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Reader Question: How to Feed a Family of 9 on a $300/month
I was asked by a fellow reader to post the following question to my Facebook page:
“Do you have any tips for a family of 9 that is on a $300/month budget”
The response from you guys was amazing! I wanted to post the responses on my blog in case you are going through a similar situation.
I will often add a starch to my meat dishes, if it makes sense, to make them go further. For instance, I’ll add black beans to the enchilada mix before I roll them up to double the amount, or oatmeal to meatloaf. Bulks up the dish without increasing the cost too much.
Mashup Mom puts out a weekly dinner menu for Aldi shoppers. Its always $60 or less..never over 60.00. I find it a huge help…of course you have to have an Aldi nearby. Just google “mashup mom aldi meal plan” also I find google is my friend in situations like this…you can enter “how to feed a large family on a budget” etc. So many resources out there.
I’ve started buying in bulk and using a Sunday to prep and freeze bulk meals. It costs a little more than $300/month, and we’re only a family of 6, but it provides dinners for two weeks at a time plus leftovers to take to work each day. I also shred carrots very fine in a food processor and mix them in my ground turkey. No one notices, it’s a veggie serving, and it helps to make the meat go a little further in meatloafs, taco meat, and whatever else you want to use the ground turkey for
We’re a family of 7, and I find buying in bulk isn’t cheaper, except maybe meats and flour. I’ve been couponing for almost 10 years and I would suggest a monthly meal plan, that you repeat each month. Then you know how much you’ll need to stock up. When those items go on sale, stock up. I’ve gotten plenty of things (both food and toiletries for free). Aldi’s is great for cheaper fruit and veggies and breads.
I feed myself and three kids, gluten free, for about $300/month…but I’m not sure I could do 9. Public assistance, if they qualify, will greatly help them! Although, they could be on assistance, and that’s all they get. Unfortunately, sometimes the “supplement” is the whole budget.
My advice would be to utilize Kroger sales with coupons and use apps like Ibotta and Checkout 51 for toiletries especially. Last week I stacked the Quilted Northern sale with coupons and rebates, and got 12 huge rolls of tp for less than $5 (lasts us all month +), and toothpaste for $.25 each. Plus, I love to shop there during the Summer double fuel points so I save more on fuel to roll back into the grocery budget.
For toiletry items, I have saved so much using Norwex body cloths. The cloth is used with water to clean with, therefore replacing soap/body wash, shaving cream, makeup remover, and face cleanser. Not having to buy those products has saved my family a bundle. Also, you can clean the majority of your home with just two other cloths (the Enviro and Window cloth) so no more windex, furniture polish, clorox wipes, magic erasers, fanstatik, etc. All are guaranteed to last 2 years but typically will last longer.
Norwex has truly been a gift in so many ways that I have to share it with others.
Garden! If a full-scale garden seems daunting, pick 3-4 things you eat the most and grow a ton of those. Freeze, can, and preserve extras. If you plant enough, you can even barter with friends.
Making bread from scratch can also end up cheaper than store-bought bread.
A deep-freezer for stocking up when items are at rock bottom prices can really help stretch a budget.
Beans and rice go in lots of different dishes.
Shredded chicken “goes further.”
18 count eggs at dollar tree = egg salad , fried egg sandwiches , two boxes of riceroni with eggs cost 3 bucks .. great meal kids love it .. my kids love meatless spaghetti sometimes I would grab a dollar pack of smoked sausage from dollar tree and cut it small and throw in there . 88 cent loaf of bread = garlic bread .. oodles and noodles we put a can of chicken In it with corn and peas .. lol my kids love all these meals .. even when it’s payday my kids will make this stuff .. we make cheap biscuits with flour and make beans and hot dogs with onions .. my kids make a big pan of cornbread it cost 150 for four packs of jiffy corn bread they put it in the pans and then cut up a pack of dollar hot dogs and stick those in there and it turns out great … but they do add a little sugar to that recipe to make cornbread sweet .. fried bologna and cheese toast with a side of mag and cheese and a veggie .. that whole meal cost few bucks .. I could go on and on but the thing is a lot of our meals are not to healthy :)now when we’re rolling in the dough around payday I make baked chicken with veggies and pot roast with veggies .. pizza ,,, we put our pork chops in a pan and pour mushroom gravy over them and let them cook .. and we use the crockpot a lot for barbecue with is pretty cheap and last few days .. and we make huge meat loafs that has included everything in the kitchen
One thing that might be fun and helpful for all budget conscious shoppers is for us each to share a favorite tip or recipe to saving money on meals or around the house! (In which case that money could be put to use for groceries)
Toothpaste, deodorant, soap at dollar tree. Get 2 12 roll packs of toilet paper for less than $10 at family dollar. Shop at fresh to frozen and aldis. Shop for 2 weeks at a time. Coupon shop. Always buy family packs of meat.
Also, I buy beans in a bag and make them myself instead of cans. It’s often cheaper. I’ll cook them in my crockpot, then portion out 2-cup servings and freeze them in bags.
The Complete Tightwad Gazette by Amy Dacyczyn has lots of ideas. It got us through a military career with 3 kids, and with only one income and lots of moves.
perhaps she should go to a bulk store like Costco or Sam’s Club and purchase big quantities
I get meat when it’s discounted at the store and freeze it. The butcher can tell you when it gets marked down. Food lion marks down pretty often 1/2 off.
Breakfast for dinner once a week. Eggs are a cheap and filling protein. Have with pancakes and sausage patties.
Buy in bulk, the best you can.