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This is how we feed our Family of 4… For $200 a month… AND eat Healthy.
2 Adults, and 2 Toddlers.
1. We hardly, if ever, eat out. And if we do, it comes out of the budget. Sometimes for birthdays or holidays we will just ask for gift cards, and that way we don’t have to budget it in! It’s like a nice little freebie Olive Garden is our favorite. When my husband had a different job, and we lived a little further away and didn’t take him to work, and we didn’t see him for lunch… or dinner because of school… We kept dang forgetting to pack him a lunch! So, he would have to stop at the gas station, McDonalds, or some other fast food restaurant. And holy cow! That was adding up. We were living with my parents at the time, and we were eating out a lot as well as this McDonalds all the time. We were spending $200-300 JUST ON EATING OUT. And that was for MAYBE half or less of the meals for the month, plus breakfast. Now, we weren’t paying rent, but we do have a big car payment and our car insurance wasn’t very cheap. And I just plain didn’t want to spend that much on food that wasn’t healthy! Shop at Walmart! And if you order online, go here to get $10 off your first order!!
2. Stopping at a gas station, or McDonalds- Comes out of the budget. Like I mentioned above, my husband stopped at those places a lot. McDonalds isn’t the best for your wallet or your stomach… And why would we pay for the more expensive salad when the burger is so much cheaper? When making it yourself it’s the opposite way! Homemade burgers and buns aren’t as cheap as McDonalds… but they are so much better and tastier for you. And You know what? Homemade healthy food IS cheaper AND more delicious and nutritious for you. The only thing it takes more of is time!
3. We make most everything from Scratch. The only things we don’t “make” are the meats, fruits and vegetables we buy. However, we do get free tomatoes, cucumbers, beets, carrots, green onions, chives, garlic, Swiss chard, tons of herbs, and soon to be peppers! Because we help my Father in Law garden. It is fun, and super fulfilling! He let US plant this year! It was so cool! We had fun learning about everything- and we hardly have to buy spices. If we do, we shop at WinCo and go BULK all the way! So much cheaper, and I don’t need a lot.
We make our own Italian Seasoning, Herbal teas, chicken seasoning, and have made our own beef seasoning. I don’t use Bouillon cubes because we make our own broth! See number 7 below.
I use to buy granola from Smith’s but it was pricey, (even in bulk), and had SO much sugar in it. So, I decided to make my own. It’s easy, customizable, and so much cheaper.
We buy sandwich bread but we make our own rolls. I was taken aback when an ON-SALE package of rolls was still .25 PER ROLL! Holy cow. I make my rolls for .03-.05 each. Huge savings!
4. We cut up our own fruits and vegetables. I have seen the price comparison of buying precut food, and cutting your own. I don’t have enough of a busy schedule to justify it, but some people might! I also shop the Manager’s Special section at Kroger and get lots of produce for a great price! We cut up our own apples and soak them in fruit fresh, cut up our own melon, cut up our own peppers and carrots, and celery! Even broccoli and spinach we don’t buy packaged. I love shopping for FRESH fruits and vegetables! It’s awesome. (L1 Tasty Via Buzzfeed Facebook.com) And you are going to need some good knives for that!!
5. I plan our meals in advance. (Sometimes a month in advance)
6. We PREP our meals ahead of time. Guys, it is AMAZING what not having a TV will do for you! At night when the kids go to bed (we do bedtimes, and they are awesome!), it is my time for me. I do yoga, we read scriptures, I sing and play my guitar, I blog, and I prep meals! We made a list for this week that looks like this.
1. Monday- (BR) Oatmeal, (LN) Cottage cheese, PB Sandwiches, Carrot Sticks
2. Tuesday- (BR) Cereal, (LN) Boiled eggs, cheese, kale chips, and hash browns-35 grams protein, (DN) we ate at my parents’ house and my grandma made Ribs. This would also be a good leftover, or picnic night
3. Wednesday- (BR) Yogurt, peanut butter toast, and homemade granola, (LN) Pulled beef from food storage, rice and broccoli, (DN) Crockpot Chicken and vegetables with noodles
4. Thursday- (BR) Omelets and Sausage, (LN) Chicken spinach wraps, (DN) Herb Pork rice cooked with Onions and Carrots so nobody knows they are there 😉
5. Friday- (BR) Oatmeal, (LN) Baked Potato with leftover toppings, (DN) Homemade Bread, and Home Canned Spinach cheese soup
6. Saturday- (BR) Birthday pancakes! My little girl is 3 today! (LN) Sandwiches! “We finish each other’s sandwiches”, because she is having a FROZEN party! (DN) Crockpot meatloaf, potatoes and carrots
7. Sunday- (BR) Cereal, (LN) Grilled Cheese, Tomato Soup, (DN) at Parents house. Another good picnic or leftover night… Or, find things in your kitchen you didn’t use this week and have your own CHOPPED Competition!
So, I buy quick oats to make granola, and steel cut oats to make oatmeal. They are both the same price in my area. I was wondering, though, why the nutritional difference? Steel cut outs have more calories, carbs, and protein. A friend sent me an article on what the difference was… Basically steel oats are BETTER for you because they are much much less processed. And that was enough for me! So, I cook them the night before, and heat up with some milk in the morning
7. We can, and eat what we can. Oh, guys, canning is so much fun! We have a water bath canner for fruits, jams, jellies and pickled items- and a Pressure Canner for low acid things like soups, meats and vegetables. I have made my own Broth, Tomato soup, canned meat perfect for a casserole or sandwich, Chicken and Turkey, and vegetable soup- I have canned jams, jellies, fruit for daaaaaaays. I got my canner in February before we moved, and after we moved at the end of February I got canning like crazy! We have tons in our food storage from myself, my in laws, and my grandparents! Really this save so much money. I buy things on sale that don’t fit in my freezer and I CAN them! I am young so it is always funny to people my style. But canning is fun, rewarding, and DELICOUS.
8. We get Food Storage for Christmas! My in laws have gotten us food storage 2 years in a row. Who’s complaining? Not me! Things like canned corn, green beans, tomatoes, cream of chicken, peaches, pears, chili, and tomato paste. It is such a refreshing feeling to go into my food storage closet where my dad built WAY awesome shelves… and see our bounty. We are blessed with food that’s for sure. These things were bought at case lot sales.
9. We buy STORE brand. OR whatever is cheaper, and still good quality. There is a common misconception that NAME brand is better. Sometimes true, most of the time not. Name brand is more mass produced, and way more expensive. Couponing? Well let me tell you this, I have used a handful of coupons to get cheaper things. Most of the time, STORE brand is cheaper and about the same! We go through butter so quickly that we buy the $1 butter. Do we tell a major difference? Yeah, sure! We can buy more of it and it is softer faster 😉 win, win! I buy store brand Walmart diapers. I was spending between .22 and.28 on diapers buying name brand. Walmart diapers are good for long boys… and they’re .13-.14 a diaper!!! We also buy a box of 800 wipes for $14. So, for a month of diapers for one kid we spend $35 which I think is awesome.
10. We buy meat in bulk and freeze. When WinCo opened in February they had some AMAZING deals. We bought Pork for .98 a lb. Beef for $1.48 a lb. Abd I got a 20lb chicken for $1 a lb., and my grandparents brought me another one free! I have seen those deals many many times too! We just bought pork again for .98 a lb., and we still have turkey and beef! If we have extra room in the budget (which we do a lot), we sometimes will buy something extra like Steak or Chicken breast/thigh. We also have enough room in the budget to buy my husband bulk protein powder If you want to save, and you are buying 100% WHEY protein through some NAME brand. Stop it. It is literally two times less at WinCo.
11. WHITE MEAT. We eat 2lbs of dark meat a week. Unless it’s served at a parent’s house. White meat is cheaper, and better for you! My sister and I love white meat, and both of our husband love red meat. Guys, red meat is good. But white meat is SUPERB.
12. We eat meatless 1-2 meals a week. In the menu above we didn’t, but we ate meatless twice last week. We will do things like Cauliflower Grilled cheese and Homemade tomato soup, or Millet Mexican Casserole, or Veggie soup. There is protein in vegetables! OR, if we are doing literally just “meatless” but still allowing our food storage broth, we will just use the poultry broth as a soup base and then vegetables or mushrooms
Here is an example of what we buy. We shop at Smith’s and WinCo, and sometimes Walmart.
2 64oz Juice (2.00 each)
8-9 Gallons of milk ($16-18)
3-4 Loaves of Bread (5.37-7.16)
12 Dozen eggs ($10)
2 pounds of bulk Cereal ($3)
3lb beans ($3)
Yogurt every 2 weeks ($10)
Fresh fruits and veggies ($16)
5lbs Cheese ($12)
String cheese ($4)
That leaves about $90 for other necessities.
Our budget weekly (outside of those things listed above) is $25-27. If I go over, I deduct it from the next week.
We definitely don’t only buy 5lbs a cheese a month. My husband would die. So, we budget a 10lb bag in at some other point in the month.
This is when we buy things like Cottage cheese, Flour and Sugar, Oats, and when I shop the Manager’s Special Section at Smith’s.
Do I feel held back by our budget? Sometimes.
Do we get everything we NEED? Always.
We eat at Mine and my Husbands’ parents 2-3 times a week so we eat our leftovers for lunch. Usually I would make 1-2 meals, leftover meals. Like Chopped Style!
(L1 Tasty Via Buzzfeed Facebook.com)