Feeding My Family of 7 For Less Than $500 Monthly

Save Money

My family is big by today’s standards. Two adults and 5 kids. We have one income so things can get pretty tight with that many kids. I’ve had to find ways to save money and the place I save the most is on groceries. I know it sounds crazy but I can feed my family of 7 for less than $500 a month.

Coupons

Couponing is key. If I didn’t coupon then my family couldn’t eat for such a little amount every month. I get coupons in bulk, print them from online resources, use digital coupons, and use coupon apps. Pairing coupons with sales makes my savings even greater.

Sales

Shopping sales not only saves me money but also allows me to stock up on cheap necessities. When something that we use a lot goes on sale for a really great price then I buy in bulk and stock up on that item. The best things to stock up on are non-perishables and frozen veggies and fruits.

Menu Planning

Menu planning also helps with saving money. Before I did menu planning I would spend over $1800 a month on groceries because I never knew what we needed or what we had so I constantly bought duplicates of things which usually ended up going to waste. By setting a meal plan I can then see what we already have and what we need when I’m making a shopping list.

Shopping

Sticking to my shopping list has helped tremendously. Normally I would go shopping with just a few key things in mind that we needed, and I would end up buying tons of junk or stuff we didn’t need. Now that I make a list of exactly what we need if I stick to it then I can save a lot of money.

Stockpile

Keeping a running stockpile list lets me know what I have, how many, and what I’m running low on. I have a looooong list of everything that we use in our household and I keep a tab of how many we have. When a new item is taken from the stock then it is marked off of the list so that I will know before shopping what we are low on or out of.

Planning

When I meal plan I like to do multiple meals a week that use the same ingredients. For instance, if I buy a head of lettuce having more than one meal in that week that uses lettuce will make sure that the entire head is used and nothing has gone to waste. If you plan meals after looking at sale ads and what coupons you have then you can buy what’s on sale and use it in multiple meals making it even more cost-effective.

Sample

Here is a sample of a week’s dinner meal plan:

Monday-Breakfast for dinner

Tuesday-Blueberry French Toast Casserole

Wednesday-Leftovers

Thursday-Grilled Cheese Turkey or Ham Sandwiches

Friday-Tater Tot Cups

Saturday-Take-Out Tacos

Sunday-Leftovers

Grocery List

For this week I would need:

Monday-bacon, eggs, biscuits-2, hash browns, sausage-2, milk, flour, butter

Tuesday-frozen blueberries, day old French loaves-3, milk, eggs, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, cooking spray

Wednesday-nothing

Thursday-bread, sliced cheese, butter, turkey, ham

Friday-tater tots, eggs, milk, shredded cheese, ham, cooking spray

Saturday-nothing

Sunday-nothing

No-Cook Nights

As you can see this week we had 2 leftover days which cleans my refrigerator out so I don’t have to throw out any food. Equals saving money.

We also had a take-out night where we got tacos. I had coupons for this so it was cheaper than it would normally have been for a family of 6 (since the baby doesn’t eat solids yet).

Costs

Weekly cost:

Monday-

Bacon-free (I bought a 10 lb box when it was on sale for $19.99 and have been using it for a month little by little. Storing in the freezer makes sure it will last until I use it all.)

Eggs-free (WIC vouchers)

Biscuits-$0.49 (on sale) x2

Hash browns-$1.47 (on sale)

Sausage-$5.46 (I bought a 50-count pre-cooked frozen bag which will last for several meals.) x2

Milk-free (WIC vouchers)

Flour-free (I bought several bags on sale months ago for $1.50 and have slowly been using them for anything needed. It is also a staple that I don’t count towards my weekly budget.)

Butter-free (This is a staple in our house so I don’t count it into my weekly meal costs.)

Tuesday-

Frozen blueberries-$2.98

Day old French loaf-$0.50 (I buy this when it goes on sale, normally it’s $1, but when it is a couple of days old they mark it down before having to throw it out. It’s super crisp and crusty by this time which is perfect for this recipe.) x3

Milk-free (WIC)

Eggs-$0.97 (normal cost for a dozen large white eggs)

Sugar-free (I bought these on sale months ago for $1.25 and am slowly using them. This is also a staple that I don’t count towards my budget.)

Cinnamon-free (household staple)

Vanilla-free (household staple)

Cooking spray-free (household staple)

Wednesday-

FREE

Thursday-

Bread-free (WIC)

Sliced cheese-$0.99 (normal price)

Butter-free (household staple)

Turkey-$0.68 (normal price)

Ham-$0.68 (normal price)

Friday-

Tater tots-$4.77

Eggs-$0.97 (normal store price)

Milk-free (WIC)

Shredded cheese-$7.98 (This is 2 lbs which will last for several meals.)

Ham-$0.68 (normal price)

Cooking spray-free (household staple)

Saturday-

Take out-$26.63

Sunday-

FREE

For this week’s menu I spent a total of $62.20 + tax. This is the average amount I spend on weekly dinners.

Since everyone is gone during the week for school or work, I don’t meal plan breakfasts or lunches. I do plan them on weekends if everyone will be home and we don’t have plans to be gone.

Extras

In addition to the weekly cost for dinners we spend approximately $25 weekly on things like drinks, snacks, and breakfast items for during the week. So on average with all the extras I spend approximately $88 a week to feed a family of 6 (since the baby doesn’t eat any solid food yet).

Baby’s Food

I don’t count any of the baby’s food because he has WIC for formula and I make his food at home instead of buying it. When there is a sale on frozen fruits and veggies I stock up and puree them and freeze to make baby food. I usually pay less than $1 per frozen bag which ends up making enough food for 8 meals, working out to less than $0.13 per meal for him and only around $2 a week.

Wrapping Up

As long as you meal plan, look at sales, and use coupons then you can get your grocery budget down very low too. It takes a bit of work but in the end the savings can and will be completely worth it.

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