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how do you do it

I am starting a new job on friday so our budget is going to be really tight for a while..I have seen posts on here where moms spend very little on groceries and I am looking for some tips..I live in North Florida so the cooler the meal the better (i.e. no oven) and I am feeding a family of three...myself, dh & dd..any tips?

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Asked by barefootbchbum at 5:31 PM on May. 3, 2010 in Money & Work

Level 5 (96 Credits)
Answers (12)
  • Most of the budget tends to be on meat which is also the most expensive thing on the plate. Keep in mind that meat should only make up 1/4 of the meal and fill rest up with cheap veggies. Don't be afraid to go to a wholesaler or a discount grocer. In the summer it's a good time to buy fresh produce in bulk and freeze it for later. Shop by the sale ads...make up your weekly dinner plan around them and post it on the fridge so that everyone knows what is for dinner. Less of a chance to splurge or order out if you have it planned

    Answer by Jademom07 at 5:37 PM on May. 3, 2010

  • vegetarian meals can help keep the price down: rice and beans, pasta and veggies, bean soup, etc

    check out the budget meals section on


    Answer by ecodani at 5:38 PM on May. 3, 2010

  • Make at least some of your own cleaning products. This has the added bonus of bringing fewer toxins into your home

    This is what we use for most cleaning (initially used as part of my daughter's 6th grade science fair project). It is cheap (my favorite) and non toxic.
    ¼ cup white vinegar
    ¾ cup warm tap water
    1 tablespoon baking soda
    10 drops of tea tree oil (antibacterial, antifungal, etc.)
    2 drops oil of lavender essential oil (antiseptic and smells nice)

    Stop buying paper towels and napkins. Cloth napkins are more fun! Pick up cheap cotton towels at your favorite second hand shop. Save money and trees

    Past the age of 2, the only beverage that humans need is water. Stop buying juice and sodas; buy milks only for cooking and cereal. You can liven up water with slices of fruits and vegetables; make ice cubes with blueberry eyeballs for the kids.


    Answer by rkoloms at 5:46 PM on May. 3, 2010

  • Replace meats with beans, lentils, tofu, seitan, etc. You can save even more money by using dried beans and lentils and making your own seitan.

    Cook from scratch! Home cooked foods taste so much better than the nasty boxed stuff, and you will feel better because you are eating healthier foods.

    Replace simple grains (white flour, white rice, white pasta, etc.) with whole grains (brown rice, whole wheat pasta, whole grain breads, etc.). While whole grains may cost more, they have more nutrition and are more filling, so they really are the better value

    Frozen fruits and vegetables have a longer shelf life than fresh and retain their nutrition longer; they are often a better, less expensive option than fresh.


    Answer by rkoloms at 5:46 PM on May. 3, 2010

  • Once or twice a week have breakfast for dinner. Popular options at my house are: yogurt parfaits with frozen berries and whole grain cereal; veggies omelettes with a bit of cheese and whole grain toast; whole grain pancakes with fruit.

    Instead of baking a whole batch of cookies, make and freeze cookie dough balls. No one will be tempted to sneak a cookie(you know who you are) and when you do have cookies they will be fresh baked.

    Only go to the grocery store every 8 days. Before you shop, plan all of your meals and snacks for the next 8 days. Write your list, based on what you need to complete your meal plan. Pull any necessary coupons, eat before you go (never go to the grocery store hungry). Most important, buy only what is on your list

    The specials at the store are not to save you money, they are to get you to buy items that you don't need. If you won't use it in 3 week, don't buy it!


    Answer by rkoloms at 5:47 PM on May. 3, 2010

  • I have a ton of recipes that are tasty, healthy, family and budget friendly; send me a message offlist if you would like some

    Answer by rkoloms at 5:48 PM on May. 3, 2010

  • Main dish pasta salads are fairly inexpensive and easy to make, very little cooking involved. Yes, meat can cost a lot, but you can stretch it: make a tuna macaroni salad, a ham & cheese macaroni salad, pepperoni pizza salad, grilled chicken salad. If you have a grill, chicken leg 1/4's are pretty inexpensive and you can get at least 3 meals out of one 10 lb. bag. Sloppy joes make better use of a lb. of ground meat than hamburgers (I can get 12 sloppy joes vs. 4 burgers) When it DOES come to ground meat, buy ground turkey instead. It's definitely less expensive and the different flavor can be masked by adding other ingredients, like in sloppy joes.
    Don't want to heat up the kitchen? Do you have a crock pot? That will cook your food for you without giving off the heat like an oven or stove. I can roast a whole chicken in my crock, enough to feed my family for two meals, with little work and little heat.

    Answer by michiganmom116 at 7:21 PM on May. 3, 2010

  • Find a discount grocer. Many stores are licensed (at least here) as salvage grocers, meaning they sell damaged boxes and cans that the grocery stores wont. Check for meat on sale. Reevaluate your diet. Have quick meals on hand. You need frozen waffles for breakfast? Spend an afternoon making up a box of waffle mix and ziplock bagging them, or sleeve them in an empty bread bag. They cook up hot and crispy in the toaster the next morning, are good for a month in the freezer, and for a dollar you can get 40 waffles, which would cost you five dollars store bought. Cutting on the little things helps. Cut out soda! Buy canned juice if necessary, and thin it out with water. Veggies are filling and cheap! Frozen veggies are cheaper than canned! Good luck!

    Answer by truthrowan at 10:46 PM on May. 3, 2010

  • Buy frozen veggies, to steam. Get the big oatmeal container instead of instant. Don't buy apple juice, just get orange. One thing I have had to do lately was not look for the best "deal". For example, it may be a better deal for me to get the paper towels that have 3 in a pack for $2 but if I am counting pennies, I get the 1 roll for $1 and make it last. I also use cloth napkins (paper towels are usually for cleaning).

    Answer by txdaniella at 11:46 PM on May. 3, 2010

  • ps i have found sams/ costco is not cheaper, but aldi's, shop n save, generic brands help. Also check out

    Answer by txdaniella at 11:47 PM on May. 3, 2010

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