how to shop when you're broke and have a family

1567810

Replies

  • randomsue
    randomsue Posts: 179 Member
    Family of 7 here and filling those bellies can get expensive. First of all, I try my best to feed healthy meals but I don't want to teach my kids that there's "bad" food. Desserts are only on Friday and it's been as simple as homemade cookies or ice cream. They look forward to it and I can budget it. I try my best to not buy lunch meat. It's more per pound than if you buy a roast or whole chicken and roast and slice/shred it yourself. I typically roast 2 chickens and shred that for casseroles, salads, sandwiches every week. I do measure the amount I put into recipes as well. It goes a long way.

    I use the KISS principle. Salads consist of lettuce (buy a head and clean it yourself, keep in ziploc bag with a paper towel) or spinach with tomatoes. Croutons (for them) if they are on sale. Salad dressing? I used to buy a variety but poppyseed dressing is what everyone likes and more than anything..they will eat it. I used to put things in it that I thought they should eat but they just picked it out and that's a waste.

    I agree with the previous posts about breakfast cereal. Use oatmeal or if they don't like that, I use grits. I live in the south lol I just add wheat germ to it (they think it's butter) :) A protein at breakfast keeps them fuller without that sugar crash that breakfast cereals give. Greek yogurt drizzled with a little honey or jam is great. I even make fried rice for breakfast (a fave) Leftover rice with eggs and leftover veggies. Toast with peanut butter can be another option. Think outside the box and use the leftover veggies that's not enough for another meal but would make a great frittata or egg muffin. They can be made on the weekend and reheated through the week.

    You really are going to have to start thinking about making a menu plan. There's so many ideas out there (pinterest) but most of them takes a little planning and prep work ahead of time. A menu plan saves time and money.

  • DorisSilver50
    DorisSilver50 Posts: 98 Member
    MFP has lots of menu planning ideas in the blog section, here is one from this week that is appropriate:

    https://blog.myfitnesspal.com/your-guide-to-budget-friendly-grocery-shopping-infographic/
  • melimomTARDIS
    melimomTARDIS Posts: 1,941 Member
    my kids love cereal, and cereal is fortified with lots of important vitamins. if you buy the generics/large bags, its a cheap breakfast. yay cereal!
  • jgnatca
    jgnatca Posts: 14,464 Member
    I have the slow cooker on for a chicken, potato, black bean and quinoa soup tonight. I keep in mind what is in my refrigerator always, and use up fresh foods as quickly as possible. I had a bag of new potatoes that I wanted to use up. The Pinterest recipe calls for sweet potato but I used what I had. Everything else for the soup I had on hand.
  • cocates
    cocates Posts: 360 Member
    Since you live in a rural area, are you able to purchase your eggs from a local farm? The price of eggs in the grocery store seem to have gone up quite a bit and that may be able to give you more bang for your buck. Also, maybe you could use your talents (sewing) and barter for other stuff like cuts of meat. I know that's way outside of the box thinking. I wouldn't normally suggest it but when I think of the great states of OK, I think about cattle farms and local, fresh farm food. Just a thought.

    I make my husband an egg bake on the weekend for his breakfasts during the week. It's pretty simple. Eggs + cooked bacon + cheese + jalapeños (you could leave those off for the kiddos) and bake. I've also put them in muffin tins. You only need to reheat them for ~20 seconds in the morning. Super simple and super fast on busy school mornings. I've also baked bread (pumpkin bread this past weekend), pre-slice it and the kids either eat it cold or pop it in the microwave for a few seconds to warm it up. Add a side of fruit, and they're good to go.

    I can see you are quite frugal. Maybe instead of buying those P3 snacks, you could buy those ingredients in bulk and get your kids to help prep them. You could leave out a block of cheese for ~30mins, so they can cut it easier. I'm sure the little one would love to count (or measure) how many nuts or cheese cubes into a baggie to portion it out.

    I can definitely understand how many gallons of milk your family goes through. We go through about 2+ gallons a week. My husband and daughter love it! I know the milk topic has been a sensitive issue, but from a health standpoint, I will say that our pediatrician told us that our children should limit their calories with beverages to only at mealtimes. And when they are quenching their thirst, they should drink zero calorie beverages (ie, water). I didn't want to belabor the milk issue, but since you mentioned you wanted them to eat healthy, I figured that also included drinking health, too.

    I hope this helps. Good luck! I think you are very creative to work with such a small budget. Thinking of you!!
  • ShelliesTrying
    ShelliesTrying Posts: 85 Member
    edited October 2015

    I can see you are quite frugal. Maybe instead of buying those P3 snacks, you could buy those ingredients in bulk and get your kids to help prep them. You could leave out a block of cheese for ~30mins, so they can cut it easier. I'm sure the little one would love to count (or measure) how many nuts or cheese cubes into a baggie to portion it out.

    This is on my to-do list.

    I know the milk topic has been a sensitive issue

    It's not so much a sensitive issue just the way it has been addressed by those who don't agree. I'm just not a fan of the aggressive nature people default to when someone's opinion differs from your own.


  • randomsue
    randomsue Posts: 179 Member
    I don't really know how to address your comment @madhatter2013 . I love my job and it's more of a career than "just" a job. I do not have a degree, I want to go school but I just can't swing that right now. I have been applying for a second job but haven't gotten one yet. I am doing what I can.

    I am giving you kudos for your efforts. Job satisfaction and pride in your work is priceless. I have friends that make quite a bit of money and that didn't give them satisfaction with their job. Big high five on that point.

  • jgnatca
    jgnatca Posts: 14,464 Member
    I used to be part of an artist's association where some of the members were living off their art. I've never had the courage to do that. They lived very frugally and appeared to be very, very happy. One couple were living in a Garage kit home on a scenic bit of land. They had a gas line for their kiln so as far as they were concerned they had it all.

    Another couple lived with the father-in-law, a taxidermist, in a Quonset hut. The living room was unique. A mountain goat loomed over me. Not just the head; the entire goat.

    The transforming castle truck, by Justin and Jola. Jola is an acrobat.

    http://www.livingbiginatinyhouse.com/transforming-castle-truck/
  • dhygirl
    dhygirl Posts: 137 Member
    Are there co-ops on your area you could join?? Usually just a few dollars a month and get tons of stuff, usually in bulk. I get lots of rice, chick peas, carrots, flavored water, salad dressings to name just a few items.
  • randomsue
    randomsue Posts: 179 Member
    I know quite a few of us said to plan a menu. I have to say that it CAN be overwhelming at first but do it in steps if you have to. When I first started, I tried to plan every little detail and made it harder than I had to. If you put together your 7-10 family favorites that's easy, healthy and cheap to make, you can rotate them and add more as you go along. You can also plan the type of meal for each day. For an example, Sundays-roast, Monday-chicken, Tuesday-casserole, Wednesday-meatless, Thursday-crockpot, Friday-Beef, Saturday-soup/chili/stew. It's a great way to utilize leftovers, sales and gives you more flexibilty with your schedule.
  • ShelliesTrying
    ShelliesTrying Posts: 85 Member
    randomsue wrote: »
    I know quite a few of us said to plan a menu. I have to say that it CAN be overwhelming at first but do it in steps if you have to. When I first started, I tried to plan every little detail and made it harder than I had to. If you put together your 7-10 family favorites that's easy, healthy and cheap to make, you can rotate them and add more as you go along. You can also plan the type of meal for each day. For an example, Sundays-roast, Monday-chicken, Tuesday-casserole, Wednesday-meatless, Thursday-crockpot, Friday-Beef, Saturday-soup/chili/stew. It's a great way to utilize leftovers, sales and gives you more flexibilty with your schedule.

    This is on my to-do list.
  • Zinka61
    Zinka61 Posts: 523 Member
    This is a terrific blog called Budget Bytes: http://www.budgetbytes.com/ Maybe it will give you some inspiration.
  • sonnenschein931
    sonnenschein931 Posts: 1 Member
    I don't know if it has been mentioned, I did not read all the replies. There is a coop called bountiful baskets, it operates in certain states. Maybe you can check if they are in your area.
    You can order 2 baskets of fruits and veggies for roughly $15 dollars.
    The website is bountiful baskets.org.
  • Numberwang22
    Numberwang22 Posts: 213 Member
    I'm sensitive to the milk issue, but have you considered just diluting it a little with water? I've done that when hubs using it on cereal and porridge all the time and didn't notice any difference. Just might put a few dollars back in the pot for something else.
  • oocdc2
    oocdc2 Posts: 1,361 Member
    Sorry if this is a repost (I'm not slogging through 7 pages to find out), but someone sent this to me. It's great--it's a cookbook of cheap and easy recipes:
    https://8b862ca0073972f0472b704e2c0c21d0480f50d3.googledrive.com/host/0Bxd6wdCBD_2tdUdtM0d4WTJmclU/good-and-cheap.pdf
  • Amalthea8284
    Amalthea8284 Posts: 49 Member
    Wic for your 3 year old will help you, and the income guidelines are different than for snap. Also POTATOES!
  • ecjim
    ecjim Posts: 1,001 Member
    The over night steel cut oats is great - I didn't see anything about dried beans in the posts, I might take a couple days to soak & boil them. Add some cheap meat or sausage & serve with rice. Eastcoast Jim
  • hend232
    hend232 Posts: 1 Member
    An idea would be to switch to frozen veggies and fruits, they're as good as the fresh ones " nutrition wise," cheaper and they last longer! You may get creative with serving and stuff but yeah that what I'd think about first to cut back on food budget. Sometimes I even freeze fruits if they're about to go bad to save cash. Kids will love sucking on frozen fruits, they're like treats you know.. Other than that, chili, beans are good too and finally peeling my eyes for items on sales!!
  • jgnatca
    jgnatca Posts: 14,464 Member
    Yeah I taught hubby to freeze bananas (peels them first) before they get mushy. He puts them frozen right in to his protein shakes.
  • randomsue
    randomsue Posts: 179 Member
    jgnatca wrote: »
    Yeah I taught hubby to freeze bananas (peels them first) before they get mushy. He puts them frozen right in to his protein shakes.

    Not trying to be funny but I wish someone had taught me to peel bananas before freezing. My first attempt was not good. :) Frozen bananas in protein sounds like it would make it into a little dessert. Great idea