Monday, August 29, 2011

Week #2 Menu-Feeding your family of five on $66.78

1-Cold Cereal, milk and orange juice
3-Cold Cereal, milk and orange juice
5-Cold Cereal, milk and orange juice
7-Cold Cereal, milk

1-PB&J sandwich, carrots
2-PB&J sandwich, orange sections
3-PB&J sandwich, apple wedges
4-PB&J sandwich, carrot sticks
5-PB&J sandwich, orange sections
6-PB&J sandwich, apple wedges
7-PB&J sandwich

1-Vegetarian chili Total=$3.49
Ingredients: 1/2 pack dry pinto beans, soaked and cooked. 1 can of tomatoes, 2 cans of tomato sauce, onions, 1 pack chili seasoning mix
2-Pasta Salad Total=$2.62
Ingredients: 1 pack of pasta cooked and drained, diced tomato, sliced scallion, lemon juice and some oil for the dressing
3-Spaghetti and green salad Total=$4.96
Ingredients: 1 pack of spaghetti, 1 can of sauce, lettuce, tomato, scallion, dressing
4-Hamburgers Total=$4.97
Ingredients: 2 lbs. of hamburger, 1 pack of buns
5-Bean Burritos Total=$3.04
Ingredients: Pinto beans soaked and cooked, flour tortillas. Make the pintos into refried beans.
6-Meatloaf, baked potato/butter, vegetable Total=$7.47
Ingredients: 2 lbs. hamburger, egg, onion, a couple of pieces of the heels (bread) soaked in milk, salt and pepper, seasoning as you like, potatos, frozen veg of choice
7-Meat gravy over mashed potatoes, Total=$4.77
Ingredients: Hamburger, at least 1 lb. crumbled and cooked, add 1 can cream of mushroom soup with some water, heat. 1/2 bag of potatoes, cooked, mashed, milk added and seasoned.

tomatoes, .99 lb., buy 1 lb.
scallions, .59 bunch
lemon, .50, buy one
Romaine, .99, buy 2
Potatoes, 5 lb., $2.89, buy 1
onion, .78 lb., buy one at .39
carrots, .69
apples, $1.49 lb., buy 2 lbs. at $2.98
oranges, $1.29 lb., buy 3 lbs. at $3.87

Hamburger, $1.99 lb. for 5 lbs. or more

Eggs, $1.99
milk, $3.49 gal, buy 2

Kroger Value Hamburger buns, .99
Kroger Value bread, .99, buy 4 loaves at $3.96

Kroger frozen vegs., 10/$10, buy 1 at $1
KV orange juice, $1.32, buy 2 at $2.64

Kroger Value tomatoes, .69
Kroger Value tomato sauce, .34, buy 2
KV spaghetti sauce, .99
Kroger salad dressing, $1.49
Kroger cream of mushroom soup, $1.29

Kroger pinto beans, $1.49
Kroger chili seasoning, .99
Barilla Pasta, $1.38
KV Spaghetti, .99
Kroger bag cereal, $3.39
KV peanut butter, $1.99, buy 3
KV grape jelly, $1.67

Fry's burrito size flour tortillas, $2.49

Oats, .89, buy 2 lbs., based on "sprouts" price

Items not on list
Hot dog condiments
should carry over from last week

Menu with what's on sale for the week of Aug. 25-Aug. 31

So last week before I started working up the eating cheap menus, I went to Fry's and did a walk thru, pricing items that I hadn't priced before or those that I hadn't priced in awhile and prices have gone up a little. This week's menu is going to reflect that. The good news is that while expanding my knowledge of prices and using the generic store brands that the weekly budget menus can go down even more. This week there are some good produce prices and combine that with some good generic store brands and you can do quite well this week. As far as the $50 stockpile targets this week, I'm not sure. I kept meaning to price out the BOGOF roasts at Bashas but never did. If those work out to be below $2/lb., then I would buy a couple to get four total. I would then cut one or two into stew meat and freeze everything into family meal portions.


1-cold cereal, milk, Sunny D juice
2-French toast
3-Cold cereal, milk, Sunny D
4-Cold cereal, milk, Sunny D
5-Cinnamon toast
6-Cold cereal, milk, apple juice
7-Cold cereal, milk, apple juice

1-Tuna sandwich, orange, Cheez-its crackers
2-PB&J sandwich, orange, carrots
3-Tuna sandwich, Plum
4-PB&J sandwich, peach, carrots
5-PB&J sandwich, orange, Cheez-its crackers
6-Chicken noodle soup, Cheez-its crackers

1-Pizza, Green salad with strawberries and sweet vinaigrette
2-Grilled cheese sandwich, tomato soup
4-Hot dog, pepper strips/cucumber spears, potato salad
5-Mac & cheese, frozen veg of choice, sweet corn on the cob, french bread
6-Chicken, broccoli and brown rice
7-Cobb salad with leftover chicken and hard cooked eggs, garlic toast.


Campbells chicken noodle or tomato soup, 2/$1 with coupon, buy 4
boneless skinless chicken breast, $1.67 lb., buy 3 lbs. at $5.01
Sweet corn, 6/$1, buy 6
Albertson's apple juice, $1.49 with coupon
Albertson's large eggs, .88, buy 2
French bread, .99, buy 2

Valu Pancake mix, $1.67

Fry's milk, .88 for 1/2 gal., buy 4 at $3.52
Bumble bee tuna, .69, buy 2
cucumbers, 3/$1, buy 3
mini carrots, 10/$10
Kroger Value hot dogs, .99 or buy the Bar S at Albertson's for $1
KV buns, .99
KV bread, .99, buy 4 at $3.96
Kroger bag cereal, $3.39
KV frozen vegetables, 10/$10, buy 1
KV mac & cheese, .42, buy 2
Potatoes, 5 lb. bag, $2.98
Mayonnaise, I've allowed for $2.99
Scallions, .59

Buy 10 deal
1-Kellogg's Frosted Flakes, $2.49
2-Betty Crocker brownie mix, .99
3-Red Baron Pizza, $2.99
4-Red Baron Pizza, $2.99
5-Cheez-its, $2.26
6-Sunny D, .99
7-Sunny D, .99
8-spaghettios, .49
9-spaghettios, .49
10-Kroger singles cheese, $1.49

Strawberries, .97
Bell Peppers, 3/$1, buy 3
White peaches, .77 lb., buy 2 lbs.
Plums, .77 lb, buy 3 lbs.
Oranges, 2 lbs/$1, buy 6 lbs. at $3
Romaine, .77, buy 2
Broccoli, .77 lb.
Brown Rice, .69 lb, buy 1 lb.

Items not on grocery list
spices and herbs
hot dog condiments

Friday, August 26, 2011

Week #1 Menu-Feeding your family of five on $66.97

Something a little different than what I normally do. And I am still planning on doing an Arizona ad post this week, but this is something that I hope anyone in the U.S. can use. I got my prices from my nearby Fry's store, which is a Kroger store, so that may help some people. I had originally wanted to do this for $40 for the week but I don't think it's do-able anymore unless you are fine with eating beans for every dinner meal. I plan on doing a week #2 and week #3 so that someone could mix and match if they'd like to. Week #1 has some items in it that you won't need to buy every week, like Mayonnaise and veg. oil. Somtimes the items listed go on sale for half the price of what I have down, it's up to you to keep your eyes open for the best possible price for an item and if you do find it, it could drop the total of the week down quite a bit. I put milk prices down at full price but most weeks you can find milk somewhere for at least a dollar a gallon cheaper than what I have listed. So you absolutely can do better each than the total that I have listed if you are "on top of it" just a little. Meat prices are the only sale prices that I have down. Everything else is what Fry's (Kroger) had at regular price on mostly the Kroger "Value" brand. Hot dog condiments were not added into the grocery list.

For week #1 of the "Eating Cheap" Menu

2-Cold cereal, milk and orange juice
3-Oatmeal, orange juice
4-Cold cereal, milk and orange juice
6-Cold cereal, milk and orange juice
7-Oatmeal, orange juice
If you want to make this less, omit the cold cereal and milk and add more oats to the list. Your total would then be $3.56

1-PB&J sandwich, carrots/celery sticks
2-Ham sandwich, orange sections
3-PB&J sandwich, apple wedges
4-Ham sandwich, celery sticks
Save some ham lunchmeat for the Fried Ham Rice dinner
5-PB&J sandwich, orange sections
6-PB&J sandwich, celery sticks
7-PB&J sandwich, apple wedges

1-Hot dog Total=$1.98
Ingredients: 1 pkg. of Kroger "Value" brand hot dogs and 1 pkg. of KV hot dog buns
2-Mac&Cheese and frozen veg. Total=$1.84
Ingredients: 2 pkgs. of KV mac & cheese mix and 1 pkg. of KV frozen vegs.
3-French bread pizza Total=$3.77
Ingredients: 1 loaf of french bread split in half on the horizontal. KV spag. sauce and KV mozzarella cheese. If you like a lot of cheese, you may want to buy another mozzarella pkg. at $1.49 added to your total.
4-Chicken, rice and broccoli Total=$3.76
Ingredients: One aprox. 3 lb. chicken on sale for .69 lb. ($2.07). Use a third to a half of the bag of rice depending on how much you need and 1 lb. of fresh broccoli. Cook chicken and add other ingredients for a casserole or eat separately. Add a can of cream of chicken soup at an added cost of $1.29 for Kroger brand cream of chicken if you want to. Keep some cooked chicken out for the Chicken Caesar Salad dinner.
5-Ham Fried Rice Total=$2.98
Ingredients: Use aprox. 3 C. of rice as needed for your family. Cook, then cool. Use sliced scallions, some chopped ham lunchmeat and a couple of scrambled eggs. Season with garlic powder and soy sauce. Add some frozen peas or whatever other veg. you'd rather.
6-Chicken Caesar Salad Total=$2.48
Use a head of romaine and leftover chicken from the Chicken, rice and broccoli dinner. Toss with Caesar salad dressing. Or use Ranch dressing if you don't care for Caesar. Use the heels of the sandwich bread if you want to make croutons for the Caesar salad. Cube them up, add some veg. oil, salt and pepper and bake at 350 for about ten minutes or to desired toastiness.
7-Cheese Omelett and muffins Total=$4.07
Ingredients: 8-10 eggs to make omeletts and a pkg. of cheddar cheese. The muffin pkg. makes 5 muffins. If you want more than that, buy another muffin mix at .59.

Based on Kroger prices

Broccoli, .96 lb., buy 1 lb.
Scallions, .59
Romaine, .99, buy one
Carrots, .69 for 1 lb. bag
Apples, $1.49 lb., buy 2 lbs. at $2.98
Oranges, $1.29 lb. buy 3 lbs. at $3.87

Chicken, 3 lbs. at .69 lb., total $2.07

Eggs, $1.99
Milk, $3.49 gallon, buy 2
Kroger Value margerine, .67

Wall Deli
Kroger Value Franks, .99
Kroger Value shredded cheddar, $1.49
Kroger Value shredded mozzarella, $1.49
Kroger Value ham lunchmeat, 16 slice, $3.49

Kroger Value frozen vegetables, 10/$10, buy one peas and buy another your choice, buy 2 total
Kroger Value orange juice frozen concentrate, $1.32, buy 2 at $2.65

Kroger Value spaghetti sauce, .99
Kroger cream of chicken soup, optional, $1.29
Kroger Caesar dressing, $1.49
Kroger Value peanut butter, $1.99, buy 2 at $3.98
Mayonnaise, $2.99
Kroger Veg. oil, $2.79
KV grape jelly, $1.67

Kroger Value Mac & Cheese, .42, buy 2 at .84
Kroger Value long grain rice, 2 lbs., $1.46
Kroger Bag Cereal, $3.39 (28 servings)
Kroger Value muffin mix, .59 (5 servings)

Soy sauce, I've allowed for $2.50
Tampico powdered garlic, .88 the kind in the bag in the Hispanic section

Oats, .89 lb., buy 2 lbs. at $1.78 (26 servings), based on "Sprouts" bulk price

Kroger Value hot dog buns, .99
French Bread, $1.29
Kroger Value Bread, .99, buy 4 loaves (will give you 72 slices, not counting the heels, use the heels for croutons for the Caesar Salad) (each loaf has 18 slices, you will need 70 slices if you make 5 sandwiches for 7 days)
total $66.97

Thursday, August 18, 2011

How to feed a family of five on $300/month

In answer to a comment that I received, I decided to address the question, "How can I feed my family of five on $300/month? While it may be difficult, I don't think that this would be impossible. And I would welcome any and all comments of things that have worked or not worked for you in trying to feed your family on a limited food budget per month.

1-Shop the sales and use coupons. Shopping the adds is easy enough, for meats and produce I only buy what is on the first page (meat) and the last page (fruits/vegs) for that week. Using coupons can save you a ton of money. When my children were little I would spend $200/week, yes, you read that right, per week at the grocery store b/c I had no idea how much could be saved shopping ads only and using coupons. When I started using coupons I immediately started saving $300/month on groceries. I joined a coupon subscription service in Phoenix area called "couponsense". The idea is to buy multiple Sunday papers which have the coupon booklets in them each week and then to match up the ad with the coupon to get rock bottom prices on items and only buy those items when you have a coupon and a sale price. I no longer do couponsense but not b/c I don't like it. I still think it's wonderful. There is a free website that I like called, Optimum savings by using coupons depends on your area and the couponing policies of the stores that you shop. Arizona stores mostly double coupon values so it's a great place to coupon. If you can't afford to buy multiple Sunday papers, ask your friends for the coupons that they don't use. There are also various online printable coupons that you can get. I have a teacher friend that would get the 4th grades Sunday newspaper each Monday after they had done their current events. Ask around, sometimes nursing homes or hotels get newspapers, so ask if you can have the coupons out of them afterwards.

2-Cut out prepared and packaged foods. Buy beans, potatoes or potato flakes, rice, macaroni, flour and oats in bulk. Preparing simple foods will save you lots of money and when you learn how to do it won't necessarily take more time. Beans and lentils do great in the crockpot. I've also heard that oatmeal does great in the crockpot or I use the microwave for a single serving of oats. If you want to bake your own bread, there are recipes that are time efficient. Lentils are satisfying and fill the belly and are cheap. There is a website called Hillbilly Housewife. I haven't looked on it in awhile, it's on my favorites. She says that you can feed your family on $40/week. They eat more beans in a week than I can though. Eggs used to be a cheap staple for the week, but you can still usually find them on sale at one store in the area for under $1 each week.

3-Plant a garden if you can. or even one item you use a lot of like Basil, zucchini or tomatoes or lettuce, plant them in a tub.

4-Practice the $50 Stockpile. My friend Mindy had a blog a couple of years ago called the $50 Stockpile. The premise was that you only had to spend $50 per week on groceries. You would stockpile what was on sale for that week and then once your pantry and freezer were full, then you used what you had on hand, buying only $50 of produce or meat each week. I wish she still did it b/c her ideas were fabulous. But anyone can do it. For instance when tuna is on sale for .50/can and if your family likes tuna, then you would buy 10 cans of tuna for $5. Let's say this same week that hamburger is on sale for a family pack that is aprox. $10 and has 5-6 lbs. in it. You'll take it home and package it up into 4 or 5 meal portions and freeze or cook and freeze. Or instead of hamburger you will buy 15 lbs. worth of whole chickens b/c they are .69/lb. Cook them up and shred the meat or freeze them raw. So far we've spent $15. Let's say that canned vegs are on sale for .50/can or canned beans are the same price. Buy $5 worth of those. Now we've spent $20. If pasta is on sale buy $10 worth of that. And if pasta sauce is on sale or tomatoes, buy $10 worth of that. maybe spend the last $10 on oats or pancake mix if those are on sale. The next week do the same thing with different items and before long you will have built up your pantry and will not have to spend any more than $50/week on groceries.

5-Plan 3 or more vegetarian night meals per week. Cutting out the meat really cuts the price of your weekly food budget.

6-Shop seasonally. I only buy mayonnaise, ketchup and mustard(with a coupon is dirt cheap) during a week preceding a big BBQ weekend when sale prices for those items and coupons are their best. I try to buy all of the flour, powdered sugar, brown sugar, cornstarch, baking powder, chocolate chips and cocoa that I need for the whole year during November and December. I buy salsa the week of Cinco de Mayo when it is super cheap, I buy canned chili and hot dogs the week of Super bowl weekend. I buy expensive cuts of meat only the week of Valentines day and Christmas when they are half the price of what they normally run. I buy peanut butter when school starts b/c it's super cheap then.

7-Join a produce or food co-op in your area. Lots of people swear by this. However, it only works if your family will eat most anything b/c you get what they decide to give you each week. I never thought this would work that well for us, but for some people it works out great. It's like $15 for a big basket of fruits/veggies. Google food co-ops in your area.

8-Portion control. I've fed two hungry teens, I know how hard this can be. But there has to be boundaries if there is a limit on the food budget. I fried up two lbs. of bacon one night thinking that after our BLT's that I could wrap up the remaining bacon to use for breakfast the next day. It was all eaten and I only got 2 or 3 pieces of it. I also know it's hard when you are expected to bring snacks to sports teams, provide goodies that have to be store bought for school parties. Lots of snack items have corresponding coupons and go on sale often. My son was embarrassed at the thought one year when I threatened to send in obviously Christmas wrapped candy in for the classroom Valentine's Party. I had gotten the bags of chocolate candy for something insane like .15 per bag the day after Christmas with some killer coupons.

9-Use your freezer. Even if all you have is the one connected to your fridge, maximize your stockpiling power by using your freezer wisely. I was watching an antiques show the other day where they showed a fridge from the 30's or 40's that only had a freezer big enough to hold 2 ice trays. Growing up we had an old "extra" fridge that was like that that we put sodas and extra eggs or butter in.

10-Get to know your ads each week and what prices are in your area for items you normally buy. Make your own "never pay more than" list on items you buy regularly. My rule of thumb here for myself is that I usually do not pay more than $2/lb. for hamburger. Most of the time the sale price now is $1.88/lb. here, sometimes it will go down to $1.67/lb. Mostly I do not pay more than $2/lb. for any meats unless we are splurging for the ocassional steak. Boneless skinless chicken breasts usually run $1.67/lb. on sale here. Whole chickens are .69/lb. on sale. For fruits and vegs., the fresh ones, I don't like to pay more than $1 per lb. Less, of course is better. Right now is a great time to stock up on some vegs that you can freeze. Onions and peppers are on sale for cheap right now so if you like them frozen (I don't care for their texture all that much after freezing) to use in cooking, get a bunch, chop them up and freeze them in portions you can manage for dinner.

Please, share your ideas on living through a recession!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Menu with what's on sale for the week of Aug. 3-Aug. 9

So I added everything up and came up with a good number first try. I'm sure while writing it on here that it will change a few times, it usually does.

For some reason I can't respond to comments this week, go figure. So here's a shout out to Helen in Mesa, hope you and family are well.

A few things that didn't make it into the final cut but are great deals this week that you may want to consider.

From Fry's, Kroger Deluxe Ice Cream at 2/$5, Farmer John breakfast sausage, 4/$5, Hamburger, Tuna, or Chicken Helper for .97. You may want to switch out the Baked Potato or Chili night for Hamburger Helper instead. Or how would it be to put a Stroganoff Hamburger helper on the baked potato? Might be good. Might be too weird. You decide.

Bashas' has canned Food Club fruit for 10/$10. Also at Bashas', Jose Ole taquitos for $3.99. Great for lunch or quick dinner. Marachan Yakisoba for .69. These are microwable dry meals that you add water to. My kids love these and they would make a great lunch to take to the office. Some people think they're gross, but the picky kid of mine liked them. At .69 you wouldn't be out much to try one, then you could go back and pick up more if you liked them. There are also usually corresponding coupons to these that make them cheap, cheap, cheap. So check your file of Sunday coupons if you save them.

Great deals at Albertson's on Pillsbury cake mixes and Ocean Spray Cranberry juice. They are both on the buy 8 deal. If you can afford to stock up on cake mixes, providing you use them, it will really be to your advantage. I plan on buying 8 or 16 cake mixes to store for the year. We make b-day cakes, cobbler, cupcakes, microwave single serve do it yourself warm delight fudge cakes and you can make cookies and homemade oreos (the cakesters kind) out of cake mixes so 16 is not too many for us to have on hand. Although with the eating machine gone, cake consumption will go down, I'm sure. Ocean Spray is almost always $2.99 or more. So at $1.49 it is half price. Generic doesn't usually go that cheap. I will buy 8 or more of those also if they let me. Here we go.


1-Pancakes, syrup, Cranberry juice
2-Cold cereal, milk, Cranberry juice
3-Eggs, toast
4-Cold cereal, milk, juice
5-Cold cereal, milk
6-Cinnamon toast, juice
7-Pancakes, syrup,

1-Ramen noodles, carrots
2-PB&J sandwich, grapes, Kool Aid
3-Lunch meat sandwich, banana, Wheat thins, Kool Aid
4-PB&J sandwich, orange, Wheat thins,
5-Lunch meat sandwich, kiwi slices, carrots
6-PB&J sandwich, wheat thins, cantaloupe chunks
7-Velveeta mac & cheese dinner

1-Baked chicken, frozen veg., green salad
2-Meat loaf, mashed potatoes/butter, corn niblets or corn on the cob
3-Vegetable lasagna, green salad. Use sauteed mushrooms, leftover corn if any, leftover vegs from dinner #1 if any, some sauteed onion and red pepper. Use Ragu Alfredo sauce, lasagna noodles and cheese.
4-Ramen noodles
5-Chicken Enchiladas or Chicken Enchilada casserole, frozen vegetable. Make a sauce by using a can of cream of chicken soup, some sour cream, some green enchilada sauce and a little milk to thin it out. Can use a little sauteed onion. If you don't want to use cream of chicken soup, make a roux and a white sauce using milk or chicken broth to make the sauce, then add the sour cream and enchilada sauce to it when cooled.
6-Chili. Garlic toast if there is enough bread. I have not put down for a chili seasoning packet on the grocery list. So either season yourself or buy one.
7-Baked Potato. Top with leftover chili if there is any leftover. Also serve leftover casserole or lasagna if there is any left.


Buy 8 deal
1-Kelloggs cereal, $1.99
2-Kelloggs cereal, $1.99
3-Velveeta dinner, .99
4-Pillsbury cake mix, .69
5-Pillsbury frosting, .99
6-Planters Peanut butter, .99
7-Ocean Spray Cranberry juice, $1.49
8-Wheat thins, $1.99

Maruchan Ramen, 6/$1, buy 6
Kool Aid, 6/$1, buy 6
Milk, $1.57, buy 2
sweet corn, 6/$1, buy 6
Kiwi, 3/$1, buy 3
Potatoes, 10# bag, $3.79
Shamrock Farms sour cream, $1.79

Red grapes, .77 lb, buy 2 lbs. at $1.54
Boneless skinless chicken breasts, $1.67 lb., buy 3 lbs. at $5.01
Ground round, $1.97 lb., buy 4 lbs. at $7.88
Tillamook cheese, $1.77 If you like a lot of cheese on your veg. lasagna and enchilada casserole and/or want cheese on your chili, or your baked potato, you may want to get another package of cheese
Food Club beans, .69, buy 2
Food Club pancake mix, 2/$4, buy 1
S&W tomatoes, 10/$10, buy 2
Old Orchard frozen juice, 2/$3, buy 1
Bananas, .57 lb., buy 2 lbs. at $1.14
Mushrooms, $1.49 ea
cucumbers, .49 ea, buy 2
Food Club lasagna noodles, I've allowed for $1.99
Enchilada sauce, I've allowed for $1.69 Buy the green kind would be a great way to use up your Taco bell little packets of taco sauce if you didn't want to buy enchilada sauce, you could use red if you wanted to.
Cream of Chicken soup, I've allowed for $1.99

Fry's large eggs, .88 ea
Cantaloupe, .67
Kroger lunchmeat, $3.79
Ragu Pasta sauce, $1.58 ea
Mission tortillas, $2.19
Kroger Value bread, .88, buy 4
Onion, $1 lb.
Red bell peppers, .88 ea
Green Giant Valley steamers, 2/$3

Romaine, .88, buy 2
Baby carrots, .88
Roma tomatoes, .88 lb.
Oranges, .88 lb., buy 3 lbs.

Items not on grocery list:
salt and pepper
herbs and spices
chili seasoning packet
Pancake syrup
Jelly or jam