The amount spent to feed a family varies depending on the size and dietary needs of a family. However it is possible to feed a family on less than $100 a week without doing without food. The majority of the time to make the meals stretch further you just have to get a little creative. Specialize health needs will of course affect what is bought to eat but with a little research you can find low cost alternatives to what you are buying. (The actual area of residence will affect prices. Prices are based on the Southern U.S in an area with a lower cost of living.)
How Much Does $100 Come To?
The first thing that you have to do is some basic math. $100 a week is roughly $14.29 a day which is about $4.76 per meal. At least that’s what it averages out to when you do the math. Remember that’s not per person that’s per meal at three meals a day seven days a week which means that the larger your family the more careful you have to be and the further you have to make the food stretch.
Now that the math is taken care of you are ready to go. At less than five dollars a meal you aren’t going to be at a restaurant or drive through window any time soon. You will be in your kitchen cooking for the family without the luxury of frozen or ready to eat meals. Remember the first step to reducing the grocery budget is to cut out restaurants and frozen dinners.
Alternatives to the Grocery Store
If you have a meal that calls for fresh fruits and vegetables check your local farmers market. If you need meat, fruit and vegetables check with Angel Food Ministries. A box with meat, vegetable and a few other items that is said to feed a family of four for one week is only $30. The fruit and vegetable box is around $22. That’s only $52 so far and then you have the option of buying individual meat boxes that range from $22 to $23 per box of which there are usually three to choose from. One regular box, an additional meat box along with a fruit and veggie box, will run you $96 to $97 for the week to feed a family of four. The meat is portioned out before it gets to you.
O.K. what if Angel Food Ministries doesn’t have a pick up point near you? There is something that you can do. Careful planning. Planning meals ahead of time will go a long way to avoiding impulse spending at the grocery store and keep you within your $100 limit for the week. Condiments should be limited, you can get buy with a bottle of ketchup, mayo and mustard to get the kids to eat. If you have someone with a heart condition a small bottle of olive oil should be included to season.
Family packs of meat are cheaper than individual servings. Whole chickens are cheaper than already cut chickens. To ensure that the entire family is fed on only $100 for the week might just have to go back to the way your grandparents did things. This means using everything that can possibly be used. You might also want to ask grandma what she used to do with some of those parts to keep from wasting anything.
Substitute corn bread and biscuits for loaves of bread. (You can learn to make your own too.) Corn bread is inexpensive to make and a little goes a long way with meals. Basics for breakfast include a dozen eggs for the week, homemade pancakes with inexpensive syrup and a couple of sausage patties from fresh ground sausage. (Fresh ground sausage gives you more and goes farther than the tubes.)
Make Meals Stretch
Things such as rice and noodles can be used to make meals stretch further. Making a pan of vegetables and mixing them with a pot of steamed rice can make the vegetables last longer. A pot of noodles mixed with some finely cut meat can make an inexpensive main dish. Dried beans are rather inexpensive and can be mixed with whole pieces of okra to make a side dish.
Reserving tea for meal times and drinking water between meals will save money while helping to keep you feeling full. Paying attention to portion sizes is vital when feeding a family for less than $100 a week. Using leftovers to make new dishes for the next meal will help to reduce the amount needed for feeding the family all week as well.