This is the fifth week that I have been chronicling our large family journey of eating for just $50 a week. I’m using my weekly CSA share as the backbone of my weekly menu plans, and spending no more than an additional $200 a month to feed my family of six.
I bulk cooked on Friday, using nearly every single item available in the house. After I was finished, there was (literally) a small handful of fresh produce remaining in the house. However, there was now an abundance of prepared food in the fridge for the weekend.
I also decided to bulk order some nutritional yeast, date pieces, oats, and other whole grains this week. To afford to do this within my allotted $200 a month food budget, I used the $60 I had left over from June’s grocery budget and added $50 from this month’s food allowance.
As of this date, July 18th, I have $30 remaining in the July grocery budget. I’m pretty content with what we have in the house, although we are perilously low on nuts (one of the few extravagances in my super tight budget).
I decided to make this a “theme week”, focusing on homestyle favorites, made over to suit our vegan lifestyle.
This week, I tried adding another of the soaked oat breakfasts into our morning routine. The blueberry coconut flavor was good, but it was just too sweet for me (especially early in the morning). I wound up splitting it up into smaller bowls and we ate it later as a snack. The chocolate oats we tried last week met a similar fate. I guess I’m just not a soaked oats person.
For the rest of the week, it was definitely back to our traditional old fashioned oats or cream of wheat early AM meals. We did run out of blueberries on Monday. Despite the dismal nature of the remaining grocery budget, I caved and bought frozen blueberries at SAMS today for my husband.
- $2.00 – Oatmeal (X3) – cheaper this week because we didn’t top it with fruit
- $2.50 – Blueberry Coconut Overnight Soaked Oats (X1)
- $3.00 – Cream of Wheat (X3)
Total cost of breakfast: $7.50
Lunch around our home is nearly always a bowlful of homemade soup, a sandwich (bread spread with peanut butter or homemade hummus), and a piece of fruit for dessert. Honestly, it’s the most simple and least expensive way I have found to feed a hungry crew for on a minimal budget. Not only that, it rocks in the amount of fiber and nutrition that my family gets every single day at noon.
This week’s soups were Italian favorites. Pasta e Fagioli is a very “forgiving” soup. You can add bits and pieces of whatever veggies you have on hand and a few cups of white beans. The soup is always finished off with elbow macaroni (or at least that’s the Americanized version).
The chickpea soup has been a long-time family favorite and is my recipe. I probably created it twenty years ago, inspired by a recipe in my favorite Italian cookbook.
The reason the split pea soup is less than the other two soups is that split peas are dirt cheap, costing even less than the white and garbanzo beans featured in the other two soups. Plus, my husband and oldest son adore this soup! I make it vegan with a splash of liquid smoke and forego the traditional addition of ham.
- $4.00 – Chickpea Soup
- $4.00 – Pasta e Fagioli
- $2.50 – Split Pea Soup
- $4.00 – Homemade Whole Wheat Bread
- $4.00 – Organic Apples
Total Cost of Lunches: $18.50
In keeping with our comfort food theme, I whipped up burgers, meatloaf, buffalo “chicken”, and cornbread for dinner time. We feasted for pennies and enjoyed every minute of it!
This week cauliflower was the star of the show for two nights. I got a gigantic $2.00 head at the market last week. You’ll see that super-saver price reflected in the cost of this week’s entrees.
Savings Pro Shopping Tip: Lower your food bills by shopping smart. When you see over-sized veggies at the farmers market for a great price, grab them. Then, plan your weekly menu around those items.Under the Median – www.underthemedian.com
- $3.00 – Potatoes and Green Beans
- $2.00 – Cornbread
- $4.00 – Southern Style Quinoa and Oat Meatloaf
- $1.50 – Southern Fried Cauliflower “Chicken”
- $1.50 – Sticky Sesame Cauliflower
- $4.00 – Zucchini Potato Casserole
- $4.00 – Ultimate 1/4 Pound Beet Burgers (our favorite!)
- $4.00 – Salad with homemade dressing
- $2.50 – Chickpea and Tomato Salad