Saturday, January 14, 2012

How To Eat on $10 A Week

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The focus for 2012 on this blog is going to be filling our pantry on a tight budget.  I am going to use the word pantry more than the word food storage because we are counseled to have a 3-month supply of food that we normally eat.  Food storage isn't about mysterious #10 cans in the basement for "just in case" scenarios.

With getting food storage for less on my mind I was so excited to see that Honeyville Grain was having a free class on "How to Eat on $10 A Week:  A 10 Step Guide to Living on Less", taught by Cindi Van Bibber.  Cindi has written a few books on cooking with wheat, eating more vegetables and sprouting, but eating on $10 a week is her new book.  You can get more information by checking our her blog HERE.
Cindi teaching her Veggies With a Side Of Fruit Class at Honeyville Grain.
 The whole idea behind Cindi's guide is to work hard for 6 months at building up your food storage and after the 6 month mark you'll be able to use that storage for daily living.  Once you have stored food and supplies for 6 months the shopping you do will be to maintain the storage you have.  That's how you can get your price point down to $10 a week per person for food.  

A 10 Step Guide to Living on Less: By Cindi Van Bibber

Step 1:  Find Your Average
  • Go through every bill you pay in a year.  Make a budget by dividing the money coming in by 12, subtract the bills you pay and this will be your monthly average. Now you will need to make a list of everything you would probably purchase in one year.  This includes household supplies, food, snacks, toiletries, etc.
  • Looking at a list of everything you buy will allow you to cross off the unnecessary items.  Cindi suggests that you quit buying snacks.  Think of how much a box of 10 granola bars costs.  I know they are around $2.50 on sale.  I have 5 kids and that box of granola bars would last 2 days at my house if they ate one a day.  I can make a whole tray of granola bars that last a week or so for much less!!
  • By making a list and setting a budget you can see where your money is going and also where you can cut out the extra spending.
Step 2:  Work With Half
  • In step one you should have come up with a number for your household budget, the monthly average.  This will include food and household supplies.  Say you have $600 a month for that.  You are going to cut that budget in half and work with it.  The first half ($300) is going to be for groceries and the second half ($300) is going to be for getting food storage, birthday/wedding gifts, and saving.  
  • You're going to live like this for 6 months and build up your food supply.  If you need more money for groceries you can use some money from the second half of the budgeted money.  After 6 months you will have built up a livable supply and now you can go into maintaining mode.  
  • Watch the grocery store sales and use the case lot sales to buy food in bulk for the lowest price.  Having a price point list of the food you use along with the lowest prices you have paid listed will help you stay within budget. Also if you come across a good deal or a great clearance buy more than one to have on hand for birthdays or wedding presents. This money can come out of the second half of your household budget.  If you find a great price on chicken, use the second half of the budget money and not the grocery money.
  • After 6 months the second half of your household budget money can be used to start saving for bigger ticket items like a food dehydrator, wheat grinder, mixer, etc.  Or for emergency money.
Step 3:  Make A List
  • Make and use a weekly calendar of the meals for the week with the cookbook page numbers or where the recipe is found.  Knowing what you have on hand will save you from running to the store and spending more money.  The stress of making dinner every night is also eliminated. 
  • Make a yearly list of birthdays etc. and have the money set aside for the gifts.  Or buy toys or generic gifts on clearance and save.  
Step 4:  Plan Ahead
  • Plan your meals around your food storage.
  • Have gifts on hand for unexpected birthdays or weddings.  Finding gifts on clearance and thinking ahead for an event will save you money.
Step 5:  Learn To Cook
  • Know how to use your kitchen and the items in it.
  • Know how to cook with your stored food.
  • Have the correct utensils to make cooking easier.  If you need a whisk or spatula go get it!
  • Do whatever it takes to know how to cook!!  Look online or take a few classes.
  • Learn to sprout to have fresh veggies when your budget is tight.
Step 6:  Implement Your Learning
  • Don't just learn about food storage...use it in your everyday life.
  • Store what you what you store!!
Step 7:  Share What You Learn
  • When you share something you are learning about it becomes a part of who you are.  You take ownership over it and it becomes a part of you.
  • Be excited about what you are doing and others will too.  (the kids included)
  • Others may have problems or questions just like you and together you can find answers.  (I personally wouldn't know half of what I know with out the information I get from attending classes at Honeyville Grain.)  They don't pay me for the name dropping, I really do learn so much from the classes.  Look online for information if there isn't a local resource. 
 Step 8:  Rotate & Replenish
  • Writing the date on a can will make it easier to see when it expires.  Keep track of what you have and don't waste your hard earned money.  
  • Keep replenishing what you use.
Step 9:  Save
  • After you have been storing food for 6 months with your budget from step 2, start saving for emergencies.  Don't use  your $$ for extras like boats, cars, TVs, etc.  
  •  Use the extra money for saving or to help you live.  (wheat grinders, dehydrators, Bosch mixer, extra food storage, emergency supplies)
Step 10:  Refinement
  • There is always room for improvement. 
  • Keep progressing!!
"Have Faith, Unencomber Your Life, Lay Up In Store."  -Keith B. McMullen


  1. when I read this article I was upset because there is no way I have $300 a month to do anything you have suggested. I am on a tight budget. I am not frivolous with my money. My income is lees than $900/month. I take the bus when I have to shop. I am paying off debts and the cost of food and well, pretty much evrything on the planet is going so high I can scarcely afford it. I saw a 15oz jar of Miracle Whip for $4.99... and the 3x larger one was a dollar less. So those of us who don't or cant buy the larger are penalized for not buying the big guy in the first place. HB $4.00+/lb. Eating is getting very costly. I love PB & J but not THAT much. So, if I am spending most of my money on bills and taking the bus as it is, and I don't have a car other wise I would be buying in bulk when sales come up, And eat .How can I save any food for the future? Food I can barely afford to buy in the first place. I can't carry much as I have a bad knee that hurts a great deal when I carry more. There is Tendonitis in one wrist and the other hand holds onto a cane. So please and I mean this respectfully, show me how to do these things because I need help to figure this out.

  2. I am sorry you feel so overwhelmed!! My advice would be to watch the grocery sales very closely. Right now my Kroger store has mayo for $1.99. That is when I buy at least one extra jar of it. That is just one example of how I afford to buy food for the 7 of us in my family. I watch the grocery sales for every item that we buy and I wait until it is at it's lowest price before I buy it. You have to look ahead and know what you eat and prepare so you know what to buy at the store when it is on sale. And most importantly, if you can only afford one extra can at a time, that is how you will get it done for you!! Everyone is different and we all have different situations. "A case if you can....a can if you can't" Small steps will get you to your goal. It sounds like you need to purchase only a few things at a time, maybe set a goal to buy one extra can or item every time you go to the store. Maybe look over what you are cooking and change it up a little bit. Try to include more meatless dinners. They are cheaper and healthier for you. Homemade soups are also a great way to get great nutrition and save money at the same time. I don't know if you are cooking from scratch but that will save money as well. The $300 example above was just an "example". That number will depend on how much you have to spend after bills every month. For many people that won't be very large sum at all and I understand that. I hope this helps you a little in being able to store a few food items. And I apologize that I just saw this comment. Take care!!

  3. Look I have to eat whatever I can for $15 a week and I do miracles. Lots 1 carton eggs, 1 bag onions, 1 cabbage 1 small bag carrots, to make soup, coffee, and I do not buy mayo, butter, milk, cheese, pasta, rice, bread, etc. Maybe a few peanuts and 2 cans of tuna if on special.

  4. Hi anonymous I know how you feel I'm on a tight budget as well. I don't know where you live but there are some stores where you can buy bulk items like flour,rice,pasta,beans grains spices etc. so I buy as much as I need no minimum weight required example I bought .75 cents worth of brown rice I got almost a pound less than the pre-bagged stuff. One of the stores that comes to mind is WINCO and a lot of of health food stores sell bulk items I don't buy anything out of the Health food stores because they can be quite expensive but I will get bulk items there. I hope this helps and know that unless someone has walked in our shoes they wont understand what it's like to be on a budget and for us there is no such thing as buying extra anything for the future. God Bless

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  6. This person cannot even answer the question
    $40.00 Monthly budget is what you are working with
    Here is your shopping list
    beans, lentils and rice
    imitation vanilla flavoring
    dozen medium eggs- purchase one dozen every two weeks to ensure freshness
    self rising flour
    cheap vegetable oil
    chicken bullion
    self rising cornmeal
    Tang store brand equivalent make sure it has 100% vitamin C
    salt iodized
    Cheap store brand butter flavor syrup
    dehydrated milk
    Spinach fresh or fresh frozen

    Menu as follows
    Breakfast -make vanilla pancakes with one whole egg, vegetable oil, sugar, vanilla, and re-hydrated milk. Drink 8 oz Tang.
    Provides essential B vitamins, vitamin C and protein, fatty acids, complex carbohydrates

    Lunch- Lentil soup with cornbread Drink 8 OZ glass of re-hydrated Milk.
    Make your Lentil soup with Chicken bullion. make cornbread with vegetable oil, one whole egg, re-hydrated milk
    Provides essential carbs, protein, calcium, vitamin D, fiber
    Add fresh spinach if you can score some cheap. Spinach is a nutrient dense food

    Dinner- beans and rice with biscuits, Drink 8 oz re-hydrated milk
    Make your beans and rice with chicken bullion, salt
    Make biscuits with one whole egg, veg oil, flour, salt.
    Beans are cheap so use variety and make your menu as dynamic as possible.
    Add greens if you can. They are rich in iron and phytonutrients that are essential to your health

    This plan provides 100% of nutritional requirements while avoiding trans fats and limiting saturated fats
    You get cholesterol from the eggs, but this has been shown to contribute to cell wall construction and repair.
    Researchers from Harvard looked at the dietary habits of more than 100,000 people and concluded that daily egg consumption in healthy individuals didn’t increase risk of coronary heart disease. [...a study from the University of Connecticut found that eating three eggs per day as part of a low carbohydrate regimen improved HDL -- the "good" cholesterol -- without any negative health effects (Livestrong).

  7. I know that this is a years old post. However, for anybody with physical limitations, many grocery stores do deliver now. Even Amazon sells a lot of grocery items that can be ordered and delivered by your mailman or UPS driver. That would be very helpful for those with physical limitations.


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