First Person: 9 People, 1 Week, $50

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As a blended family of nine, we go through a lot of food. We have had weeks where the grocery bill came close to $300. Due to a bad motorcycle accident that occurred a few months ago, the money coming in the house has been cut by nearly 50%. In order to keep the bills paid, we have had to cut back on things like groceries. We decided to forgo major shopping for one week, and only spend $50. This is how we managed to get through the week, and how there was still money left over at the end.

Use the food in the house

We had a cabinet full of soups, pasta, and a wide variety of canned fruits and veggies. We decided we would use only the food we had in the house before buying anything extra. Dinners consisted of chili, egg salad sandwiches, submarine sandwiches, soup, and burgers on the grill. Lunches were made from the soups we had stocked in the cabinet, and sandwiches were always nearby if chosen. Breakfast was either frozen pancakes or cereal, nothing too fancy.

What we bought

We had to buy bread and milk twice during the week. With nine people in a house, these things get used quickly. We spent $5 on bread total, and got six loaves. There is a toddler in the mix of the nine of us, and milk is his beverage of choice. We ended up buying three gallons of milk, for a total cost of $5. In the midst of making everything, we ran out of some produce. Bananas, lettuce, and tomatoes were bought in order to complete the meals. This cost us close to $10. Since four members of the family pack lunches for either school or work, we had to buy lunch foods for them. We spent a total of $25 on meats, snacks, and drinks. After everything was said and done for the week, $45 was spent on things we needed to get us through.

What we learned

It is completely possible to save money on things like groceries when you are in a financial bind. We knew that we could not give up buying groceries, instead we allowed ourselves to use the food we had on hand and spent less than $50 for the entire week.

Stocking up on things when we have a little extra can only put us ahead for the weeks when we need to limit the available funds for groceries. I never believed it was possible to feed nine people for a week on $50, but we did it, with just $5 left over.

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