Soup Kitchen

So. I've been thinking about writing this particular blog for a while. And believe me. You are going to think I'm crazy....

I promise.

Especially Miriah..... :)

Mainly because who do I think I am? The Pioneer Woman??? I don't think so...

But, recently there have been a couple conversations that I've been a part of where my grocery budget has come up.

The first time was at a jewelry party. The host, one of my dearest friends, is a full-time working mother. And good grief her plate is full.

She is also going back to school.

She is busy.

To say it lightly.

Well, she asked for a few crockpot recipes and we were talking about options for her to make quick, healthy, homemade meals when she got home from work that wouldn't make the task of cooking seem so hopeless.

Before in this blog. Like... A year ago... I recommended E-Mealz. It's a service online that plans your weakly meals for you and provides and easy to use shopping list.

I mean. It's fantastic.

You pay six dollars a month, or something like that and then you pick your menu plan. Like all your meals can follow the Weight Watchers system, or Gluten-Free or Low-fat or just normal. Whatever you want!

And the grocery list is usually around $90/week.

So. I suggested that to my friend and then the jewelry lady who I JUST LOVE! Was like, Hey! I use that it's amazing!!! Do you use it Rachel???

And I had to be honest. And actually.... it's kind of embarrassing... Even now... But I was like, Um. No. Those menus are too expensive for my family, I can feed my fam a lot cheaper.

And then that got the attention of the room and they were like... WHAT??? You can feed your family of five cheaper than $90/week.

And the answer is yes. I can. Like try $50/week. Which sounds crazy. Even now.... It sounds crazy.

Plus, there might not be a huge difference to other people in forty dollars a week difference. But that is $160 over the month and that is a ton of money to my family.

Ok, so then... I was working. At the maternity store... Which, I am going to have to start blogging stories from there!!! Because I work with this third year medical student and she has some of the GREATEST stories from the hospital!!

Like a C-section that delivered surprise twins!!! They didn't know there were twins and the doctor was like, Am I crazy here??? Like what is this??

Oh. Another baby!!!

Anyways, she is married, but they have no kids. And she's of course struggling just because she's going to Med-School. So we talk about the joys of poverty a lot and what we do to like scrape by and tricks of the trade.

Well. A couple of weeks ago, Zach and I sold something that gave us a little bit of extra money. Like. We knew we would make it to payday and there would actually be something leftover. Kind of a big deal for us... So. We decided to take the kids out to eat.

Lets be honest right now.

Before that Sunday in October... We hadn't taken the kids out ourselves since last March, during Stella's dance competition when it was kind of necessary to eat during the day.

Ok, like my mom has taken us out to eat. And Zach and I have gone out to eat alone for dates. But as a family we hadn't in a long time. Obviously, a VERY long time.

So. We found this fantastic restaurant where kid's eat free Sunday nights and decided to splurge. And I don't mean Ihop, like Granite City if you know what that is, I think it's a chain.... (This blog is turning out to be way more honest than I anticipated....)

The kids LOVED it of course, and we had just a fantastic time. Ok. So anyways, to the point. I was telling this girl about it and I was like, it just never makes sense for us to all go out to eat because I can feed my family for like $5/meal.

And she was like, But even THAT adds up if you have to spend $25 for the whole meal every day.

And I was like. No, I don't mean $5 per person. I mean $5 per meal to feed my whole family.

And here is this med student who is like, Um what??? I don't understand..... She seriously just looked at me like I am crazy!

So, I actually had to think it out and go over my meals and convince myself again that yes, my family eats for about $5/meal.

Now. There are special meals that we spend a little more on. And ESPECIALLY game days. Zach likes little appetizers and what not to snack on.

But that's the average.

And I should also say, that we don't eat canned foods(Except for tomatoes, like sauces, diced or stewed or what not), everything I cook is either fresh or frozen. although NOT organic, but I'm cooking it anyways.... And I don't cook anything out of boxes, except for pasta and rice.

What I mean, is I don't make hamburger helper from the box, or Stouffers Lasagna or pasta meals(But mainly because those are expensive.)

So. When I came home and was sharing this with Zach, even HE thought I was crazy.

And now that you have all read it, I know that YOU think I am crazy.


I've decided to write up a little one week menu-planner and SHOW you how my meals are so cheap.

And hey, if you're doing it cheaper than this I would LOVE ideas! Always looking for ways to save money!

I should make some stipulations for this list. I never buy anything unless it's on sale. And/or I can price match it. Also. Most of my meals make Left-Over Lunches for Zach the next day. Actually almost ALL of them do. Otherwise he usually gets stuck with a banana and a bologna sandwich.

PS. I hate Bologna!! The smell of it makes me physically sick. But he actually LIKES it. Purchasing it has nothing to do with Poverty at this point. He just wants to eat it.

So. Gross.

This is not an all-inclusive grocery list. This is ONLY dinner meals and most of the lunches. I'm still going to have to purchase breakfast items, some lunch stuff, fresh fruit and all other amenities.


And. Ice Cream. I just need ice cream.

Oh and also, I am not including the cost of spices, or oil and butter....

And. Although this is for a family of Five, three of us are children, and one is a baby. Although, in reality Stryker eats a WHOLE lot more than Scarlett. She's two. And Eats maybe one good meal a day.

Here. We. Go.

Sunday: CrockPot Pork Butt. Mashed Potatoes. Green Beans. The pork butt I will have gotten on sale for $1.88/lb, so the total cost will be $9.40, But it will feed us for three meals, so the cost of this dinner is $3.13. A five pound bag of potatoes is $3.99 and will also feed us for three meals. So the cost of potatoes is $1.33 and the frozen Green Beans were 16 oz. for 92 cents or something like that. Making the Total $5.38. (Side note: I do add a splash of milk and a half tbsp. butter to my mashed potatoes, so you can round that out to be $6 if you want.)

Monday: Left over Pulled Pork Butt Tacos (Lettuce, Tomatoes, Sauteed Peppers and Onion and Cheese. Maybe a jalapeno). Can of Refried Beans (I do go canned here.). Spanish Rice. Pulled Pork $3.13. Canned Beans $1.92. and Rice 72 cents. (The smallest size is enough for my fam bam plus left overs...) Add in the cost of half an onion at 50 cents, half a pepper at 50 cents, a tomato for a dollar, and part lettuce and cheese for lets say a dollar, tortillas for 50 cents because I'm dividing the package by three and maybe some salsa, this is going to be one of my more expensive meals....) The total comes out to $8.27.

Tuesday. BBQ Pork Sandwiches. Baked Beans. Corn. $3.13 for pork, plus half a bottle of BBQ sauce that I will have bought on sale for 99 cents, so 50 cents, and half a package of buns at $1.99/package will be $1. Plus the Baked Beans and Corn respectivally at 99 cents for the small thing of grillin' beans, and 92 cents for the corn. Total: $6.54

Ok, so the beginning part of this week is expensive. I'm going to have to cut the cost to make up for it in the rest of the week.

Wednesday: Oven Roasted Chicken. Baked Potatoes. Peas. Chicken is $4.50 but will make two meals. So, $2.25 for one night. Potatoes will be $1.33. And the frozen peas 92 cents. Make it an even $5.00 with an onion on top of the chicken.

Thursday: Left Over Chicken Pasta. Chicken will be $2.25. A can of sauce is 99 cents. Box of pasta roughly 80 cents depending on the sale that week. To my sauce I will saute a third of a green pepper and onion and add about half a cup of half and half to the sauce so let's add a Dollar. And then frozen corn on the side or thrown in with it for 92 cents. Total is.... $5.96

Friday: Leftovers. Now the great thing about Pasta meals for us, is that it makes two meals. So the next day I had four ounces of shredded Mozerella cheese (Obviously just the store brand kind) at 86 cents and that's the cost of our meal. So. 86 cents.

Saturday: Steaks! Fried Potatoes. And A Salad from the lettuce we bought for tacos! Judge ALLLLL you want. But Zach is a master of the grill. So. Our Steaks are not T-bones. Or NY Strips. They are charcoal steaks and you can get two of those at any Dillions/Bakers/Kroger stores for $2.21 for 2. He seasons them... Grills them... And then he must use magic on them because we get steak in restaurants and I still have yet to find one better than his. $50/steak or no. $1.33 for the Potatoes. 50 cents for the onion that goes with. And $1.50 for the Salad with toppings. Total..... $5.54.

All together that comes to......... $38.17 for meals for the week!!! That actually comes out more to $5.45 per meal than an even $5 but close enough right!

And I have to say, that menu is not very imaginative... but I had to use those potatoes since I bought them! :) Other weeks, instead of pasta with the left over chicken I do Chicken Curry over Rice. Or instead of Pork Tacos, we do BBQ Pork Nachos. Um, instead of steaks by themselves I will sautee the steaks and do mongolian beef over rice with green onions. Or a giant southwest chicken salad.... or whatever!

You kind of have to get creative with your meals. And avoid like expensive meats like hamburger. Or pricey steaks. Go for things like Chicken thighs and quarters are SUPER cheap. Chicken thighs are $5.00 for a package but that will make three meals for us. Bakers A LOT of times has like buy one, get one free on roasts. Well, think of two roasts as six different meals (Even if you have to freeze one, which I always will) and the average cost of a roast to be like $9. That is $1.50 per meal!

I always utilize my leftovers, although seriously it took me AT LEAST four years to figure that out. And I can't stick to that regiment every week. I mean. I LOVE Asparagus. I do. And sometimes I splurge and pay $2.99 for it... And that totally throws off my budget.

Or. If Zach wants something special... Sometimes like Cheesy Potato Soup gets very expensive, with all the milk and cheese, except that it feeds us for like three days straight.... both lunch and dinner!

And every once in a while, I'll get help from others. Like, right now we have a hundred potatoes that the sweetest, most gracious person sent us, so that cuts the cost down!!

Anyways. Sorry if this was boring!!! But I kind of just wanted to prove to myself I could do it!!! :) And let me know if you have ANY tips to add!!!


Phasellus facilisis convallis metus, ut imperdiet augue auctor nec. Duis at velit id augue lobortis porta. Sed varius, enim accumsan aliquam tincidunt, tortor urna vulputate quam, eget finibus urna est in augue.


  1. Oh my Lord in Heaven.... I read this blog in awe. Like... I'm pretty sure Lulu and I eat out at least once a day.... and that's only because we only eat one meal a day!!! Look at YOU! I need to be thrifty like you! I could save money.... to spend on more dresses!!!!! Lol! But seriously - how do you find time to cook? When we get home at 8 at night from dance... this momma is NOT cooking. And I hate leftovers. Thank goodness I have no man to feed. He'd starve. You are a great cook, though! No microwave and all! :)

  2. PS the Pioneer Woman's stuff is $$$ to make I think!!!! Eeek!

  3. Wait. You don't have a microwave??

    All of this - Very impressive!