Feeding Your Family on $50 a Week

Updated on July 12, 2018

Feeding a family in today's economy can be difficult. There are many factors making it so from no jobs, to low paying jobs, to the price of food. Feeding a family is not cheap. To eat well costs money.

It is not easy, but it is not impossible. There are several ways to stretch your dollar to go a long way and not feel deprived and still eat more than mere junk food.

Source

Where You Should Shop

Being able to feed your family on $50 has a lot to do with where you shop. This is a very important part of being successful at budgeting. Not just any place with food will do. I have been shopping for my family's groceries for twenty-five years. During that time, I have shopped at a variety of stores in different parts of the country. They all vary which means you need to pay attention to where you need to shop and for what. Consider these points.

Sales

Every store has sales. Some advertisement online or in the newspapers. Some are only available if you have their special savings card. Take advantage of these. Get to know the patterns of the stores. For example, there is one local store that every last weekend of the month has this really big sale on specific meat items. I buy the meat that gives me about a dozen meals or more for just seven dollars. Great buy. Usually, stores have their own patterns for sales that you can easily follow.

Specialties

Many stories have specific products you can only find there. These might dictate that you shop at that specific store or at least stop by there to pick up the particular items.

Logistics

Where a store is located can determine where you shop. I have one store that is on my way home from work. That can be the reason I shop there unless I know the next store further away will have better deals. Will it be worth it to drive the extra miles to it?

Quality

We don't want to buy poor quality foods. When I'm looking to shop at a certain store, I think about their produce or their meats. Is it good? If I want a large number of fruits, I might avoid one store because their fruits always spoil fast. That's a waste of money.

Price

This can be your biggest factor in deciding on where to shop. Combine this with all these above to determine which store you will be shopping at. That store with the monthly sales weekend might only be chosen on that date because of the great prices.

Explore Stores

This is a chance to explore stores. Visit ones you haven't been to in a long time or never entered. See what they provide and the quality and price that accompanies it.

Prioritizing Necessities

When you are trying to save money and shop, you need to look at what is needed and what is wanted. This is more important than you might realize. The wants are what usually bankrupt us.

List out what you want to purchase. That includes the wants that aren't too outrageous. Sit back and look at your list. What can you not live without? Typically for us, it is the milk, bread, and eggs. Those are our staples. From there, I question if we can live without it this grocery trip. They are then removed.

You might even want to consider letting your grocery list sit for a few hours or even days. When you come back, you might be able to see more items to take off your list. You will notice what is not really a necessity. Remove them.

Remember that necessary items are ones you really need to get to the next grocery period. What can you not go without? You will be surprised what you can really live without. You're not going to starve.

Shop for Bargains

Bargains are wonderful when you find them. Every store has their own sales going on. Learn them. Pay attention. Use coupons.

Shopping for bargains can take some time, but once you have that experience under your belt, you'll start to see them more often. Know what is a bargain by pricing items at different stores. Is that price per pound for a beef roast really that good of a deal? Just because the store has a sale doesn't mean it is a bargain.

Shop around. Don't accept a stores prices just because they say it is good. Make sure it is.

Homemade Rules

Making your own food is always cheaper. Prepared food costs more because you are paying for the work to make it. A great example is boiled eggs. You can purchase a dozen boiled eggs for around $4 depending on the store you go to. These are boiled and peeled. Very convenient. Now compare that to a dozen eggs purchased to boil yourself. I can get them for a dollar or less at some stores. That is over four times the cost just to have someone else cook and peel them. I'll do that myself and save me some money.

Yes, you can purchase pre-shredded cheese, pre-cut tomatoes or onions. Even a watermelon can be purchased already cut up and ready to eat. That will cost you extra. When you are trying to stay in a tight budget, forgo such luxuries. Do more yourself. That doesn't mean prepared food can't be bought as there are times when sales make them worth it.

Versatile Food

Think of how you can use food beyond one meal. The more versatile and the more you can use food, the more you get for your money. For example, buy a whole chicken. You can use part of it for soup, part for a casserole, and still have some left over for a homemade pot pie or fajitas. For $4 or $5, you have meat for at least three meals.

When shopping, plan for meals that can be stretched. Here are a few examples in addition to the one above.

- Have rice as a side dish one night and use the leftovers in a soup or pot pie the next.

- Cook a roast and use the leftovers in a fajita style meal the next night.

- Keep the juice from canned vegetables to use in a soup. The leftover meat and veggies can be put in the broth.

Purchase bargains that can be used more than once.

Avoiding Feeling Deprived

When we are limited, we tend to feel deprived. We yearn for sweets, but cookies aren't a necessity that we can afford when restricted to a tight grocery budget. Depriving ourselves will make us spend money we don't have. There are ways around it.

Bake your own cookies. They hardly cost anything. You need flour, sugar, milk, butter, and maybe other sweets. The first four are things you should always have on hand. You won't be using a ton of it when making cookies. Good old sugar cookies are simple to make and very cheap as well. Make those to keep the sweet tooth monsters at bay that could hurt your pocket book.

Learn Appreciation For What You Have

When you are tight with your budget, you can learn appreciation for what you have. It is a great learning time for the whole family. Too many children and even adults feel like they have to have everything they crave and everything name brand. In truth, food is sustenance for survival. Our bodies do not have to have a special name on its food in order to survive.

These tight times can help you appreciate food for survival and for those more expensive foods when you do have them. Focus on need for food and the joy of living.

Sample Shopping List

Item
Approx. Price
Total Bill
Whole chicken
4.00
4.00
Pie Crust (for pot pie)
2.50
6.50
Cream Soup
.75
7.25
Frozen Veggies
2.25
9.50
Rice
3.50
13.00
Frozen Broccoli
2.25
15.25
Pot Roast
10.50
25.75
Potatoes
5.00
30.75
Tortillas
1.75
32.50
Salsa
2.50
35.00
Avocado
1.00
36.00
Sour cream
2.25
38.25
Eggs
1.10
39.35
Milk
2.50
41.85
Bread
1.10
42.95
Cheese block
5.50
48.45
Ramen Noodles
1.55
50.00

Stretching the $50 for a Week

Keep your purchases to a minimum. You want to only buy what you absolutely need and what can stretch into more than a one time use. Choose foods that are versatile and a bargain. Educate yourself. Eat well without spending a fortune.

The above shopping list can be stretched into many meals during the week. Use what is in your pantry and what you can get at a good price. You might find it fun to see how much you can get for just $50.

Questions & Answers

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      • dredcuan profile image

        Dred Cuan 

        4 weeks ago from California

        Home cooked meals are always cheaper than those readily available in the market. Most people reason out that they don't have enough time to do their shopping and to cook. I think it's just a matter of planning your whole week activities. There are so many meal prep recipes that can follow online. In this way, they can save much of their time.

      • Coffeequeeen profile image

        Louise Powles 

        5 weeks ago from Norfolk, England

        There's some very good advice there. I think it's easy to feed a family for this if you shop around.

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