Book titles and food for thought

A lot of people assume from the title of my book that I feed my mega-family for $75 a week. Um, no. That would involve more beans than I’m willing to serve. The $75 a week on the cover of my book actually refers to a family of four. (Little-known publishing fact: many authors, including me, do not get to choose the title of their own book– that is a decision made by the publisher.)

I actually spend more like $200 a week to feed 10 people (11-14 on weekends counting college kids/married kids). That includes dog food, cat food, toiletries, and cleaning supplies. I decided it might be interesting to blog our food costs on a regular basis, not just during my yearly low-spending month in September. So I’ve added a spot in my left-hand sidebar to record grocery costs each month.

$200-$225 a week is pretty comfortable for us. We’ve decided to take a stab at decreasing our weekly grocery bill to $150. I’m sure I can do it; the only question is if it will feel liveable on a long term basis. The other day when I was working on my $100 bathroom spruce-up I realized if I’m successful, we could afford a $100 project every month, and STILL have money to stick in savings. That’d be sweet. (And fun to blog about! 🙂 )

Really, most people probably have similar options. I know that some folks’ budgets are incredibly tight already. But I’d guess that most of us could fairly easily save $100 or more a month, still eat pretty darned well, AND have a bit more to show than empty convenience food packages or restaurant takeout boxes. Because really, four hours later, that food is gone, whether it is a $1 serving of chicken enchiladas at home or a $15 plate of salmon at a restaurant.

Just a little something to think about on a Monday morning.

If you’re in need of money-saving inspiration,
Family Feasts for $75 a Week can be found at: (online)
Barnes and Noble (in bookstores all over the US and online)
Borders (in bookstores all over the US and online)
Fred Meyers (store locations in the Pacific Northwest) (online)


  1. Thank you for clarifying! I feel so much better now. We have between 7-8 people + guests usually and spend between $700-900 a month (includes toiletries and dog food). I’d like to get that down a $100 or two! Your book is on my wish list.

  2. When I’m gobsmacked by how little you spend – it helps a little to realize you DO have serious garden and canning resources. But it does challenge me to think more seriously – we are in a big financial strain (serious health issues for husband) so things have to change. Your approach is more fun than my panic mode!

  3. I’ve done much better this year, but don’t track our food costs. Since it’s looking like I need to I will be watching your posts, reading your archives for tips that I may have missed, and figuring out what we can plant as a winter crop in our garden. Do you have any suggestions?

  4. I am so glad you said that! I was feeling like a real money blower on my family of 5’s grocery budget.
    We DO NOT eat like kings either.

    When I read that title….I felt sick. How? How can she do it!
    Is she making her own flour…growing all of her own “everything”?

    I feel much better now.
    I would love to cut my weekly costs down too.
    I’m working on it.

  5. I’d love to know how much value you think all your homegrown food is each week/month. We don’t have a garden so we have to purchase all our produce. For our current family of 7 we manage around 200-250 a week but I’d like to save more as we are expanding by 2 later this year.

  6. Hi Bonnie,
    Last summer I figured we save somewhere around $80-$100 a month during the summer and fall due to our garden, and probably not more than $40 a month in winter and spring. Keep in mind, too, that the garden has different levels of success each year. For example, most years we get a dozen or more bushels of apples, which we eat all fall, and make into applesauce for some of our winter fruit. This year our apple trees got frosted, so we will be paying more for apples this fall and winter.

  7. Mary –
    I just read through you book and am using the recipes in the back. We have enjoyed all the meals so far and I am working on my price book. Thank you for including action points at the end of the chapters. It helps me actually take action rather than just reading the book and thinking about the good ideas.

  8. Our grocery budget is small & I make everything from scratch, but sometimes there’s nothing more fun than a meal from a box. My girls love hamburger helper!

    This week it was on sale for 10 for $10 at Albertson’s. Then they had an in store coupon for $3 off 10 & I had another for $2 off 10. I got them for .50 each. That’s about the only time we get boxed stuff. Our monthly budget for 5 is $100. We save a bit by having a small garden & hubs does a bit of hunting.

  9. I also saw it at Lowe’s in Columbus, Indinana. Love the book.

  10. Mary – thanks! that is kinda what I thought it would be. my goal is to get to 175 a week with the new kids. i’m ordering your book right away!
    and all I have to say to Mandy is I am amazed $100 for a month?!

  11. Bonnie – I wasn’t kidding when I said I make everything from scratch. Even bread. It takes some work, but it’s necessary & fun at times.

  12. I am still waiting for your book from the library — it’s on hold and it’s not my turn yet. *sigh* We have 10 in our fam. my hubs, myself, my mom and 7 kiddos 12 and under. Some of the kiddos can individually eat more than my mom and I combined! We spend about $150 a week and I’m looking forward to getting it down closer to $100. Can’t wait to read the book!

  13. I am loving your book and recommending it to all of my friends! I guess there is quite a waiting list for the book at our local library! :o) The ‘Really Big Biscuits’ were absolutely wonderful.

  14. I bought your book when I was laid off from my job. I’m happy to say I was gainfully employed about three weeks later, but man-oh-man has your book made a change. For my family of TWO (plus a large dog and two cats) I was spending $600-$800 a month. I have no idea how. But your book has saved me SO much money!! I’m down to about $75 a week. And your recipes are amazing! My husband even commented just last night after serving the chicken pot pie that it may be the best thing he’s ever tasted. (My favorite so far is the chili.) THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!

  15. I just received you book in the mail yesterday and I can’t put it down.
    I learned about your great book on Amazon during their Black Friday sale. I bought your book immediately after checking out your blog.

    So many of the things that I have been doing for years. We have two deep freezers and two frigs full of everything you can think of that we buy on sale. I have enough detergent, paper products, cleaning products, and shampoos to last for years. But, You are doing it in a much bigger way. I have gotten a lot of wonderful ideas from you that I never thought about doing.
    I was a stay-at-home mom for over 25 years and clipped coupons and shopped sales so that I could be at home with my kids. I also cashed in cans and mailed in manufacturer’s rebates to save money for my kids’ college fund.

    I am now working part-time and got out of the habit of watching our budget as closely. We had begun to eat more fast food (take home) and quickly prepared meals. We only eat out for birthdays, some on vacation, and on our anniversary. This has also taken a toll on my cholesterol as well. Now I am realizing what fast food really do to people like me.

    I also realized that by not eating lunch out on the days I work I could save enough to fund a scholarship in my mom’s memory. She went to heaven on Christmas Eve 2003 after a brave battle with Acute Myeloid Leukemia. She asked her children to help others in need. So, in 2007 I started the scholarship for a local student going into the medical field in mom’s name. Just $5.00 a week can fund a small scholarship and help make some one’s dream of an college education a reality. So, penny pinching can pay off big time for someone. I am paying forward to honor my mom and God for all the blessings in my life.

    Penny Pinching 101 when you see a penny on the ground stop and pick it up, because someone in heaven is thinking of you. Pennies from Heaven. (For me heads is from my mom and tails is from my dad. I have found so many since they both went to heaven in 2003, just 3 months and 23 days apart.)

    Thanks for writing such a wonderful book and getting me back on track to a more secure future.

    God Bless you and your wonderful family. You are such a blessing. O:-) <

    THANK YOU!!!!!


  1. […] Publishing secrets and food for thought — Owlhaven4 hours ago by Owlhaven  (Little-known publishing fact: many authors, including me, do not get to choose the title of their own book– that is a decision made by the publisher.) I actually spend more like $200 a week to feed 10 people (11-14 on weekends counting … […]