$200 Biweekly Budget For Family Of 5?

How can I feed and clean a family of 5 for $200 biweekly?

Laurie from Belle River, Ontario


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April 7, 20080 found this helpful


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April 7, 20080 found this helpful

There are a lot of thrifty meals and tips on this site. All you have to do is search for them.
I see that you're close to the U.S. border. There is a website called Angel Food Ministries that sells food for $30 for each unit. www.angelfoodministries.com/default.asp
I don't know the regulations of bringing food back across the border but this website can give you the locations of the pick up sites and the menus for each month.


There is only one pick up day per month and you have to have payment by a certain day before the pick up. The website explains everything and if you have any questions, you can contact the location closest to you. Good luck.

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April 8, 20080 found this helpful

I have 5 kids and thankfully they are all grown now. But I know what you are talking' about. There were months sometimes when they were little, we literally survived on nothing but pinto beans, potatoes, rice or cornbread to go with them. It was rough. Beans, rice, pasta, and yes chicken cos it's so likable and versatile. Does Canada have food stamps? If they do, and you don't get them, I'd say definitely go sign up for them. Also many churches have pantries that helps with food for families that are less than let's say rich? My thoughts and prayers are with you. Cindym565

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By denise w (Guest Post)
April 8, 20080 found this helpful

So its 100.00 per week which breaks down to 14.28 a day for five you say right? I did this and still do today. You need to manage your money instead of it managing you. So lets take laundry; buy in bulk the cheapest detergent you can. I make my own kitchen cleaner from the laundry detergent or dish soap water and soap and a capful of bleach you can clean floors walls toilets and clothes for say 15.00 dollars a month. Now you have say 380.00 left this means 12.25 per day. Now we have baths and showers dollar store 15.00 gives each person a bottle of shampoo, conditioner, and soap to last a month. If your getting a little short put some water in it.


Now we are down to 370.00, which is 12.00 per day aprox.that means each meal needs to be under 4.00. When I break it down this way, I can see that breakfast will cost less if I buy some powdered milk and add it to the gallon when it gets to half. I can drink water instead of pop say for one meal.If the kids eat lunch at school it gives me a few dollars for say pudding for desert. Buy all store brands and watch your sale papers for deals on ketchup, dressings and condiments. Or you can make you own using mayo.ketchup and relish or vinegar and oil.

Make lots of casseroles as it takes less meat and more carbs to fill everyone up. If you have to do lunch do pb and j, tuna salad or left overs. Dinners make lots of pasta as side dishes to put with whatever, you make again adding in the carbs to fill up the family. God bless

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By John (Guest Post)
April 8, 20080 found this helpful

All I can say is,
I grew up on potato soup, mac and cheese, pasta,beans and corn bread (still one of my all time favorite meals) hamburgers and hot dogs on regular bread. Don't forget kool-ade, ramen noodles and jell-o. Our condiments where ketchup and mustard.Our salad was "ranch" dressing (mayo,sugar,water) on lettuce. I usually had a big heaping helping of starvation for breakfast and ate anything I could schmooze from the lunch lady at school.


Dove bar soap and crew cuts for everyone. I only had 2 pair of pants 1 pair of shorts and 4 shirts to chose from. If you are going to feed everyone on a high carbohydrate low nutrition diet don't forget to supplement with vitamins. I was sick very often. We made due on sheer love sometimes.

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April 9, 20080 found this helpful

Hi There-

My name is Jean - I don't know if this will help but I have saved alot of money by not buying paper towels- I have made cloth napkins - and use them for all meals - it costs nothing to throw them in with the rest of the laundry - I use old clothes for rags for clean up - I no longer buy cleaning products except for baking soda, salt, vinegar, bleach and peroxide- dinner three nights a week are vegetarian - lots of beans, rice and vegetables-

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By Sharon. (Guest Post)
April 10, 20080 found this helpful

Make a menu for the two weeks, this was the most money saving thing I did when the money was very tight, there are lots of websites like thriftyfun for the frugal cook and homemaker. Try livingonadime.com , hillbillyhousewife.com, cheapcooking.com, and miserlymoms.com .


When making your menus, estimate with a calculator how much each meal will cost you to make, this is a good time to make out your shopping list, to make sure you buy everything you need.

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April 11, 20080 found this helpful

You don't say how old your kids are but if they are old enough get them involved in cooking, preparing shopping.

How come celery tastes so much better when they cut it them selves? but I can not do better than the above advice. If you can get hold of one a bread maker, don't make loafs make tortillas, rolls, pizza etc. Flour and water are so cheap, and it varies the diet, so you can have a frugal diet and not feel like you are suffering and have no money. The kids will feel like a million bucks the first time you sit down and eat one of their creations.


Cheers mate, and believe me it will get better. Kerry

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By (Guest Post)
April 14, 20080 found this helpful

Well like some of the other feed backs. You have to budget. Not just with the food, but with everything. Like brushing your teeth and not letting the water run. Turn on the water wet the tooth brush and turn Off the water. Turn it back on to wash out your mouth. Turn off the lights in rooms that aren't being used. Light candles. Use blankets instead of turning up the heat. I have plenty in the house. I brought everyone their own throw so while we are all still watching tv or a movie then we stay warm. I tell them to put clothes on and not walk around in shorts and no shoes talking about its cold.

Buy in bulk. Use towels instead of paper towels. Cook meals you can throw in a crock pot. Eat left overs for lunch at work the next day and not buy take out. Buy generic not name brand, unless using coupons or getting more for your money than generic. Once again buy in bulk. Like meats and break them down in portions for a meal then season and freeze. That way the food is clean and ready to cook.
Hope this help! Keisha

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April 22, 20080 found this helpful

Good Ideas! Thanks.

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April 25, 20080 found this helpful

I suggest to prep, and monitor everything around you. I had a similiar situation and I frugalized everything. For starters, I planned a menu for the entire month rotating about 5-7 meals on a calendar throughout the month. I bought chicken breast in bulk and I had a food processor, a chopper will do if you dont have a processor and I sliced, diced, and ground my chicken breasts, and prepared my meals.I bought frozen fish that I would cut each portion in 1/2's and I would also make fish cakes using one piece of fish (I'll post that recipe for you) I spent the entire day and evening after returning from the market preparing my meals for the month and I froze them. I made pizzas for the kids out of a loaf of bread, carefully placed each slice back into the bread bag and froze that too. I made pancakes about 20-30 at a time and froze them and nuked'em. Everybody got one pancake for breakfast and a cup of herbal tea. I bought flour, sugar,baking powder,rice, beans and lemon juice in bulk. However I never used alot of sugar at all, hardly any and my kids were just fine. I bought alot of generic foods and so no one would notice or compare with what they saw at friends houses, I would remove them immediately from the boxes, throw the boxes away and place them in zip lock gallon freezerbags (that I washed and reused over and over, lol) or containers. And as for cold cereals, I almost never bought them past corn flakes. I would buy a huge container of instant oats and I would take almost 1/3 of it and make my own granola and made hot oatmeal at times with the rest. Cakes, I bought the mixes from the $store and only used 1/2 of the mix and the ingredients they required at a time aded a tsp more of baking powder and still got a whole cake. Laundry, I had a plunger just for that purpose and I would load them in the tub with water and a capful of detergent (I diluted) and plungerd our clothes clean, squeezed out the bulk of water and wrang them out in a thirsty towel, and hung them to dry-if I did use the drier it was for a couple pairs of jeans or a few towels to get us by while the others dried. I ironed clothes for the entire week.Dish liquid I refilled a soap dispenser and used 3 squirts and a scouring sponge to wash my dishes. Lights were out at a certain time every night and everyone had a night light and a personal flashlight that were rechargeable. Shoes I shopped for my children myself and would bring them home for them to try, if they didnt fit, I took them back and got the right size, but I went alone so no one could complain about what they wanted. I have sons and they were fine as I never behaved as though we were having a hard time and I always stressed that this was our home, but my house and I have a reason why I do things the way that I do. and I still use alot of the tactics today and I am fine. And as I see, you have the internet so use it, it is loaded with a wealth of information. Anything you think about you can at best believe there's a remedy for it online. Other posters had some really good tips for you as you can see you're not alone in this experience and it takes some focus, thought and tact, and I hope all is helpful for you

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May 2, 20080 found this helpful

Wow, so glad that somebody mentioned help and the angel food ministries! Honestly, not sure how we've made it without the local churches. There are six of us under this roof, and the twins are still in diapers(so ready for that to be over)! So I understand what you are going through, and I say GOD BLESS YOU! Don't forget to breath :) And wash everything that you can in Cold water, make sure there are no leaky anything in the house, and learn to Love your crock pot ( slow cooker) . You will get through this, and be a stronger family for it! Good luck!

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May 4, 20080 found this helpful

You will find great tips and hints on this site and others. The best tip I have is to think outside the box. Be creative. Say you have 3 dinner rolls left. Don't just put them up and let someone munch them. Take the few minutes to scramble a couple eggs, add cheese, wrap them in your wrap of choice and freeze, breakfast on the run. Leftovers can be cooled in the fridge then make pie dough or bread dough, cut it into hand sized portions then fill with the leftover. Bake for dinner or put up to be reheated another night or for lunches. Get your family involved. Make it a contest to see who an come up with the best idea for whatever it is you are doing and then give them a prize. they will be much more willing to compromise and help. I treat this like a job. That whole "penny saved is a penny earned". Well it is. In the 6 months I have been an at home mom again, I have saved my family what I would have made in the 9 months a year at work. My house is cleaner, my kids better cared for, my kids are happier, all that makes for less stress on the dh which makes him happier. And that all makes me happier. It is hard to change from a consumer house to a saver house, but it can and should be done. By the way, I have 3 kids at home: 21, 8 and 3 and I am 8 months preg. with the 4th. as well as a son that lives away making me a grams in a few months.

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By lizzieladder (Guest Post)
May 10, 20080 found this helpful

There's alot of money saved eating vegetarian. It's 'hard a bit at first, but you eventually get used to is, and can cut out dietary cholesterol! We recently started eating this way (in the past 3 months) and already I am healthier as is my husband, and our children do not complain. There are plenty of ways to get protein which isn't meat.

Join a food buying co-op for grains and beans. When purchasing things in bulk, you get a better per pound price and often you can purchase 6 months worth of beans or grains for the regular cost of convenience foods. For example, I get a 50 lbs. bag of wheat for about $20. That's enough wheat to make flour for about 2 months at the cost of one trip to McDonald's. We make our own bread, crackers, etc. with this wheat. Also we use it often like you would rice- in soups, as cereal in the morning, etc...wheat is a complete food and when beans are added to the diet, you have true completeness! The occasional veggies and fruit and you have a healthy family!

Eat more soups. I read somewhere once that people who eat soups regularly get more full and eat less, because of the water content (which we need anyway). Speaking of water- drink water in place of soda, tea, or lemonade. Water is much better for you than these others, but save the lemonade and tea for special treats. Skip the soda altogether! It's expensive and bad for you anyway.

Eat whatever fruits and veggies are in season (on sale) and don't forget to be creative.

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By vj (Guest Post)
July 16, 20080 found this helpful

I do the same. Like you, I spend around the same amount or less. Just stock up on all things; grain, flour, drinks, and re-stock before they run out. Then just use your budget to buy meat, fresh fruit, veggies. Sometimes you can find meat on sale. Just today I bought a giant family pack of chicken drum sticks for $3.50, that was a deal for me. Also, 2 pounds of ground beef for $3.25, that's great for spaghetti. So hang in there, you'll do fine. Trust me, I know.

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May 7, 20120 found this helpful

I go to a food bank when I running low on food. And you can come back as much as you want for bread and there is no limit on the bread and bread only.

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