Day 19 & 20: Only $31 left

Saturday morning John and I went to the store and spent $56, which means we have $31 left for the next 10 days. Slim, maybe, but we still have a lot of food, especially considering canned goods and garden. I’m really optimistic we’ll make it without going over our $300 budget. In fact, this month has pointed out to John and me just how much padding is in our usual $900 budget. We talked yesterday and have decided to give a shot at $600/mo for awhile and see how it goes.

With that $56 we bought:
4 gallons milk – $6
4 lb butter – $6
4 lb bacon- $9
5 lb cheddar (block) -$10
5 lb grated mozzarella- $9

4 lb margarine – $3
8 frozen OJ’s – $8
2 loaves bread – $2 (I’m also going to bake this week.)

Breakfast: Pancakes and OJ
Lunch: Leftover spaghetti from Friday, carrot sticks, cantaloupe
Dinner (for 14 people! 🙂 ) : BBQ’d steak (from our beef cow), baked potatoes, cole slaw, sliced tomatoes, apple cake
Snack:: Pumpkin raspberry bread, apples

Breakfast: Granola and milk
Lunch: Ethiopian sloppy joes (Family Feasts p. 132), watermelon, carrot sticks
Dinner: Potluck dinner at my sister’s house to celebrate my mom’s birthday. (Happy birthday, Mom!!) I brought cole slaw, sliced tomatoes, and bacon-wrapped jalapenos. Yum!


  1. I’ve spent this year really working to make our dollars last at the grocery store this year. Reading your posts has really inspired me to be more mindful about what we need and how we steward our money. We’ve even done the same thing as far as eating on the road. Rather than stopping at fast food restaurants, we pack sandwich fixings, fruit, and water. Better for us and for our piggy bank. 🙂

  2. First of all, I love following your blog! As a young married girl with no kids (yet!) I learn so much here.

    I just took your new $600/month budget and realized that’s still only $50/month/person for your family. That would mean only $100/month for my family, and I seriously don’t think I could do it. But I also think I really want to try! I might cushion in a little more for us though for three reasons:
    1. Our townhouse yard was too miniscule for much of a garden this summer, and what we did plant we overcrowded (first-timers!) so we didn’t get much.
    2. I have no idea how to can, even if I did have a huge garden. (Someday, though!)
    3. I have celiac disease, so I have to eat gluten-free, which means staples like flour and pasta cost about 3x as much.

    So, maybe $125 next month. It would be a blessing if we could do it because the youth ministry my husband works for has been really struggling financially and we haven’t had a full paycheck in a long time. Thanks for the encouragement!

  3. Mary, your food prices are astoundingly low! For me, ONE gallon of milk at Costco is $4. And it’s actually 4L, which I think might be a tad less than an American gallon. If bought in bulk at Costco, 4 1lb packages of bacon will be about $15. And a can of frozen OJ (real juice) is at least $1.75 no matter where I go! If I were to ever be brave enough to participate in your annual challenge I think I’d need to adjust it a bit. $300 per month would be completely impossible!

  4. Wow, it is crazy that Costco prices vary so wildly from place to place…. However, I knew that prices were vastly different between different CHAINS of stores. Milk is nearly $3 a gallon at some other stores in my area. Lots of places around here charge $3 a pound for cheese and $1.75 for frozen OJ. The trick is to figure out the very best prices for YOUR area. For me that means shopping at different stores for different things. The things I bought at Costco the other day are almost the only things I buy there. I’d never buy OJ or meat at Costco, because I can get it much cheaper elsewhere. There’s only one place in town that has OJ that cheap (Winco). The best meat prices in town are at a store where most OTHER prices are very inflated, except occasionally fruit. Basically I skim the best prices at every store. And I have a routine that allows that without shopping at more than one store (or sometimes two) most weeks.

  5. Taylor

    2 of us in our house are gluten free, and one of the gf people is also dairy free, nut free and fish free. I rely heavily on Trader Joes for cheaper gf options, order in bulk from amazon, and i read several gf blogs, but gf on a shoestring is great for the budget conscious. I find that not attempting to recreate a wheaty meal makes things a good deal cheaper, so a curry with rice or quinoa rather than a pasta dish is usually a good bit cheaper. It’s still more expensive to be gf, but it is managable.

  6. Pumpkin raspberry bread sounds delicious! Any chance you’d post that recipe??

  7. Mary, technically, if you are shooting for $75 a week, you have more than $300 for the month because Sept. is 4 weeks PLUS 2 days. This figures out to an extra $24.20 for the month.

    I’m a sly one I am! I’m figuring out all the tricks! LOL! We are still hopeful at staying under the $75 a week too–giving ourselves 324.20 for the month 🙂

  8. I’m with Katie! The pumpkin-raspberry bread sounds fantastic!

  9. You are doing great! Your list of what you bought are essentials around here too. Way to go on staying in your budget.

  10. mmmm….bacon wrapped jalapenos….pioneer woman!!!!

  11. The bacon-wrapped jalapenos made me think of the ham/cream cheese wrapped dill pickles I served for appetizers at a party. :0) I think I might have to fix them again!

  12. Those bacon-wrapped jalapenos were delicious, Mary. I didn’t expect to like them, so it was a yummy surprise. Thanks for making my birthday so special. P.S. I wore those beautiful earrings at home all day on Monday. :o)

  13. Congratulations on being nearly there with your $300 budget–that is amazing!! I am close to my goal this month of $400 for our family, but it is only me, my husband, and my almost 2 year old son. Clearly we have a lot to learn. Does your $300 include food only? Since we shop at Walmart a lot, my “grocery” budget also include toiletries and baby diapers, etc.