Feeding a Family of 3 on $120 a Month

If you have been a long time reader of this blog, you may remember the year that our family of 3 lived on just $80 a month.  I was able to pocket the rest and buy new furniture for my home with the savings!  It was WELL worth the sacrifice and the furniture has special worth to us because of the sacrifice.  People today have forgotten how to sacrifice.  They view sacrifice as the plague and couldn't imagine going without all their heart's desires - whether its weekly manicures, gyms or even daily coffees.  They think if you go without or budget you are somehow down on your luck or struggling to make it.  On the contrary my dear friend!  Continual sacrifice and discipline enables you to develop contenment, enjoy the simple things in life and defeat covetousness.

I wanted to share with you our monthly grocery budget this month.  I budgeted for $120 for the month and was able to make it work this month and I have extra leftover for milk, bananas, etc.  I budgeted $80 for necessity items (toilet paper, deodorant, etc) and only used $55.  I even paid myself 10% of my home management money to my savings for future home item purchases.  Remember, we do a yearly "stock up" but that only averages $20 a month if you added that in.

We could still do the $80 a month plan but let's face it - bean soup isn't that exciting 'eh? $120 seems to hit that sweet spot for us.  We get goodies and still have a few bean meals (they are healthy and good for you after all!) and it works well with the freezer meal cooking.

If you don't plan your meals for the month, you will spend more than if you did.  This, I have learned by experience over the years.  Also, if you don't budget to spend a certain amount, you will buy more.  If you coupon, chances are, you will buy more as well.  You will end up buying name brand items instead of cheaper, generic versions just to save 50 cents.  You will also end up buying things you wouldn't have normally bought in the first place.  Again, this has been our experience with couponing.  I used to do it but it never failed - I would overspend.  If I spend $120 to feed my family each month with homemade snacks and goodies and you spend $300 on processed foods because you had coupons, who is really saving?

Back to groceries, you can see each month the USDA's Food Cost's at home averages here.  I really am blown away by those numbers because if we lived on food stamps, we would be eating WAY more than we do now and that is messed up!  The government thinks a "thrifty" plan for a family of 4 is around $600 a month!  People even whine that that isn't enough but isn't that like our society today?  It is sad but some have to eat upwards from 3,000 calories a day to maintain their weight and we as a nation are getting fatter and fatter.  When does it become a sin and gluttony?  Some food for thought.

I don't feel like we are sacrificing on $120.  I actually feel like this enough for us.  I like eating homemade bread, homemade unprocessed sweets, organic veggies and fruits and healthy meals.  When we spent more a month on food we ate mostly processed, CONVENIENCE foods.  It is very easy to get accustomed to convenience to a point that you lose the patience to even cook or make something homemade, in other words, you become lazy.  Having a got-to-have-it-now mentality is a curse, not a blessing!  You will find if you eat healthy, natural foods you will get fuller on less.  After all, white bread is like eating air and then you are hungry again, whereas whole wheat/whole grain bread fills you up longer.

Last month, we went out to eat a lot and got fast food more often then we ever have and with our vacation we also ate out.  We spent way too much on food!  Restaurant food, fast food and the like - only seem to make me sick, bloated and FAT! lol  We really prefer eating organic and natural whenever possible and eating at home.  It never fails - when I eat McD's - I get sick!  A few years ago, I could eat that stuff and not have any problems but since I started eating "clean" and organic - my body has become accustomed to natural, healthy food and when you throw that nasty, greasy stuff in there - only bad things happen lol.  However, I still love McD's - its an addiction that I'm forever trying to break and thankfully I only eat there 1-2 times a month now, even if that.