"How do you do it?" "How can you feed a family of 6 on $50/week?" "Does that include household items?" "Do you ever have other families over for dinner?"
These are a couple questions I hear on a fairly regular basis. So, I wanted to point out a couple of the things I have changed in my shopping and cooking in order to make a $50 budget doable.
1) Only buy thing on sale!! This is the biggest change for me. Instead of making a list of the things I want to buy so that I can make what I want to make, I buy what is on sale and we eat that. We do not make quick trips to the store to get (insert grocery need) in order to make dinner. We look at what we have on hand and figure out how to make that work. And yes, sometimes that means cereal for dinner.
To clarify, this does not include milk, eggs, bread, produce or meat. I have found those things rarely go on sale. Also, when it comes to meat, I still buy all my meat at Sam's Wholesale. I have found that they are cheaper than the grocery store half-price sales.
2) Use Coupons!! This is just as important as only buying things on sale. I used to think that coupons could save me $3 or $5 in a shopping trip. Well, when I only clip the 1 coupon for something I want and then leave it in the car or at home, I never saved a thing! Now, I have a coupon organizer for all my food items and a separate one for non-food items. I take them with me everywhere I go and I save up to $60 just in coupons in ONE trip!! Remember, coupons are not only found in the Sunday paper (although I always get my paper). There are tons of printable coupons online. Check out my coupons link to the left to see where I go to find great coupons. Also, if you need multiple coupons for the same item, buy them here
3) Stock up on sale items. When something goes on sale and I know it is something my family likes, I stock up. To see what I am talking about, check out my posts here and here. This way, I will have plenty of the item until it goes on sale again. This also helps me in planning meals for more than just our family. We often have meals with my extended family (we all live on the same street) or friends. I am amazed at how much less I spend and how much more we have on hand. It has been such a blessing.
4) Figure out how to get all household products for free or nearly free at CVS. This is a great program and one I have become very addicted to. The best detailed post I have read on how to get started with CVS and how to keep going is at Southern Savers post CVSing Guide. If you haven't ventured into this world because it seems too confusing or overwhelming, I challenge you to try it for 1 month and see if you think it is worth the savings.
Well, I hope this has been helpful. It sure has been a great adventure for me these last 5 months. My favorite thing to do is to try and beat my savings from the week before. It is so fun to get to the end of my transaction at the grocery store and see that I have saved more than twice the amount I paid.