Shopping on a Budget

The week on a food stamp budget hasn’t even started yet and there is already some irritability in the house just over the shopping list. Imagine if we were really unable to buy the food we want or need and how cranky everyone would be then. I guess our attitudes would be the least of our problems, huh?

I did my shopping today and made it $5 under budget with my $5 off coupon. However, I plan to use the cereal I bought last week at two boxes for $5. There’s about one and a half boxes left. Also, I have lunch meat from last week that I spent about $2.99 on. That pushed me a little over but I chose to buy ice cream for the family as a treat. It’s summer and what is summer without ice cream?! It’s a real decision a mom would have to make.


I’m going to “cheat” and eat the apples I bought about a week ago. My guys won’t be following the rules strictly. They’ll eat on the budget mostly but we do have snacks and other food stocked in the cupboards and I’m not hiding it or anything like that. I’m not making my kid go hungry for the sake of the challenge.

If you only had $22 to buy food for yourself for a week or $47 to buy food for your family, what would you buy? What would you give up?


Budget Challenge

I have been dreading this the most: planning what groceries to buy for the week of challenge. And I love to cook and plan my meals! I feel like I already buy just the “basics” but I know I spend more than $47 a week on groceries. (I’m using the household average or $47.60 for the five days for my family of three.) In fact, I spend 3.5 times that!

I planned my meals and priced out some items online. I think I am still over budget but won’t know for sure until I go to the store tomorrow. I do have a $5 off coupon so that will help some.

Breakfast : Cereal with milk and juice (while juice lasts)

I usually have yogurt and fruit with my latte for breakfast and while my guys are more likely to cereal than me, they usually have eggs. I thought I would be relying on eggs this week for breakfast and dinner but they didn’t even make the list. And now I am remembering I have to go latte-free next week! I was hoping tea would make the shopping list but unless they are giving away tea at the store, it isn’t happening. Hot water with a lemon from the yard perhaps? My husband loves to drink juice and I usually buy about three bottles a week. I can only afford one. Might have to mix with water. Will anyone notice?

Lunch: Deli meat sandwiches with carrots and banana for the hubby and bean and cheese burritos for me.

Summer is a time when parents can struggle more than usual to put food on the table because their kids are not receiving free or reduce price lunch at school. This week our kid happens to be in summer day camp where they will feed him. I honestly don’t know how we would feed him on this budget without that or where he would go if we couldn’t afford the camp which we probably wouldn’t if we were on this type of budget.

I don’t eat lunch meat (or much meat at all) so I will be making bean and cheese burritos out of a can of black beans with a little seasoning and tortillas. We will see how much cheese get used during dinner and if there will be enough for my burritos. I can make four burritos out of a can but will stretch it to five. Also, I usually put sliced cheese on my husband’s sandwiches but couldn’t afford it on this budget. Hmmm. I did price pre-sliced and pre-shredded cheese… maybe I need to consider a block of cheese and slice/shred myself. That will be more economical.

Snacks: Gogurt and trail mix.

I’m not sure there will be any snacks. I’m trying to keep the gogurt for the boys but am not sure that will happen. Trail mix is out as is the additional fruit and protein bars we usually have. Oh and no graham crackers either. Yikes!


Monday: Ravioli Bake Pasta Bake

Ravioli is way too expensive so I will substitute the ravioli for whole wheat rotini. Whole wheat pasta is usually a few cents more than enriched pasta but I am hopeful I can still afford it. I plan to add broccoli or carrots to every dinner meal. I don’t think there will be any side salads this week.

Tuesday: Chicken Tacos

This recipe will use the same tortillas I’m using at lunch and the chicken will be used again on Thursday. I hope I have enough tortillas…


Wednesday: Tuna Pasta

The recipe called for tuna in oil but I plan to get tuna in water and for crushed tomatoes and fresh garlic. Those too items combined cost three times as much as a jar of pasta sauce so we will use a jar.

Thursday: Chicken Quesadillas

Using chicken from Monday. I hope we have some carrots left for the vegetable. I’m already missing vegetables and we haven’t even started.

Friday: Leftovers

I don’t know what we will do if there isn’t any pasta bake from Monday or tuna past from Wednesday leftover…

Just realized no peanut butter to go with our apples either. Or tomatoes for the tacos. Wow. This is going to suck.