I have been asked how I raise 6 kids and a husband on $200-300 a month. I think the most I’ve spent is close to $400 per month, but that is rare. That makes my heart soar. I was taught, from an early age (thanks to my mom and my Granny) how to eat what you are given and make things s-t-r-e-t-c-h. We, by no means, were rich. We ate what was fixed, whether we liked it or not and we were never hungry.
First off, we are NOT snackers. We eat 3 meals a day. Period. They eat a lot in those 3 meals though *smile*. If, during the summer, the kids want a snack, I always have those ice pops for them to eat. Cheap and they love them (I’m slightly addicted myself). We also eat popcorn, so I invested in an air popcorn maker, so I buy one bag, get some flavored powders and we eat that. If we need something sweet, I have a girl or two who like to bake. We do all our baking from scratch. Rarely do we do the Betty Crocker type thing (unless I can get it for free from a coupon). We simply don’t bake often.
I buy my meat (beef), once a year from my uncle (sometimes we run out and I have to use the grocery, but I try and make it last). I buy pork 2 times a year from a local butcher. I have 6 chickens who are faithful layers I did (need to do again) make my own bread, which saves a ton.
I inventory either twice a month or once a month (depending on my mood), all the foods in my house (deep freeze, refrigerator/freezer, pantry, cabinets) and I use up what I have. I make my meals around what I have to cut down on my bill. I go in spurts…sometimes I cook once a month and freeze, or crockpot, or nightly, or every two weeks…..just really depends on what is going on. I use what I have and I think that is the key. It keeps me from buying stuff that I already have, I don’t buy junk food or snacks, I use coupons, I shop at Save A Lot, I am the annoying customer who “comparison shops” my fruits and veggies using an Aldi’s ad. When the mega deal comes up at Kroger, I am all over that.
I plan my meals, from the main dish down to the breads and the sides. I utilize leftovers in soups or we eat the leftovers for lunch. I used to (which I am doing again) make my breakfast meals for the kids, to cut down on buying cereal, etc. It has been easier for me to cook and buy for two weeks rather than a month. I find that I go to the store a lot during the month. When I buy for two weeks, I buy enough of everything for two weeks. Did you know, when milk is on sale, you can freeze it? Drink about a cup, out of your gallon (to allow for expanding) and then pop in the freezer. It takes a day for it to thaw. Buy it on sale and stock up!
We drink water, make concentrate orange juice and I drink coke (gasp). We don’t have “drinking options”. I do buy those cheap things you can add to the water or sometimes I make lemonade. We don’t sit and drink milk by the gallons….
We eat healthy, we eat fruits and veggies, we eat well…we just do it on a budget. I also make my own dishwashing liquid, dishwashing detergent, laundry detergent, household cleaner, dryer sheets and fabric softener. I am happy to share recipes, if someone wants them. You may be able to scroll down and find them, I think I’ve shared those before. Just know that vinegar, castile soap, baking soda and lemon juice and be your best friends!
I cut all my boys hair and I have a friend who cuts hair for cheap We don’t eat out unless it is a special occasion.
My job is to make our money stretch so we can afford the important things in life. Giving back to Jesus what is His, pay for college, house payment, insurance…..
I’m open to any questions…feel free to ask.