With the Government shut down going on it’s 13th day, many American families, including ours is facing no paycheck coming in. Now in our case my husband still has to go to work everyday, but without pay. We went from having a comfortable income to nothing at all. We do not qualify for unemployment or food stamps. So We now have to make our budget work as best we can to protect our savings until the government decides to resume payroll.
So we decided to see if it is actually possible to feed a family of four (with two teenagers in the house) on only $500 per month. AHHHHHHH! I really didn’t think it could be done. But we have crunched the numbers and we are optimistic. We will be keeping track of all of our grocery spending and see how we do.
Now I need to say, we are sale shoppers. We do not buy anything unless it is on sale. We have a chest freezer so we can stock up on meat when it is on super sale. We love the buy 1, get 2 free meat sales at Big Y. We also buy our vegetables either at Aldi, super walmart or the Misfits Market produce box. We also have chickens, so we get eggs very cheap. I calculated the cost per egg based on the food we feed the chickens and how many eggs they produce each month. This helps keep our costs down and without doing these things I am positive we would not be able to stay under the $500 mark.
My kids love waffles and pancakes for breakfast. I use to buy the frozen ones for them. But found that it is much cheaper to buy a box mix and make them myself. I make the whole box at once and then freeze them. This makes the cost per pancake only 10 cents each.
We also are not huge snackers. We eat well at meal time and maybe one snack a day outside of that. We also have never been juice drinkers. We do milk , water or tea in our house. We brew our own iced tea. Mike and I do make coffee in the morning.
We decided to try to stick to this break down that I have outlined below. The idea is that if we can on days where we eat leftovers for lunch or days that we go under budget on breakfast or dinners, we can then use that money to “splurge” a little and go over the dinner budget on some days. We actually have leftovers for lunch for a least one or two of us a day. So it gives us some wiggle room.
I also found a list of dinner meals under $5. You can check it out HERE . By only spending $5 per meal for a few meals a week , we can then do some dinners that cost more than the allotted $7.50 per dinner. Same idea in that if my kids only eat 2 pancakes for breakfast, that money then covers extra snacks for the day.
Oatmeal and apple sauce: 1 packet of oatmeal 29 cents, 1 Apple sauce 25 cents (54 cents total)
Pancakes, syrup and eggs: two pancakes .20 cents, egg .10 cents, (.30)
English muffin and Egg: muffin .15 cents Egg 10 cents (25 cents)
peanut butter toast and apple: Toast .15 cents, peanut butter .24 cents .25 cents per apple( .64 cents)
Coffee .16 cents per cup
Tea (.20 cents)
Cost per person for breakfast is between .84 cents and .60 cents or 2.88 total
Peanut butter and jelly sandwich .40 cents
Lunch meat and cheese sandwich: .98 Cents
Pretzels: .16 cents
Fruit: .25 cents
hummus .50 cents
carrot sticks .25 cents
Cost per person 0.00 to 2.14 cents
Average cost for lunch per day is 1.07 pp or 4.28 cents a day
$6- $8 per meal
fruit .25 to .50
Cheese sticks .33 cents
Granola bars .16 cents each
glass of milk .15 cents
Snack aprox .50 cents per person or $2.00 total
I will keep you guys posted of what we have been cooking, eating and hopefully saving! Wish us luck!