I've had this bee in my bonnet the last couple weeks to attempt to feed our family for a week on $100. What this really means is that I only spend $100 at the grocery store for the big week's shopping. In fact, we've spent more than $100, because I pay $1.90 for a lovely elementary school breakfast each morning, usually buy a tea from a vending machine during the day, and B's lunch money is not part of it. Oh, and we usually eat out somewhere once a week. But, at least, the major shopping has a direct $100 limit.
Mixed results so far. It would be quite easy to do if we lived on ramen and oatmeal, but I'm trying to do actual balanced meals with, you know, a starch, a vegie, and usually a meat, for dinner. We want to eat "regularly" just affordably. We pulled it off quite handily in week one, but we ate most of our meats out of the freezer. Those are now gone. Due to my meticulously adding up each item, I've been able to concentrate more on just where the money is going. Turns out I can get a whole bunch of vegies and fruits (well, not exotic ones) for $30 or so. Really not bad. Then the Crystal Light drink mix was $7. Meats are butt expensive. It has caused us to experiment a bit more there, such as the cubed steak, and they bizarrely had 4 frozen guinea hens on sale for $4.99. I've also been a bit creative with the exact meal. For instance, today and tomorrow's lunch is red potatoes, inch-long asparagus, and a can of salmon with a vinaigrette.
Not sure yet how I'm going to handle big multi-week purchases. For instance, the only real way to have salmon regularly without paying 7.99, 8.99 a pound and such is to buy the big package of frozen filets at Costco. Since we eat them, it's definitely a good deal over time, but the initial purchase is a bit hefty. The obvious solution would be to have, like, $400 for a month rather than $100 a week.
So what little money-stretching gimmicks have you found for the grocery aisle? Any favorite, cheap recipes?
Perhaps I should start watching Clara and her Great Depression cooking show again. Mmmm... dandelion salad.