Feeding your family on $75 per week is challenging, but not impossible. The key lies in staying on top of sales, utilizing leftovers and never wasting anything, in addition to keeping the total cost of each meal under $1. Even with a little repetition, you can feed your family cheaply and well all week long. Get creative, hit the clearance shelves and plan your meals carefully.
Eggs are your wallet's friend at breakfast. You can get a dozen for around $2 and feel good about feeding your family this protein-packed, ultra-filling food. If you eat toast at breakfast, go with store-brand whole grains from the day-old rack for big savings. Or, try bulk boxes of grits or oats for just pennies per serving. If your family likes fruit at breakfast, go with fresh fruit that is in season (usually much cheaper than those not in season), grow your own or shop at farmers' markets or roadside stands. Don't buy orange juice -- squeeze your own or buy frozen orange juice concentrate. Stay away from packaged breakfast items and fast foods, which can rapidly eat up your budget.
Buy a modestly priced medium whole chicken and make it last all week: roast or bake it, make sandwiches or wraps from it and use the bones for homemade chicken noodle soup. For lunchtime sides, buy a bag of whole potatoes and make baked potatoes, homemade french fries or mashed potatoes. Skip fresh -- and more expensive -- veggies and go with the big frozen bags for as little as $1 per bag. For a midday punch of filling, nutritious fiber, pair or mix the chicken with your choice of bagged bulk beans -- kidney, chili, black or navy beans are all super cheap.
Bring lunchtime chicken leftovers to the dinner table to make sloppy joes mixed with barbecue or wing sauce. Pair it with bulk rice, one of the cheapest items in the grocery store. Combine a bag of frozen veggies with soy sauce and brown rice to make your own vegetable stir-fry for pennies a person. If you know when your grocer reduces meat prices, buy a few pounds at clearance prices and use it all week. Thaw a pound per day and make your own burgers, meat stew and beef and tomato pasta. Store brand pasta makes a filling and very cheap dinnertime side. Buy a family-size box and you've got evening side items covered all week. For an extra zing, mix a small amount of ranch seasoning mix in your meatballs or in the breadcrumbs for baked chicken nuggets, made from your leftover chicken. Make your own breadcrumbs as needed by toasting the unwanted ends of your bread loaf and pulsing them in your food processor.
Growing families need good-for-you, filling snacks that won't break the bank. Stay away from vending machines and portioned snacks if you want to stay in your budget. Buy a large tub of natural peanut butter and a family-size box of whole wheat crackers. A tablespoon of peanut butter on a few crackers makes an excellent snack. Or, buy a large canister of store-brand raisins. Buy a family-size bag of pretzels and portion them yourself in zip-top bags for easy snacking.
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