I was reading a friend’s Facebook post the other day and did an audible gasp. She is single and stated she had just reduced her grocery bill by $136 a week. I thought, “What in the world is she buying?” Her statement was that she reduced her spending by $136, not that that was her weekly spending. Let me tell you how I feed a family of 6 on $100 a week.
Wow…that’s a lot for ONE person. I spend $100 a week for 6 people.
No…we are not on food stamps.
No…we do not eat strictly hot dogs and Ramen soup.
No…I do not coupon.
I make real, nutritious meals that feed a family of 6…4 of which are adult sized folks and two four year old’s that eat like big people.
How do I do that?
I follow these principles:
I know what food costs.
I pay special attention to the staples, the things I buy each week. I know how much they cost and what is the most I will pay for those items. In the beginning, I kept a spiral notebook and recorded what price I paid, and at which store, for each item. I starred an entry if it was on sale. Over time I was able to see what was the best price and approximately when it was on sale (January and July have awesome condiment sales around the Super Bowl and the 4th of July, for example).
I buy when it is on SALE.
Because I know what our staples cost, I know what is a really GOOD price and I buy it on sale. This is the best tip I have on How I Feed a Family of 6 on $100 a Week.
I purchase as much as I can when it is on sale.
Some specials have a limit of 10 or something like that. I will send my kids through lines with cash to by the max number of items as well, thus tripling the number I can buy at that price.
I stock up.
I am working on a year supply, but have about a 6 month supply right now on most of our staples that are non-perishable. That means I have time to wait for the next sale, which typically comes in 3-6 month rotations.
I buy mostly generics.
There are a couple of items I have to buy brand, like tuna and specialty milk for a child that can’t have anything cow. But, for the most part buying generic saves me a small fortune each year.
I don’t eat steak when ground turkey (beef) will do.
Sometimes we just can’t afford to eat what we want. Nutritious, filling meals can be accomplished with simpler, cheaper ingredients.
I look for cheaper substitutes.
Again, ground turkey is MUCH cheaper than ground beef in many stores, like Wal-mart. Look for it in the chubs rather than the plastic wrapped Jeanie-O brands (again, generic!). Also, there are many tricks to make items extend to feed more people with additives like cooked wheat berries (tuna) and oatmeal (meatloaf and hamburger patties). (See the recipes here and here.) People who eat at my house cannot tell the difference
I do not buy snacks.
The biggest expense I see on people’s shopping lists is snacks. We have plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables for snacks, plus leftovers of many of the meals I make. These are our snacks. No chips, cookies, or snack packs in our house. Not only are these things expensive, they are fattening!
I Ad-Match when I shop at Wal-mart.
I do not always shop at Wal-mart. Sometimes it is better to shop at another store. But, when I do shop at Wal-mart, I ad-match all the items on sale at other local stores.
I shop from a list.
I often menu plan or take stock in my pantry of what I’m getting low on. I make a list of what I absolutely need and ONLY buy what is on the list. No impulse buys! If it is not a low enough price, I wait until it goes on sale.