Reality Check

Monday, January 12, 2009 AnnMarie Brown 4 Comments now our family(3 adults, 2 teens and 1 preschooler) is living off of less than $20,000/year or for this year anyway. This is reality for us . Most dinner meals we have 3 adults, 3 teens and 1 preschooler.

We are trying to feed our family on less than $50/week. I am posting this not for pity... prayer yes.. pity no... but also to solicit ideas you might have on inexpensive meals.... free fun entertainment....and frugal ideas you might have.... please... share away with me.


  1. New reader :) Dried beans are cheaper and healthier than canned (canned often adds salt and preservatives.) Puree in a blender/processor and simmer with hot sauce and an onion for a tasty, filling soup. Serve w/ homemade bread.

    Homemade bread. Even with whole wheat, it is much, much cheaper. 3 cups flour, 1 packet yeast, 1 tablespoon real sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 cup warm water. Knead for at least 5. Cover and let rise 2 hrs in a warm place. Punch down and let rise another 45 minutes before baking.

    Scrambled eggs. Scramble with beans, salsa, cheese, tofu, anything, really! Great way to use up leftovers, too.

    Tofu. Marinate overnight in a tasty sauce.

    Peanut butter. You can also make a Thai-inspired peanut sauce to ladle over pasta.

    Egg noodles.

    Potatoes. Puree to make a creamy, healthy soup, or roast for homemade fries.

    Frozen veggies and berries are cheaper than fresh, too. Thawed berries and yogurt or cool-whip is a tasty, healthy snack.

    Hope this helps!

  2. Hi Annie.
    Yikes! Been there, done that!
    Not easy for sure but not impossible.
    Years ago, way back when, my dear hubby and I unhooked our furnace for 2 years and used a wood stove for heating the house. I was a stay at home mom so I was there during the day to keep it filled. We brought in flat bed truck loads of wood end pieces that we bought really cheap off an old order Mennonite that had a saw mill and made wooden pallets. We had to cut the wood pieces (most of them were eight foot or longer in length) down to the right size for our wood stove. It was a lot of hard work and I can remember setting the alarm for 3:00 AM to get up to add more wood to the stove, but we survived and we saved a lot of money.
    My sister in law didn't use her dryer for almost five years in trying to save money.
    If I had to sum up cheap meals in two words. CROCK-POT.
    If you don't own one watch for one on sale and then BUY IT!!!!
    You can buy the cheapest cuts of meat and slow cook all day and it will come out so tender.
    Go on-line and get zillions of free crock-pot recipes.
    If you have a freezer buy in bulk, package in small amounts and stick it in the freezer.
    Buy your dry goods at a "Bulk Store" if at all possible. If you use the crock-pot you can make a whole lot of really yummy meals while you’re at work...or play.
    Keep clipping your coupons and use them.
    Buy no-name brands. In most cases they are just as good as Brand name.
    Join the library if you’re not already a member. You can get DVD's or Video's for home viewing.
    Watch the newspaper or check on line to see if there are any free events/concerts happening in your community and then go to them.
    Re-discover game boards if you don't already play them. They are loads of fun.
    Buy 6 decks of cards from the dollar store, if you don't have any and have a "build a house of cards" night. It's more fun than it sounds.
    If you own your home stop using the clothes dryer. It is convenient but it is expensive. Put up lines in the back yard or basement and use them.
    If your not already using cold water to wash with then start. Hot water is expensive to use.
    Annie, there are some really good "frugal" money saving sites on the Internet with lots of really good advise.
    If one doesn't help then find another one. Keep looking until you find one you are happy with.
    Good luck with everything. It will be tough going but you can do it!

  3. Annie,
    I too have had a huge burden with our financial situation. Dave only gets paid for 3 days of work a week now. Ouchh.
    I only know that if we are faithful, He will provide. Like He says in Luke, consider the ravens...they do not sow nor reap, yet the Lord feeds them. Of how much more worth are you than the birds.
    He Will and does supply.

  4. You are so right Marianne and He does provide.... proof be told we have made it this long without an income only one way that has happened and that is by the Lord providing. I am just trying to be resourceful/creative with what He does give us. So today I am baking english muffins and bagels.