$70 Low Cost Menu for 4 to 6

My $45 menu has been so popular that I’ve taken a shot at another one. I tried to duplicate the $45 price tag, but it was just too hard. Instead I’ve developed a relatively low cost menu. This one has much more meat, a few more fruits and veggi

es and a greater variety. I hope this one will prove to be as popular as the first. If you need more information about packing lunches see Lunch Box Basics & Lunch Box Food. For even more information about this menu, to ask questions about it or to leave feedback, go to the Hillbilly Housewife Blog.

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.

Menus
PDF File (right click; save as)

Breakfast Lunch Dinner Snacks
Sunday Bacon; Eggs; Biscuits; Orange Juice; Milk; Hot Tea Meat Loaf; Instant Mashed Potatoes; Green Beans; Plain Muffins; Iced Tea Ramen Noodles; Thinly Sliced Veggies like Carrots & Onions; Iced Tea Leftover Muffins & Biscuits with Margarine & Jelly; Milk for children; Hot Tea for Adults
Monday Cornmeal Mush; Shredded Cheese; Margarine; Toast; Jelly; Orange Juice; Milk; Hot Tea Meat Loaf Sandwiches; Carrot Sticks; Ranch Dressing; Applesauce; Milk Boston Baked Beans; Macaroni & Cheese; Coleslaw; Fresh Bread, Margarine & Jelly; Iced Tea Cinnamon Toast; Milk for Children, Hot Tea for Adults
Tuesday French Toast; Syrup; Orange Juice; Milk; Hot Tea Beanie Wienies; Coleslaw; Butter or Jelly Bread or Cinnamon Toast; Milk Salmon Patties; Rice; Creamed Peas; Biscuits; Canned Pineapple; Iced Tea Garlic Bread Sticks; Milk for Children, Hot Tea for Adults
Wednesday Rice Pancakes; Syrup; Orange Juice; Milk; Hot Tea Egg Salad Sandwiches; Carrot Sticks; Ranch Dip; Applesauce; Milk Cowboy Beans & Rice; Steamed Carrots; Tender Cornmeal Muffins; Iced Tea Garlic Bread Sticks; Milk for Children, Hot Tea for Adults
Thursday Hot Rice Cereal; Toast; Margarine; Jelly; Milk; Hot Tea; Tuna Salad Sandwiches; Celery Sticks; Ranch Dip; Canned Peaches; Milk Simple Taco Meat with Homemade Tortillas; Shredded Cheese; Shredded Cabbage; Buttery Peas & Rice; Iced Tea Doodle Bugs; Applesauce; Milk for Children; Hot Tea for Adults
Friday Cornmeal Mush; Shredded Cheese; Orange Juice; Margarine; Toast; Jelly; Milk; Hot Tea Bacon & Egg Sandwiches; Canned Peaches; Carrot Sticks; Ranch Dip; Milk Hamburger Pinwheels; Macaroni & Cheese; Broccoli; Iced Tea Cinnamon Toast; Milk for Children; Hot Tea for Adults
Saturday Plain Pancakes; Syrup; Milk; Orange Juice; Hot Tea Ramen Noodles with Sliced Hotdogs & Veggies; Milk Red Beans & Rice; Cabbage Fried in Bacon Grease; Corn Bread; Iced Tea All the Good Leftovers

Shopping List

2009 Prices 2006 Prices Items
14.28
2.04
3.33
1.98
8.87
1.35
2.17
2.00
DAIRY
20 quarts (4 pounds) Instant Nonfat Dry Milk
3 pounds Margarine
3 Dozen Eggs (2.5 dozen in 2009)
8 ounces shredded Cheese
6.40
2.00
1.64
1.960.88
1.50
1.16
6.90
.97
.90
1.20
5.00
.89
1.19
.69
MEATS & PROTEIN
5 pounds ground beef
14 oz can Salmon
2 6 ounce cans Tuna
2 pounds Great Northern or Navy Beans
3 pounds Bacon Ends & Pieces
1 pound Hot Dogs
1 pound Pork or Turkey Sausage
1 pound Kidney Beans
0.92
0.92
2.68
0.56
1.92
0.69
1.86
3.04
1.87
2.00
1.23
1.50
1.00
1.00
1.00
2.00
.90
1.77
1.00
1.50
1.76
2.00
2.00
1.30
1.00
.69
FRUITS & VEGETABLES
1 pound Frozen Peas
1 pound Frozen Broccoli
2 pounds Instant Mashed Potatoes
2 – 15ounce cans Green Beans
3 pounds Cabbage
3 8-ounce cans tomato sauce
40 ounce jar Applesauce
2 12oz Frozen Orange Juice Concentrate
3 pounds onions
5 lbs carrots
1 Bunch Celery
29-ounce can Peaches
20-ounce can Pineapple
3.50
3.98
1.06
1.50
0.96
1.00
1.92
.88
1.33
.60
GRAINS & STARCHES
3 pounds Long Grain White Rice (5 lb in 2009)
10 pounds All-Purpose Flour
2 pounds plain cornmeal
4 boxes Macaroni & Cheese
6 packs Ramen Noodles
0.98
0.93
2.24
2.38
.77
.62
1.50
1.88
BAKING
Baking Powder
3 packets Yeast
12 ounces Molasses
5 pounds Sugar
1.88
1.57
1.48
0.52
0.96
1.82
0.98
0.82
0.50
0.50
0.50
0.50
0.50
1.00
1.00
1.00
.50
1.00
1.50
1.00
.50
.25
.50
.50
.50
.50
CONDIMENTS & SEASONINGS
Pancake Syrup
Ranch Dressing
Jelly
Yellow Mustard
Ketchup
Mayonnaise
Worcestershire Sauce
Hot Pepper Sauce
Salt
Black Pepper
Chili Powder
Garlic Powder
Cinnamon
1.84 1.00 MISCELLANEOUS
100 count Tagless Tea Bags
$89.26 $70.19 Total

NOTES

As with all of my recipes, I include plenty of milk for growing children and pregnant or nursing mothers. Orange Juice is served every morning but Thursday. On that day there are 2 other fruits served in addition to raw cabbage which is very rich in Vitamin C. The menu assumes 1/2-cup of orange juice for each person every day that it is served. This is a relatively small serving. To make it look like more you can add a couple of icecubes or some crushed ice to the cup. If you have a supply of small juice cups, now is the time to put them to use.

Since this menu is based on a limited number of ingredients, a few accommodations must be made.

  • All of the bread is homemade using the Overnight method.
  • All milk is reconstituted, and margarine is used instead of butter.
  • 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.
  • In any recipe calling for shortening, use margarine instead.
  • In any recipe calling for oil, use melted margarine or liquid bacon grease instead. The flavor and texture will still be good. Plain muffins (Sunday) are especially good prepared with bacon grease.

Desserts haven’t been included in this menu, but if you’d like to have some, there are several listed under Miscellaneous in the Recipes below.

Daily Work

Saturday Night:

  • Mix up a pitcher of orange juice, a gallon of milk and a gallon of Tea. Put them into the fridge to chill.
  • Mix up the meatloaf and press it into the pan.
  • Prepare the kitchen for tomorrow and go to bed.

Sunday:

  • Wake up early and do your Sunday School Lesson.
  • Prepare a hearty breakfast for everyone and do up the dishes.
  • Go to church.
  • When you get home put the meatloaf into bake right away. Then change clothes and set the table.
  • Mix up the Muffins and put them into bake.
  • Prepare the mashed potatoes and boil the green beans. Serve the hungry family with a smile on your face.
  • Before going to bed prepare a batch of Overnight Bread and put it aside to rise.
  • Put 2 pounds of small white bean in water to cover and allow them to soak overnight.
  • Look over the beverages and prepare more as needed.

Monday:

  • Make Breakfast and pack the lunches.
  • After the breakfast dishes are done put shape the bread and allow it to rise. When it has doubled in bulk, bake it as directed.
  • Prepare the Baked Beans using 1 tablespoon of prepared yellow mustard instead of the dry mustard called for in the recipe.
  • After the beans have finished baking set aside 3 cups for supper on Wednesday night. Serve the rest for dinner tonight. Save any leftovers from tonight for lunch tomorrow.
  • Prepare the Cole Slaw using 4 cups of shredded cabbage and allow it to chill until dinner time. Half will be for dinner tonight and half for lunch tomorrow.
  • Look over the beverages and prepare more as needed.

Tuesday:

  • After making breakfast heat up any leftover baked beans with 5 or 6 sliced hot dogs. Slice the hot dogs thinly so they will go further. The remaining hot dogs will be used for lunch on Saturday. Simmer the beanie weenies for several minutes and then put them into pre-heated thermoses for lunch. Pack everything else with a cold pack to keep it cool and fresh until lunch.
  • Prepare the Garlic Bread Sticks. Set half of them aside for snack tomorrow, and serve the other half for snack today. They are very good.
  • When you make dinner prepare enough rice for dinner tonight and breakfast in the morning. 2-cups dry rice, cooked in 4-cups of water should be enough.
  • Before bed boil 4 to 6 eggs for tomorrow’s lunch.
  • Remember to check the milk and iced tea and prepare more as necessary.

Wednesday:

  • Make Rice Pancakes using the rice leftover from yesterday.
  • After serving breakfast make egg salad for lunch and pack the lunches with a cold pack.
  • Serve leftover garlic sticks for snack. They are good cold.
  • When you make dinner prepare enough rice for dinner tonight and breakfast in the morning. 2-cups dry rice, cooked in 4-cups of water should be enough.
  • Use the 3 cups of beans you set aside on Monday for supper tonight.
  • Prepare the dough for Overnight bread before going to bed.
  • Check the milk & iced tea supply, prepare more as necessary.

Thursday:

  • Prepare Hot Rice Cereal using rice leftover from yesterday.
  • Make Tuna Salad in the morning using two 6-ounce cans of tuna. Pack the lunches with a cold pack.
  • After you do the breakfast dishes divide the bread dough into 4 loaves and set aside to rise until doubled in bulk. Bake as directed.
  • Make up a batch of homemade tortillas for dinner tonight and put them in a plastic bag. Store them in the fridge until needed.
  • Prepare a batch of Doodle Bugs and chill until snack time. Check the milk & iced tea supply, prepare more as necessary.
  • To make the Simple Taco Meat fry up a pound of ground beef and use a fork to smash it into small bits. When it is brown drain off the fat. Add 2 tablespoons flour and stir until the meat is sort of dusty looking. Add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of chopped onion and 1/2 cup of water. Sprinkle in 1 tablespoon chili powder, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Simmer until thickened. Serve on homemade tortillas with a little bit of shredded cheese. Instead of lettuce, top the tortillas with finely shredded cabbage. It is very good. Almost better than lettuce in fact. Pass hot sauce at the table for them who like it spicy.
  • To make Buttery Peas & Rice prepare rice in the normal way using 1 cup of dry rice and 2 cups of water. Add 1/2-teaspoon salt, 2 tablespoons of margarine and 1 cup of frozen peas right before you put the lid on and simmer for 20 minutes.

Friday:

  • After breakfast fry up some bacon and eggs for lunches. Pop the yolks so they will be thoroughly cooked. Pack the lunches with a cold pack for freshness.
  • Before bed look over the beverage situation and prepare more as needed.
  • Also set a pound of kidney beans to soak overnight.

Saturday:

  • Prepare breakfast in the morning as directed.
  • Afterwards simmer the kidney beans for an hour and then proceed as directed. Chill until supper time.
  • To make the cabbage just slice it and fry it in bacon grease. Salt and pepper to taste.
  • Make the cornbread and reheat the beans at dinnertime.
  • Check the milk & iced tea supply, prepare more as necessary.
  • Clean up the kitchen and get it ready for the rest of the week.

Recipes

Breads & Cereals
Old-Fashioned Overnight Bread Biscuits (use margarine instead of shortening)
Homemade Tortillas Tender Cornmeal Muffins
Pancakes French Toast
Doodle Bugs Corn Bread
Rice Pancakes Hot Rice Cereal
Plain Cheap Muffins Cooked Rice
Cornmeal Mush Quick & Easy Garlic Bread Sticks
Main Dishes
Fred’s Favorite Meatloaf My Favorite Meatloaf
Hamburger Pinwheels Cow Girl Beans
Boston Baked Beans Rock Bottom Salmon Patties
Red Beans & Rice
Vegetables
Coleslaw
Miscellaneous
Short Bread Cookies Snickerdoodles
Quick Sugar Cookies Blondies
Homemade Brown Sugar
Perfect Iced Tea Reconstituting Milk

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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Comments

  1. April J. says

    Sweet love saving money but wow I have made more work for myself! So worth it we are a home schooling family and I am going to redo couple of foods for certain days do to families likes! Should work just awesome and save me bookoo bucks! Yay thank you for sharing! God Bless you on all you do!

  2. Janet says

    In your cost calculations for 2009, you have no entry for the 3 lbs. of bacon ends and pieces. Since that was a cost of $5.00 in 2006, I’m guessing it will affect your bottom line for 2009 by at least that much, too.

  3. Marie says

    Susan,

    I love the low cost menus. Trying to get out of debit, so this helps a bunch. How would I take the bread recipe and reduce the overnight bread or family bread for the 1 loaf? The reason is I can only bake 1 loaf at a time because I have a very small oven (we live on a boat). Thank you for this website I really enjoy it very much.

  4. Ally says

    I love this idea, but with all of the carbohydrates there is no way that my family could live with it! If anyone has good recipes that are more diabetes friendly I’d sure love to have you share them!! I understand that carbs are cheap but I also know we need more balance–can’t really even make this for the non-diabetics in the family and have the rest of us just eat what we should with menus like baked beans/mac & cheese/bread or rice/peas/biscuits…. Wish we could!

    • Loretta says

      I usually add more onions, carrots, string beans, celery and other low carb veggies to my skillet meals to stretch them, instead of using more pasta or rice.

    • Loretta says

      Also—check it out but I think LivingOnADime.com also has a booklet on low cost diabetic cooking. Low carb is definitely the way to go for diabetics and low carb cooking may seem expensive in the short term but it is a lot cheaper than insulin and blood testing and prescription meds in the long term, not to mention blindness, strokes, heart attacks and amputations!!
      I also suggest reading the Low Carb Dieting books by Dr. Robert Atkins. Just choose the lower priced options in the food lists.

  5. Hélène says

    WOW, in just 3 yrs–and that almost 2 yrs ago now–prices went up $20 for the week’s groceries!! TWENTY dollars is alot. I don’t even want to know how much they’ve gone up from then. :(
    No wonder I can’t afford to feed my family. What I don’t get is farmers still can’t afford to feed their families either. WHERE or To WHOM, Is This Money All Going To??

    • Wendy says

      If you have room and time you can grow your own meat or try CO-OP with some other families. This summer my in-laws grew half a beef cow on grass. They also learned how to butcher it. It took a day to butcher and 2 weeks (it hung for 2 weeks) later a day to cut up and wrap (8 people for 6 half cows). Chickens can eat a lot of grass and stuff you would otherwise throw in the compost. Pigs also eat a lot of compost stuff. You do need to feed them some other stuff too though.

  6. Hélène says

    Another to remember is that the Food Stamps program has a set amount that requires work, like this weekly menu, and is low-budget. Food Stamps uses the Thrifty Plan level (from the govt) to figure out how much it takes to feed a family. They’re not figuring on you having steak and roasts for dinner, nor affording cold cereal and then cold cuts and cakes at lunch. This is cheap eating.
    Right now a family of 4 on Food Stamps gets $700 a month allotted to food (not that every family gets that but thats the figure they are helping you get towards in your budget). No wonder $90 a wk is old news now. Thats only $360 a month and the USDA says just 2 kids would need double that!
    If you buy in bulk thru a co-op, have a large garden, can & freeze like crazy and then still spend many hrs in the kitchen and eat sparingly, maybe you could cut your cash expenditure to $125/wk. But you’d be working the equivalent of a parttime job to do it and many moms don’t have the time for this as they’re working outside the home or HSling.’
    It’s a no-win situation. Don’t feel bad if you need more money for groceries. Especially if you’ve got more than 3 or 4 kids, or just little kids. Families of 8 or 12 are going to be spending ALOT on groceries, period.

    • LisaE says

      Wow!! I have no idea how much money people receive in Food Stamps in my state but I wish I had $700 a month to spend on groceries.

      I work hard to have an average of under $90/week for groceries for my family of 4. I so wish my grocery budget could be more as we end up eating the same things every week and I do not use many boxed or bagged dry products.

    • Sara says

      Holy Cow! Oh the things I could do with $700 a month for my family of four!! We eat pretty darn well though for around $400 a month, though. I think that it’s sad sometimes that my husband works so hard and I economize and scrutinize where every penny goes and someone who is worse off than we are can luxuriate in $700 a month just for food!

      • Drew says

        LisaE, Sara:

        When your income and assets are low enough to qualify for SNAP (food stamps), you aren’t luxuriating in ANYTHING. I’ve lived on both sides and believe me, not qualifying is better.

        • Mandy says

          Drew is completely right.

          I’ve been on food stamps more than once in my journey. Never have I received $700/month. The original poster didn’t say everyone gets $700; rather, that’s how much they calculate a family needs. Then they assume you can pay for some of that and grant you a portion.

    • Lyndsey says

      That’s nuts and makes me totally jealous. We are a family of four, living off $1100 a month. Our bills, including cell phone and internet is $890 a month. (But if we are counting only what DHHR counts, our bills are only $665. Our cellphone bill is $170 and internet/cable is $55) So that is $200 left for gas, and anything else you know? So anyways we get $300 a month in food stamps. That’s $75 a week to feed four people. It’s mostly impossible, unless I follow this menu. It’s a survival menu, it’s not healthy =(

      • Annabelle says

        Maybe you should cancel your cable, internet and cell phone. There are only 4 things that people really need: food/water, shelter, clothes and medical care

      • Elizabeth says

        I feed our family of 3 on $60-75 a week and we eat only organic fruit and veggies, pastas, cheese and meats, everything minimally processed w/o all the artificially junk…not to mention organic snacks and cereal that go for $3 a box. We eat meat once a week typically. Meals include pizza with Lays Classics, Annies mac n’ cheese and organic broccoli, taco salad, french toast and baked hash browns, BLT’s, Mexican Rice, Tacos or Tostadas, Beef Stew, Meat Loaf, Spaghetti, Corn Chowder with homemade biscuits, Chili, Chicken variations,(chicken pot pie, frank’s chicken, stir fry’s, homemade nuggets) and random casseroles. Lunches are eggs, tuna, sandwiches, soups, salads, and left overs. Breakfast include Organic yogurt with berries and or granola or cereal, oatmeal with organic apples, organic cereal with no hormones added or organic milk, bananas or toast. We eat pretty well. My focus is on the quality of the food. My husband is 215lbs and I 135lbs so we don’t suffer on quantity either. Snacks include popcorn, cereal bars, organic crackers, cheese, avocado, salsa and corn chips, apples, grapes, Annies bunny crackers, and carrot sticks. It can be don especially if groceries are bought for 2 weeks or more. Milk and bread and bananas are among the few things that need to be purchased weekly.

        • Gwen says

          I keep my family of 4 fed on an average of $300 a month. That’s 3 meals a day, as we brown bag our lunch. I study all the sales adds and plan meals around the loss leaders. We also use the crockpot to cook dry beans at least twice a week. I buy in bulk on items we use a lot and we buy reduced items from our local grocers. At one store I can get a gallon of milk for $1.99 when it’s marked down and it keeps for over a week. I cook from scratch and plan leftovers for lunch. When you work for the public school system you only get paid once a month, so you have to use commando budgeting tactics to make you dollars stretch. My hubby gets paid bi-weekly and that helps, but alas, the bills align with pay day no matter when it occurs..

  7. Jane says

    I fed 4 adults and one child on $500 a month (actually much less than that-except Nov & Dec) I used angelfoodministires, gardened and food coop. At the end of the month I stocked up on beans; rice; coffee salt sugar and such…when DH lost his job, I was able to go to about $20 a week using things in the freezer, canned items and non perishables I had saved back (the minimalists in the world would call it hoarding, but I was able to feed us healthy, substantial meals for well over 3 months and could have continued had we not sold our home and moved in with pareents who insisted on feeding us too…we stored most of our non perishables…only lost the chocolate chips…they were sort of gross after being in the heat for that long.
    But yes, those on food stamps get more than most of us do-we were not elgible for aid because we had too much in the bank…had we kept our home, we could have gotten them but had less cash to relocate when we needed to move for dh to get a job. The only “aide” we could get was free breakfast/lunches for our 8 year old and that was because we lived with her great grandparents…paids taxes for over 28 years and because we were frugal, we were not elgible…ok I’ll stop before I say something that is not PC.

  8. Karen says

    My family of 7 would think that we were royalty if we had $700 a month for food. Give me Food Stamps and a crockpot and watch my life get really simple. We have an older lady in our church who receives Food Stamps and literally gives away hundreds of dollars in groceries every year to young families. She can do this by living frugally and comfortably. I wonder how much we could cut the national debt if everyone on food stamps lived like her. Let’s stop looking to the government to tell us how much we need and start getting a little creative! Great things are possible!

  9. Becky says

    I think Suzanne posted an update on the HBHW site that the “$70″ menu for 4-6 people nowadays costs nearly $90. She just hasn’t changed the title.

    LisaE: Sounds like you might qualify for Food Stamps (AFDC). Maybe check into that in your state. Best wishes! I know a single lady, 65 on Social Security and working part-time who gets $280/month in AFDC. She says it’s more than she’s EVER spent on food, and is now buying steaks and shrimp she could never afford before! Something is wrong there. :-/

  10. Cheryl says

    money saving item is to buy a freezer.
    i find a real savings in buying meats in bulk.
    like half or fourth of Beef, half a pig, lamb, even chickens.
    buy meats on sale & package them in freezer bags for later.
    be sure to date all items in your freezer.

    many meat markets or meat processing plants also offer frozen meat packages at a big savings over the Supper Markets high prices.

    then without meat in my grocery bill for our family of 4, it is around $25.00 to $50.00 a week.

  11. ginger says

    we get food stamps and we cannot get steak and shrimp… and beign that i already have to make choices like toilet paper or tampons, i am thankful that i know i dont have to choose between food toilet paper or tampons…. quit hatin

  12. says

    Just tried the rice pancakes this morning, only I think they should be renamed. Better than Waffle House waffles..as instead of frying them in the pan, I made waffles out of them, and man they were awesome!!!!
    Thanks for a great recipe!
    Cyndi

  13. says

    I have read the post and wanted to throw my two cents in on it. We do receive food stamps since I due to a disability cannot work. My husband’s income is low enough that we qualify for them. Trust me, I’d love to be able to buy steaks and shrimp but it’s not going to happen no time soon. I buy things in bulk, look for sales, use coupons (especially digital ones that I can add to our Kroger card), menu plan and so on. Once in a great while, I will “splurge” and get a nice roast for a Sunday dinner but I take the leftovers to make sandwiches, etc.

  14. Cora-Sue says

    I am a 66 yr old woman,living on SS and SSI. I get food stamps($34.00 a month) And that is basically all I have for groceries for the month.I do get a box of food once a month from the Senior Citizens program. It is actually a box from the USDA. It use to be really nice but has gotten really bad this past year. Guess they are sending the good stuff to Haiti or some other country. We use to get the canned beef or pork or chicken,1 can a month.But not anymore. Now they give us a can of low sodium no bean chili and it is terrible. I bet if I had a dog it wouldn’t even eat it. We do get speghetti,or rice,or macaroni and usually 4 cans of some vegetable,although the last 2 months it has been 4 small cans of generic speghetti sauce. Guess they figure the tomatoes are a vegetable. Anyway,I find it hard to believe that anyone get 700.00 a month in fooe stamps,but more power to them if they do. I know that most of the seniors that live in my apartment complex only get 10 or 15 dollars worth.Anyway,I do everything I can to always have food of some kind,but buying for one is hard or rather cooking for one is hard.

    • Linda says

      Hi Cora Sue
      Are you a church member? Many of them have food banks…don’t be embarrassed to ask. I have one son at home, the other moved out when he got married…I still cook as if both boys and their friends are here to eat! LOL! So, I share with my elderly neighbor and she is THRILLED when she gets a knock at the door with a hot plate of food!I am learning to adjust to cooking for just 3…but in the meantime, I share with others.My sons hunt deer, I’m getting VERY good at cooking venison…we buy in bulk and take advantage of sale items at 4 or 5 different stores..we have both Aldi and Save-A-Lot stores close by. Wish you lived close by…I’d bring you dinner too! We have purchased Angel food boxes in the past..I find I can purchase on my own for equal or better prices, I try to cook from scratch and not use mixes..only exception is taco/sloppy joe/chili seasoning packets from Save-A-Lot.They are so cheap that it is not worth trying to purchase all the ingredients to make my own.
      I wish we had more community gardens in the city— I live just outside of Orlando, Fla. You’d be surprised at how much food can be raised in a small garden!

  15. Amyrlin says

    Hi Cora-Sue,
    I empathize with your situation, and know how diffuclt this must be. My suggestion is checking into a food co-op like the SHARE program, THE Treasurebox.ORG, or Angel Food Ministries. Even some food banks have boxes you can purchase or receive for free and receive extra food depending on your location and income. Hang in there and take it step by step, I wish you the best.

  16. jen says

    The way food stamps work is they take your total income, in your case SSI and SS minus your Bills, rent heat light ect. And come up with a total… One person in my state gets 180 top amount your income takes away from that amount. I receive 670 top amount for 4 people, because even with me and my husband working our living expenses are so very high.

  17. Angie says

    Just a note on food stamps….we are a family of 8 (6 children) and have been eligible for Food Stamps for a long time. I do not want you to be jealous or disillusioned about people “rolling” in government food money. The amounts verbalized above are for a family with absolutely no income coming into the home. If anyone has a job at all, that amount goes down exponentially. We are still 125% below the poverty level and cannot, by any stretch, feed our entire family for a month on the Food Stamps we receive.

    • Granny says

      A relative of my husbands was getting over $800 a month in food stamps, along with other government checks because they chose not to work. (I know, not everyone is like this,but THEY were.) Sad thing is, with that much money to spend on food the children went hungry because the parents chose to “sell” the foodstamps(buy $200 dollars of groceries from a pals shopping list, and sell them to the pal for $100)so they could have cigarettes and video games! I don’t resent a person getting them when they are needed and used properly. I saw a young lady in the store using them. She bought healthy foods for her children. She was smart. I think it gets touchy when people use them as my DH kin did.

  18. janet says

    My DH and I live in Los Angeles, a high cost of living area. We have managed to eat extremely well on $150/m for a long time. We do not eat much processed food, little rice or pasta. We eat a lot of fresh produce, small portions of high quality meat, chicken and fish, some whole grains and some low fat dairy items. I work with people and their money and know how tough it is for families right now. That being said, if you follow these guidelines you may be shocked at what you can do: 1. Set a budget for what you will spend on groceries and stick to it. 2. Use what you have on hand. 3. Never let food spoil, use it all. 4. Set price max. on what you buy 4. Shop at stores other than the “normal” markets. Anyone can do this and have success!!!

  19. lae says

    My advice is not to have so many children that you can’t feed them. Really, that’s just crazy! I know times are hard but birth control is free at the local health department.

    • The Hillbilly Housewife says

      I hesitated before publishing this comment, but then my job isn’t to censor opinions. Opinions are what makes these discussions lively and valuable.

      We don’t want to appear judgmental; after all, there are always circumstances for which we have little or no control. With that thought in mind, people may find themselves trying to support a family on less money than before. Of course we don’t want to have more children than we can feed, but when it happens that you have to cut your family’s budget for whatever reason, the grocery bill is a typical place to start. The trick is to feed your family good, wholesome foods even when the family income shrinks or doesn’t stretch as far as it used to.

      The point about birth control being available to low income families is a valuable piece of information that some families may not be aware of. So, thank you for sharing this information with us.

      • Becky says

        Not everyone is able to use birthcontrol. I for one cannot use any form of hormonal birth control at all. My husban lost his job and despite 40 plus hours aweek in job searches, and applying for jobs he is still unemployed after 6 mos. We get foodstamps for our 5 children, one of whom is exclusively breastfed and deathly allergic to all formula and milk protein. I have had to cut out dairy and wheat rom my own diet so it doesn’t affect her thru my milk. Not everyone with Five kids chooses this situation. Things happen and our economy is horrible, there just aren’t any jobs and even more still being layed off. We get 948 a month in foodstamps and it doesn’t even lastall month for the 7 of us. We have a 15 yr old, a 12 yr old with Aspergers syndrome, a 10 yr old a 2 1/2 yr old and a 3 month old. 8 can’t even attempt to work right now with my baby needing my breastmilk every 3 hours and not taking a bottle. So not everyone is in this situation because they wanna be some people have no choice. Even the “free” daycare thru the state has a 1-3 yr waiting list. I shop with coupons, freeze a lot and use aldis and save a lot , we don’t get cash assistance aand are fortunate to have family who were willing to give up 2 of their 3 bedrooms and extra fridge for us for our food.

      • Terry says

        I am disturbed to find so many willing to sit in judgement of this family…obviously times were better before and to make ugly remarks about children says more about you then this family…for whom I wish the best and will be praying for….

        • Mandy says

          Agreed. It is easy– and tempting– to judge. But one doesn’t have to look far– in your own life you’ll see decisions and actions that someone from the outside wouldn’t immediately understand. Life is precious. Each of those children are precious.

    • Danielle says

      I don’t see how this post is relevant to a thread about taking care of hungry families. Firstly, it ignores the fact that many people can afford their children at the time they have them and then have their circumstances change. Life happens. Secondly, i find the thought of putting a dollar amount on human life disgusting. The selfish way some people bring children into this world is a travesty, but saying the children themselves are the problem and not the selfishness, poverty, and ignorance of the parents is perverse.
      If you have something to say about stretching dollars on food, that’s fine, but keep your off topic opinions to yourself.

    • Laura says

      First this was/is a REALLY judgmental comment. The thread was on the Low cost menu. I assume most people trying the $45 or $70 menu have made a commitment to live frugally. Or they are like us and find themselves in an unforeseen emergency situation. Second, what do I do now that I have 9 children, no job, and no money? Should I stand on a street corner and find someone who can currently better afford them? or even better sign them over for the government to raise in foster care or an orphanage? Oh wait! They have to pay for kids in foster care and they get food stamps- not a savings to the government.
      Before making judgmental comments you should stop and ask yourself what you would do if you suddenly found yourself jobless and moneyless no matter how many children you have. If anything,from reading a large number of post on this site, one can see that many people with just a few children and even no children are trying to make do with very little.
      I live in Flint Michigan. My husband is a contractor and real estate agent among other things. We’re use to making a pretty decent living. We even use to do things like eat out at nice restaurants with ALL the children and grandmothers fairly often. We use to buy the kids new clothes at TCP and the mall. We even had some decent savings at one time. IF you have read the news in the last few months you might have seen there isn’t much out there in the way of work. Right now even my teen boys are pitching in doing shoveling and stacking wood to earn money for what foodstamps doesn’t cover like toilet paper and soap supplies. Even though we paid half on our home and bought way under what we could afford we are talking to the bank about deed in lew of sale. The home next to ours sold for $8,000 two years ago. That is more than 15x less than what it was sold for 4 years ago. All of our clothes have now been coming from a Clothing exchange for free.
      So please carefully consider your comments before you make a wide sweeping judgment least you, like us, find yourself in an unforeseen situation.

      • The Hillbilly Housewife says

        Thank you, Laura, for taking time to share your very personal story with us. I believe “There, but by the Grace of God, go I.”

        I appreciate all opinions, of course, as it’s important to have these discussions. I also encourage all my readers to consider how their words may affect others before posting comments. I hope we will treat each other with respect in our comments and keep the conversation polite and well informed. Thank you again.

      • Sue says

        Laura, Bless you & all familys with children at home. Trying to feed, cloth & put your children through school you need all the help you can get. My dh lost his business in 2009, we also lost our home. I ‘m on disablity his S.S. & my disabilty amounts to $1400.00 a mo. Paying rent heat &electric does’nt leave much for gro. He is also dieabetic. We thank God our children are grown and we don’t have to figure out how to feed & take care of the many other needs of children…however we do worry about the grandchildren. These menus are good alot of carbs. yes but better than nothing & with a few changes such as mashed rutabages, turnips or parsnips. instead of potatoes. you can also shred them to make Latkes (potato pancakes) etc. Again God bless you all & good luck to us all.

    • Sandra Fowler says

      Low-cost living is not necessarily a symptom of not being ABLE to afford a higher cost of living.

      My husband and I have a combined income of around $120,000 a year and only one child. Because there are only three of us we stretch the weekly menu to two weeks but we do it because it’s frugal, not because we’re broke.

      Just because we have a higher income doesn’t mean I’m going to go out and spend more than I have to on things. I’ll still spend the absolute minimum possible.

  20. dorothy says

    Of course we all want to save on our grocery bill, but there are other ways to cut back so that we can get the most for our dollar. For instance, unplugging appliances, etc. that aren’t being used and only plugging them in when they are being used will significantly cut your electric bill. Turning off the water while brushing your teeth or rinsing dishes, quick showers, will certainly cut back on the water bill.Another trick I learned from a book is that I didn’t need to leave a stove burner on for the duration of cooking time. That once the item came to full heat, turn off the burner, The food will continue to cook. Since we use propane for everything this has helped save on propane. There are many things that one can do so as not to severely cut back on good nutritious food. To me an ounce of prevention beats a pound of cure. I’ve learned to cut back on little things like I just mentioned to make better use of the dollars that I do have. Thanks for a great newsletter.

    • Lara says

      About the food cooking afterwards, it is true! I will let a pot of chili bring to a boil and let simmer about 5 min. Then stir and put lid on. The beans will be soft if you let it sit for at least 20 min.

  21. says

    Good day I enjoyed your article. I believe that it’s important when discussing diabetes to at least bring up natural remedies that have been proven to be effective in controlling high blood sugar. Various natural herbs can be including in a diabetics routine that may help maintain a wholesome glucose level.

  22. Megan says

    I just want to say ty for your website i love it!
    On another note We have a family of seven and our normal grocery bill is about 200 a month and we eat very well. No we do not receive food stamps even though we are VERY low income (my hubby works fast food). We invested in a couple of small dairy goats that costs us about a $1 a day to feed and a few chickens (30) that also cost us about $1 a day to feed. This enables us to make almost all of our own cheese and we also make our own soap from it. This also give us about a gal of milk a day to drink with the exclusion of 2 months out of the year. The chickens provide all the eggs and of course chicken meat we need. We get deer and boar meat for free by butchering for friends and this keeps our deep freeze full.
    I garden some as I can which is hard since I’m really not allowed to do much do to health reasons. To all of you saying well I cant do that I live in the city, guess what so do I. So be creative I’m sure there are some things you can do at home to make your groceries cheaper even if its just growing one plant in a pot next to your front door.
    P.S. I don’t think you should have kids based on your income. Dirt poor or rich they are a blessing and I am so blessed to have mine. With a little creativity and hard work I am confident we will always be able to feed them very well without having to ask for help.

  23. Dorothy E says

    Megan, I am fascinated by your creativity to have goats and chickens in the city. Could you share how you’ve managed to get around any particular zoning codes for farm animals? How do you house them?The best I’ve been able to do is to have a friend who has a few acres and chickens to raise some for me. Thanks for any info you feel you can share.

  24. jaime grimes says

    On the subject of food stamps I got very annoyed reading some people’s comments. Easy to judge when you are not in those shoes. I have both been in the system and worked for the system. Right now I am unable to work due to a disability and have a severe blood disorder, and my husband is active duty military. We are a family of 6 and even though he is risking his life for our country, financially wE are barely making it. We are very frugal but have been stationed these last two times at very high cost areas. We are eligible for Wic and reduced lunches and I was recently told we should be eligible for food stamps. When I was a single mom getting my degree I received Food stamps. I used them wisely and for what they were intended for. If my family is eligible for them again I will feel blessed. My husband works hard and selflessly risks his life. My kids and I sacrifice as a military family. If we are entitled to help in these hard times we will use them wisely. People should not be so quick to judge. I have worked since I was 12 years old and have/am raising 4 beautiful, socially conscious, hard working children. Just my 2 cents.

    • The Hillbilly Housewife says

      Thank you, Jaime, for sharing your personal story of strength and perseverance with us. And, thank you for your family’s service to this country.

    • says

      THANK YOU and your family for all that you do for our country!!!!!!! If everyone could/would give , as you and your family are doing, then-WOW-we could be sooo proud! Keep that chin up and be very proud of ALL you do. I do not think that people understand or realize the sacrafice that MILITARY families are making, and have made. GOD BLESS YOU AND YOUR FAMILY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  25. Heather says

    I want to add that many of us are very grateful to military families for what they do to keep us free.

    Regarding bread – I found a great recipe online, via the New York Times, that comes from a book called, “Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.” I ended up buying the book – but the basic recipe is available free if you search for it. Basically you mix up a big batch of bread and it keeps for two weeks. That makes it really easy to make homemade bread!

    I would really be curious for someone to take the challenge to test-drive this $70/$90 menu in today’s economy – if anybody does, please post the updated prices.

  26. Star says

    Hi. What I want to know is what grocery store are you shopping at that you can find these prices for food? The prices where I live at are nowhere near the prices you have listed for this food. They are higher.

    • Jenny says

      Prices can vary drastically in different parts of the country. In some areas, it is also hard to find those certain stores that have the discount prices.

      What this Low cost Menu really does is give you some “target” items. Just because the prices don’t match up with your area’s prices, doesn’t change the fact that the items on the list will make a more frugal menu than other items. What I am saying is that it can still be used as a guideline.

    • Laura says

      Food prices vary so much by location. If you live close to a neighboring town you might want to compare their store prices with the ones in your town.
      Where I live Meijer is a state wide major grocery store. One week last year I had the opportunity to look at three different adds from around the state. Two where from stores within 30 min of each other. The shocking thing was the milk prices. In Traverse City that week milk was on sale 2 for $7 a gallon. A great savings since it had been close to $4 a gallon. Until you see that in the Flint add milk was on sale 2 for $5 a gallon. Less than 30 min away in Lapeer milk was on sale at $1.99 a gallon. Same store, 3 different locations, huge price differences. On the bottom of most adds for chain stores it says something like “Prices are only good at __________ location.” I’ve noticed other price differences and now make it a habit to check prices. I’ve found that if I can safe up and make a big shopping trip every couple weeks I save more than I spend in the extra gas.

  27. Betty says

    I liked this so much I am going to try and write up our menues for 2 55+ and see what I come up with. DH cooks during the week while I am working and I cook weekends. Left overs be come lunch for freezer. I know we eat well but we are cheep by choice first and nesissity second. We do participate in the day old bread distribution at our church every week and the Fare share distribution every month. I chanlenge others to come up with menues also.

  28. Dorothy E says

    I usually do my shopping every three weeks or so. I have found that I save more money on food by doing it that way. I found some inexpensive versions of the Green Bags, which keep your fresh vegetables fresher longer and utilize them. Each bag can be rinsed out and used around 9 times. What we determined as how much a month we have to spend on food. Shopping in bulk and only every 3 weeks seems to make that money go further. We live in a semi-rural area and drive at least 1/2 hour to get to places like Costco and BJs. I can buy meat and chicken eggs and dairy directly from the farmers who raise them. In the summer I have my own small vegetable garden that’s in containers and grow enough to be able to can and freeze vegetables for the winter. I go to farmers markets in the summer and not the traditional grocery stores for everything else that I need. We make everything from scratch and make our own cleaning products.

    We have eaten a low-carbohydrate adequate protein diet for years on a very strict budget and know that it can be successfully done.

  29. says

    Try adding TVP (textured vegetable protein) to ground beef. I use it at a little less than equal amounts rate. It really stretches ground meat. It is great in soups/stews or other ‘saucy’ recipes. I haven’t tried just rehyydrating and cooking, but it can be eaten that way.

    TVP is a complete protein, has no fat, and is a good source of magnesium, phosphorus, iron, and fiber. It costs $2.50 for a 10 oz bag (close to Boston), but doubles when rehydrated.

    Other ways to save at the store:
    Go shopping alone
    Plan your trip through the store
    Buy store brands
    Use coupons
    Watch for double coupon days
    Eat what is in season
    Look at unit pricing
    Take a calculator
    Buy 2 or 3 copies of the Sunday paper for the coupons
    Most ‘sale’ items rotate in a 3 month cycle – except chicken, which is on sale at one store or the other every week – so buy as much as you can store.

    Though this has nothing to do with groceries, turning down the temperature on your hot water heater can save a bundle. So can unplugging electronics such as TV’s, battery chargers, etc.

    • Kelley says

      The fewer trips you make to the store and the less time you spend in the store, the less you spend. Make out a weekly or biweekly menu, use that to make your list. And be on a “mission” to get only what you need as quickly as you can. When you start shopping and looking at other items you will end up buying something because it looked good. Buy

  30. SusanB says

    Hi HBHW, I have just discovered your site and think it is great, and I love the idea of these meal plans. One thing I disagree with though is that when you move from the emergency menu plan to this menu plan, you spend the extra budget on more meat, dairy and eggs. Whereas in fact, to be healthier, it would be better to stick with the low fat, cholesterol-free legumes which are so abundant in your Emergency menu plan and instead add more produce, whole grains and good fats in the form of a handful of nuts or seeds worked into the meal each day.

    My mom is a registered dietitian and I was brought up with the idea that I needed 4 servings of dairy per day as a growing child and that animal proteins are superior forms of protein, and became sick with an autoimmune disease because of it, requiring many expensive surgeries. But now even the American Dietetics Association is saying that plant-based diets are going to help us live longer while reducing health care costs, including the likelihood of obesity, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

    “The China Study” showed that the communities that consumed the least amount of daily protein from animal products had the least amount of degenerative disease, and those will the most had the highest incidence of disease. Your Emergency plan is WAY healthier than your Low Cost plan. You can watch a video of it here, where nutritionist Dr. T. Colin Campbell explained his transition from the son of a dairy farmer believing milk was nature’s perfect food and animal proteins were superior to plant proteins, to someone who recognized the superior nutritional benefits of plant-based proteins. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w6GaAnM9jDM

    This low cost menu decreases nutrition from the emergency menu because it reduces the percent of the diet based upon legumes and increases the meat, dairy and eggs, and therefore the cholesterol and bad fats.

    I would love to see a healthier version of the “Low Cost” menu that instead uses the extra money on whole grains and more veggies and fruit.

    This will also help keep family health care costs down, since many on a frugal budget are under insured or not insured.

    Here is a food pyramid based upon research by the American Dietetic Association. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Vegan_food_pyramid.svg

    Most people mistakenly believe we need milk, too, especially while growing. but in fact, the protein can come from other whole grains and legumes and nuts, and the calcium can come from legumes, seeds and greens. As I said I was raised by a dietitian, only to find out I could not digest milk and it caused many, many health problems. Families can reduce their food budget if they realize they don’t really need this food, as Dr. Campbell and the American Dietetics Association now ascertain. http://www.eatright.org/about/content.aspx?id=8357

    So please, I encourage you to create a healthier low cost menu plan that is 100 % plant based. You can get some ideas here form the 3 week 21-day vegan kickstart menu plan. http://pcrm.org/kickstartHome/mealplan/index.cfm

    Best regards,

    Susan

    The human body stops producing enzymes to break down milk around the age of 2. So people can save money by letting go of the milk. You can make almond milk or sesame milk with a blender, some water and a pair of new pantyhose to strain it. Add a little sugar and a pinch of salt and some vanilla.

  31. Andie Lipcon says

    LOVE the idea of this website, But I too am having a hard time reducing my food budget due to what I can eat. I have to adhere to the Candida Diet in order to stay healthy. Which is NO yeast producing foods. If I don’t the Medical bills and RX’s will destroy or budget. I have a hard time finding ways do live cheap on an ORGANIC diet… I am doing a bunch of things now, but I am out of time and out of money… I find it very hard to be forced to eat over processed foods with no nutritional value. Do you have any tips for me?

  32. Mary says

    I hope HBHW will consider purging old comments. The thread drifted into a long pointless “discussion” of food aid programs that are not necessary to or referenced in the menu plan. There is definitely a need to discuss food aid, but this is not the place. I hope to see more posts with reviews of the plan and the recipes, and hopefully comments will include substitutions and elaborations on the plan and and the recipes.

  33. says

    I really love the hard work that you have put into these menu plans. I want to be able to do this for my family. I want to know how many hours it took you to write up all of this. Its great.
    Thanks,
    Sugar

  34. Don says

    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.

    Don

  35. Lisa says

    I just wanted to say that I went shopping at the Dollar Tree and found MANY of the items listed in this $70.00 menu. Some things I did substitute like bacon end and pieces because the $ store doesn’t carry it BUT they DO carry pork links. I bought several boxes. They also carry beans both dried and canned so I bought several of those. I bought bread and 2 jars of jelly and I bought 2lbs of spaghetti along with huge cans of Tomato Sauce. I found shredded cheese as well. I bought a glass jar of mushrooms to go along with my homemade spaghetti sauce as well as Parmesan cheese. I bought 6 cans of tuna and 6 packs of hot-dogs. I bought the Worcestershire sauce and crushed red pepper flakes. I also found Boston Baked Beans and bought a few cans of those. I bought several other items as well. With all the items I bought I am able to have 2 weeks worth of good meals all for $83.00 Not Bad at all!!!!

  36. Lisa says

    I also went to another store and found some items on sale like 3 heads of lettuce for .99 cents. I also found other fresh veggies and fruits on sale to add to my menu. I spent an additional 54.00. So altogether I spent between the $ store and the other store $137.00. I only shop every 2 weeks so this is $68.50 per week for a family of three (including a growing teen age boy who is almost 6 feet tall) BELOW the $70.00 and with the fresh fruit I make smoothies to add to the meals or for a snack.
    With the lentils I also make a Lentil Loaf which I like better than meat loaf and I also add Lentils to my spaghetti sauce. You can also make veggie burgers using any of the beans and veggies you may have so it is a healthy diet. If you do buy the molasses you can also add a teaspoon of that into your milk for you and your children. It is delicious and VERY nutritious having a good source of calcium and iron. Even the Ramen Noodles can be can be used in various ways so they are versatile. And don’t be afraid to eat left overs for breakfast as well!

  37. Lisa says

    Also when it comes to the issue of Food Stamps at this point 43 million Americans are on Food Stamps according to the latest news. With the economy the way it is and with people loosing their jobs I am glad there is a safety net! It could happen to anyone of us! If someone is abusing the right to use food stamps then it is up to the person who knows about this to report the fraud. That way tax payers $$ are not being wasted on those who really don’t need them and could be given to those who really could use them. In my state they are trying to cut away from the Federal Government so they can cut out Food and Medical assistance to the poor….how scary is that? Think about the impact that will have on states across the country. If this state successfully is able to cut from the Federal Government nothing will be sacred and other states may just follow suit. This means that ALL states can then cut ANY Federal monies they want. Not only the Food Stamp program but Medicare, Medicaid and other programs for low income families! Think about the Elderly and programs covered under the Medicaid Program, think about saying goodbye to those free lunches (Federally Funded) from school cafeterias Think about the WIC Program being cut, think about Nursing Homes and Assisted Living places no longer serving meals to the Elderly because those programs are also cut because the food program is Federally Funded. The food program also includes day-cares where these meals and snacks are also Federally Funded. I say it is time to stock up as much food as you can, plant your garden if possible (even those Topsy Turvey hanging gardens are great for apartments and patios. If you live in an apartment you can hang them from windows) and Batten Down the Hatches we are in for a rough ride….

  38. Shell says

    Hi Susanne,

    I love your website. The recipes are all great. So are the tips. My heart goes out to the people I am hearing about here, especially the ones with children.

    There are a lot of good people trying to alleviate the hunger problem. 17 million children are at risk for hunger or actually go to bed hungry every day. 50 million families are at risk and aren’t sure about how they will feed their families.

    If those of you who can afford even a $10 dollar donation will go to the food network and donate, you could help a child. Food Network.com/hunger.

    I also have seen parents, (in supermarkets) deny their children certain things, so they could buy alcohol and or cigarettes. It breaks my heart. But, for every one of those, there are at least ten of the good parents who sacrifice their own needs to make sure their children are safe and healthy. I applaud those parents.

  39. Counting Bear says

    Growing up in W Virginia, one learns to be frugal. I have used ideas off this site to assist the poor in Texas. I am doing it again in Nevada, I can’t stop. Food is expensive all over, preparing food the Hillbilly way will save money, and be good for your health. There is too much fat, sugar, sodium, and all kinds of chemicals in prepared food, why not prepare it yourself? I read the ingredients on a pan of cornbread recently, the second ingredient was sugar. Huh? I thought it was cornbread! Shopping is a long chore for me due to all the reading. LOL I’ve been in the kitchen most of my life, cooking is 2nd nature for me. I lost the 2007? version of this menu, it is now saved on my HD. Thanks again

  40. Andrea says

    I’ve read alot of the comments above. The fact is,you just never know what is going to happen in life. 3 years ago,I was married and my then husband and I had just built a brand new house in the country with a wrap around porch and a custom built kitchen. 4 months later,all of my belongings were in boxes and I and our kids(they were1and 2 yr olds) were told to “go to your Mom’s”.Because he didn’t have the “warm fuzzies” anymore. The day I drove to my Mom’s I had no money at all(he gave me nothing),I just had the gas in my tank. My parents church gave me $200 for milk and diapers for the kids. I then had to go sign up for WIC and Foodstamps.It was an enormously humbling experience and later I had to sign up for Families First(Welfare) which I promptly got off of when a few times they kept my entire child support check and gave me $46 to live off of till my next check came.I decided I’d figure out a way to deal and just live by faith rather than be stuck in a situation like that again. My income is less than $800 a month,we have to live with my parents because with my youngest not in full time school(there is a waiting list for public pre-k here)…I have to stay at home because if I worked (1 all my income would go towards daycare(2 where we live there isn’t a daycare I would trust with my children. I get $300 in foodstamps a month.That is barely sufficent, because myself and my kids have severe food allergies. Wheat and cows milk mostly. One half gallon of almond milk is $3.89(Almond is better for you than Soy which can cause a spike in estrogen levels).I have 2 very strong,healthy,growing large boys,they can go through almost 2 gallons a week. Wheat free pasta is $3.00-4.00 a bag as opposed to the $1-2 for regular. Wheat free bread(which is hard to make unless you buy the mix which is $5 a box) is $5-6 a loaf.They eat fruit alot for snacks. I am dreading the day my youngest gets off of WIC,because a significant list of things for my groceries will be gone. I can buy a pack of chicken legs and it’ll be gone pretty quick.I would limit or try to fill them up with fillers but they eat the fillers too and they and they are growing.They grew 6″ in the first year we were on WIC. So…Just be aware,you never know what will happen to you.I thought I’d be in my house for the next 30 years,growing my garden,teaching my piano students in my music room.Now I don’t even have a piano that is tuned. Be thankful for what you have and help eachother.

    • The Hillbilly Housewife says

      Thank you for sharing with us, Andrea. It’s sad that we have to remind folks that “There, but for the Grace of God, go I.” If anyone has really good ideas for filling, healthy, and inexpensive meals for growing children who have wheat and milk allergies, please post them here. Thank you.

  41. Jane says

    Do not overlook the value in sprouting. For vitamin and mineral value sprouts cannot be beat. There are many recipes out there and sprouting is something anyone can do with little money and a quart jar and patience and the willingness to learn. The seeds are not that expensive compared to what you reap in food quanity. It is by far the “cheapest” way to garden and you don’t need good weather and sunshine to do it.

    • The Hillbilly Housewife says

      Thank you for the tip, Jane. I like how you call sprouting a cheap way to garden. I’ve never really thought of sprouting as gardening, but will from now on! Thank you! Here is a simple link to help anyone who wants to learn how to make your own “Sprout Garden.”
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sprouting

  42. Jen S. says

    I LOVE your whole website!!! My husband and I are a military family and on a tight budget. We try to eat as healthy as we can because of the strict rules the army has about weight. When we very first started this menu my husband lost weight!!! After we went through the first 2 weeks on this meal plan I decided to go back to eating chicken and veggies for every meal. My husband HATES doing that. So he begged me to go back to your meal plan. So we have been following the plan for 2 weeks again. I love having the fresh bread, the coleslaw and everything else. The only thing we do different really is the salmon. We are not big fish eating people so we decided to do my chicken and veggies on that one night. Thank you so much for all the effort you put into this site. I can’t wait to explore it some more!!!

  43. Beth says

    I found out about you a long time ago, but I continue to come back and read your basics fairly often. I actually appreciate the comments, along with the discussions of food aid program. I like knowing what is going on; for example, I was able to see that our monthly food budget was way lower than the Food Stamp program allowance is for a family of our size.

    I like to feel encouraged by the suggestions on this site and a lot of it reminds me how good old fashioned memories and methods from childhood. Makes me feel like I have a “can do” attitude!

    BTW, I was a licensed social worker for many years. It used to be that there was a big gap between the folks who had, and those who had not, as well as the causes. In this day in age, it could be anyone, for any reason.

    Thank you for everything you do!

    • The Hillbilly Housewife says

      Thank you, Beth. I really appreciate the time you have taken out of your day to read and share your thoughts.

  44. Kathy says

    I noticed no one mentioned getting meat by hunting. In my area of the country (middle Tennessee) there is no shortage of hunters or deer to hunt. I put out the word that I will take any deer that the hunter doesn’t want for himself and last year I put 7 deer in my freezer! Some deer I get already butchered and ready to go but even if I have to go pick it up, take it to the butcher, pay for it and pick it up I still end up getting good lean organic meat for easily less than $2lb. I have everything but the choice piece ground up that way it goes farther and is more versatile. We haven’t eaten beef in years and we are all very healthy. I have found that alot of hunters like to hunt but once they get that first deer or two they don’t know what to do with the rest so they are more than happy to give them to someone who can really make use of the meat.
    A side note of encouragement: I too get scared when I go grocery shopping or work on our budget but I always remember who is in control and then I put away my fear and use the energy to praise Him for what we do have which is usually more than we need anyway!

  45. Mandy says

    I read all the comments and by and large found them heartwarming. It is so nice to see so many people who are intelligent, frugal, and kind to their fellow human. Thank you Susanne and all who posted here for blessing me!

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