My son and I have dairy allergies. Mine are more severe, but his are getting there. He had ice cream this weekend, and ended up throwing up all of his dinner. I get a whole host of issues if I eat dairy. In addition to that, I am allergic to onions, shallots, leeks, garlic, MSG, meat tenderizer, most preservatives, aspartame, and have trouble with my liver/gallbladder that makes it very difficult for me to eat much fat or animal products at all. Don't get me started on the non-food allergies, like latex, cylins, and other stuff. John has acid reflux, so we try to not eat a lot of tomato or acidy stuff. Katelyn pretty much eats it all, but occasionally has stomach issues. I hear from a lot of people, "What all do you eat?!" Well, we eat very well, and we do it all on $90 a week. That's for a family of four, two dogs, two cats, one rabbit now, and a bird. Occasionally, my brother-in-law, who lives with us, will eat with us. I'm going to share how we do it. Obviously, everything I make is without allergens, and I do make just about everything we eat from scratch.
First of all, my budget is actually more like $100-$110 a week. But John puts away $10 or $20 a week for our stock up. Because I have so few things I can eat, when some of them go on sale, we buy them in bulk. Other things just make sense to buy in bulk. We can save more money by doing that. For example, we have 50lbs of brown rice. I bought that at a local food service supply company for $35. That will last us quite a while. I buy my steel cut oats from the bulk food warehouse, and spend less than $1 per pound.
Next, I shop the sales. Tomorrow, I'll be grocery shopping at several stores. I'm blessed in that they are all near each other, so I don't spend a lot of gas money doing that. I'll be buying cereal from Kroger. I only buy a few kinds, and only when they are on sale under $2 a box. Honey Nut Cherrios are on sale for $1.67 each. They have leg quarters on sale for $.59 a pound (although I already bought them a while ago, and have them split up in the freezer). Pretzels are $1 each (even less if I get 11 of the $10 for 10 and get the 11th free) at Meijer. I probably will get the $10 for $10, since they have paper towels on sale too. I use a lot of paper towels in my business and home. I will eventually be transitioning us to cloth wipes for the house, but paper towels are still a large part of my biz. Meijer also has pasta on sale for $.49 a box. SWEET! I eat a lot of pasta. Tuna is 3 for $2, brown sugar is $1.98 (we use this for baking and oatmeal in the mornings). Fruit in juice is $10 for 10, and get the 11th free. I eat pineapple everyday. I also need olive oil, and that's 30% off. There are several other items on sale that I'll look at and see if it's a good deal.
Next are coupons and sure deals. I clip coupons and file them every Sunday. I try to get both the local paper, and the newspaper from the state's largest city. Kroger and Meijer double coupons. Wal-Mart doesn't. So, I see if it's cheaper at Wal-Mart with the coupon. If not, then I take the coupon to one of the other stores, and get it doubled. Wal-Mart also has 2 1/2 dozen large eggs for less that $4 all the time. We eat a lot of eggs here, as well as bake with them.
This all sounds complicated, but after a few weeks, it becomes second nature. Now, since I'm currently not eating meat, and sticking to eggs, fish, veggies, and grains and pasta, I have to make dinners that I can customize for me and the family. Tomorrow's dinner will be nachos - a splurge for John's birthday. I make them with one part meat, two parts beans, and lots of veggies on top. I'll post my shopping trip from tomorrow. I probably won't buy everything that I've mentioned here. We've stocked up quite a bit, and my budget is being cut this week because of last week's party. What I don't spend, I'll put on a prepaid credit card we have so that I have the money for another week where we need more than I have budgeted.
So, here's the menu plan for the week starting tomorrow.
Thursday - nachos
Friday - leftovers. There's always leftovers from nachos.
Saturday - something fish or seafood for me, and I'll do a chicken version for John. It's just the two of us this weekend.
Sunday - Chicken wraps (mine will be veggie wraps)
Monday - Shepard's pie (I'll do a mini-one with no meat or corn for me)
Tuesday - chicken and veggie pasta
Wednesday - leftovers
I'll post the recipes and price breakdown as I make them. A great website for reference is www.5dollardinners.com.
I'll be back later on tonight with the Bible Study.