Wednesday, November 18, 2009

$20 feeding a family of four

I challenged myself this week to only spend $20 on groceries to feed my family for the week. My children (ages 3 and 5 years old) and I are home all day. My husband works 11-12 hours a day for most days of the week but he eats our leftovers at night when he gets home at night. There are a few days when he's home for lunches.

I shopped at three stores - Target, Ukrops (local Richmond grocery store) and Kroger. I wouldn't have gone to Ukrops if the brownie mix hadn't been free. But even with cranky kids, free brownies worth an extra stop! Here's what I purchased - for less than $20:
  • Pork tenderloin
  • 2 packages of boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 8 cans of veggies
  • 2 boxes of brownie mix
  • 1 bag Thomas's mini bagels
  • 2 packages of baby wipes
  • 6 boxes Betty Crocker au gratin potatoes
The pork is a large enough cut that I can make enough carnitas to last for several meals. I don't really need the baby wipes but they were a great deal ($.59 each!) and I like to have them around for my messy kids. I might take one back though.

Both the brownie mixes and the mini bagels were free using coupons combined with sale prices. I love that!

Our menu for the week will use ingredients I have on hand already - lime juice, chicken broth and seasonings for the carnitas; butter or peanut butter on the mini bagels; seasonings for the chicken and probably some rice to go with it.

Here's the thing -- I won't use all the veggies or all the potatoes this week. My kids aren't big potato or veggie eaters so a little goes a long way with them. The extras will go into the pantry for another week. If I choose "ingredient stretcher"meals (chopped chicken goes much farther when you use it in quesadillas especially when you sneak some veggies between the tortillas), the food will last even longer.

How did I do it? I bought the brownie mix at Ukrops. Every Wednesday, they put out some store coupons and they double manufacturer coupons up to $.99. Because they have a store (non-manufacturer coupon) and a manufacturer coupon, you can "stack" them and use both coupons for one product. And, if the manufacturer coupon is less than $.99, they will double the face value.

The brownie mix was on sale for $1.00. The Ukrops coupon was $.50. This brought the final price down to $.50. The manufacturer coupon was $.55 off two boxes and the coupon was doubled. So, I have two boxes of mix for $.50 each... $1.00. I have a coupon for $.55 off two which is doubled .... $1.10. Not only were the brownies free, Ukrops actually owed me money.

That's an example of how I worked these deals. How do I find the deals? Easy! I search for all the money saving, coupon, frugal blogs out there and pick out the foods and deals that work for me!

I don't think we could live off $20 every week. I do think that if really pushed, we could live off $30 a week. It would mean some drastic eating changes and would necessitate ingenuity and creativity for menu planning and even making our own cleaning products, but it's possible.

Do you have any questions?

No comments: