So many people are shocked when they hear that we only have $68 a week for groceries for the four of us. Others instantly get worried. “What will you do if your money runs out? How will you eat? Do you only eat beans and rice?” Despite such a low budget, we actually eat quite well. We have to control portion sizes a little, but I think most people eat far more than they need to anyway. How do we do it? Creative planning! For one thing we know what cuts of meat are the cheapest and then we buy them in bulk. Such as 11 pounds of pork shoulder for $17. That’s %1.55 per pound! Or we buy 5 pounds of ground beef at a time, split it up into 1 lb. chunks, and freeze. We’ll over spend one week to do this and then the next week we won’t buy meat and spend well under $68. We also watch for sales. It’s not uncommon for us to find chicken breast on sale for $0.99 a pound! For veggies we buy large bags of frozen broccoli or green beans. Then I’ll steam them and melt a little butter and sprinkle a little salt and…it’s delicious. We also shop at a discount grocer called Aldi. Aldi is able to be so cheap because they put their own labels on everything. Much the way that Trader Joe’s does it, although TJ’s has much better quality. We also shop at Kroger because Aldi doesn’t have everything we need or Kroger actually may have a lower price on certain items. Another way we get food is through Emmaus House. They sometimes get donations of fruits and vegetables and we are allowed to take some! Also, as I am the food pantry manager I keep my eye out for certain finds. For instance, the random can of chipotle peppers with no expiration date. We usually don’t use random items and we’re not allowed to give out food past the expiration date, so snagging the can to make tortilla soup is an exciting opportunity! We plan our meals out for the week and assign a person to make the meal. Then Debbie and I go shopping together. Debbie and I are amazing at this. We even try to buy at least one frivolous item to bring home for our husbands. A couple weeks ago our item was canned pumpkin on sale for $0.99 a can! Debbie made pumpkin bread and on Friday I decided to try to invent pumpkin waffles. We already had a $2 box of pancake/waffle mix that we had bought at Aldi. The “just add water” kind. So I took 1 cup of mix, 1/3 cup of canned pumpkin, a couple tablespoons of brown sugar, a few sprinkles of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves and mixed them together. Then I slowly added water until the batter was the correct consistency. (As thick as you can get it while still runny enough to pour off the spoon). Then cook in the waffle maker. Top with syrup or Josh’s aunt’s homemade apple butter. AMAZING! So I hope you will believe us when I say that we are eating just fine.
BTW – Our technology fast is over