Tuesday, October 4, 2011

October 2011, Week 1: Can I really feed a family of 5 on $450/month?

As I have mentioned in an earlier post, I want to keep track of what I buy for a month and see if I can do it for our family of 5 for $450 or less this month.

I will give lots of boring details, like lists of what I bought, because the details do matter(to those who care). :)

1. I made a rough menu with what we have on hand in the house. Not sure this is cheating, but it's what I do every month...and I didn't go over last month (had $1.05 left over even, hehe)...so it's not like I bought a ton in September to make October's food bill look like less, know what I mean? 

2. Make a Shopping List I like to use the Real Simple Weekday Meal Plan and Shopping List to assist me with my menu planning, and to make a shopping list of what I still need(ed) to buy in order to make those meals.

For our family, we tend to eat the same things for breakfasts (oatmeal, cereal bought at a good price, yogurt, bagels bought at a good price, eggs), and lunches tend heavily towards leftovers, so I plan mainly for the main meals and tack the breakfast items and snack items we may need onto my grocery list at the end (the Miscellaneous section of the list above is a good spot for this).

3. Go Shopping.
The whole family went to Walmart this weekend. This is a rare occurance, as we rarely go grocery shopping together, especially at the overcrowded Walmart on a Saturday. But it is what it is. I'm being rather transparent here. :)

Except for the rare awesome deal, stick to your list! This is imperative!

Here is the food I got so far:


Rice Chex (to make homemade Chex mix) $2.28
Pretzels(GF-for my portion of the Chex Mix) $6.523 large boxes Old Fashioned Oats $2.48 each
Crackers (GF) $2.98
2-2lb bags brown rice $3.14 each

Pumpkin Seeds $1.98
Sunflower seeds $1.24

2 pkg Oscar Mayer Nitrate-free hotdogs $2.38 each
4 pkg Brats (yeah, I know, real healthy! /sarcasm and I'm not sure they are GF) $2.50 each
2 bags frozen 85/15 hamburgers $7.98 each
Pepperoni for pizza $3.24

Ice Cream- $3.48, $2.98, $2.88 for upcoming birthday party
Ice Cream Cones $1.38

1 jar Salsa $1.98
Baked beans $1.38
Baked Beans $1.98

Dark Baking Cocoa $2.78
Regular  Baking Cocoa $2.48
Chocolate Chips $7.58
Extra Light Olive Oil $6.48

2 quarts organic yogurt $3.24 each

2 gallons Organic milk $6.18 each
Sour Cream $1.58
Whipped topping $3.48
Sliced cheese $2.28
Muenster $2.68

Cheese $2.28

2 cans frozen OJ w/Calcium  $1.08each

Potato Chips (planned for lunches) $1.98
4 loaves Arnold bread (hfcs free) for lunches $1.98 each
Hormel Naturals Salami, 2 Turkey, Ham lunchmeat $2.50 each
Pickles $2.64

Romaine hearts $2.78
Gala Apples $4.84
Mushrooms $1.78
Sweet potatoes $2.07
Organic Potatoes $3.48

Smurf "animal" cookies for school class $1.50 on closeout

3 Lunchables for the kids $3.48

Lays .98
Skittles 1.18
3 bowls ramen (impulse buy for kids) $.50 ea
Jenni-O Turkey Burgers (bad impulse purchase--but they are GF at least...) $6.28
Pepperoni snacks $2.98 
Total came to $194.19

Dollar General (a few days later):
Cocoa Pebbles(one of the few GF mainstream cereals...not health food, but will make into 'rice crispy' treats for upcoming camping trip) $2.50
Craisins $1.85
Pretzels (for the kids' portion of the Chex mix) $1.00
Gum $1.00

Total came to $6.35

So.....$450-194.19-6.35= $249.46 left
As you can see, I gave in to the Impulse Monster at Walmart ($13 worth!). *sigh*

And...I won't say that brats and hot dogs and turkey burgers are "healthy"... I think I should have shopped local and gotten meats closer to the original form...but I'm being transparent and this is what it's looking like so far. I will be doing more shopping, and will strive for Healthier then (and will note again this reminder of why I try not to shop at Walmart-because I give in to the "deals" and buy junk, lol!)

4.  Make your Official Menu.
Here's the menu plan I have for the next few weeks.  As you can see, it's still a work in progress.

I like to put it on a calendar so I can just look at the calendar on the wall to see what I will be preparing for the meal of the day. Loose papers tend to get lost around here, what with all the school papers that come in our door!

I tend to check off the meals as we have them. This allows me to "change it up" a bit if I so desire and not wonder whether we have the needed items for the meals.

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