Tuesday, December 9, 2008

What's Your Clothes Budget and You Sure Don't Buy Much!

A question from a reader....

Hi, I am really enjoying your blog! I, like you, have four children and a hungry husband and I am trying to feed us all on a budget. My first question is, it seems like you just don't buy a lot of food for six people. Do your kids not eat much at meals? I have a 13 yr. old son that is a bottomless pit!! My other question is, what do you do about clothing? I would love to know your clothing budget for your family and how often you shop for clothes, etc., Please continue your blog, I am enjoying it so much and have gotten fabulous recipes from it!

Kendra S. in Cleveland, Tn

My kids eat a lot and so does my husband. At mealtimes the kids usually eat off a salad sized plate and for most of the kids it's full. At least one kid always goes back for seconds and sometimes thirds. And during the day they snack on fruit, popcorn, or baked goodies I might have around. My hubs is a big guy (6'4" and 220 lbs) so he eats at least one huge plate full if not two. Me, well I eat off a salad size plate too but that's purely for portion control so I can maintain my weight...or at least try.

I was thinking hard about your question because really, it doesn't look like I buy very much. So here are a few reasons why I think it doesn't look like enough food to last us a whole week. (This was a really good question by the way.)
  • I have a huge stockpile of rice and lentils in my drawers thanks to my sister who moved and didn't want to take it with her.
  • I don't buy lots of packaged bulky processed foods. Those take up lots of space and would make my picture look like it has much more in it even though what's inside is just a handful or two of food. When I buy in bulk it just comes in bags.
  • At least half of the ingredients of my weekly meals is already in my cupboards. I plan my menus around what I already have. If I had to buy every item for every recipe my pile would be HUGE and my total would at the very least, double.

As for the clothes? I don't have an actual budget. A majority of the kids clothes come from a store that takes our old clothes, gives me trade in credit and then we shop in their store for new stuff. A portion of our clothing comes from outlet stores, trips to Goodwill, cousins who have outgrown their clothes, or gifts. As for the adults, we aren't ashamed to shop at Goodwill for ourselves. We make sure that we buy items that can be mixed and matched to form different outfit combinations. I don't need work clothes and my husbands work clothes last quite a while as they are all suits and with his home business, he only needs his suits when it's a day that he is meeting with clients. Because we home school I don't have to do the major "school clothes shopping" that most people do. We keep our eyes peeled for deals all year round and get items here and there as the budget allows.


Terri and Bob said...

Excellent suggestions!

Thanks for the great explanations.

mommanator said...

AH a conisieur of Goodwill! glad you arent too proud to write it. I think we are responsibly using what God has given to shop at these type of stores!I have purchased brand new things from these stores, folk just don't belive what was gotten there. Of course like everything else ya just gotta look

~Dawn said...

We love Goodwill here! And even better, we get so excited about the 50% off days ;)

I do have a question for you as well; do you have an emergency plan for food? For instance, we live in Colorado and though we don't often have big emergencies, I try to keep enough in the house for blizzards.

But with the increase in threats from outside the USA, I often wonder if I should consider the remote possibility and have a stockpile of canned goods? Is this ever something you consider?

Rosso said...

Hey Grace nice blog! Do check out mine for some great (and simple) diet and health tips. I've been blogging now for a few weeks! Thanks

Heather said...

This is sooo awesome and I enjoy reading your BLOG sooo much. I also homeschool and meal plan, you were actually the one that has inspired me to stop clipping coupons and now I can feed our family of 5 for about $50 a week and I buy only what we need!! Thank you soo much for blogging what you so, it has blessed me and my family very much!!

teachingtinytots said...

good article! i like to have enough to go past the payday that way in case of winter storm, sick kids or another emergency we have a few days padding!

i to shop garage sales and thrift stores they are fun and my kids love to get a goodie from there too!

Coco said...

Your so amazing! I am in awe!

Andrea said...

I am a 30 yr old home schooling Mom of three little ones.I love your blog-I am of the same "species" as you-frugal and proud! We are, of course, a one income family and I have learned much about frugality these past few years. I can feed my family of 5 for less than $300/mo also! I mainly shop at the Farmers Market, and Aldi (we have a very nice one, and the quality is great!Try it!) We take advantage of the seasons, go to orchards, look for "scratch and dent" fruit and juice it or make sauces and can them. I make my own snacks when I can, and buy very little convenience foods as well. Whole foods are cheaper when feeding families. I've found you can make anything with flour, milk and eggs! An example of what we eat (for the readers benefit! as I take over your blog :)) : Oven Puff Pancake with yogurt and berries, snacks-fruit, cheese and lunch meat tray,or popcorn/homemade things, lunch-soups, noodles, or sandwiches etc and dinner Chicken French with white wine, salad and roasted veggies. M girls are young, so they don't eat like a teenager (well, sometimes they do!), but when we had a teen with us, there wasn't a huge difference.I find myself spending less on meat and more on fruits/veggies/grains and that saves big $$. For clothes, I save the older girl's for the twins. The olders I get from Kids Consignment and other Moms, and tend to get good brands that can last another generation. My hubs and I can smell a good clearance sale, and we tend to hit them just right when we need to, about twice a year for new shoes or seasonal items. I can take all the credit, but the truth is the Lord is good to us!!