Advice For Stretching Grocery Budget

Groceries are so expensive. I have 3 kids one with a milk allergy so, we buy 2 different types of milk, and basically I make 2 meals if anything has milk in it. My kids are ages 7, 5, and 1. Any tips on easy meals that can be made into leftovers?


I need to stretch our food dollar as long as possible. I feed us right now on about 400.00 per month, but would love any suggestions, or recipes to stretch it farther. Any snack ideas are also well welcomed.

Shelly from Omaha, NE


Advice For Stretching Grocery Budget

Hi, feeding the family is very expensive especially this year.

All the same the nutrition needs to continue regardless of the budget or lack of it. If you can,consider a good vitamin for your family to offset any nutritional lack this difficult time might be causing. At least I think I'd do that. I'm a mom of 6, most of which are grown. Over the years we had various times when the budget would get crunched due to an unexpected need or event in the household.

Eggs are a must-have even in this time of extra expense they still are a good deal because you can make cookies, sandwiches, etc. Tuna is great, but gets old. Try this link for some more pleasurable ways to serve the old stand by.


Breakfast being one of the cheapest meals of the day tells you that it is a good idea to incorporate those types of items into the budget. Hang in here with me while I give you some ideas I hope will help.

Making "lunch burritos" of a mix of eggs, diced potatoes, (even leftover) and a type of sausage, sliced or even sliced hot dogs might make kids love (and eat) what is a budget priced meal in one burrito. If you can add a salad they'll eat such as Jello with bananas it can make a fun meal for little money. Lettuce can be grown easily even in the city and you'll eat fresh all summer. Container gardening is possible with lettuce.

The investment in dry milk can give you a nice return on your money and is great to use in cooking. A box will last you a long time and you will save money more because your drinking milk will not be used for cooking anymore. Trust me, you cannot tell the difference if the dry milk is properly mixed.


There's also a mixture of any type of powdered chocolate such as Nestle's Quick and dry milk along with a little powdered coffee creamer (cheapest brand at Walmart is fine), mixed together and heated this makes a terrific hot chocolate drink that cost pennies compared to instant mixes. Yet you can make this mixture without water and have it ready to use instantly on a "per person" basis. It keeps very well for at least 4-6 months if in a tightly covered container.

Buying some things at Sam's such as spaghetti and sauce as well as the larger cans of tomato sauce, etc. can save a ton of money. Their meat is always cheaper than any store at least here, near Ocala, Fl and is the quality of your Publix or Hy-Vee or your better grocery store. If you don't have a membership you may know someone who does. It's worth your time to do some homework checking the Sam's store near you to see what they offer. Another example of Sam's pricing, real butter is cheaper, but you have to buy the 4 pk. Still it's under $2.00 each that way, sometimes less.


Here's some sites you may not have tried:

Trying a recipe you've not tried before can be costly, be sure you like the ingredients. Here's a different one I've not tried, but uses eggs and chick peas, a good nutritional meal and money saver though of that I am sure.

Convenience foods are expensive, they don't belong in your home. But things like popcorn can be made to look cool (with a syrup and food coloring). Special does not have to cost a lot. But even "popcorn", regular popcorn, is a good treat that is still reasonable. If you are seeing popcorn that is "instant" still expensive remember that you can make popcorn on the stove. It's fun, kids love it and it tastes better and is healthy (microwave is not).

If you've not thought about getting a few vegetable plants you should. Tomato, cucumber, and pepper are plants you can easily grow in large containers and they are so expensive now that you'll easily save money growing them. Be sure to take a little time online to learn how to keep the bugs from eating your plants so you're sure to get your harvest.

Macaroni in different shapes usually is expensive so watch for sales. Integrate your different shapes into regular macaroni and you'll find the kids appreciate it almost more when there's not a whole pot full of spiral. The three colored macaroni is healthy and fun for kids, too.

Bread shop at the day old bread store if you don't already. It's not as cheap as it used to be, but you'll be amazed at the savings and you'll be eating well.

French toast, casseroles with toast tips, etc. can be a big savings.
You can make your own bread really cheap. Look at the ingredients in this recipe. Let the kids help. They'll love it and you will, too.The cost is low.

Eating differently is necessary when you're feeding kids throughout the summer, but it doesn't have to mean it's bad. Remembering that you and children are affected by commercials for foods, etc. can help you know that keeping TV time limited can save you money because companies spend millions to advertise to you and your kids. Why? Because they know they can affect/change your habits and you can feel caught between a rock and a hard place. Don't let that happen. Your family needs to be in agreement this summer on having a fun time, family games, etc. and great meals. Less TV time can pay off, mom. Shopping carefully without the kids can help, too.

Even if you only buy hamburger, Sam's has great hamburger, cheap prices, watch for the manager deals there. Talk with the meat guy/woman, let them know how many kids you are feeding and what your budget is. I've known meat department people to help out with specials when they were able to do them on the spot. Don't be afraid to ask.

Above all, enjoy your kids, they grow up fast. Learning from you how to survive in the world when money is tight is a good thing. They'll survive better on their own someday and they'll remember the best summer they ever had with you, a loving caring mom. You're worth your weight in gold honey, it's not all about money. Hang in there. (05/31/2008)

By wildwoodfl

Advice For Stretching Grocery Budget

Check out the frugal homemaking websites on Google, like, they are good sites for economical cooking. There is lots of info on many frugal housekeeping sites. Also, I buy ground turkey (comes in frozen 1# chubs) rather than ground beef, I use it the very same way. It's quite a bit cheaper and it has less cholesterol. (06/02/2008)

By suzin

Advice For Stretching Grocery Budget

I would recommend you look into the protein combinations suggested in the book by Lappe, " Diet for a Small Planet". She has combinations of starch + incomplete vegetable protein = whole protein. Like beans = rice or pasta + cheese. Many of these combinations, as you see are staples in peasant cuisine around the world, where they don't rely as much on meat as we do. Then you can use meat more sparingly, for flavoring, almost. (06/02/2008)

By pamphyila

Advice For Stretching Grocery Budget

Some inexpensive snack items my kids like are:

  • popcorn (not microwave, but what we actually pop in the popper or on the stove top)
  • Ants on a log- celery filled with peanut butter and raisins added on top
  • mini pizzas--take unbaked biscuits, smash them flat, add a tablespoon of spaghetti sauce to the top, left over hamburger or chili or meat, a little cheese and bake.
  • popcorn balls
  • homemade french fries (fried) or potato wedges (baked) with a little shredded cheese to top them off
  • yogurt - I buy vanilla yogurt by the 1/2 gallon, then add our own fruit
  • hard boiled eggs (free for us because we have chickens)

Do you shop at Aldi's? You can't beat their prices.

Also, avoid chips, soda, and other junk food.

Cook from scratch instead of buying ready made. (06/02/2008)

By mom-from-missouri

Advice For Stretching Grocery Budget

I use powdered milk because where I live its cheaper than bottled milk. Of course, it is skim and I dont know if your children can have skim milk. (06/03/2008)

By Carol in PA

Advice For Stretching Grocery Budget

Looks like you got a lot of good ideas here. I use to use Ramen noodles and add some lunch meat and onion to it. Also, boil a whole chicken and use old fashioned rice after boning the chicken. Its great and makes a big pot. Also, use old fashioned oatmeal instead of the instant. Home cooking is always healthier and cheaper.

By Karen

Advice For Stretching Grocery Budget

There are a lot of good ideas here. The most important tip, for me, is to concentrate on healthy food rather than convenience food. If you look at the calories for things like Rice A Roni, Hamburger Helper or Ramen, they are much worse than cooking rice or pasta and adding your own spices and veggies. Eating low nutrient foods means that you eat a lot more before you feel full and you eat more often too. And they are usually more inexpensive too, especially if you can buy staples in bulk rather than in expensive packaging.

Growing your own food and buying produce in season can be a big help. Adding more beans, brown rice or whole wheat pasta to your meals and cutting back on the meat saves a lot of money. We like to stir fry and make soups, because you can really stretch out a small amount of meat to feed a crowd. (06/03/2008)

By jess

Advice For Stretching Grocery Budget

The best place I've gone is a website: This place is great. Also, I've been to I have a lot of their e-books now, too. They've both been a huge help to me and mine. Good luck. (06/04/2008)

By Shosha

Advice For Stretching Grocery Budget

Look up a web site call It's a faith based food distribution organization all over the country. It offers a monthly food list that you can purchase for 30.00 and get as many as you want. You must look up to see if you have any host churches in your area that sponsor the program to their community. (07/01/2008)

By Kim


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