Making a Family Food Budget

My husband and I run a small business. We are a family of 3 and really being affected by the recession. I really feel alone in this budgeting process. I do not have anyone to talk to about this, so I could really use the help. Is it possible to live on a food budget of $50 for 3 of us?

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Tracy from Richmond, VA

February 3, 20090 found this helpful

You didn't specify if you mean $50 a month or $50 a week. Rice, beans, ramen noodles and such items are cheap and filling. For tips on budgeting, Dave Ramsey's website is very good. If you make a written family budget, you may find there is more than $50 available to use for food. Your family needs most: Food, Shelter, and Electricity so take care of those items first. I too, am alone in making the budget (family of 6). I'm still learning and growing in this task. You can do it!

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February 3, 20090 found this helpful

There is a website that has an emergency food menu for $45 - check it out at hillbillyhousewife.com. Have you considered Angel Food Ministries? You can purchase a box of food for $30 and pick it up at a local church. You can check it out at angelfoodministries.com.

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February 3, 20090 found this helpful

I would try to find at least another $10 to use on stocking up on items when they are at a good price.

Making meals like chili, spaghetti, shepards pie, beans and corn bread, roasts ect.. Will allow you to usually get two meals out of one.

Pancakes and muffins freeze well and are handy for a quick breakfast. Just pop them in the microwave.

Using coupons whenever possible on items you normally buy helps also.

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February 3, 20090 found this helpful

Hi,

I also budget for a family of three, myself and two teenagers. I budget 50.00 a week. Approx. 100.00 goes to staples each week, I use coupons and store loyalty cards to streach my dollar. The other 100.00 or so is used for high quality meats for dinners. We eat out one night a month and brown bag our lunches. Sometimes we go over a little but we do pretty well.

You can do it but lists and organizations is very important.

bonnie

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February 3, 20090 found this helpful

Oh yes this is definitely doable! I spend about $150 a month for two of us including the two cats' holistic food. Buying dried beans really helps cut costs as well as stocking up on loss leaders weekly from the grocery stores. Some week's I don't even grocery shop and just get a few items from the farmers market. Ramen noodles are filling and are good in a pinch too. I eat oatmeal every morning which is not only cheap but very healthy and nutritious. THere are some frugal recipes listed here as well: http://www.miserlymoms.com/MOMfrecipes1.htm

Good luck!

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February 3, 20090 found this helpful

I fed 3 of us on a $50 a week budget, and one of us was a rather large man. We didn't stick to ramen and mac and cheese. We didn't miss many nights without meat - - he wouldn't have heard of it!

You have to be a smart shopper. Get your nonperishables at dollar stores, shop sales, use coupons, plan your menus around the weekly specials. And do check out the hillbilly housewife site. Good luck!

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February 5, 20090 found this helpful

For sure. Take advantage of BOGO items that you use, then you can start your "stash". Look in the "reduced" meats and purchase to freeze and use at a later date. If it is still in date....freezing is ok. Also I always look at the stores scratch and dents. I can find cat foods, cream of soups, rices, diced tomatoes and so much more.

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February 5, 20090 found this helpful

www.hillbillyhousewife.com The owner of this site has made up two menus for the type of problem you are experiencing. I believe they are for a family of four and that one is to feed on $45/week and the other for $77/week. Even if the money amounts are off, I think you will find some great ideas there. I did. Good luck

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February 5, 20090 found this helpful

first of all powdered milk is costly where I live. Now their are 4 grocery stores within driving distance. Boyers always has the Pick 5 for 19.95 of meats, Redners is really good on alot of other stuff and when they have the pick 5 I usually double up because they have better selection. Next is Amelia.s which is a discout store stuff is pretty good but have to watch. Then their is Horning's great on lunch meat and veggies and some other stuff. Now my hubby is lactose intorent we used to buy the name brand (Wal-mart had some cheap lactaid milk however I spend to much their) now Weis' or Kings has their name brand and alot cheaper and not to far away. I also have a save a tape card from all the stores to help my daughter's school and try to remember to bring in the bags in the store and use only the coupons that we need. You can do it it will be tough at some times however Lord willing you will be ok.

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February 5, 20090 found this helpful

The USDA has a chart on their website that gives a budget for families in one of four categories: Thrifty, low cost, moderate, and liberal. I use the "thrifty" category as our guideline. Right now, it has us at about $150 per week for a family of four (our children are teen/preteen). Its possible to live on less, but its difficult without growing some of your own food, and cutting out all nonessentials. "The Tightwad Gazette" is still the best source I know of for minimizing grocery costs. The prices in there are outdated, but the concepts remain the same. I'm skeptical that any $50 a week or less plan out there would fill your stomachs and get you the nutrition you need. It would depend on what really great deals you find. You need to eat; try to find other areas to cut, or other ways to generate cash. I used to babysit after school. My friend in your situation started cleaning houses one day a week for her grocery money. She is very frugal, gardens prolifically, and still couldn't manage on $75 a week for 4 people.

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February 5, 20090 found this helpful

I understand your situation, Both my husband and I are unemployed now. Times are getting tighter and tighter.

I fed a family of 6 on $66 a week for many years. I bought no prepackaged items. Cereal was out, as well as boxed mac and cheese. I made all our food from scratch. Instead of a pound of ground meat, I would use a 1/4 lb and 1 cup TVP. Textured Vegetable Protein. It has the same texture of ground meat. I would also buy a gallon of whole milk and separate it into 2 and add water to it.

Another area you might want to look into is trading services with a neighbor of friend that has a garden. My sons and I use to weed and water the neighbor's garden and in return we would get a 1/3 of the harvest. I did this on a regular basis for other friends and neighbors, The library has many books on bartering as well. I am now in the process of getting chiropractic care for cleaing the office.

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February 5, 20090 found this helpful

You might check to see if Angel Food Ministries is in your area. I saw something in our Sunday paper about this and immediately called my daughter. Her husband's employer shut down and she's only got a part-time job so she was really worried also. She was shocked in the amount of food you could get including meats for something like $30. Good luck. You can do it!

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February 5, 20090 found this helpful

most everyone is suffering from this recession. my friend from richmond va. turned me on to this site angelfoodministries.com check it out. i have enjoyed the quality food and it is a very decent price and there should be places near you that sponsor it.

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February 5, 20090 found this helpful

There is several frugal websites...you could try to go to Google and put in Frugal living to find sites to get allot of information....

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February 5, 20090 found this helpful

You didn't say whether that was per week or per month. I feed two of us (big eaters) very well on $150 per month, but if I had to, I could feed us on $50 per month. There are a million tips on ThriftyFun like buying in quantity, cooking from scratch, couponing and rebating. Our nearest chain store has double coupons this week that will make yogurt 4-packs free. I save about half on my bill over a year's time. I also cook ahead. Time-consuming stuff can be cooked on the weekends and frozen in meal-size containers for later.

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February 5, 20090 found this helpful

There's alot of helpful web sites to help you. Check out Thriftyfun, Hot Coupon World, A Full Cup, Families.com.These will help and so will blogs like Money Saving Mom, Coupon Mom, Living on a Dime, Deal Seeking Mom, Censible Savings, and there many more wonderful people who have ideas to do menues, saving on groceries. and living a good frugal life.Try Frugal Hacks.com. I hope this will help you it might take awhile but I know it will work. Anniems

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February 5, 20090 found this helpful

I stongly recommend that you check out Miserly Meals from your website. If you are unble to check this out from your local library, then please refer to miserlymoms.com website that someone kindly posted in one of the above responses.

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February 5, 20090 found this helpful

You didn't say how long the fifty dollars should last. I have 7 children. I would stretch my small budget by making just about everything from scratch. I bought very few processed or precooked and packaged foods. I also bought all my own spices and never bought the prepackaged packets. I learned to make my own. Remember to stay healthy you need a good quality protein source at least once a day.

My weekly menu had dinner once a week of homemade beans, eggs (omelets or scrambled with a small amount of cheese) homemade soup or chili, spaghetti or pasta, baked potatoes,as an example. Make a decision as to what night of the week you are going to have what type of food. You can vary how it is prepared. If I used meat, it had to feed all of us twice. I usually added it to a casserole. I would water down the juice as well. Check out some vegetarian cookbooks from the library and go from there.

I did use a program in our community where if you volunteered at least 5 hours in a month you qualified for 2 boxes of food for $10. Call your local government to see what programs you might have available to you.

Try not to worry too much. Food tastes better when it is served with love and a smiling face. Everyone deserves a pleasant meal at the end of the day. I always tried to keep this in mind so that my children would remember the joy and not the hard times. I know you'll be blessed as you try new ideas.

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February 6, 20090 found this helpful

Buy an extra freezer - it will pay itself off in no time if you do some of the things people suggest!

Cook from scratch and freeze leftovers or package them in lunch containers for the next days food

this happens in november --- sorry long ways away but i have done it for 2 years now and i have saved a bundle!

Buy turkeys like crazy in November! Debone and chop up in extra freezer and you will have a years supply of extra protein to help pad your monthly budget!

I buy the discounted meat when the butcher comes out with the special roll of discount stickers and throw them into my extra freezer so that they will not go bad.

come November and turkeys are the key!

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February 6, 20090 found this helpful

Our staples are rice, all dried beans, spaghetti sauce (used for lots more than noodles), multi-colored peppers, mixed kinds frozen Veggies, tuna, Vienna sausages, canned chicken (has no phosphates), salmon, occasionally small amt. Of ground bison, eggs/butter, potatoes - fresh and dry, maple syrup,(mercury now added to corn fructose sweetener!). Peanut butter, jam, ketchup, oat nut & bread.

Nonfat cheese, almond milk, oatmeal, raisin brand cereal, duplex cookies, vitamins-minerals, calcium, acidophiles, applesauce,

soup base & broths, soda crackers. (Many items from dollar general stores. I prepare lots of hearty meals, soups, stews, casseroles, noodles and create/ invent meals using all leftovers! Buy occasional ginger ale, canned veggies and fruits. Budget from $55-68/wk.

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February 6, 20090 found this helpful

Look on the web for Biglots.com. There are at least 3 in Richmond. They are an overstock store. Ours doesn't have frozen foods anymore, but the canned foods and non-food items are about 1/3 of a supermarket. You want to stay away from the chips and candy unless you really need them...I need my chococookies (but they're almost 1/2 price [this is a joke]. All my personal stuff (shampoo, toothpaste, deodorant) cleaning supplies, canned tomato and pasta products, salad dressing, etc. come from there. The rest is whole food stuffs, not food products, from the least costly market (meat is what's on sale...and not every night).

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February 7, 20090 found this helpful

It can definately be done by not buying any processed foods. Purchase meats and fresh vegetables when on sale, and be creative with left overs. If you make chicken one night and have some left over, cut it up and place in a pan with some fresh diced vegetables of your choice. Make a "sauce" in the same pan with the meat and vegetables. Serve over rice. Get creative. You can also make soups using certain left overs. My husband and I eat very good on a very small budget. Try adapting recipes to foods you have in the house. It's challenging but fun!

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