peas/carrots and soy sauce to taste. I even make tortillas to wrap the fried rice in the next day to make it a little different for fun.

    there are a ton of beans and rice recipes that are super yummy but don't cost a ton to make. fruit breads are a good dessert to have on hand if you can swing them. good luck and I have tons of recipes if you are interested:) LMK
  11. Suefrog36

    Suefrog36 Amity's Focus Member

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    Wow i'm really impressed by these! :) My first thought was "can't be done" but i guess i was wrong!
    Sue
  12. mamabear

    mamabear ~*~smile~*~

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    Wow, I have gotten some great tips! I am going to hit Big Lots and Dollar General tonight while dh is at work.

    We make our own bread, very cheap, about 60 cents a loaf and it's sooooo good.

    We make our own yogurt. Even plain yogurt in a quart container will cost around $2. If you make it yourself it is 70 cents. You buy a big container of Dannon plain yogurt for starter...freeze what you don't use in 5 days in an ice cube tray then put the cubes in a Ziploc for starter later, because apparently the organism freeze ok but lose potency in the fridge after 5 days. I have a yogurt maker, you can probably find one at a thrift store or garage sale cheaply, but it's not needed. You just have to keep the container of milk and yogurt starter warm for 4 hrs. You can use a crockpot with a heating pad under it. Just use a thermometer to make sure it is at 108-112 F the whole time.

    Here are the basic directions. First you take either 1 or 2 qt of milk and scald it -- bring it up to 180 F. Then allow it to cool to 108-112 F. Pour about 6 tbsp of it through a strainer (so any hard parts or skin is kept out) into the container you're incubating it in. Add 2-3 tbsp Dannon plain yogurt for 1 qt, 4-6 for 2 qt and stir really really well until all is dissolved and mixed. Then pour the rest of the milk through the strainer into the incubating container.

    Keep covered at 108-112 F for 4 hrs. Then put in the fridge to set for 8 hrs. That's it! :) You can sweeten with maple syrup, honey, sugar (if you are on a budget a little white sugar will be the cheapest option). And put in the blender with frozen fruit and a splash of juice for delicious smoothies!

    Here's some more info:

    http://www.americaninsurancedepot.com/help/21.htm

    If you google for "make yogurt" or "homemade yogurt" you'll find tons more sites with ideas for incubating, instructions, etc.

    We make ours with whole milk (kids need to pack on the weight in this house, LOL). I have it for dessert with maple syrup and a little vanilla extract. It is better than ice cream!

    My other tips echo others' replies: beans, rice, homemade pizza, buy in bulk, WIC is excellent, we just got on it, I'm so sorry you make too much. :(

    Ramen noodles are good, you can also go to an Asian market and get rice noodles very cheaply, just for variety from eating rice or wheat pasta. Look at your library for Cooking More With Less, it is an excellent resource.

    Good luck...I'm sorry you are in such a tight spot, Missy.
  13. Wiggles12

    Wiggles12 New Member

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    pot pie recipe

    OK......

    Boil 1 whole chicken in the largest pot you have (mine is 6qt) fill a little past 1/2 with water. While chicken is boiling add boulion cubes 2-6 depending upon brand and strength. Add 1 whole onion chopped up. Add celery and carrotts. I usually add a couple of each depending upon what I have on hand. Add salt, pepper, poultry seasoning, tyme, rosemary (probably 1/4-1/2 tsp each) and garlic (i use a LOT OF GARLIC) all to taste, DON'T TASTE TILL THE CHICKEN IS FULLY COOKED!!!!! After chicken has boiled remove and cool. Add anywhere from a handful - 2c of the following.... corn, peas, green beans, and about 3 HUGE potatoes cut up. Basically you are adding whatever you have and there is no science to this. If you have lots of carrots but no or little beans then that is what you add. Break chicken up into pieces and return to pot. You could actually save the legs for a lunch for the kids. While everything is simmering put 1 pie crust in a pie pan and cook for about 6 mins. at 350. This will keep the bottom crust from getting soggy. Now get out your corn starch. Mix cs/h20 until you have about 1/2 a coffee cup full of a thick mixture. Slowly start adding this to your mix. When the mix is super thick stop adding. Remove pie crust from oven. Laddle the mixture into the pie crust and put 2nd crust on top, pinch and seal sides of crust, add air slits to the top and bake till crust is golden brown. Serve and be happy! Now using my half arss recipe this should provide 2-3 very well filled pies. I would then half out the remaining mixture into containers and freeze. Then all you have to do is thaw mixture (which will need a good amount of stiring to recongeal) and repeat the pie crust part. I believe even buying the pie crusts (generic for $1.50 this whole meal for 3 pies is less than $8.00) and it is a VERY filling and healthly meal. I hope I didn't make this seem to overwhelming.
  14. Mama2miracles

    Mama2miracles Active Member

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    Everyone has given you great advice - I couldn't myself feed our family of 5 of that - but we have a daughter with multiple food allergies (peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, fish, beef, soy, seasme seeds, citrus) and we have two children who are intolerant to dairy - one who can't have any dairy at all. So we have to spend a lot more to accomodate those and for special vitamin supplements to make sure she's getting what she needs nutritionally. I'm sure you could do it as long as you don't have to deal with allergies. (we can't have mac N cheese, PB & jelly, use margarine or butter - only olive oil, read all labels for hidden soy lethicin, whey or foods processed in facilities that have nuts and rice milk is quadruple the price of milk and double the price of soy milk and she drinks a litre a day!).
  15. Mamax4

    Mamax4 Amity's Focus Member

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    Just popping my head in to ask about the rice milk

    Which little one of yours drinks a whole litre a day? Do you make it yourself, or do you buy it from the hfs? I ask because rice milk contains a ton of sugar, and a liter for a teeny one seems a lot...

    Laurie, just wondering
  16. Candace

    Candace Always a geek

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    OK today I bought 25 lbs of Jasmin rice for $9.95. :)
  17. lawyermama

    lawyermama not really a member

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    About allergies in kids, although my kids don't suffer the extent of your child's allergies, we can't do peanuts or dairy here. We make homemade pizza and top with sauce and veggies...no cheese and it tastes great, you can also order it this way takeout, but with cross contamination this can be deadly. We don't have the tree nut or soy problems, but do use the grain milks as often as we use soy milks, we do typically buy what I find on sale that week, since I don't drink any of them....yuck!! I find reading labels, as I am sure other allergic kids' moms find, to be a life or death need(there is just sooooo much peanut and milk stuff out there hiding). I have just gotten as used to it as I have to comparing prices. That being said, I like being able to NOT read lables when I make things from scratch...I KNOW they are safe if the ingreds are safe. I use olive oil(for nutritional reasons, or sunflower oil...not sure if that is a seed or nut) even in cakes and cookies made from scratch...buy the non-virgin and it doesn't have that olivey taste:thumbsup: Just wanted to let you know that I understand it is hard to be on the look out for the dreaded allergens, but it is possible to buy inexpensively and eat inexpensively even with SOME dangerous allergies. Maybe not at $30 a week:D but maybe cut your bill a bit so it isn't so frustratingly high. Some good vegan recipes abound out there and have been a godsend for us....especially for me since I won't touch soy products....blech. And if you can add things to them, if you do meats of some kinds, then that is cool, but they are a great base for the allergic:p
  18. Tremor Christ

    Tremor Christ Amity's Focus Member

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    I forgot one of my other cheapy recipes. I made this a lot when dh was out of work. It is a mock stir fry.

    1 package of smoked sausage-usually 1 lb
    1-2 packs of frozen mixed veges
    cooked rice

    cut up the sausage into bite size pieces and cook until nearly done. Add the veges on top and cover with lid. Cook until the veges are done. Serve over rice.

    It is really good. and really cheap!
    Mindi
  19. ~Meeshi~

    ~Meeshi~ Also Known As Michelle

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    When we're tight on money (which is usually) we cut out:

    ~juice (we're not big juice drinkers anyway, but water is fine by us)
    ~premade sweet snacks (we make our own banana or carrot muffins, or oatmeal cookies)
    ~premade other snacks, like crackers or tortilla chips (we make lots of air-popped popcorn with nutritional yeast)
    ~boxed cereals (we'll eat oatmeal and pancakes for breakfast instead)

    Cheapy meal ideas:

    ~Sweet potato burritoes (recipe can be found at www.allrecipes.com)
    ~Fried brown rice with veggies (fresh broccoli, carrots, zucchini or whatever is on hand)
    ~Banana pancakes (we buy buckwheat pancake mix in the BIG bag)
    ~Potatoes, carrots, tofu, zucchini and other veggies, cooked in a skillet with spices, sprinkled with parmesan cheese.
    ~Pasta tossed with olive oil and garlic, sauteed veggies on the side
  20. bwylde

    bwylde DS is almost 6 :o

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    We spend a bit more than this a week for three of us, but I put most of it away for our food storage since my maternity is running out and I'm going to be a permanant SAHM after that :D .

    No one mentioned cabbage. It's usually pretty cheap and very versatile. For some it's an aquired taste, but for the price, worth it. Onions, carrots and sometimes other root veggies (as already mentioned) are usually pretty cheap too.

    Soup is a major budget stretcher. You can make a little go a long long way when in a pot with water and veggies. I read somewhere to save all your little bits of leftovers in a container in the freezer and at the end of the week, use those bits of veggies, meat, rice, ect... to make a soup. When preparing/peeling your veggies, dont' throw away the scaps, use them for soup stock (bones too. Well, some veggies may not work, but most are pretty good).

    Stock up on sales. I buy a fair amount of canned stuff only because of it's long shelf life and so it's there if we need it.

    I agree with making from scratch. Bulk baking supplies are so much cheaper (even though it's easier to buy already made things). Here's a tortillia recipe that I like to use because it's so versalite and cheap to make:

    2c. flour, 1tsp baking powder, 1 tsp (i use less) salt, 1/4 c. oil, 2/3c. water. Mix dry ingredients then cut in oil until crumbly. Add water and stir until it forms a ball. Add flour or water if too wet or dry. Knead on a floured surface 6 to 8 times. Cover with an inverted bowl for 20 minutes. Roll out a portion as thin as you can and cut in 7 to 8 inch rounds. Place on a med-hot ungreased frying pan until dark spots appear, about 15-20 seconds. Turn and cook until same on other side. Keep warm in a tea towel. Use with any filling.

    There's lot of good help here. We don't have any warehouse shopping places here, so we don't get things as cheap, but we make do with what we have :)

    Carla V.

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