Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Reader Question!

I came across your blog on the web and it is an interesting concept. It has been hard for me to feed a family of 4 on one income. I tried to go over my weekly shopping list several times but can’t get it below $80. My question is how do you have dinners when there is only the one meat purchase? And how do you make it through the week without the household items (toothpaste, lotion, soap, dish detergent etc.)?

Thanks for all your posts and for helping all the frugal moms!

God Bless


Hi Janice,

We eat lots of meatless meals. Like this week, we are only having meat in our spaghetti, a quiche with a bit of sausage in it and I used some leftover chicken to make taco soup. I make my menus up from what I already have on hand. That way I spend less each week and I'm not needing to purchase EVERY item in EACH recipe. I just purchase a few items to finish the recipe off.

Household items have their own budget now. I try and slip them into my grocery budget when I can, but I've set aside some money each week to cover those items. We use dollar store brands for most things that you listed.

Remember that $60 is the number we picked because, at the time, that's all we had. Everyone's lowest number may be different. If you're still wanting to get your budget lower here are a few things to look at.

Are you cooking from scratch?

Is there anything in your grocery bags with a brand name on them? (snapple, tide, kraft, ragu) Can you make it yourself or buy it in generic form?

Are you throwing away leftovers? Sometimes one meal can stretch to two. That saves cooking time as well as the dollars to buy more ingredients.

Do you have a menu plan each week? If you have a plan you know exactly what you need to buy.

How many times are you going to the grocery store each week? You'll save money if you shop once.

I hope those ideas help!
If you're new to the blog I wrote several posts a few years back on just EXACTLY how I do it. You might want to check them out.

The Plan

The Shopping Trip

The Weekly Prep


Anonymous said...

What good advice. I also want to add. Hang in there Janice. Everyones budget is a work in progress.


Becky said...


I love your tips! We recently went from 2 incomes down to 1. I have implemented alot of the things that I've learned on several different blogs, including yours. We have had to be a little creative with our finances but I take alot of comfort from knowing that there are real people out there that are in the same boat. Thanks for such a great blog!

Becky <><

Candi said...

Those are great tips! Two years ago, I started doing the drug store deals to get free toothpaste, makeup, deodorant, etc. We no longer need to get these item since I have accumulated a huge stockpile.

Roxie700 said...

You always have some good advice. I am a big fan of your blog. Thanks for the efforts.
As for Janice, it is not easy, but it can be done...when a person has more time than money you can really make a dollar go a long way.
I too use the Dollar Tree, I use Big Lots, and of coarse Walmart and coupons. We do not have any stores that double coupons....
Someone else said to watch the drug stores sales. Those are great for things like make-up, tooth paste, and cleaners.

Johnlyn ~ Frugality and Homemaking said...

I really didn't think I'd ever be able to get my budget down to $60 per week (we only have four in our family). I started at $75 and moved it down to $60 over time.

I made a list and then went over it again and again to make sure I was only buying true needs.

One thing you had mentioned before on your blog Gayle was to buy only what you NEED for that week. I didn't do this for long, but long enough to find that I only "needed" to spend $40 per week and then I'd spend $20 per week stocking up on sale items.

Before too long, I was spending $20 per week on needs and $40 per week on stocking my pantry.

Of course right after I figured all this out, I found out I can't eat grains so now I'm learning all over again!

frugalredneck said...

I echo the stockpiling. This is the way I keep my budget way way down for our family of almost 9. I took 1 year, 2 years ago and followed the coupons and the ads at walgreens and stockpiled huge quantites of everything I could get for next to nothing or nothing or make money. I still have enough of everything to last another year, This includes all bathroom stuff, dishwasher tabs, dishwashing soap, Stockpiling for my laundry, bandages, medicines, soap everything. I have spent the last two years stockpiling food. I currently have about 6 months on hand of non perishables, This afforded me to buy a canner this year and a dehydrator and a vacuum sealer which saves even more food. Just this summer growing our own food and shopping farmers markets we have canned enough fruits, salsa, pickles and spaghetti sauce to get through the entire winter. It takes time but is well worth it. HTH Michelle frugalredneck.blogspot.com

Serendipity said...

I remember when I first started reading your blog about almost two years ago and I became obsessed with cutting down our 300 a month for two people grocery budget. I also then had to out of necessity because I financed a car I really couln't afford. Now I spend about 130 every two weeks for my boyfriend and I and sometimes I can get away with spending even less. It really helps to have a meal plan and to make a list.


Anonymous said...

Gayle, I think, too, that it helps that you don't have bottomless glasses of milk and juice in your household and that possibly the portions of meat you are serving are "the right size" instead of "American standard". For instance, in stretching a chicken I think you mentioned serving everyone a slice of chicken -- not a piece (leg, thigh) -- makes a huge difference. I'll bet, you are putting bits of meat into soup not chunks. It might be an interesting blog entry to show the meals out of a chicken: What the slice and sides look like on a plate, the amount of chicken (and size of pieces) that are going into soup, etc. (and I know that you are waaaaay busy these days)

And I tried the Crockpot chicken recipe this week -- yummy!

Kim said...

We are a single income family of eight children, seven still at home and am currently working with a 500/month grocery budget...this includes everything as well as diapers/wipes for our 20 month old twin boys. It is very difficult and has been a huge adjustment for us especially the kids. I try to make almost everything from stratch and have cut out most convenience foods. My biggest savings has been found in recycling leftovers. I try to use up everything and stretch it as far as I can. For example, for dinner tonight I knew I needed to use up some leftover baked potatoes so I decided to make pan fries...I needed a main dish so I dug in the freezer and found a bag of leftover ham...put that in the crockpot with some spicy mustard and brown sugar...I had some cabbage to use up so I made a Chinese coleslaw salad but was out of almonds so I used sesame seeds. Dinner was good and I everything I used I already had. In addition, I think scaling back and really defining needs vs. wants makes a huge difference in our budget. My kids complain there is no food in the house only ingredients but no one has starved yet! Kim