For almost a decade, I’ve been a mother. Majority of this time, I’ve been a single mother, working full time. Now and days I work part-time with seasonal opportunity to make full time hours. My boyfriend is a manager but we both separately have our own bills. We do live together but we just have different responsibilities at the moment. That being said, we still currently live paycheck to paycheck. We have to do what we have to do to survive. In my opinion, I don’t feel like I skimp on my meals. I make generous portions, a full meal and one happy family. Sorry I had to throw in a cliche saying there. But this is how I make it happen for my family of 4/5.
Setting Out a Good Dollar Amount
Give yourself a strict budget. If your behind on bills and you have to pay your certain amounts those weeks. It’s better to pay those bigger bills and sacrifice the sweets, and sodas and opt for minimal. I buy a 24 pack of tea bags and make some sweet tea. That pack easily lasts us 2-3 weeks. Majority of the time, I have my children drink water. I’d say $60-70 a week is ideal for my family. I can even go lower and say we’ve survived off $40 a few weeks. I talk a little bit more below on how I actually think ahead of time as well. If I see a good deal and it happens to be an abundance or perishable, I take advantage and buy it for a later meal in mind. Once you have your dollar amount, start your list and be sure to write everything you plan to buy. Make sure you buy everything for unneeded trips to the store, which can lead to more spending.
Look at My Local Deals
Get familiar with your local grocery store. Here in Texas we have H-E-Bs. I’ve been across the country to Chicago, Illinois and was lost without a H-E-B. They offer really good in store coupons, and money saving meal deals. Now and days there are apps that have manufacture coupons as well and cash back apps like Ibotta. Another reason to get familiar with your grocery store is to gage your pricing when meal planning. I know more or less the cost of common items I purchase.
Can I Do a Two in One Meal?
I like to see if I can make two meals out of one entree. If we feel more chicken one week, I’ll buy at least $10-12 worth of that meat and try to make two meals out of it. For example tonight we had chicken sandwiches but then, decided to buy the family pack of Tyson chicken patties to make a quick and easy chicken parm. for another night. Add a few sides for under $4 for each meal and you have 2 meals for a family of 4/5 for around $10 each.
Having A Leftover Night isn’t a Bad Idea
Some of the time my youngest will opt for a couple of sandwiches if he doesn’t agree with what we’re eating, choose your battles right? It’s fine to me, that uneaten food will go with what leftovers I might already have. Then, put away for a lazy day, because we all have those more busy days than others. It’s usually a Thursday or Friday in my household, nearly all my meals have been made and the fridge needs to be cleaned. We also don’t want to waste the money we spent on these meals.
Budgeting isn’t all that Hard
I know I’m no expert in the finance dept here. I am currently behind on some bills, but for other reasons than having a spending habit or that I’m frivolous with money. I mentioned earlier, I work part-time with the seasonal opportunity to make full-time hours. My weekly pay can fluctuate with the season and some months are slower than others. While I have a good support system, my responsibility as a parent limits my ability to work a full time shift, nights and weekends. But we’re not living bad off as a family at all, we have a good roof over our heads, beds and working A/C. We have our low luxury items. We could be a whole lot worse off, but we are surviving simple on a budget.