can I feed six on $100 a week?

November 3, 2009 at 12:40 am 14 comments

I’m challenging myself to see if I can keep my grocery bills to an average of $100 a week during November.  I’m not going to limit myself to $100 a calendar week but do want to limit it to $400 for the month. Does that make sense?  In other words, I might spend $125 this week and $75 next week.  I’ll include toilet paper and anything else I might buy at the grocery store.

I have no idea if I can do this or not, but I’m going to try. Thankfully, my whole family gobbled up the beans and rice with tortilla chips and cheese we had last night (cheap cheap cheap.)

Do you want to start your own grocery challenge and do it along with me?

I’m not starting with an empty freezer or pantry so I do have a few things on hand.  Everyone’s family is different in food preferences and needs. We have a family of six, one girl whose appetite is modest compared to her older brothers who both eat more than me and their dad.  Most notably, I have a 3 year old son who is allergic to many foods.  I mainly cook and bake from scratch (but you will see me popping a few Freschetta pizzas in the oven on occasion or opening a can of prego when I need something quick.)  We do not eat canned veggies or fruits.  Frozen, yes, when fresh isn’t cost effective. I avoid high fructose corn syrup which is in most packaged foods (not that I have completely eliminated it yet–see above prego:)

I also shop at Whole Foods, Good Foods and occasionally at Aldis.  How I wish I had a Trader Joe’s close!  What I buy the most at Aldis is dairy. $1.49 gallon milk and pound of butter, for example.

finding my deals

I discovered about a year ago that my Kroger store marks down meat and produce a little bit before noon on Tuesdays and Thursday so that’s when I plan to shop.  I try to buy chicken for no more than 99 cents a pound. Maybe that doesn’t sound very low, but it is when you realize that I MUST read labels very carefully and only buy chicken with retained water and not chicken that is enhanced with a natural chicken broth.  The little J is allergic to pork and it seems he’s allergic to beef too. I haven’t tried any organic, free range beef for him, but I have experimented here and there and read labels very carefully to make sure what I buy is just beef with no “enhancements.”  Sometimes he reacts and sometimes he doesn’t.

I used to shop at Meijer’s every week. But they seemed to raise their prices, stopped carrying two of my favorite items and changed their check policy; all of which caused me to start shopping around:)  But what I absolutely love about Meijers is their clearance rack in the back of the store by the milk and I usually stop there on my way home from kroger. Sometimes, there is nothing. Other times, I’ll see an item that I stock up on.  This happened a couple weeks ago when I bought hemp dream for 53 cents a quart. I must have bought more than a dozen; actually, I bought all they had in original.  I left the vanilla sitting on the rack since J is allergic to vanilla.  I know. Who’s allergic  to vanilla?   Their mark down said 90% off; no wonder it didn’t sell at full price. I had never bought the hemp milk before because it is pricier than rice or oat (J can’t have dairy.)  I’m thrilled that my little J does not like to drink it because then I have it for making his pancakes and muffins.

I’ll post my shopping trips and our menus of what we actually ate. Stay tuned til tomorrow when I tell you what  I bought at Aldis and Good Foods today.

my menus

Sunday breakfast: oatmeal sweetened with molasses, rice syrup and raisins

Sunday lunch: cooked a whole chicken and used about half the meat in a cream sauce made with rice milk and thickened with tapioca flour.  Added probably about 2 lbs of carrots ( I had bought 15 lbs at a deep discount at Kroger last week and speaking of carrots, Todd picked a couple pounds from our garden today) and some leftover peas.  Served all this over mashed potatoes. Leftover communion bread. (saved the rest of the chicken and plus made 2 qts of stock for later.)

Sunday dinner: previously mentioned beans and rice, etc with homemade donuts for dessert.   Before the little J came along with his long list of allergies, I would’ve put the salsa in the crockpot and corn too with everything else, but now I have to keep tomatoes separate and didn’t do corn. I also have some rice “cheese” for the top of his beans.

Monday breakfast: kids cold cereal and leftover donuts,  J leftover oatmeal, me a granola bar.  Todd made his own sausage and eggs and coffee.

Monday lunch: shepherd’s pie which consisted of  bag of frozen beans, small can of tomato paste, can of evaporated milk, shredded cheese, spices, leftover cubed steak and then on top of that leftover mashed potatoes with an egg in it. Caleb especially liked this.  homemade spelt bread toasted with parmesan.

snacks throughout the day: apples, bananas, grapes. note about the apples: I bought three 3 pound bags of apples today at Aldi for $1.19 each. Wow.  But, they have a waxy coating (most do)  I tried to wash it off really well, but J’s little face broke all out so I went to Good Food and got him his own bag of apples which no one else is allowed to touch. 3lbs for $3.99 which actually isn’t too bad a price at all for organic apples.

Monday dinner:  Todd packed his own dinner and I don’t know what he took.  The kids and I had pb&J on spelt bread, and cheese roll-ups with sour cream, J ate a couple chicken hot dogs and several of the dessert bars I made especially for him yesterday (which is the healthiest thing in the house probably, lol.)


Entry filed under: everyday life, food, grocery shopping. Tags: , .

failing customer service 101 shopping tips for a corn allergy

14 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Bobbi  |  November 3, 2009 at 12:59 am

    I love these kinds of challenges – I’ll be reading along to monitor your progress!

  • 2. Alexis Cinnamond Pullen  |  November 3, 2009 at 8:48 am

    I’m excited to hear how this goes, as I probably spend close to double that for our family of four (plus one hubby with Celiac Disease). Not sure how to cut back, but you clearly cook more/better than I do…lol…so that’s an issue for me. Can’t wait to follow your progress.

    • 3. guinever  |  November 3, 2009 at 9:44 am

      Alexis, I usually spend about double as well. If I had started from zero ingredients, there’s no way I could do this…one of the biggest ways I’m going to meet my goal (or at least almost meet it:) is to cut way back on boxed cereal. Even though I try to keep that under 15 cents an ounce, oatmeal is still way more frugal.

  • 4. Amy in FL  |  November 3, 2009 at 10:52 am

    Thanks for the challenge! (I saw it on TLT.) I’ll join you! My goal is a little different, though. I’m trying for $500 for a family of 5. My freezer is pretty low so I had to buy meat yesterday and I like to do some early holiday baking. I don’t know if I’ll make it, but it’s worth a try! Thanks for making it fun!

    • 5. guinever  |  November 3, 2009 at 1:31 pm

      Thanks for joining the challenge! I know $400 is low, but I think I can do it so I’m going to go for it!

  • 6. Sofie  |  November 3, 2009 at 2:25 pm

    I am with you!! We have a family of seven!! OUr children range from 15 to 3. We are also starting to use the envelope system which will have $100 per week. This might sound a little low but we have been making it work so far. Thanks for your encouragement!!

    • 7. guinever  |  November 3, 2009 at 3:23 pm

      It’s low,r but I know it’s doable. It’s great to hear that $100 a week is working for your family of seven.

  • 8. Amanda  |  November 3, 2009 at 3:43 pm

    I enjoyed reading what you are eating on $100 a week. Our grocery budget had to be lowered and I am really struggling. I need to be a better steward of our money but it is so hard! I am not dealing with any allergies but I am dealing with feeding an elder who is set in her ways and picky kids. Thank you for sharing. I will be checking back in 🙂

  • 9. Nakiru  |  November 3, 2009 at 5:50 pm

    What about homemade granola? I know that’s what saves me $$ on cereal (I know, my little family of one, haha) but that way you can make it with just oats and honey (or molasses) and little J could eat it, too. I make mine with pecans and dried fruit when I’m extravagent, but have also done it with as little as wheat germ and raisins when in grad school. It might shake up the routine of oatmeal.
    This sounds challenging. 🙂

    • 10. guinever  |  November 3, 2009 at 5:55 pm

      Oh yes, Coral! I just made a double batch of granola on Sunday morning when I stayed home from church since Mary just had the chicken pox and Jackson could be contagious and coming down with them. I listened to praise and worship music all morning and had fun in the kitchen.

  • 11. 2nd batch of grocery receipts « at home with Guinever  |  November 4, 2009 at 4:38 pm

    […] If you’ve been following by blog for the past couple days, you know that I’ve challenged myself to see if I can feed my family of 6 on just $400 for the month of November. Below are two more […]

  • 12. allison h  |  November 9, 2009 at 2:57 pm


    GREAT IDEA!!! Having a stocked pantry helps as it gives you the freedom to stock up on the staples when items are on sale. The menus look good. And since it is about to be cold for a few months, soups are filling and can be made in bulk and frozen. (of course making them with J’s allergies in mind.) Thanks for the reminder that we can feed our families on less $$.

  • 13. Crystal Akers  |  September 27, 2010 at 4:59 pm

    I have 4 littles and always wonder if I can do this. Seems like our stores cost so much. Love your ideas. By the way, I have one who still has food allergies, but 3 are healed- Thank you Jesus. So anyway, it is even more encouraging to see cheap and allergy free thinking.

  • 14. Audrey  |  September 4, 2012 at 10:59 am

    I rarely read blogs, but I see myself getting hooked on yours…I am a police officer-turned-work at home momma with two sweet babies and a stepson that I love as my own…With our family living on one income we have to manage a pretty tight budget, then add in that our daughter is allergic to everything (dairy, all nuts, wheat, soy (although she can tolerate it) and a list of other foods) and our son has brain damage from a traumatic birth that challenges his mobility and motor skills so we have therapy 8 times a week plus the regular doctors visits to UNC and pediatricians and it doesn’t take much to zap the budget! I have my shopping list today to include your homemade laundry detergent ingredients and I look forward to trying homemade dish detergent in the future as well!!! May God richly bless your family with love and happiness!!!!


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