Feeding a family of 4 on $85 a week.

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So, as some of you know, I am back into the frugal schmugal living again.  It takes a mindset.  I am either spending every hot penny in my pocket with wild abandon or I have to pretend that I have no money.  For example.  This paycheck was for rent and bills.  There are limited funds for groceries.  Now, we do have a savings I could dip into if needs be, however, I had that account moved to a bank far down the road, literally.  It is in another bank and I pretend it doesn’t exist.  It is a future house, that is what that account is.  I am now trying to pay off two big-ticket items; the beloved tread climber (its forever name until death of it separates us) and my credit card that has a $2,000 limit (damn bank for upping my limit and just assuming I’m responsible).

So, I start big payments on both and leave not much for groceries.  How do I stretch $100 for two weeks of groceries for 4 people and the dogs (the bag of cat food I bought actually last a year, it’s good food from Costco and then I mixed it with some really quality hairball stuff from the Pet store and I don’t buy it again for a year!).  I decided on Winco.  There will be no fancy health food store this trip.

For $85 I purchased enough groceries to last a couple weeks.  Believe it!  I have the extra $15 for creamer and more produce next week but all the meats, pasta’s, fruits, etc. purchased.  I kept it really plain and simple.  I bought bags of the best apples for now.  I’m so picky about fruit that this is where the big bucks go.  Unfortunately, this Winco doesn’t have any organics.  It does have some frozen chicken that has no hormones or crap.  Still not thrilled but we must suck it up just this once until we are jiving with the new budget and then back to my healthy co-op.

I purchase 2 bags frozen chicken, frozen beef patties because I’ve been craving red meat and we have no clue how to cook steak (and that is not on the budget now).  I purchase 4 boxes of wheat pasta by Barillo on sale, 2 bags apples, and oranges, tons of frozen veggies because I won’t have to rush through them and have them go bad in two weeks.  I buy a huge bag of potatoes.  We love homemade fries and baked potatoes.  Yogurt is another buy. I’m making my own but the kids love the Activia and it’s got lots of good cultures and probiotics.  I had to have my creamer and I found cage free eggs for under $4 so I bought 4 dozen.  I also purchased a huge block of Tillamook cheese and a large packet of Turkey Dogs (not the healthy part of the shopping).

Already at home, I have surpluses of beans and lentils, rice and seasonings.  I also had some organic carrots and red cabbage that was needing to be used.  I shredded it all and made a salad with some Orange Asian dressing to add later.  The rice, beans, veggies,and potatoes will fill each meal, the meat can be stretched as we have cut back greatly.  The diet is plain compared to the typical American fare.  We love our extras and snacks like the rest of you.  However, all the extras can make a $85 grocery bill into a $175 grocery bill.  I find that as we become really strict with the money and account for where each penny goes our eating is becoming increasingly healthy.  It is like other countries that eat so healthy until they start thriving economically and incorporating a more American diet with junk food and sodas and the countries health goes to poop.

Take Cuba when they got cut off from oil and America.  They started growing food everywhere they could grow it and it was all organic because they had no money and no chemicals anymore.  Guess what happened?  The soil came back to life, the people’s health and lives improved vastly over time.  Our diet has been whittled down to just the basic, real, clean food out of financial necessity.  We will benefit greatly.

And that is how you feed a good sized family of 4.  As for the dogs, well they have enough kibble for the two weeks.  If they run out I actually have another bag from when I fed them food with grain in it as backup for when we run out and don’t get a chance to go to the store.  We feed them a grain free diet now because I found that with the grain food their body chemistry and urine was burning my grass.  Now on the grain free their pee actually enhances my grass.  Hey, you learned something new right?!

I am sitting here writing this blog with a big pot of beans simmering on the stove, a pot of rice steaming on the counter in the steamer and I big salad already made in the frig.  All I have to do now is bake some chicken with lots of yummy seasoning.  We will have, what my son calls, “a feast” later.

Many Blessings to you all.

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