“I have to feed my family of 4 for $50.00 a week but I don’t know how. Do you have any tips?”
I’ve seen, and get asked, this question in some form many times. Change each number to fit your family, and I’ve probably seen it.
If this is you, you’ve already made the powerful decision to change your lives, but it can be tough to know where to begin. I’ve been in those shoes, I know what it’s like.
Here are some starting steps you can take to feed your family on a budget. At the bottom of this post is a helpful list of resources I’ve written that delve deeper into some of these subjects and can help answer more of your questions!
Maybe you’re in a tough financial situation right now. You stay at home with your kids, and one day your husband comes home and says he no longer has a job.
It’s a horrible feeling, and you immediately wonder how you’ll make it all work. I know it’s scary, but I think the first thing you should do is pray about your situation. No matter what happens, God will take care of you, and I firmly believe that.
When John told me he had lost his job, it was pretty terrifying. We had a young child at home and suddenly had no income. We prayed every day; I cut our grocery budget in half and we stopped all non-essential spending.
Through it all, we were never in need and by the grace of God John got a job 4 months later. I’m not saying it’ll be easy during these times, but I know you need to trust God while you get things in your life in order.
If you know how much you want to budget, you need to make a meal plan each week. It doesn’t have to be complicated; you just need to have a general idea of what you’ll be eating for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks.
Having a plan in place will immediately help you save money, as you won’t find yourself at the store every couple days picking up random ingredients for dinners and spending even more money.
Don’t be afraid to make meals simple! Dinners like spaghetti and tacos don’t require a lot of effort; and as long as you’re okay with being repetitive, you can have those every week while you get a good idea of how much you can spend per week.
If you spend $100.00 a week and want to get your budget down to $50.00 a week, you might have issues immediately cutting down to that amount. Try lowering your budget a little at a time, maybe by $10.00 a week, until you feel pretty comfortable.
It’ll be hard at first, but like I said, start small! Check the front page of your grocery ads for the biggest sales on meat and produce and see if you can buy a lot of your food from there. That’ll immediately cut down your spending as you’re buying food at super-low prices.
Meat can be one of the bigger expenses, especially if you eat it at every meal. You can stretch your meat in different ways to last longer; a couple pounds of ground beef can get you through a few meals if you add things like beans or rice in it!
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
If you’re on a really tight income and you really don’t know how you’ll make ends meet, there’s no shame in getting help! Your town most likely has a food pantry you can visit, and if you qualify, the WIC program can really help.
We’ve never been in a situation where we’ve needed either of these, but I know people who have. They’re helpful and a huge blessing, so please, don’t be afraid to reach out.
No matter how you decide to do things, stick to it
Once you decide on a budget and how you’ll spend your money, don’t stray from the path! This only works if you’re committed and willing to put in the effort.
It’s so easy to fall back into your old habits and let impulse buys take over (ask me about the bags and bags of snacks in my pantry). Stick to your list and say no to that soda, or cookies, or whatever it is you no longer want that sucks up your grocery budget.
Consistency is key, and once you shop with a lower grocery budget for a few weeks, it starts to become second nature and gets much easier. I promise!
Remember, this is YOUR life, and YOUR grocery budget. Your budget and list will probably look nothing like the lucky person who lives three states away from you, whose store has milk for 89 cents.
Whether it’s from dietary needs, cost of living, and even what you choose or choose not to eat, just know that everyone is different. And everybody’s choice is correct, even yours, because only you know your family and your needs. So don’t compare! Stick to your plan and don’t give up, and remember that you’re not alone.
- Meal Planning for Beginners
- How to Eat When You Have No Income
- Meals to Make When You Have No Money
- 20 Dinners That Cost $5.00 or Less
- How I stick to a $60 a Week Grocery Budget
- How We Ate for $37 a Week for a Year