Feeding a Family of Four on $50 per Week?

February 04, 2009 | Kate Horrell

Everyone is concerned about their food expenses right now.  It is a hot topic around the internet, and I was intrigued by another post with the same title as this one:  Feeding A Family of Four on $50 Per Week.  The author, Mindi of Moms Need to Know, didn't include the question mark, as she's put together a series on how it can be done.

Mindi's article series is very informative and there are many ideas that can help cut your food bill.  I expecially like how she's linked to a lot of resources, such as how to make a price book or ideas for $5 family dinners. Some of her ideas won't work for everyone, though.  I think that the military lifestyle makes some of her suggestions hard to implement.

In the first installment, she talks about her freezer and well-stocked pantry.  I agree that they are both wonderful tools, but what if you are in a teeny apartment with no space for a freezer?  And there is a limit to how sensible it is to stock up if you might be moving soon.

In all, Mindi's ideas certainly show how you can cut your grocery bills dramatically.  One thing that she doesn't talk about (yet, anyway) is her meal planning.  I know that I keep my family's grocery bills much lower when I take the time to plan our our meals each week.  By eliminating that dinnertime dilemma, I avoid expensive convenience foods and succumbing to take-out.

In addition, I try to do the bulk of my shopping at the commissary.  It isn't very convenient for me, but I try to get to the commissary every 2-3 weeks and stock up on the basics that are so much less expensive there.  I still go to the local grocery stories for fresh produce, good deals, and organic milk (which is less expensive there.)

I'm sure I cann't feed my family (of 6, or 5 for the next year) for $50 per week, but I'm sure that I can make some improvements.  How about you?

Comments

  1. Tammy says:

    Ha! I have no idea how on earth this could or would work! I cut coupons. I look for deals. I never buy red meat since it is the most expensive cut. I compare prices and almost always buy the stuff that is cost effective and often times that does not mean bulk.
    I shop the commissary weekly and frequent the local grocery stores for better produce deals and yet is still costs this family of 7 about $250 a week.
    Does it matter I am buying lunch making supplies for 3 or more?
    Does it matter that I have 2 teenages while the original author might only have toddlers?
    I can tell you one thing, Teens eat a LOT of food!!
    My husband is a diabetic so we must eat a lot of whole grains, healthy foods. We limit the snacks, and goodies. You will rarely find chips or cookies, cakes in this house unless the sweets are homemade.

  2. Amanda says:

    If you read this woman's blog, some of the methods she uses amount to little more than highway robbery. One post in particular angered me so much that I wrote the following emails to Rite Aid and CVS. I would encourage anyone else who feels that she is taking unfair advantage of the system to do the same.
    Rite Aid
    I recently came across a website (http://www.momsneedtoknow.com/2009/02/05/feeding-a-family-on-50-per-week-part-4/) with some very disturbing information regarding your company. The author states, "The first month I did about $30 in deals, paid about $25 in cash (after coupons) and got a $30 Single Check Rebate. I simply took that check to RiteAid and converted it in to a Gift Card and I use that gift card to do more SCR deals. By repeating this process each month, I haven't pulled a dime out of my wallet at Rite Aid in more than 6 months and have walked out with a whole bunch of products!" It doesn't take a genius to realize that this woman's actions (and those of others like her) result in higher prices for the rest of us who do not game the system. I would like to respectfully request that you change your program policy to prevent abuses like this, and to protect your loyal paying customers. Please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have.
    CVS
    I recently came across a website (http://www.momsneedtoknow.com/2009/02/05/feeding-a-family-on-50-per-week-part-4/) with some very disturbing information regarding your company. The author states, "I have been rolling the same $40 Extra Care Bucks at CVS + about $1-2 cash per week for over a year now. I haven't paid money out-of-pocket for toothpaste (except 1 certain one that only my older son uses), shampoo, conditioner, body wash, deodorant, shaving cream, razors, pain reliever or cold/allergy medicine since about a month after I started 'CVSing.'" It doesn't take a genius to realize that this woman's actions (and those of others like her) result in higher prices for the rest of us who do not game the system. I would like to respectfully request that you change your program policy to prevent abuses like this, and to protect your loyal paying customers. Please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have.

  3. KayBee says:

    There is nothing wrong with saving money and gaining an item or two for free when you spend the time to coupon, check the best deals and plan your shopping trip based on those actions. Because you don't spend the time to do this doesn't mean that others are doing something wrong. Inflation, loss and loss prevention is what causes higher prices, not those of us who use coupons. Understand how retailers make money. They are PAID by the manufacturers to promote their products through couponing, stores make money by selling loss leaders in their stores and the retailers are PAID the face value of every coupon redeemed by a customer. In the time it took Amanda to write those letters to RiteAid and CVS, she could have clipped a few coupons and saved some serious cash!