Feeding Five People on $100 a Week: Grocery List and Menu for May 12, 2014

First off, I have a confession to make: we had an over-budget expense of pizza this past week.

Gasp! How did that that happen?

It was like this: My friend and her little boy came for a visit and brought three pizzas with them. She and her two-year-old son ate about three slices total, whilst my crew inhaled at least a pie and-a-half. I couldn’t exactly let her spend $15 on pizza and then turn around and let us eat it all without paying her. So, I gave her $10 from other funds.

Bad girl, I know, but manners and common decency prevailed.

As promised in my last post, here’s my top money-saving tip at the grocery store: USE CASH ONLY. I’m a huge fan of Dave Ramsey, but we started using cash for our groceries only a few months ago. The savings have been significant. Using cash forces you to plan your expenses very carefully, as you have no debit card to fall back on. I can honestly say that I am much more careful with my menu planning, shopping, and spending now than I ever was, because we all know that when you run out of cash, you’re out and have to stop spending whether you like it or not.

Crystal Paine over at Money-Saving Mom wrote a great post on the subject. Another great post about reducing your monthly grocery budget is here. And this is a post by a woman who reduced her monthly grocery bill by $150 just by switching to cash, which mirrors my thoughts about the subject.

Also, as promised, I want to address the question of milk, as this is not something you are seeing regularly on my weekly shopping list.

So. Milk.

Have you seen how expensive it’s been lately? I’ve also noticed that it seems to go on sale with less frequency these past few months. Milk has been eating a huge hole in our weekly budget, sometimes gobbling up to 18% of available funds. So we switched to powdered milk a few weeks ago.

I know what you’re thinking: Ewww!

But hear me out! Powdered milk has come a long way since it traumatized me as a kid way back in 1982 or so. It tastes better. We’ve been buying the Daily Chef brand from Sam’s Club and it’s palatable. However, it is essential that you follow the directions to maximize the good taste: mix it up the night before and store it in a glass container.

What are the savings like?

Truthfully, I resisted switching for a long time because gallon for gallon, powdered milk is only about $1 cheaper than regular. However, we don’t guzzle it like we did with regular milk. My son does, but my two girls now prefer water to powdered milk, which is cheap and healthy and fine by me. We do have it on our cereal and in our coffee and I use it to cook with, but we still only go through about 1/2 – 1 gallon of it every week. This produces the most significant savings. Whereas we were going through $14-$18 of regular milk every week, we are now consuming only about $1.40 – $2.76 of milk every week. This is big and to us, worth it.

My menu is again, family favorites. Right now there are only a handful, but I am slowly expanding my repertoire as we try and like new recipes every week. But I am picky and my two girls are too, so a meal has to be pretty darn good to get added to the rotation.

This Week’s Dinner Menu

Brinner (breakfast for dinner), served at least once maybe twice

Spaghetti made with my new favorite sauce and served with salad

Taco Soup served with salad and fruit cocktail. I add 1 lb. browned ground beef to the soup and substitute beef broth in place of the chicken broth. I also make my own taco seasoning using this recipe, which takes two minutes to make and saves money.

Rosemary White Bean Soup served with crackers and fruit

Pasta with a new marinara sauce recipe I’m trying this week and fruit or maybe roasted broccoli served alongside

Zesty Spanish Rice Chicken Soup – also a new recipe I’m trying this week, sides undecided

Crockpot Thai Peanut Chicken – another new recipe for us, served over rice with fruit cocktail.

Breakfast will include the usual offering: oatmeal, Cheerio’s, eggs, toast, grits. Me and the kids usually eat oatmeal every morning, but sometimes my husband likes to eat something different as he gets up several hours later than we do (he works nights).

Lunches will be leftovers, sandwiches or breakfast items.

Snacks will be fresh fruit or cheese with crackers.

Here’s what my shopping list looked like this week:

old-fashioned oatmeal

diced tomatoes

stewed tomatoes

tomato sauce

Tomato paste


peanut butter

soy sauce

brown sugar








bell peppers


white wine

ground chuck


heavy whipping cream

spaghetti noodles

gala apples


Here’s my Walmart Receipt:

Walmart Receipt

And my Walmart purchases (sorry about the background mess):

Walmart Purchases

Here’s my Sam’s Club Receipt:

Sam's Club Receipt

And my Sam’s Club purchases:

Sam's Club Purchases

Here’s my discount Bread store receipt:

Bread Store Receipt

And my discount bread store purchases:

Discount Bread Store Purchases

I also stopped by the farmer’s market for bell peppers, but either was not given a receipt or lost it. Good thing I remember the total: $5.35. I guess you’ll just have to take my word for it. 🙂

Farmer’s market purchases:

farmer's market purchases

So, adding up every thing, my grand weekly total for groceries comes out to $98.01.

One thing I was a bit shocked about was how costly our favorite salsa (Pace Chunky Medium) has gotten. So, I’ve been pinning salsa recipes like crazy and will hopefully be experimenting in the coming weeks. If you have a great recipe to share, please do so!







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