Budget Battle – Groceries

Hello all 🙂 How are y’all? I was asked to write an article for a local news letter. This is actually for Maintenance Man’s property. His property is a mix of “regular” income all the way to those who are in transitional housing. I was challenged to write a shopping list for a bare bones amount of money by the property’s Family Advocate. Challenge Accepted! (In honor of one of my kid’s shows they used to watch.

Let’s talk groceries and budgets….. scary, I know. But, I hope to show you a basic monthly food budget can be obtained and provide plenty of nutrition to boot. I have written a very basic grocery list that both incorporate meatless and meat options. This list also incorporates cat or dog food, cleaners, and some paper products. This is a sample list only; it can be modified to suit your needs. This list is based off a bare bones minimum $150 for 2-3 person household. There are just a few items I did not include, as they are not needed every month because they are typically bought in bulk or come in a larger size by nature, such as: margarine and laundry soap. Please note margarine is very cheap at less than a dollar per pound, and note that typically dry laundry soap is more economical then liquid. The list is priced for two stores in town only: Smiths and Walmart. Prices can vary as prices go up or down, sales, and if you have the option to go to other stores. I have, last but not least, included a one week menu to help you see how to make use of your groceries. The menu I included does not include meat except for Sunday’s dinner. I did it meatless to help y’all see that you can forgo meat when money is tight and still get plenty of protein and veggies. The following totals do not include tax.

Smith’s Grocery List

Item Price Each Total

*Toilet Paper x4 (4 count) $.50 each $2.00
*Paper Towels x3 (3 pack) $1.69 each $5.02
*Shampoo x4 $.89 each $3.56
*Conditioner x2 $.89 each $1.78
*Razors x2 (10 count) $1.99 each $3.98
*Soap – Bar (2 count) x2 $1.00 each $2.00
*Shave Cream x2 $1.84 each $3.68
*Toothpaste x2 $1.00 each $2.00
*All Purpose Cleaner $1.79 each $1.79
*Toilet Bowl Cleaner $2.29 each $2.29
* Glass Cleaner $1.99 each $1.99
*Dish Soap x2 $.99 each $1.98
*Milk x2 (1 gallon) $3.19 each $6.38
*Cheese x2 Singles:$1.19, Shredded or Block:$2.99 $4.18
*Bread x4 $1.25 each $5.00
*Peanut butter x2 $1.25 each $2.50
*Jam x2 $2.19 each $4.38
*Eggs (18 count) $1.29 each $1.29
*Lentils – Dry (16oz Bag) $1.49 each $1.49
*Black Beans – Dry x2 $1.39 each $2.78
*Pinto Beans – Dry x2 $1.19 each $2.38
*Rice – Long grain (10lbs) $4.81 each $4.81
*Corn Tortillas (80 count) $2.69 each $2.69
*Cereal x4 $1.49 each x3 & $1.79 x1 $6.26
*Oatmeal (18oz) $1.79 each $1.79
*Tomatoes x2-3lbs $.99 per pound $2.97
*Lettuce $1.39 each & $1.59 each $4.57
*Onions “3lb Bag” $1.89 each $1.89
*Carrots “5lbs Bag” $2.99 each $2.99
*Spaghetti Pasta x4 (16oz) $1.00 each $4.00
* Macaroni Pasta x4 (16oz) $1.00 each $4.00
*Pasta Sauce x6 $1.00 each $6.00
*Cat Food (3.5lb Bag) $3.42 each $3.42
*Cat Litter $2.22 each $2.22

Total without Meat & Cat Food $110.06

*Dog Food (50lb Bag) $18.99 each $18.99

Total without Meat & Dog Food $123.41

*Chicken Breast (6lbs) $12.87 each $12.87
*Ground Beef (5lbs) $9.95 each $9.95
*Pork Loin $9.76 each $9.76

Total with Meat & Cat Food $142.64

Total with Meat & Dog Food $146.23

Walmart’s Grocery List

Item Price Each Total

*Toilet Paper x4 (4 count) $0.58 each $2.32
*Paper Towels x3 (3 pack) $0.50 each $4.00
*Shampoo x4 $0.88 each $3.52
*Conditioner x2 $0.88 each $1.76
*Razors x2 (4 count) $0.97 each $1.94
*Soap – Bar (4 count) $2.47 each $2.47
*Shave Cream x2 $0.98 each $1.96
*Toothpaste x2 $0.85 each $1.70
*All Purpose Cleaner $1.98 each $1.98
*Toilet Bowl Cleaner $1.48 each $1.48
* Glass Cleaner $1.98 each $1.98
*Dish Soap x2 $0.98 each $1.96
*Milk x2 (1 gallon) $2.49 each $4.98
*Cheese x2 Singles:$1.25, Shredded or Block:$2.22 $3.47
*Bread x4 $0.88 each $3.52
*Peanut butter x2 $1.47 each $2.94
*Jam x2 $1.83 each $3.66
*Eggs (18 count) $2.60 each $2.60
*Lentils – Dry (16oz Bag) $0.98 each $0.98
*Black Beans – Dry $2.22 each $2.22
*Pinto Beans – Dry $1.98 each $1.98
*Rice – Long grain (10lbs) $4.78 each $4.78
*Corn Tortillas (80 count) $2.25 each $2.25
*Cereal x4 Boxes $1.00, $1.23, $1.33 & $1.43 $4.99
*Oatmeal (18oz) $1.80 each $1.80
*Tomatoes x2 $1.50 each $3.00
*Lettuce Iceberg $1.28 & Iceberg Salad x2 $.98 each $3.24
*Onions “3lb Bag” $1.74 each $1.74
*Carrots “5lbs Bag” $3.78 each $3.78
*Spaghetti Pasta x4 $0.72 each $2.88
* Macaroni Pasta x4 $0.82 each $3.28
*Pasta Sauce x6 $0.96 each $5.76
*Cat Food (3.47lb Bag) $3.68 each $3.68
*Cat Litter $1.26 each $1.26

Total without Meat & Cat Food $89.54

*Dog Food (50lb Bag) $19.98 each $19.98

Total without Meat & Dog Food $104.58

*Chicken Breast (10lbs) $18.83 each $18.83
*Ground Beef (5lbs) $14.98 each $14.98
*Pork Loin 3-6lbs $8.19 each $8.19

Total with Meat & Cat Food $131.54

Total with Meat & Dog Food $146.58

If you can shop at both stores you can combine the savings by buying the best deals at each store. Meat is overall a better deal at Smiths while most pantry staples, such as beans and pasta, are an overall better deal at Walmart.

**Please Note** This is for only two major grocery chain stores. We have a few Associated Foods Stores (they’re generally more pricey), Family Dollar (nearly equal in price to our Wal-Mart), and a Dollar Tree. My small city near the tiny town I live in is limited in options to shop. All prices may vary state to state along with options to shop at.

**Update** This was written before inflation hit and prices may be higher or products sizes may be smaller.

On to our Menu:

Menu

Day Breakfast Lunch Dinner

Monday Cereal Fried Egg & Cheese Seasoned Pinto
Toast with Jam Sandwiches Beans & Rice
Carrots

Tuesday Oatmeal Topped PB&J Sammies Spaghetti w/ Red
With Jam Carrots sauce & Basic Salad

Wednesday Egg n Hole Leftover Pintos Lentil Tacos
Tomato Slices & Rice topped
w/Lettuce & Cheese

Thursday Cereal Leftover Basic Mac n Cheese
Toast with Jam Spaghetti w/ Steamed Carrots
red sauce

Friday Oatmeal Topped PB&J Sandwich Seasoned Black
With Jam Carrots Beans, Tortillas,
Tomatoes & Rice

Saturday French toast Left Over Grilled Cheese w/
With Jam Seasoned Black Beans Tomatoes
Basic Salad

Sunday Baked Oatmeal All remaining Baked Chicken Breast
With PB&J left overs Caramelized Onions &
Lentils, Buttered Spaghetti

I hope this is a help with understanding basic nutrition and budgets. I did not include fruit here as this is a bare bones list and fruit is usually more expensive. Though, if you watch sales you can buy fruit in season. Please note, canned and frozen are typically cheaper options when in between seasons. If you’re not a huge pasta fan you can cut back and buy potatoes instead. They too are cheap and easy to cook. Lentils are the easiest and fastest bean to cook; they are a wonderful substitute for many ground meat dishes.

Blessings from My Home to Yours,

Jessie

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Jessica Stewart: An Introduction

Hello and Welcome! Pull up a chair to my virtual kitchen table at Mama Jess. Grab a cup of coffee and let’s chat! My name is Jessie; I am a wife of 22+ years to my Maintenance Man, mother to 3 teens (Munchkin *19 years, Lil’ Bit *18 years, and Bubby *14 years old), and I’m also a full time homesteader of 8 steady years. I had urban stead before my tiny steading (half acre) for about 8 years. I have been learning and practicing many of the steading skill most of my life in one form or another. Let me tell you about my mini farm! When I say mini, I mean mini. I homestead on a half-acre! Shocking huh? Welp, I’m here to tell you it can be done. I currently have a decent sized raised bed garden (20 food boxes), and about 25ish birds (a mix of chickens and Muscovy ducks). I have future plans of adding meat rabbits and turkeys. I do currently milk for a local co-op once a week for the last 7 years. I’ll try most anything at least once. I have learnt many skills and yet, at the same time, not near enough. (I think most homesteaders feel this way.) I make cheese, yogurt, and plenty from scratch (for multiple dietary needs). I love cooking and baking. I find it therapeutic and love knowing what’s in my food. I am an avid canner (of serval methods). If I can stick in a jar, I’ll can it. If you say I cannot can it, then you’ll probably find me in the kitchen figuring out how to can it anyway. I love gardening (have my whole life). I love the old school farm to table….You grow it, butcher it, preserve it, and eat it! Speaking of butchering, I do that too. I do have to put in a disclaimer here; I’ve never butchered large animals (yet). As I have extra ducks and chickens I use them as freezer meat. I have been a homemaker for 22+ years now, 15+ of those have been full time. I have had many side hustles over the years to help with the need of extra income for things not easily budgeted for, such as kids’ clothes, school supplies, etc. Of those side hustles, being a professional cleaner was my mainstay. I have lots of tips and tricks to clean in any season of life. I am excited to share what I have learned over the years to help y’all in some small way. My kids have been public schooled, and now my younger two have been switched to homeschooling about 2 years ago. I find there are pros and cons to both and as of right now; I find homeschooling fits our current needs. I’m happy to share how we have chosen to homeschool along with my thoughts on public schooling (plus what to look for in public schooling) to help y’all choose what’s best for your kids. I also have friends who advocate for both and hope to have them guest post soon! I’m a firm believer in Real Life Economics 101. These will be posts that share real life skills that are much needed in today’s life that I believe are slowly dying. These skills range from homesteading skills to homemaking skills. They also include basic finance skills to manage your monies more efficiently with much less debt. Due to these basic skills my husband and I live on 1 main income for a family of 5. It’s not easy and does require some sacrifices to be made, but if you’re interested in such a life style or just learn how to reduce your debt then these posts are for you. This blog is my journey on homesteading and homemaking. I hope to pass on some dying skills, share my ups and downs, and family life as we go along. I love sharing recipes (of all kinds: from food to cleaners to beauty products). I hope to share both written and video how-to(s), along with written and video blogs. I have soooo many idea, tips, and know how’s to share I can’t even state them all here! Are you up to joining me on my homesteading/homemaking journey? Homesteading and homemaking means so much too so many…. This is my take on it all. Blessings from my Home to yours, Jessie