Could you feed your family on a $4 per person per day budget?

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Could you feed your family on a $4 per person per day budget?  For some that might seem impossible for others that would be an increase in their current budget.  I’ll share our personal budget in a bit more detail shortly, but I wanted to touch on what the  Grocery Outlet excutive team is doing this month. They’re each adopting the $4/day challenge for themselves personally and sharing their stories over on the Grocery Outlet Bargainista Blog.

Why are they doing this though?  Here’s how it all started…

For one in seven Americans, hunger is a difficult reality.  To help our community’s hungry, we’re hosting our second annual Independence from Hunger food drive.  This is a month-long, company-wide food drive throughout July, bringing together Grocery Outlet stores and their customers to help feed people in their local communities who are facing hunger and food insecurity.

Last year, Grocery Outlet stores and their customers collectively donated more than $225,000 in cash, gift card and food donations to help support local food assistance agencies as part of the Independence from Hunger food drive.  In 2012, we are hoping to raise even more support to help fight hunger.

So when Grocery Outlet asked me to take on this challenge – as serious as it is, Mr. Frugal and I did chuckle a bit.  We wondered who would be sending us the extra $93 for that week’s budget.  You see for our family of 6 (2 adults and 4 elementary aged children) our budget is $75 – $100 per week.  That is right around $2 per person per day.  I’m sure you’re wondering just how we’re able to accomplish this.  You may assume we eat processed food, indulge on the $1 menu at fast food joints, and subside on the cheapest white bread we can find.  However it’s actually quite the opposite here in our home, let me try to  explain how we manage this budget but giving you a peak into 6 different ways we save money on a weekly basis.

1.  Stock up when prices are low.  I practice the stock pile method of buying several weeks/months worth of an item when it’s at it’s rock bottom price so I never have to pay retail.  While also always staying within our weekly grocery budget.  The way we shop means that we may not have a certain item in the house for a long time, if it’s not on sale – but when I find it at my  “Buy It Now” price I’ll stock up.

2.  Meal Plan and Cook from Scratch.  Ingredients are cheap and they go a lot farther than processed food.  Quite frankly it’s much healthier to make your own beef stroganoff than it would be to buy a box of Hamburger Helper.  I recently shared how I stretched one rotisserie chicken between 3 meals.  I paid $5 for the chicken, it could have been a bit less if I roasted it at home but time is also a factor in our weekly budget.  That breaks down to about $1.66 per meal for the protein or $0.28 per person.

Here are a few other Meal Planning Resources for you…

Free Printable Freezer Inventory Form

Meal plan for the YEAR in one weekend!

Sample Weekly Grocery Shopping Trip for a Family of 6 – $78.70 Spent

You can also view our weekly Meal Plans and From Our Pantry Frugal Recipes

3.  Eat in season fruit and veggies.  When produce is in season it’s cheap and a deal is easy to come by.  I like to eat grilled asparagus all year ’round though so when it’s cheap I buy a lot and freeze it!  I know this might be super obvious but it is something I’ve done for years and it allows us to eat whatever veggie or fruit that sounds good regardless of whether it’s in season or not.   It’s also another trick to keeping our weekly grocery budget so low. Recently I stocked up on asparagus and over the summer I stocked up on strawberries, we’re still using them 6+ months later in smoothies.   They’re deliciously sweet and nothing like the ones we would have to buy in the middle of the winter plus we made amazing Homemade Strawberry Jam with them too!

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4. Shop Grocery Outlet and often. Grocery Outlet is a staple in my weekly shopping budget, you can see a few of the deals I’ve scored recently at Grocery Outlet over here. Grocery Outlet is like a treasure hunt, you never know what deal you’re going to find!  The prices and stock change out often, making room for more great deals each and every time you shop!

5. Use Coupons.  Here at The Frugal Find we share deals on a regular basis, many of them requiring the use of coupons.  You may think it’s too time consuming or that the deals are only for junk food, but I’d encourage you to head on over and take a look at some of the recent coupons and deals we’ve uncovered.  You may even want to watch a few of the videos I filmed about how to find coupons, where to use them, and how to know if you’re really getting a good deal or not.

6. DIY or Homemade Household Items for less!  Any chance you get to make something you normally pay a pretty penny for at home from scratch instead is almost always going to cost you significantly less.  Here are a few homemade/DIY recipes that we’ve tried with great success…

Homemade Dog Food Recipe

Frugal DIY: Turn Your Magazines into Christmas Bows!

Homemade PB&J and Grilled Cheese Uncrustables

Homemade Liquid Fabric Softener

Homemade Granola Bars

Freezer ‘BRC’ Beans, Rice, and Cheese Burritos

Homemade All Purpose Cleaner

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

Homemade Laundry Detergent

Homemade Strawberry Jam

Of course this is just the tip of ice burg, for those of you frugalites out there I am certain if we put our heads together we could come up with a wide variety of money saving methods.  The goal isn’t just to save, but to LIVE WELL on less.  It is possible and whether you need to or have to, there is hope and it can be done on $2/day or $4/day.

 


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  1. Kelli Kennison via Facebook says:

    Not only could I do it, I could do it better than what I’m doing now.

  2. Mandy Kenoyer via Facebook says:

    we do that easily… we don’t buy processed foods or beef very often. it’s not that hard…

  3. Jennifer Sparkman Buezo via Facebook says:

    Most definitely! I spend nowhere near that.

  4. $8 for my husband and I? I wish lol We don’t even spend half that…

  5. Rebecca Prete via Facebook says:

    Now that I coupon I can!

  6. Rebecca Prete via Facebook says:

    (easily)

  7. Hillary Wallace via Facebook says:

    we’re around $2.50 per person right now (that’s before couponing…I fell off the deals wagon for a bit ;-)), so, YES! I could totally do that!!

  8. Do you can? Did you know that you can can potatoes? Somebody gave my daughter 20 lbs of small white potatoes, far more than her small family could consume before going bad. I looked on the internet and found that you can indeed can potatoes. They come out perfect for dicing and making potato salad or home fries. You could also mash them or use them in making potato gnocchi.

    • What site did you see that? I am going to can something this year for the first time. Ill just have to dive in. I wish they had classes on this I learn by hands on. I would like having a mentor there first time I try it.Any one from cincinnati want to help me. lol

  9. Lindsey N Pierce via Facebook says:

    We are closer to $5-6 per person, food prices here are just higher all around.

  10. I could. It would be a stretch for us given our dietary choices and needs but we could certainly do it! I have meals that I know are my “cheap meals” that bring balance.

  11. Lisa NLuv-tosave via Facebook says:

    I wish! I have the toiletries and such down but the food I just can never save over 50% ..wahh!!

  12. Vickie Jones via Facebook says:

    We are ate 5.36 a peerson without a huge plan so if i spent more time on it $4 would doable

  13. DeeDee Lovejoy via Facebook says:

    I spend an average of $47 a week, so $2.23 per person, for a family of 3 in south FL.
    We eat well. Varied. Kind of healthy, not overly processed, but not too gung ho either way. I buy fresh veggies & fruit weekly.

  14. Tammi Boros Marlow via Facebook says:

    we’re right about $2.86 a person

  15. Anonymous says:

    I have a family of 8 and I can make $2/person work pretty easily, but with one teenage boy and one nearly teenage boy, I can for see us needing to bump that a bit very soon. $4/person would be HUGE.

  16. Barbara Lyon via Facebook says:

    About 2.50$ a day per person. Less as the number of people goes up. Of course Aldi’s is key.

  17. Samantha Clattenburg via Facebook says:

    yep

  18. nope

  19. Mary Vaughan via Facebook says:

    Usually do

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