|Tawra Kellam is the editor of
Tawra and her husband paid off $20,000 debt in 5 years on $22,000 a year income.
I do something that most people think
they can't do today. I feed my family of 5 for $300 a month.
Most people say that's an impossible feat, but what boggles minds
even more is that I do it without using coupons.
How do I do it? First, I use what I
have. If I don't have milk in the house, I don't
make a special trip to the store for it. The kids won't die from malnutrition if
they miss drinking milk for a day or two. If I'm out of bread, I'll make some
cornbread or muffins. If I'm out of fresh veggies, I will use canned or frozen
instead. Stop going to the store for one or two things. I shop for food 2-3
times a month and that's it. You'd be amazed how much this saves on the cost of
Shopping the clearance sections, I regularly
find milk on clearance for $1.20 a gallon. My store marks the milk down a
few days before the "sell by" date. The great part is that milk stays fresh for
1 week after it's opened. I generally only buy the milk when it's marked down,
and I buy enough to last until the next time I find a great deal on it. I throw
several in the freezer and then I don't have to make a special trip for milk (or
pay the premium price). Just thaw, shake and serve.
Purchase meat only on sale or on clearance.
Again, butchers mark down their meat a day or two before the "sell by" date.
Generally, meat is good for 3-4 days after the "sell by" date in the fridge or 6
months in the freezer.
I never buy meat unless it's on sale for $1.99
or less a pound. If it's not on sale, we don't eat it. (Even so, we never
have a shortage of meat in our house.) You can get some great unadvertised deals
just by watching the meat counter's clearance items. I found 5 lb. rolls of
hamburger for $2.95 each just the other day. Of course, I stocked up and will
have enough hamburger to last the next 6 months.
I can get "soup bones" with enough meat on
them to make a great vegetable stew for under $2.00 for the entire family!
Add some rolls and you have a complete meal for 5 for less than $3.00. When
chicken is on sale for $1.66 per pound, I stock up. I do this with all my meats.
This way we can always have a variety of meats.
Another important tip: Ask. Most people are
intimidated by asking, but I regularly ask when things will go on sale or be
marked down. By asking, I've found out that bananas, milk and meat are marked
down each morning. I try to shop in the mornings to get the best deals. When we
lived in Texas, the stores marked things down in the evening, so we made it a
point to go shopping in the evening. Adjust your shopping times to find the best
Serve your family proper portions of food.
Most parents give their kids way too much milk, juice and soda. My kids get soda
on special occasions only. They eat milk with their cereal. For snacks, they eat
a piece of string cheese, fruit, or one or two cookies. The kids don't sip on
milk or juice all day long. They drink water and are just fine with it.
As a general rule, I try to give them one
vegetable and one fruit for lunch and dinner and then a piece of fruit with
cookies or cheese as a snack. This way, they get their "five a day" in very
easily. Stop letting kids just "graze" on chips and other snack food all day. My
kids get one small "bowl" of chips (1/2 cup to 1 cup depending on the size of
the chips) a day and that's it.
So what do we eat? Here are some of our menus:
roast, brown gravy, onions, carrots, potatoes, buttermilk muffins and a
fruit plate. (The next day, the leftovers from the roast are used as
barbecue beef along with potato salad, green beans and strawberries or
(homemade), tossed salad and fruit
glazed chicken, scalloped potatoes, glazed carrots, applesauce and
cucumbers and tomatoes
refried beans, green beans, sliced apples and tortilla chips w/
With savvy shopping, you too can cut your grocery
bill even when prices are going up!