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Cooking on a small budget: Family of 4!

Starting in 2011 we are going to begin trying to live off of $50/week in groceries in an effort to save money for a new home, as we have quickly outgrown the one we purchased a few years ago. Anyhow, the $50/week includes buying personal items such as soap & toothpaste. I'm in need of cheap but healthy recipes to cook for my family or ideas for breakfast, lunch & dinner. We have two children ages 2 years & 2 months. My newborn is breastfed, but I will begin making his food in just a few months. Any help with ideas that you can offer is greatly appreciated. ;) And if you have any other questions, feel free to ask.

Answer Question

Asked by wishwish at 2:39 PM on Dec. 5, 2010 in Food & Drink

Level 6 (130 Credits)
Answers (18)
  • Lots of ground meats, canned/frozen veggies and potatoes. There are so many different variations of these items. Stews, casseroles, lots of casseroles. With a seasoning packet or a can of soup you can create a meal.

    Answer by Melbornj at 2:46 PM on Dec. 5, 2010

  • Shop sales! You will have a more varied diet that way. Buy whichever meats are on sale that week. Usually the family packs are cheaper in the long run. Check out the seasoning packets, they are usually very cheap at 50 cents to a dollar and require very few ingredients to make a meal. A good way to save on toiletries is to buy a head to toe baby wash for the toddler and infant to both use and the grown ups can use it as body wash. Also, use coupons. Print them online or get the sunday paper, I print them online and have saved 30 percent on average on my grocery bill every trip.

    Answer by rhianna1708 at 2:47 PM on Dec. 5, 2010

  • sales and coupons. Shop multiple stores for the best deals. Only clip coupons of items you already buy. Store brands re your friend. You don't have to always have 3 cereals, 5 snacks and soda in the house. buying family packs of meat and the repackaging into zip locs. Frozen less meat more veggies. You can make a chicken last 3 meals with enough sides. roasted chicken on night, chicken noodles the next the make chicken bone soup the third. black beans can make a good meat sub in a lot of meals. Never under estimate breakfast for dinner. Cheese eggs, pancakes and fruit make an excellent balanced dinner.

    Answer by But_Mommie at 2:56 PM on Dec. 5, 2010

  • I have been there, i had $60 a week to feed a family a 5 and buy diapers and other things.
    What I did was get out the weekly ad and make a menu off what was on sale and what coupons I had and could combine with store ads.
    so if potatoes are on sale think of all the ways to use them, even broccoli and cheese potatoes are a good meal. Always buy the frozen veggies because they go farther then canned. Never buy what you can bake, like cookies, muffins. remember a bag of chips is the same cost as a bag of apples and goes farther. Also see if you can get on WIC that does go along way

    Answer by wheresthewayout at 3:42 PM on Dec. 5, 2010

  • most people spend the majority of their grocery money on meats and we usually eat way more meat than a single serving...cut back on meat (a piece of meat the size of a deck of cards is a serving!) and you'll save a ton. also, ground meats and sausages (like kielbasa) are cheaper than other cuts and can be used in tons of things. buy everything you can in packs of meat, big bags of frozen veggies,etc...ramen is very cheap and can be eaten alone as a snack or you can serve saute'd diced meat and veggies on it for a great meal. soup with grilled cheese sandwiches is always popular when we're low on cash, especially in winter. you can also do meatless meals by including beans, eggs, or some other form of protine (again, we eat too my meat already and its expensive). hamburger helper is your friend, just serve with a side salad or some steamed veggies. making tea, koolaid, or lemonade for drinks saves over buying them

    Answer by LoriaAnn at 3:52 PM on Dec. 5, 2010

  • I would say use everything in the house before you go shopping, you might have to get creative, but that will save money. Also use or eat all left overs. This way the money you do spend is well spent. Also cut out the frivolous foods. Stick to what you need to have a balanced diet

    Answer by DevilInPigtails at 3:59 PM on Dec. 5, 2010

  • Chicken is a very versatile food as another mom already mentioned. Eggs are another one. Ground turkey (93/7) is about a $1.50 per pound cheaper than hamburger (93/7). Bulk is a great idea but only if you have storage space for it. Try to buy personal products (soap, shampoo, tooth paste) at the Dollar store (everything is just a dollar). You can even pick up some pantry staples there such as rice and pasta. My sister uses meal planning to help her stay on budget.

    Good luck on saving for your new house.

    Answer by SpiritedWitch at 4:13 PM on Dec. 5, 2010

  • I read quite a few blogs about frugality, two that may be of interest to you is: (she also has links for frugal recipe sites) and

    Answer by tony1638 at 5:11 PM on Dec. 5, 2010

  • Another thing to do is when you get your tax return buy a side of beef...this is a great way to go as far as meat because all your cuts of meat are around $2 to $3 a lb. versus paying a variety of prices for beef at the store. also buying your meat from a farmer means your meat is healthier and tastier then the grocery store where you have no clue where it came from or how it was fed.
    it is easy to find a farmer who sells his beef...all you do is google cow farmers and your zipcode.
    We pay $600 for a side of beef that is half steaks and it lasts all year.

    Answer by wheresthewayout at 5:17 PM on Dec. 5, 2010

  • Stop buying cold cereal completely. It's phenomenally expensive per calorie of food value.

    Oatmeal (not instant) and even eggs are a cheaper breakfast. Buy only whole grain foods --even pasta or bread, because for the same price you'll get more filling foods. Bake your own --everything from muffins and cakes to bread is much cheaper to make at home, plus you control the nutrition.

    Dried foods, like beans and whole grains, are cheaper than anything someone else added labour or water to, because labour's expensive and water increases the shipping costs. You may like to buy a pressure cooker, to make cooking these faster and use less power.

    You may like to check the Tightwad Gazette for ideas about being frugal. The books are filled with great ideas.

    Answer by LindaClement at 5:17 PM on Dec. 5, 2010

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