“On a shoestring’ suggests that one’s resources are limited to the laces of one’s shoe.”

From “Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins” by Robert Hendrickson (Facts on File, New York, 1997).

Although we are currently on a shoestring grocery budget, that does not mean that we have always been, nor do we intend to be on one forever. This is a temporary (Lord willing) circumstance that I don’t really care for, but have to live with nonetheless.

Many of you asked a very important question – “How in the world do you do that?” To which I answer, simply…out of necessity. We do not receive any type of public assistance, nor do we shop the local food pantry. I am a budgeter and a coupon clipper…big time.

I do not purchase most convenience foods (I make exceptions for store brand mac n cheese and hot dogs for emergencies) – which excludes chips, cookies, soft drinks…most snacks of any kind. I make everything from scratch. It takes planning meals and preparation and I must admit I dislike almost every minute of it. On Sunday mornings like today, if I don’t start the slow cooker with some chicken and rice, then there is no dinner tonight…because we have nothing that can just be opened and heated up. (Unless you want some corn or green beans.) I buy almost all our fruits and veggies from the farmer’s market locally (which is VERY cheap) and when my kids get hungry for a snack…they get some carrots or celery with a tsp of peanut butter or an apple cut up. (They do love going to Lulu’s (grandma’s house) because there is usually a phethora of goodies to choose from there).

I buy chicken (dark meat because it’s cheaper) and hamburger. We eat a lot of beans and rice with our meals and I have even learned to cook a lot more frugally, stretching to make one pound of hamburger satisfying for all 5 of us at one meal. Like I said…it’s not all that fun, but honestly, I gain some satisfaction from knowing that I can do it. It’s just a temporary phase in our lives, that’s all. God has really been stretching my faith muscles lately, and I firmly believe that although we have traveled some rough roads in our business, that things will pick up and we will succeed, with God’s help.

Yesterday, I was able to pick everything we needed up from the grocery store and only spent $58. Of course, I forgot the toilet paper (which is almost as expensive as feeding us for two-three meals), so I’ll have to go back tomorrow and spend another $10 on that. Once every couple of months, I stock up on papergoods…so realistically, we probably average out to about $200 a month…but $75 is what I shoot for every two weeks.

Thanks for the comments…but don’t despair about your grocery budgets! I think you all are doing great! Even those of you that spend a lot of fresh ingredients…if I could, I would definitely do that…it’s for the best interest of my family!

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2 Comments on Budgeting on a Shoestring and a Prayer…

  1. Girl Gone Wild
    July 8, 2007 at 4:55 pm (16 years ago)

    I missed your previous post, but thought there were some GREAT comments. We’re a family of 4 and we try to spend around $75 – $80 a week. It was a lot easier to do that when my husband was always on the road! He’s a steak and potato man and we don’t own cattle!

    Great subject, Karen!

  2. Angie
    July 8, 2007 at 10:10 pm (16 years ago)

    Karen — I loved reading the follow up to the original posting. Trust me — I was thinking of you a lot when I just went to Walmart for grocery shopping. (Especially because I was doing most of a month’s worth of grocery shopping.)

    That’s great that you can pick up cheaper produce at the Farmer’s Market. I like to go to our Farmer’s Market — but the prices don’t seem to be any cheaper than watching for sale prices on produce at my favorite store for buying produce. (Actually — it usually more expensive.)

    I’ll keep you in my prayers that things will look up eventually and you will be able to do less work on all of your from scratch cooking!

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