$45 Emergency Menu for 4 to 6

I’ve seen various places around the web claim that in an emergency you can feed your family for only $10 or $20 a week.  While I appreciate their intentions, I have noticed that they all assume you have certain supplies already on hand.  In my experience this isn’t always the case. Forty-five dollars will seem outrageously abundant to some, while it will seem minuscule to others.  It is the smallest amount I was able to come up with that will provide enough supplies to an empty kitchen to feed an entire family for a week.  The servings are ample and a few adjustments allow you to increase the quantities from 4 servings to 6.  Newly added nutritional information makes it clear that except for sodium, these recipes are nutritious and healthy.  They are low in fat and cholesterol, high in protein and rich in fiber.  To reduce the sodium you can use half as much salt and bouillon as called for in the recipes, and purchase store-brand reduced sodium canned vegetables instead of the regular variety.

You may also want to take a look at the ebooks and resources provided by Living On A Dime – their ebooks are well worth the small fee they charge for all the money saving tips and ideas that you will get out of them. I usually make up the money I pay on the ebook within less than a week (often in one shopping trip) from purchase. Take a look and see for yourself at LivingOnADime.com.

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Breakfast Lunch Dinner Snacks Nutrition
Monday Pancakes; Syrup; Orange Juice; Milk; Hot Tea Lentil & Vegetable Soup  with Dumplings; Milk Pinto Beans; Onions; Hoecakes; Collard Greens; Iced Tea Cinnamon Toast; Milk for Children; Tea for Adults 1656 Calories; 33g Fat (17.5% calories from fat); 71g Protein; 275g Carbohydrate; 42g Dietary Fiber; 54mg Cholesterol; 3312mg Sodium
Tuesday Oatmeal; Toast, Margarine & Jelly; Orange Juice; Milk; Hot Tea Peanut Butter Jelly Sandwiches; Macaroni & Cheese; Carrot Sticks; Milk Bean Burritos with Homemade Refried Beans & Homemade Tortillas; Fried Onions; Iced Tea Plain Muffins with Jelly; Milk for Children; Tea for Adults 1826 Calories; 50g Fat (24.1% calories from fat); 73g Protein; 279g Carbohydrate; 32g Dietary Fiber; 37mg Cholesterol; 2812mg Sodium
Wednesday French Toast; Syrup; Orange Juice; Milk; Hot Tea Batter Bread; Margarine; Spinach; Milk Creamed Tuna & Peas over Rice; Garlic Toast; Iced Tea Peanut Butter Tortillas; Milk for Children; Tea for Adults 1771 Calories; 55g Fat (27.7% calories from fat); 76g Protein; 245g Carbohydrate; 12g Dietary Fiber; 187mg Cholesterol; 3213mg Sodium.
Thursday Hot Rice in Milk; Toast, Margarine & Jelly; Orange Juice; Hot Tea Peanut Butter Jelly Sandwiches; Macaroni & Cheese; Carrot Sticks; Milk Black Bean Soup with Carrots, Celery & Onions; Cornmeal Muffins; Iced Tea Cinnamon Toast; Milk for Children; Tea for Adults 1737 Calories; 52g Fat (26.7% calories from fat); 61g Protein; 262g Carbohydrate; 20g Dietary Fiber; 51mg Cholesterol; 2631mg Sodium
Friday Oatmeal Pancakes; Syrup; Orange Juice; Milk; Hot Tea Leftover Black Bean Soup; Biscuits; Milk Hot Dog & Veggie Stir Fry over Rice; Iced Tea Peanut Butter Tortillas; Milk for Children; Tea for Adults 1781 Calories; 52g Fat (26.1% calories from fat); 73g Protein; 259g Carbohydrate; 20g Dietary Fiber; 140mg Cholesterol; 3202mg Sodium
Saturday Hot Rice in Milk; Toast, Margarine & Jelly; Hot Tea Ramen Noodles with Carrots; Celery & Onions; Oatmeal Muffins; Milk Butter Beans; Scalloped Tomatoes; Garlic Toast; Iced Tea Biscuits & Jelly; Milk for Children; Tea for Adults 1727 Calories; 52g Fat (26.6% calories from fat); 59g Protein; 261g Carbohydrate; 24g Dietary Fiber; 43mg Cholesterol; 3281mg Sodium.
Sunday Pancakes; Syrup; Orange Juice; Milk; Hot Tea Lentil Chili; Corn Bread; Baked Custard Corn Fritters; Steamed Carrots; Macaroni & Cheese; Iced Tea Cinnamon Toast; Milk for Children; Tea for Adults 1796 Calories; 47g Fat (23.1% calories from fat); 70g Protein; 282g Carbohydrate; 28g Dietary Fiber; 247mg Cholesterol; 3527mg Sodium.
Averages for Week 1756 Calories; 29g Fat; 69g Protein; 267g Carbohydrate; 25g Fiber; 108mg Cholesterol; 3140mg Sodium.

Shopping List
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2009 Prices 2006 Prices Items
10 lbs all purpose flour
3 pack of yeast
Baking Powder
3 lbs long grain white rice / 5 lbs rice in 2009
2 lb bag of cornmeal
5 lbs sugar
Vegetable Oil
2 cans frozen orange juice concentrate
20 quart box of instant nonfat dry milk
2 pounds lentils
2 lbs pinto beans
1 lb black beans
1 lb lima beans
3 boxes Macaroni & Cheese
3 packs of Ramen Noodles
2 dozen eggs (2.5 dozen in 2009)
2 lbs margarine
1 lb hot dogs
1 28-oz can tomatoes
1 15-oz can tomatoes
15-oz can green peas
15-oz can corn
15-oz can greens
15 oz cans spinach
5 lb bag carrots
3 lb bag onions
1 bunch celery
6-oz can tuna
18-oz jar peanut butter
Pancake Syrup
Garlic Powder
Chili Powder
Bouillon Cubes
100 Count Box of Tea Bags
$70.37 $45.16 Note: The prices were gathered in February 2006 and March 2009 from Dollar General and Walmart. Your prices may vary.


If you receive WIC, Food Stamps or have food from a local food bank, you’ll be able to do much better than this menu plan. It is based on bare minimums.

There isn’t much meat in these menus. That’s because meat is expensive and beans aren’t.  Beans provide lots of good protein for growing children and hard working adults.  When beans are combined with certain other foods their protein increases.  The amino acids in grains like flour, pasta and cornmeal or milk products cooperate with the amino acids in the beans to make an extremely high quality protein. Don’t worry about the lack of meat, there is more protein in this menu than you can shake an expensive protein bar at.

The milk may seem overpriced to some, but it is vital for growing children and mom’s who are pregnant, nursing or who may become pregnant.  It is also very high in protein especially when combined with grains or beans (see above).

Orange Juice is served every morning but Saturday.  The plan assumes 4 servings of 1/2-cup each for every morning it’s served.  Orange Juice supplies Vitamin C and Folic Acid, once again, necessary for pregnant mothers and growing children.

In the recipes that call for buttermilk use regular reconstituted milk soured with a tiny bit of vinegar.  This works just as good as buttermilk in cooking.

For the recipes that call for dried onion, substitute a small amount of finely chopped fresh onion.

For the recipes calling for fresh garlic, substitute a small amount of garlic powder instead.

To serve a hungry family of 6 you’ll need to make the following changes:

  • Increase the flour to three 5 pound bags & bake 6 loaves of bread at a time instead of 4.
  • Buy 3 cans Orange Juice Concentrate instead of 2
  • Double the Macaroni and Cheese served for lunches making 2 boxes at a time instead of 1.
  • Double the cans of Tuna, Peas, Corn, Greens & Spinach.
  • Double the recipe for Creamed Tuna & Peas.
  • Double the recipe for Corn Fritters
  • Double the recipe for Lentil Chili, adding 1 more can of tomatoes to the shopping list.
  • This will increase the total spent to approximately $51.

Daily Work

Sunday Night: Mix up the dough for Overnight Bread.  Set it aside to rise.  Mix up a gallon of milk and a gallon of Tea. Put both into the fridge to chill.  Clean the kitchen.  Go to bed.

Monday: Begin the week with a hearty breakfast.  After the breakfast dishes are done, prepare the vegetables for Lentil Soup, and put the Lentils on to cook. Soak 2lbs of pinto beans in boiling water to cover for 1 or 2 hours.  Half of them are for supper tonight and the other half for supper tomorrow.  Punch down your bread dough which should be nicely risen by now.  Divide it into 4 loaves.  Allow it to rise for 1 or 2 hours and then bake.  After soaking the pinto beans, boil them until tender and refrigerate.  Reheat half of them for dinner and use the other half for tomorrow.  Check the milk & iced tea supply, prepare more as necessary.

Tuesday: After breakfast prepare enough tortillas for dinner tonight and for 2 snacks during the week; 16 to 20 tortillas should be enough.  Store them in a plastic bag in the refrigerator.  Prepare a dozen Muffins for snacks later in the day. Check the milk & iced tea supply, prepare more as necessary.

Wednesday: When preparing the rice, make enough for dinner tonight and breakfast in the morning.  2-cups dry rice, cooked in 4-cups of water should be enough. Prepare the dough for Overnight bread before going to bed. Check the milk & iced tea supply, prepare more as necessary.

Thursday: Soak the beans in boiling water to cover for about an hour or two.  Simmer until tender.  Prepare the soup as directed and chill until supper time.  Divide the bread dough into 4 loaves and set aside to rise until doubled in bulk.  Bake as directed. Check the milk & iced tea supply, prepare more as necessary.

Friday: Make enough rice for supper tonight and leftovers for breakfast in the morning.  2-cups dry rice cooked in 4-cups of water should be enough. Check the milk & iced tea supply, prepare more as necessary.

Saturday: Soak the lima beans in boiling water to cover for about an hour or 2.  Simmer until tender and season as directed.  Chill until supper time.  Check the milk & iced tea supply, prepare more as necessary.

Sunday: Put the lentil chili on to cook and prepare the custard and cornbread to bake at the same time.  Check the milk & iced tea supply, prepare more as necessary.


Breads & Cereals

Old-Fashioned Low-Yeast Bread Biscuits use margarine instead of shortening
Homemade Tortillas Hoe Cakes
Pancakes French Toast
Oatmeal Pancakes Basic Muffins
Oatmeal Muffins Batter Bread
Cornmeal Muffins Corn Bread
Cooked Rice Hot Rice Cereal

Main Dishes

Lentil & Vegetable Soup with Dumplings Black Bean Soup from Dried Beans
Pinto Beans make a double batch Refried Beans
Butter Beans (Lima Beans) Lentil Chili
Creamed Tuna & Peas Hot Dog & Veggie Stir Fry


Corn Fritters Scalloped Tomatoes
Collard Greens


Classic Baked Custard Snickerdoodles
Perfect Iced Tea Reconstituting Milk

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Click Here to Leave a Comment Below

tammie stiltner - March 9, 2011

There are a couple of books that are also cheap and time savers. You may have to order them now but they are called Make A Mix and More Make A Mix. I’ve used them for years and the recipes are food that kids will eat without complaining.

Erik e. - March 17, 2011

Just wanted to let you know. You have a great site here! You sure put a lot of work in to this. Very good info. Thank you.

kris - March 19, 2011

Tuna Bake

¾ cup macaroni approximately
10 oz condensed cream of celery coup
1/3 cup milk approximately
1 cup frozen peas approximately
4-process cheese slices broken up
½ tsp salt
Dash of pepper
7 oz can of tuna
2 process cheese slices for topping

Cook macaroni as directed on package. Rinse with cold water. Drain pour into greased 1-1-1/4 quart (1.5 L) casserole. Set aside

in medium size saucepan combine soup, milk, peas, and first amount of cheese slices. Heat and stir until hot and cheese is melted. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour over macaroni.

Drain tuna. Break up into pieces and put on top of sauce. Stir lightly to combine all together. Cover bake in 350 degrees oven for 20 minutes.

Remove cover. Cut second amount of cheese slices diagonally to make 4 triangles. Arrange over casserole. Bake uncovered 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Serves 4

Sugar - April 4, 2011

I just want to thank you for the wonderful ideas. Some of your food items reminds me when I was growing up with my granny in KY. It brings back lots of memories. I am going to start to try to bring back some of these ideas into my menus now.

Kat Dennis - April 8, 2011

This is a very informative site. I love it. Happy to share it.

Virginia Sellers - April 14, 2011


I was hoping to follow you all on Facebook.

Don - April 23, 2011

Hi, I just wanted to say thank you for you 2 menus and the joy I am having cooking and baking for my family, I am a single dad of 2 children, from Canada, our prices up here are minimum double yours. I talk to a freind in KY all the time and her jaw drops when I mention 26 dollars for a 20 quart bag of generic skim milk powder ect when you guys get it for 14 by your menu, so even your 45 doller a week menu costs us 100 bucks. I try to buy in bulk when I can casee of orange juice here, 22 pound bag of flour there. but I find it very difficult, As a single dad CPS has made me quit my job, and spend more time with my kids, which I love dearly, but as you might think the finacial situation has dropped. Your site has done two things for me, 1> Opened my eyes to the fact that there are people worst off then me, no power, or fridges, ect. and 2> Help me learn I can eat and be full without the use of meat. One last note.. I find it funny how the Canadian dollar can is worth 1.04 US but in the world of groceries, even our local products, its worth only 0.53 US. I welcome any comments and would love the support of others out there in the form of e-mail correspondance.


Andromeda - April 25, 2011

I love your website. I just wanted to comment that I think your dietary needs in the minimal emergency menu plan should be adjusted. The concept of “low fat” is good, is an outdated one, and medicine is starting to wake up to the fact that sugar and refined starches are far worse for you.

There is a large amount of refined starch (white flour) and sugars in your menu plan that I would eliminate, especially because there aren’t enough fresh fruits and vegetables, or other anti-inflammatory foods, to counteract the inflammatory of the sugars and simple starches. You should also eliminate the orange juice and buy a bag of apples, because fruit juices are mostly very sweet drinks with little nutritional benefit of the whole fruit. It’s considered to be junk calories, along with white flour.

So, I’d eliminate the white flour based foods altogether and serve a lot of sweet potatoes and whole red or white potatoes instead, eliminate the sugar, orange juice and pancake syrup and add fresh fruit. Buy a quart of extra virgin olive oil ($6) instead, and make liberal olive oil (like olive oil roasted sweet potatoes) to make up for the sugar calories and add some health benefits missing in the diet currently. Those small changes would make the overall diet less inflammatory and more nutritious.

    The Hillbilly Housewife - April 25, 2011

    Those are very good tweaks, indeed. Thank you for sharing your ideas.

    hsmom - June 9, 2011

    I agree – those are excellent tweaks. LOVE this site.

    Betty - March 10, 2012

    I really think you are missing the point to this menu. It isn’t designed to meet all of your nutritional needs, it is meant to give you something to eat when you would otherwise be hungry. Do you really think people going through dire financial straights have money to spend on extra virgin olive oil?? Really??

      Joanne - July 3, 2012

      I’m with you, Betty. People who are going through a financial crisis can’t buy these things. Also, the combination of beans with the refined flour does boost the fiber in the meal. One has to look at the entire meal plan and not critique individual foods “out of context”. Another poster says to omit the jelly and syrup. These things in moderation add a little interest to the menu and cause no harm in moderation. Some commentors are missing the point of this menu…. it’s for families who want to do the best on what little they have. It’s a good food plan.

        Angie - February 5, 2013

        On the other hand, having health issues due to diet can be more costly for the family. I am 35 and I already have to take blood pressure medicine. I need a healthier and more inexpensive way to feed my family.

    Laura's Last Ditch--Vintage Kitchenwares - June 30, 2012

    I’d definitely get rid of the jelly, syrup, and juice, too. Perhaps substitute brown rice and up the quantity, and limit the refined grains. With a bag of apples you could make sauce, incorporate it into pancakes and oats, or eat them plain. And axe the hotdogs–nutritionally corrupt–and maybe make some little bean burgers, which are tasty and inexpensive. We eat beans in my house pretty much every day. There’s no reason a person couldn’t do that. I’m glad to see they have have a prominent place on the menu, though.

amanda - April 27, 2011

Although I agree with the ideas expressed by Andromeda, I see the concept of a $45 dollar menu and shopping list in a different light. This is meant to be an emergency menu. Everyone would agree that more nutritious foods “should be” on the list and sugar/starch “should be” reduced in a perfect world. But our world is not perfect and oftentimes, the difference between the cost of margarine and the cost of olive oil could make enough of a difference over time to keep the electricity on. God made our bodies capable of going without certain things for a period of time here and there. Is it the absolute best for our bodies? Maybe not. Is keeping us from going to bed hungry and able to keep heat in the house better than having a very nutritious meal and no heat? I would say the answer is yes. I see the hillbilly housewife website as a place to come to learn ideas for making do with what you have and she is doing an excellent job! Thanks, Susanne!!

    Colleen G. - October 1, 2011

    Exactly my thoughts. I posted the link to this on my Facebook profile and got a lot of flake from a few I know that are whole foods organic types. But both my dad and close friend made the same good point you did. It’s an Emergency menu not everyday fare. So unless you have been there with the money in you pocket and kids to feed don’t get too uppity. Yes there are healthier substitutions but sometimes it’s a choice between enough food to eat and what kinds. At our worst we had applied for government assistance but there was a paper work error, hers not mine, that delayed our benefits for months. My husband was barely working and there isn’t any regularly accesable food pantries here. Menu plans like this are very helpful for Emergencies. We did not suffer any health or energy backlash for eating like this.

      The Hillbilly Housewife - October 1, 2011

      Thank you, Colleen, for sharing your supportive thoughts and your personal story. I agree that when an emergency occurs we have to do what we have to do to survive. An emergency, by its very nature, doesn’t allow for much other than hanging on to what we are forced to hang on to. If you take the emergency menu as is, you can survive. You can also tweak the menu when funds allow for healthier, whole foods. These menus are not meant to sustain a family long term as, hopefully, the situation improves.

      Again, thank you for sharing your thoughts.

    Gail - August 26, 2012

    I love your website. You have a lot of good wholesome frugal ideas. I totally agree with the emergency plan. I have had no choice but but eat frugally due to illness causing me to be on disability. With 2 strappin hungry young men 16 and 21 and their friends I have been able to make filling tasty frugal meals.

Lisa - April 27, 2011

By the way. Some people I work with pay about $6.00 for a glass of a “power protein shake” at the local health food store. It consists of oatmeal, milk and sugar blended up into a smoothie. Try this if you don’t have time to sit down to a bowl of oatmeal. Also I work out a home with a walking tape and the woman who does the tape has an introduction for quick power breakfasts. These are oatmeal, french toast with a little syrup and fruit, eggs and toast, French Toast with fruit and a cereal bar with fruit and a glass of milk. With the food list above there is enough to mix and match what’s for meals. You can serve different things on different days. Tortillas can go with many of the meals above as well as the muffins. Just change things up a bit for variety!

    Mary - July 4, 2012

    Oatmeal, milk and sugar OR oats, milk and sugar??

DONA YODER - April 28, 2011

Up here in Alaska, in 2011, the price on that $70 Menu will be closer to $100.

    Annette Erickson - May 18, 2011

    I agree, i live in Anchorage, would be closer to $100!

lynn - May 21, 2011

Thank you for these great resources. Unfortunately, when you have health issues in your home, like gluten intolerance, it makes it so much harder to live frugally. Gluten free flour is $6 a bag, macaroni and ramen noodles are out, and so is oatmeal.

As a single mom of 3 kids, it’s a challenge to live within a budget, but your site makes it easier to try!

Chrissy - May 25, 2011

I love this website and have been using it for the last 2 years. It has saved me many times over with menu ideas. Beans are a great way and filling when meat isnt an option to purchase for dinner every nite. My husband has taken a liking to vegetarian meals with beans than with meat and asked me to “find more” recipes on this website to try:) The bean and cheese squares and italian beans and rice are very good and we eat that often. Also, the donut muffins are great treats for the kids are so easy to make! I find it amusing-we used to buy frozen fries, bags of “flavored noodles”, etc. Now we buy a 5 lb bag of potatoes that makes fries, mashed potatoes, potato salad, etc and make our own flavored noodles. It reminds me of when my Nan used to cook like this and it makes so much sense to do it this way-no more processed foods for us and it tastes so much better!! Thank you again! This is the best website EVER and I have directed everyone I know to visit and sign up for the newsletter:) Keep up the great great work!!

Tonya - May 30, 2011

I’ve been using this site ever since first discovering it for an article I was writing back in 2006-07. I agree with Andromeda in that the recipes are carb-heavy, and that’s not healthy for everyone. As Amanda says, this is an “EMERGENCY” Menu, not a staple menu. It’s meant to get you through the lean times, and I think it can be tweaked for those with special diets and those who live in different regions. Living in California, I can get fresh fruits and vegetables this time of year for pennies compared to what I’d pay for juices and canned varieties. For instance, I can get 4 ears of corn for $1 but would pay much more than that for a can of corn. Pinto beans here can be purchased in ethnic markets for 60 cents a pound but lentils are $1.20. Most dried beans are 88 cents to $1.20 a pound. Ground beef is often on sale for 99 cents a pound.
As for dietary restrictions, I am sugar-sensitive and therefore do not keep or serve any fruit juices or white flour in our home. We don’t do rice; we don’t do bread. Still, I can adapt the recipes above to suit our needs without breaking the bank. And beans are the best possible food for stabilizing blood sugar. Our daughter thrives on beans at every meal. She is below the 50th percentile for weight in her age group but not underweight by any means. The recipes on this site are amazing, and a welcome resource!

    The Hillbilly Housewife - May 30, 2011

    Thank you, Tonya, for being a long time reader and friend of HBHW.

    Thank you, also, for your very useful ideas for working within your budget and dietary needs in tweaking the $45 Emergency Menu. Shopping locally is a very important issue for a lot of reasons. Buying from produce stands, neighboring farms, and anywhere you can find foods that are less expensive is crucial.

    I also appreciate your discussion about beans. I have been a long-time fan of beans for the reasons you mentioned. I recommend that anyone who hasn’t discovered beans yet, walk down your grocery store aisle (or wherever you can buy a variety of beans) and pick up just one package. Follow the directions for cooking on the bag and you’ll have the first step done. We have quite a few bean recipes on this site, so once you have the beans cooked, grab a recipe and try them. If you don’t have the time or energy to research recipes, just toss some of your cooked beans in with cooked rice, toss with a bit of salad dressing or oil and vinegar mix, and you have an instant dish that’s filling and nutritious. Once you get your first batch of beans cooked, you won’t be able to stop! There are so many ways to use these nutrient powerhouses.

    Thanks again, Tonya, for getting into this discussion with so much great information.

Suz - June 12, 2011

Cooking and eating cheaper means more assembly like biying a bag of beans and spending the time to cook them up instead of a can. Great tips!

Kim - June 15, 2011

I cook with dried beans all the time (thank you HBHW for introducing me to this!!! 😀 ). An easy way to do it for those working Moms: Soak your beans while you’re at work. After you’ve had supper, before you go to bed, fill your crockpot with the (drained) soaked beans, some chicken broth, onion, celery, and whatever else you’re going to add. Cook it all night, while you sleep, and in the morning you have a hot lunch to put in a thermos container! I will put the remainder in bottling jars (leave about an inch for expansion) and place in the fridge while I’m at work. When I come home, I just put the caps on and put in the freezer. Then, when I’m going to take some for lunch (or a fast supper), I just take it out a day ahead to thaw in the fridge. If I forget, no worries – I can put the jar in the microwave and thaw it that way (just be careful as it will be hot when you take it out!) :)

    Jenny - June 19, 2011

    I have found that if you rinse your beans and then put them in a pressure cooker with lots of water (usually about 4″ above the beans) you can skip the soaking and cooking for a long time. I cook my beans from 12-20 minutes (depending on the type of bean) @ 15 lbs and they turn out perfectly. You can add a little salt for flavor and they will still get tender. I also add about 1/8 tsp of baking soda when cooking black beans to help them retain their color better.

Kathy - July 4, 2011

I like the idea of your 45 dollar menu. Problem is there is alot of stuff my husband would refuse to eat, therefore not making it workable for me. Just for myself would not be a problem as I am not a fussy eater and I am willing to try alot of new things. Hubby is a plain meat and potatoes person. Doesn’t like alot of veggies and is VERY picky about most other food too.

    Wendy - July 13, 2011

    Sounds like my husband, picky and very specific about what he likes. :) As a general rule I cook from scratch every day. I live in New Brunswick, Canada and like an other Canadian said it seems to be more expensive here. One thing about vegetables. I don’t buy canned. I buy frozen. The store brand is as cheap or cheaper than canned and I would assume that it is better for you as it doesn’t have the sodium in it. If I can find meat for less than $3/lb its a good price. Every once in a while my father in law (a trucker) will buy chicken for us in Maine and then that is a few very cheap meals.

Jessica - July 13, 2011

I just took the shopping list for the $5 Emergency Menus to the grocery. As far as I can tell, this menu was written in 2009, and I was curious about how much the same menu would cost me now, two years later. The grand total: $83.79. That’s a 93.5% price increase, folks.

Anyway, thanks for all of your great ideas. Your website is really very helpful and I appreciate that you share so much.

    The Hillbilly Housewife - July 13, 2011

    Here is the updated version. It may be a little more in line with today’s prices, but prices change daily/weekly/monthly, so it’s never going to be 100% accurate. Thanks for taking the trouble, Jessica, to actually take the shopping list along to compare. It is an eye-opener.

Jack - July 31, 2011

I appreciate this website.

I took this list to the grocery store yesterday, and I wasn’t able to buy most of the things for the prices in 2009, though I guess that’s a given. What surprised me the most, though, I think, was that the price of something as simple and tried-and-true as black beans has gone up so much. Whereas in 2006 you could buy beans for $0.60, now a small bag of dry black beans cost $1.80. I live in Kentucky.

I am in school for social work, and I know so many people who are struggling hard to buy food. It’s a shameful thing for most or all of them and they don’t like to tell people they can’t afford to feed their families. I know that the food stamp office has started refusing people on technicalities because they are just so swamped. And there are no food banks in most of Kentucky because it is so rural. I once lived on rural route 196, where there weren’t any houses for miles and miles, much less a food bank or any other resources.

For those living on the edge, and particularly those hidden away in very rural areas, I fear things might get even worse before they get better. I really hope not, though.

    Jennifer - May 4, 2012

    To speak to the black bean issue. If you have room, plant some of the beans from your bag of beans you bought at the store. Let them grow, no need to stake them, and once the plants have dried and turned brown, harvest the beans. Lay them out until they are completely dry and then store them in a container. Last year was our first year and I can not believe how easy it was!!

      suzy - March 4, 2013

      We tried this one year. We planted several different types of beans we had bought from the grocery store and had just never eaten. They grew up beautifully, but as they got into mid-summer the vines wilted and died. The ones you buy as “seeds” have been pretreated with disease resistance chemicals.

sara - August 27, 2011

just wondering if any of the recipes that call for milk, whether powdered or not, can have soy milk substituted or the milk kept out at all. my son is allergic to milk proteins and we are really needing to follow the $45 menu but i noticed alot of recipes calling for milk and margarine, etc.

    Val - November 9, 2011

    I was vegan at one point, I found that nondairy milks usually substitute well, however soy was out of my price range. I found bulk raw cashews for $4 /lb at an international food market and learned to make cashew milk from this awesome cookbook called “ten talents”. Just like she recommends using margarine instead of oil, the opposite is also true, I find coconut oil and a little salt is a close match in flavor. If you need to match texture, the cookbook i mentioned also has some recipes that look really good.

Dee The Housewife - September 28, 2011

I just wanted to thank you. This list has saved me in tough times a poor single 20 something in dead end service jobs that don’t pay and now it has just saved me again as a 30 something mother of two with an added hungry husband and roommate to feed! Everyone is satisfied!
This site is a timeless lifesaver and not to meantion chock full of excellent recipies. Get lots of compliments on my homemade bread thanks to you *wink, wink*

Today’s groceries only cost me $51.66 at Save-a-lot !
Bless You! ^_^

    The Hillbilly Housewife - September 28, 2011

    Thank you, Dee, for your kind words. I always appreciate knowing that the information here on HBHW is helping someone make ends meet.

kay - November 11, 2011

Brings back fond memories! Growing up in Ky on a small farm we always had fresh milk from the cow and fresh egg from the hens and canned veggies not store bought veggies from the garden from the summer before. Dumplings were made from wheat flour and the chickens were slaughtered and cleaned and cooked as we needed them. There were also cows and pigs for other sources of meat which were taken to slaughter once a year and the meat lasted for the next whole year. Our diet was supplemented with a lot of beans and fresh fruits also. We ate three proportioned meals a day with an apple or peanut butter as a snack. Candy or soda was not an option. We drank a lot of water and lemonade and tea also. I remember one nite a week we used to be able to draw straws on the menu. There were several times we ended up with cornbread and buttermilk and poormans pudding for dessert. Poormans pudding was made with left over biscuits and choc pudding from scratch. You poured the pudding over a crumbled biscuit and it was great! Our family consisted of 4 kids and mom and dad. We never went to bed hungry and no one was overweight. We have all lived a long and healthy life so far. Our exercise consisted of carrying water to fill up the wash tub. The water was from and ingound sping about 1/2 mile away. In the summer exercise was a 10 hr day working in the hay fields and mowing grass for others. I love my retired life now but would not trade those past years for anything. And another note, we had no TV but we did have a lot of board games and cars and trucks to play with. Our ac in summer was an open window and hear in winter was a coal stove in the living room. Our bath tub was a wash tub behind the coal stove to warm the water. We went to church every Sunday and my father was a pillar of respect in the school system and community. Parents never had a credit card. Small loans from the community bank or just plain cash was used when times were hard. We always had gifts at Christmas which usually consisted of new socks and undies, some well deserved candies and dolls for the girls and cap pistols or cast iron cars for the boys. Our stocking were tube socks which were sprinkled with a little glitter. Wrapping paper was grocery bags which us kids colored with crayons and was tied up with string. I loved my childhood.

    Angela - January 23, 2012

    Kay, I just read your comment and it’s wonderful. What a lovely childhood! It sounds like it was filled with hard work and love, which is a great character-building combination. :-)

    I love this site and I’ve used it for years. Such great tips, recipes, and info!

Aspiring Coupon Queen - January 8, 2012

I just want to say that i love this site. Thank you so much for all the good info. You’re our hero.

Danielle - January 10, 2012

What a great site! I just found it tonight while looking for ways to make homemade convenience foods, I’m looking forward to trying some recipes and learning some new things :)

Ashley - January 11, 2012

I think something important to remember is to stock up on food when it goes on sale! Yes, food costs have risen a great deal in recent years; however, you can still save a bundle by tracking sales. I don’t really do coupons (unless they are in our grocery store’s sale ad) but I still buy food for a fraction of the normal price. If I see a great price ( 25 cents a box of man n cheese, .50 a can of tomatoes, .88 a pound of pasta) I stock up with a years worth. It doesn’t break the bank because it is usually just a few items at a time. Then the next week I stock up on a couple of other sale items. We have a lot of food ready and waiting. We don’t waste it and I always use the oldest food first.
I know this menu is for people who are in a tight spot without a full pantry, but I think it can also be a reminder to the rest of us to plan ahead. Even if you just have an extra $5 to stock up with a week, USE IT! You will be surprised how quickly it adds up. Plus your grocery bill continues to drop because you usually cook with things you already have. I normally just by fresh fruits and vegetables (and milk when on sale. I have powdered for the rest of the time) and my “stock up” items. I can feed my family of three plus a lot of guests eating over for $150 a month now that I have a full pantry and freezer. We buy a lot of organic produce now and purchased a third of a grass-fed cow so with those additions it averages to $200 a month. But that is with organic stuff and all whole grains. If we couldn’t spend that I would switch back to regular meat and produe. It can be done. I know that prices change a lot according to areas. I’m not saying look for these prices. Just track YOUR prices. You might be surpised at the deals you sometimes find.

KeepingGoing - February 12, 2012

Thanks so much for this emergency menu plan.
The internet is full of “tips” on how to save money, but in my current situation, I don’t have an ounce of energy left to think about anything, I just needed a plan to follow. So I’ve just followed your instructions step by step & it’s been such a relief.
Sometimes you just need someone to take you by the hand and say “here’s what you can do”.
Really a blessing for me. Thank you.

mags - February 29, 2012

Please have a look at your links above. I clicked the link for LivingOnADime.com and got this announcement in my browser:

“The website you attempted to visit is categorized as a malicious or phishing website and may have attempted to steal your information or install malicious software on your computer.”

The LivingOnADime.com links go to:

http://kinderinfo.livingonad.hop.clickbank.net/ …and not: http://www.livingonadime.com/

Just an FYI–thanks!

    The Hillbilly Housewife - February 29, 2012

    Thank you, Mags. I checked the links to make sure they were working. The links are properly set up to go to the LivingOnADime.com store, not their website. In order to enter their website, you can click on the header on their store page. This is a writer who’s works I believe in, support, and promote as an affiliate.

    As for the alert you receive, that happens from time to time with many sales pages. It depends on the browser, firewall, and other protection you might have. I just asked a few friends to open those sites and one got an alert but others did not.

    Again, thank you for your interest and for checking the links.

Lisa - April 2, 2012

Has it really been a year since anyone commented?

Hi Susanne! A friend of mine gave me the link to this about a week and a half ago out of our need, and tomorrow will complete one week using this plan. We have really enjoyed your recipes and the change of pace, and I have to admit that I feel pretty starched out. HOWEVER my husband and I recognize that it is an emergency menu and we have to say that no one went hungry, even the ones who refuse to eat beans.

I was going to blog about our experience. Would that be okay with you?

    The Hillbilly Housewife - April 3, 2012

    Hi Lisa. I’m glad you found me, and that the menu is working for you. You probably want to check out the revised version to see what you think. Also, you’ll find more current comments to help you along. Here is the link: http://www.hillbillyhousewife.com/70dollarmenu.htm

    And, yes, please do blog about your experience and link back to me if you will. Then I will check in and see how you’re doing and share your experience here, and I’ll link back to you, as well. I would definitely like to see how you are using the menu, how you’re tweaking it to suit your own needs and tastes, etc. I think we could and should ‘chat this up’ a bit. Thanks for your input!

Darlene - April 4, 2012

Cannot use beef bullion due to high sodium contents, can I use a low sodium beef broth instead of water or even half and half?

    Darlene - April 4, 2012

    Sorry the question was towards your recipe for lentil chili :)

Lou - April 9, 2012

Just wanted to say thank you and let you know what a life saver this website is, with no freezer a small fridge and 4 kids and only one salary things can be really tight, most months we do without fuel to heat the house in order to eat. Being from Britain converting US weights and measurements to a UK equivalent when shopping is tough but the menu costs me about £25-£30 which means I can add in cheap cooking bacon and fruit. We live of £38 a week, which sometimes has to include nappies and cleaning products or hygiene products.
So far I have not found a British website this good and helpful for budgeting food, and I know plenty people who struggle in this country.
The UK has some good cheap food recipes that I add in like cauliflower cheese, carlings and bacon, potato and onion bake, bubble and squeak. But a plan which adds variety to our meals is brilliant. Thanks again.

    mountaingal - April 13, 2012

    Could you share recipes for bubble and squeak, etc? Would love to have them

      Lou - April 26, 2012

      Bubble and Squeak, is real easy. Left over potato and cabbage traditionally. Although I use any left over veg. In our house we use butter but any cooking oil or lard will do.
      You heat the pan, mash the potato and cabbage or veg together, add to the hot pan and fry pancake style on either side until golden, I serve with gravy made from a powder mix and if its a good week and I have meat like sausage or bacon I serve it along side.

        Kathy - August 29, 2012

        Bubble and Squeak sounds really good. I must try this soon. I have had what is called cowboy hash. It is raw shredded cabbage and onions w/ a bit of garlic added in if desired. Fry or saute until tender. You can add some ground beef or chicken to it also.

Lou - April 26, 2012

Carling are a type of pea, I might be wrong but I think in Britain they are traditionally called pigeon peas as they are used to feed pigeons. You soak them over night, boil them until tender, drain and then add in salt, pepper, butter and some fried bacon or chunks of ham. They are really, really tasty.

Cauliflower cheese, is cooked cauliflower with a cheese sauce. The cheese sauce is 50g flour, 25g butter, 200g cheese and 250ml milk. You melt the flour and butter together until yellow and combined then add in the milk, bit by bit making sure it thickens before you add more milk, it needs stirred loads or it goes lumpy, then add in cheese saving a bit to go on the top. It is a thick sauce.
Pop the cooked cauliflower in a baking dish cover with the cheese sauce and scatter the remaining cheese on top. Then pop in an oven at 180 degrees celsius for about 20 mins.

Potato and onion bake. First you grease a baking dish and add enough really thinly sliced onions and potato to feed your family, I usually fill the baking dish to the top. You layer potatoes and onions until you run out and then pour seasoned milk over the top and cook again at 180c for about 45mins to an hour it shouldn’t burn on top but if starts to colour too quickly just pop some foil over the top. I usually serve this with chunks of white bread or cabbage.

Hope this helps. I really love sharing recipes and trying new things, hopefully these dishes are cheap enough in America as they are here, and will help out with budgeting and feeding the family. These are staples in our house, passed down by our mothers and grandmothers. Thanks for asking me to share them.

    The Hillbilly Housewife - April 26, 2012

    I love the simplicity of the potato and onion bake recipe. One nice thing that many people don’t know is that onions offer more than just flavor to food. Onions actually have Vitamin C, calcium, and iron, as well as dietary fiber. Thank you for sharing, Lou.

andrea - April 30, 2012

Don’t forget what one can do with a 10-lb bag of potatoes (which I can often get on sale for $1.99, but which one can always get for less than four bucks), a large head of green cabbage ($.39 to $.79 a lb here in Wisconsin, depending on the season), a dozen eggs, a couple onions, and a can of generic tomato juice ($1.50 or less at Woodmans).

You can boil up a bunch of potatoes, and also boil up 4 eggs, chill them, chop them up, top with oil, vinegar, salt, and a tiny bit of chopped onion, and whatever else, and you have a cheap potato salad.

Boiled potatoes mashed up with boiled cabbage becomes colcannon; if you have a little cheese to sprinkle on top it is even fancier.

Chopped, cooked potatoes and cabbage, with some tomato juice and various seasonings becomes vegetable soup.

A large amount of chopped potatoes in oil, with a few onions, baked in a cast iron pan (or other bakeable dish) in the oven, can be a full meal itself, and fully satisfying if you fry an egg per person on the side.

Shredded raw cabbage with a little oil and vinegar and salt and pepper becomes coleslaw, and even better if you have a shredded carrot to throw in.

Also, don’t forget how cheap bananas are. I can get them here in Wisconsin at Kwik Trip for $.29 a lb, but at the grocery store they are between $.49 and $.79 a lb.

    The Hillbilly Housewife - May 1, 2012

    Excellent suggestions, Andrea, for using raw whole foods to make very filling meals. Also, the tip about convenience stores like Kwik Trip offering savings on something as simple as bananas was very valuable. It just goes to show that if you keep your eyes open, you’ll find cheaper alternatives. Very useful information, Andrea. Thank you!

    Kathy L. - May 2, 2012

    Andrea–I lived in Shawano, WI, for eight years and I use to buy bananas and 1/2 gallons of milk in plastic bags from Kwik Trip. I completely forgot about that until I read your post. What a deal!

Heidi R. - May 5, 2012

We always buy our milk and store-bought bread and bananas at Kwik Trip – and they take Food Stamps, too, which is REAL help.

We have a GREAT Farmer’s Market her ein Fort Atkinson that also accepts the Food Share card… which is HUGE help, too.

Alice Gautreau - May 11, 2012

Wow nice to see how this website is helping so many. I always been frugal its embedded in me. My motto is if you can make it yourself do it its cheaper and taste better

Nikki - May 16, 2012

Thank you for this list! I am so appreciative to have found this. We are in the process of a “Total Money Makeover” via Dave Ramsey and I have recently become unemployed due to an illness. This is a life saver! I did a little tweaking with it to add some fresh fruits and veggies in, in hope that many of the inexpensive recipes can be made frequently. Fresh apples and bananas are relatively inexpensive, and I spent a little extra to get whole wheat flour. I always do my baking with applesauce in place of oil as well for less fat and more fiber.

We haven’t eaten meat in my family for a few years now, so the rice and beans and lentils are a mainstay with us and we love them! I use a vegetable buttery blend in place of margarine (lots of omegas!) and some of my carrots went into individual baggies for fresh snacks as well. I also spent about 4.00$ of my budget on frozen veggies to add to the dishes for more color and nutrition.

Thank you again for this list. I live in Connecticut, and the prices are definitely more expensive now than in 2009, but I only spent 80.00 for a week worth (maybe even 8 days) of groceries for my family. I used a few coupons to help with the cost, but really, this is very good for my area this day in age!! Blessings to you and have a beautiful day!

    The Hillbilly Housewife - May 16, 2012

    I’m so glad this plan is working for you, Nikki. Keep up the good work, and blessings to you and yours as well.

Lydia - May 21, 2012

I think this is a great emergency menu. However, for those of us working long days away from home this couldn’t be realistically achieved. I’d love to see a somewhat low budget menu with less prep.

Patti - June 1, 2012

I’m probably pretty late on my bean commentary, but I don’t ever pre-soak any of my beans. I just put them in the slow cooker with enough water on low heat, and a ham or pork bone if I happen to have one. I don’t add any other condiments until the beans are soft, usually by the time I get home. At that time I will fry up what ever vegetables and condiments I’m going to add in a saute pan (in my house it’s usually onion, tomato, green pepper, carrots, garlic, salt, ketchup, allspice, and cumin) in a little oil, add them into the slow cooker, set to high for 10 minutes, then it’s done! It’s a lot easier to add the veggies and condiments at the beginning, but the long cooking seems to dilute the flavors, and my family likes it strong and spicy. The only legume I ever presoak are garbanzos. I also want to tell you how much I LOVE LOVE LOVE this website. It reminds me that even though I’m fortunate to be doing much better financially than I was in the past, that’s no excuse to be wasteful. There was a time I had $15 dollars for the week and two hungry kids, and I bought as much chicken legs (29 cents a pound at that time) and beans as I could to supplement. I learned about 1001 ways to prepare chicken! Anyways, thanks for the tips.

Penny - August 8, 2012

Totally digg the concept of this blog, but I’d *really* like to see an updated menu with the current food prices incorporated *and* assuming ma and pa work outside of the home for 10 hours per day.

Love this site; keep up the great work, Mrs. H!

    The Hillbilly Housewife - August 9, 2012

    Thank you, Penny. I did update this $45 menu a few years ago. Here is the link: http://www.hillbillyhousewife.com/70dollarmenu.htm

    Of course it’s already outdated, but it’s closer. Working outside the home for 10 hours a day is another challenge, indeed. The more meal planning, crockpot cooking, and freezer cooking you do will help in that case. Look through the $70 Dollar Menu and see how many of those menus can be made ahead, frozen, or made in the crockpot and it will help.

    Good luck and thanks for your interest and your kind words.

jolene baker - September 26, 2012

I made a freezer meals and I did not cook the meat is that all right? I am going to put it in the crockpot when I am going to cook it . Hope you can help me.

    Ada - September 28, 2012

    As long as you make sure it’s been in the crock long enough to thoroughly cook the meat, it shouldn’t be a problem. I, personally, always cook the meats beforehand (unless it’s something like a roast, chicken backs, or oxtails, in which case I usually cook them for a while long before I add any vegetables or starches) because I don’t like ending up with mushy veggies before the meat is done.

    Shelly - December 10, 2012

    Thank you for a great website! I’ve been interested in frugal living (especially cooking) since our income was drastically reduced after the real estate crash of 2007. I’ve developed several low cost and (relatively) healthy recipes that our family (4 adults) really love. Here’s an easy one we had Friday night with a canned veg and had some left over for some friends who came over for cards after dinner:
    Shelly’s Welsh Rarebit (typically served as an appetizer post WW2)
    1 loaf bargain rack French bread from WalMart purchased 1/2 price
    1 can condensed tomato soup
    1 can dark red kidney beans with juice
    8-10 oz. shredded sharp cheddar
    Pepper to taste
    1 tsp. dry mustard
    1 Tbsp. worchestershire sauce
    Slice bread approx. 3/4″ thick, arrange slices on large cookie sheet. Toast 5-7 mins until light brown. In a nonstick saucepan, combine ingredients in order, stiring frequently until cheese is melted. Pour and spread onto toast and broil for 1-2 mins.

Summer - November 9, 2012

I wanted to say thanks for all the work you put into this meal plan! I have been looking for something like this for a long time! Usually, “cheap meal plans” I find online are still way more expensive than what I would consider cheap. I have WIC and these meals go perfectly with what I get from WIC! After checking what I already have and what I get with WIC and marking it off the list, I went to the store (walmart) and got everything I need for a week $24.78! That is pretty amazing! Now, we will just have to see if I can make this stuff. I am a horrible cook, lol! But practice makes perfect, I guess :)

Shelly - December 10, 2012

Anyone looking for a cheap source of organic, naturally fed, low fat, hormone free red meat should check with hunters in your area. We’ve had access to 2 deer so far this fall and winter thanks to my daughter’s fiance (1 during bow season in October and the other during firearm season last week). For the cost of butchering, our freezer is stocked with meat for soups and stews at least through the spring. I personally prefer ground deer meat for use in chili, Italian based dishes, and any casserole that calls for ground beef. In fact, tomorrow night’s dinner is deer sloppy joes.
If you don’t know a hunter personally, contact a locally owned sporting goods store; they should be able to connect you with sportsmen who want to hunt, but who possibly does not want the meat.

ann maines - December 21, 2012

Thank you for all your hard work. Whether the menu stays at $45 or $70 isn’t really the issue. Once I stopped buying processed foods and made use of the crockpot and bread machine, not only did my health improve, but the grocery bill was much less. Whatever is cooked in the crockpot, meat, chicken, beans, etc., save the liquid and you have a naturally healthy broth that can be frozen and used next time you need some. Even living alone on a very limited income I can stretch my dollar until it almost sings living on a budget. You are very much appreciated. God bless.

    The Hillbilly Housewife - December 21, 2012

    Thank you, Ann. I’m glad you have found a path to frugal living that is also healthy. I very much appreciate you, too.

Brittany - January 3, 2013

I am so grateful to have stumbled upon this site! I am a stay home mom/housewife who has a foodstamp budget of only $242 a month for myself, my 2 year old, 5 year old and 6 ft 2 husband (and I feed my 10 yr old sisters dinner twice a week when they are coming off of ADHD medicine and eat everything.) I keep our weekly budget at $55 a week so my hubby can have a few extras, and in my budget i have to send him to work with lunch. It is so hard to eat healthy and lose weight when you are on a tight budget. I am grateful for this site because week after next, because of a mess up with the timing of the arrival of our stamps, we will run out (all but $25) a week early. On an already tight budget I was beginning to get frantic wondering how i was going to feed my family that week. Now I know!!! thanks so much for your amazing work!!!

anita - February 19, 2013

when you get 400 a month from disability.. and FS only gives you 40 a month to live off of.. after paying for meds, and bills your lucky you have a extra 10 to spend on house hold supplies… :( I appreciate what you did here… I have to look at lables alot because I am allergic to fake sugars, and MSG.. but RIce is a life saver when your broke.. and a good filler … Thank you again

Barb - February 20, 2013


I cannot remember where I got this site info from but I am so glad I did.

Thank you for creating this menu. I am going to try it out starting today!

Fay - February 27, 2013

I know what it is like to go food shopping with a broken heart. I still get choked up thinking about our financial low time. What a great tool this menu is.
One thought: there is a food group out there called SHARE food co-op. They are in PA, DE, MD, NJ. for sure and I heard of one in San Diego. Anyway their package is designed to feed a family of 4 for a week. for $20. All they ask is that you help package or distribute or check off food as it comes in etc for 2 hours a month. There are no eligibility requirements and you can buy as many packages as you wish. There are also pork free and vegan packages available. New since I used this program is the pick and choose option. Not sure if they accept food stamps. It works because the buying power is increased as a group and because people volunteer to help with the food orders rather than pay a “middle man”. It also works because the buy in price is very low. Now that times are better for me–I donate Share packages whenever I can. Hope this helps someone.

Tamie - April 23, 2013

This menu has helped my family in some tough times, and the food is good. This website is great, the recipes are delicious! I am watching my weight, so I love that there are so many recipes with beans and legumes. Thanks Suzanne for all of your time in this!

DeeTheCrazyHousewife - June 11, 2013

Love this article and have relied on it during lean times more than once.
However I would LOVE to see it updated both with more recent prices and adapted more toward a GLUTEN FREE lifestyle after recently discovering that like the author of Hillbilly Housewife, I too can no longer consume anything containing gluten without an unpleasant reaction.

Surely Hillbilly Housewife fans can agree that America is gearing more towards a Gluten Free lifestyle, so why not upgrade and re-vamp this list? Very strong believer myself that America’s obesity epidemic is partially fueled by undiagnosed Celiac Disease and Gluten Intolerance plus the questionable low fat trend. Just how healthy is low fat? We need fats, good fats preferred of course, but our skinny ancestors ate a considerable amount of animal fat and they had an intensive active lifestyle. The last part may indeed be key; walking not cars, hard labor not desk jobs.

Regardless of my rant, this is an excellent article and i have used it since 2009. Awesome shopping guideline/lifeline when the family budget is super low. My only complaint is that price have drastically changed here in 2013 and many of us are adjusting to gluten free diets thanks to doctor’s orders.

Stay frugal and superbly amazing Hillbilly Housewife, you are a guiding light to millions of fans! ^_^

    Ruth Jaeger - July 15, 2013

    My family is gluten free and after reading this menu, I knew that I couldn’t do an exact replica of it for these low costs, but I did do a modified plan where I shopped only at Aldi’s for a week.

    I spent about $80 to feed my family of 5 a gluten free vegetarian diet for a week. That may sound like a lot, but it’s substantially less than our normal gluten free food budget and it included generous amounts of fresh produce and a few treats, like real maple syrup for our homemade GF waffles.

    We used a lot of potatoes, sweet potatoes, extra virgin olive oil (it is only about $3 or so at Aldi’s)\ and made all sorts of bean dishes.

    I ought to refine my approach a little more! Sounds like it might be of interest to some folks.

Jamie - October 3, 2013

I would like to ask your permission to print this and hand it out at the food pantry I supervise. I would credit your website, of course.

Jessie - October 12, 2013

Hi! I’ve been using this site since approximately 2006, the first time I needed to slim my budget way down. I had just had my second child, became a stay at home mom, and was on WIC. I LOVE this site and have used portions of both these menus during various down times since. I have been Dairy Free for about 3 years now (due to an allergy to milk) and can still use these menus easily. I substitute my dairy free milks and usually leave the cheese to the side for the rest of my family &/or sub my almond cheese in. I also have a form of IBS….. This menu is great for that too as to the fact that I nor my hubby can process whole wheat flour.

Keep up the awesome work!

(aka: CedarCityMom)

    Julia B. - November 2, 2013

    I took the shopping list for the $45 emergency menu and found everything but the canned collard grees – the remaining items, at the least expensive store where I shop, came to $105.81. It does look like a pretty good plan, but I like more fresh fruits instead of juices, as others have mentioned.

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