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Lesson 7: Could You Feed Your Family on $4 a Day?

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A 12-Month Series by Guest Blogger Julia Wessels, from The Frugal Find

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 executive team is doing this month.  They're each adopting the $4/day challenge for themselves personally and sharing their stories here on the Bargainista Blog.


Four $1 Bills


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 peek 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.

Shopping List

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

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. I stocked up on strawberries and 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!

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 spotted last week below. 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!

Coffee Mate Creamer
Coffee-Mate Fat Free Creamer, Hazelnut - $0.99


Nature Valley

 36 ct Box of Nature Valley Granola Thins for $2.99!


Sara Lee Bread

Sara Lee Sourdough Bread - $0.99!


5. 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. Check out our previous post on DIY for a few homemade/DIY recipes that we've tried with great success.

Of course this is just the tip of iceberg, but 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, it can be done on $2/day or $4/day.

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