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How I Plan to Feed a Family of 7 on $400 a Month

FeedingMyFamilyof7

Our Family Update

I have not announced this on the blog yet, but we are expecting to close on our very first house come September 15th!  We are so thrilled and feeling very blessed as these past few years have been tremendously difficult financially.

I explained two years ago now about our journey through unemployment.  There have been trials over these past seven years but the Lord has been faithful to us and has provided for all of our needs.  It may not have been what we expected but I can see in hindsight that it is what we needed according to the will of the Lord.

We moved across the country in June of this year to find better work and a lower cost of living.  My husband was immediately blessed with a stable job, and we soon found a house that would meet our budget.  We are now looking to honor God with the funds he has provided us by being good stewards of His earthly gifts.

This is how I plan to feed our family of 7 on only $400 a month.

A Small Budget

We have a small budget living on less than $3,000 a month for seven people, but I am dedicated to stick to it and not stress over it.  I know many people live on less. We have had nothing at times to even budget  so I get the whole pinching pennies – trust me!

I am using my budgeting tools from The Homemaker’s Companion: Financial Planning Edition which you can find this HERE.

We are paid weekly with my husband’s new job so I will take out $100 a week and put it in an envelope to carry with me for groceries only.  Once it is gone – it is GONE!   I will have to practice some serious self discipline not to pull from any other areas but I know its possible!

You can do the same whether you are paid weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly. Just take out your designated amount and stick to it.

Get Creative with Your Pantry

During our harder financial times I have learned that making due with what you have in the cabinets is sometimes just how things go.  Sometimes you make a meal that has no meat, or a meal that is a hodge podge of a few different random items.  If you have it in your pantry you need to use it, so try to make sense of it somewhere in some meal and work on using what you have on hand on weeks where funds are low.

We once went three weeks without going to the grocery store.  Our cabinets were cleaned out by the end of that dry spell but I truly learned a valuable lesson in using what I had.  My husband knew I had become desperate when chopped hot dogs from the back of the freezer started showing up in some of our meals (I am not a hot dog fan). 

Sometimes we collect odds and ends that we forget about or just don’t know how to use in a meal.  Get creative and Google recipes for those odds and ends or make up your own!

If you are a real foodie like me, just remember that sometimes you cannot always afford all that you want.  You still need to eat, so be thankful for what you can eat and try to fit the healthy stuff in where you can.  Surprisingly healthy food can be a lot cheaper than processed.  I try to make many things from scratch including my cream of soup mixes.  GET THE RECIPE HERE.

Keeping your own garden as well as chickens can be another source of saving money and healthy eating, this is if you live in an area where this is possible.

Menu Plan

I am planning to create a menu plan every Thursday for the following week.  This will help me stay organized and spread my money further.  I can create meals that make sense both for our family and our finances.  I am looking forward to doing more freezer meals as well to save me both time and money!

You can use an premade menu plan from somewhere like $5 Dinners (a budget friendly choice).

You can create your own menu plan from scratch by downloading these FREE Menu Planning Templates from The Homemaker’s Companion: DOWNLOAD NOW.

If you want a couple of hybrid menu planning options I love what Tradishen.com and BuildaMenu.com has to offer:

Tradishen.com is a real-food, clean eating online menu planning option taking into consideration those with food allergies.  Subscriptions start at FREE but honestly you get better more efficient features for the paid options starting as low as $6.50 a month if you buy a year subscription.  CLICK HERE to view the subscription options.

At BuildaMenu.com you can take from their already family approved recipes, build your own menu for the week, and print your shopping lists. 

My favorite feature at Build A Menu is if you choose to shop at certain stores Build A Menu will tell you how much it should cost you for that meal when you shop at that store (like Wal-Mart)!  Talk about a significant help for sticking to a budget!

Grab Your Subscription HERE for as Low as $6.30 a month!

Simple Couponing

Have you ever watched one of those extreme couponing shows on television?  Yeah I did that at one point.  I had a whole closet dedicated to my growing FREE stash and I found that it took too much of my time and also was a source of ungodly pride for me.  Our diet also has changed quite a bit since I did the extreme couponing two years ago and so many coupons are for food with not so great ingredients. 

I plan on couponing, but with a twist …

Many extreme couponers just try to collect whenever and whatever they can with their savings methods.  I plan on only buying what I need and what we will use.

I will stick to only a couple of stores to help me be more efficient with my time.

I will not print every coupon I come across *in case* I might use it.  I will only print what I know I would use or need.

Some of these might sound a bit common sense, but trust me if you have ever done extreme couponing these are some very necessary tenants to not become carried away.

Tips for Couponing from a Recovering Extreme Couponer
  • Begin with only one store to start your couponing at.  Master that store and then expand if you feel you can.
  • Don’t expect to get everything for free.  This will only serve to frustrate you if you do not.
  • Expect that learning the process of proper couponing is a bit of a marathon, not a sprint.  It might take you a couple of months to see any big savings rolling in.
  • Set a shopping budget!  If you do not, you might just overspend, and couponing is just not worth breaking the budget (yes! that can happen!)
  • Make shopping lists that correspond with your coupons!  If you do not, it will take you FOREVER to get through a store.
  • Set a shopping day and stick to it!  Otherwise you will find yourself shopping every day to get every single deal that comes across online.  Remember that gas money might cancel out your savings!
  • Get familiar with your local stores.  I live in a more rural area and just do not have any grocery stores listed on the big websites.  Find out your stores coupon policies and get their weekly flyers.
  • Make a coupon binder. I bought a zipper binder and added baseball card holder sleeves.  These make handy pockets to organize coupons by type.
Where Do I Get My Coupons?

If you to see what deals are available at your favorite chain stores or online I highly recommend subscribing to any or all of these popular websites:

The Krazy Coupon Lady

Southern Savers

Motherhood on a Dime

The Krazy Coupon Lady does have some very helpful tutorials on how to begin couponing that I recommend reading.  CLICK HERE for beginners.

My Favorite FREE Savings Mobile Apps
  • Ibotta (JOIN MY TEAM!  My referral code: wbbttcw)
  • Checkout 51
  • Shopimium (JOIN MY TEAM!  My referral code: FGKAGHPA)
  • Savings Star

I have to admit that the savings apps are my new favorite thing!  A few friends of mine recommended them to me after they had received some big payouts.

Why do I like my savings mobile apps?

  • No couponing necessary to grab some savings.
  • Savings are on common purchases you buy like milk, bread, bananas, juice, and MORE!
  • You can use all the apps at once!  Did you purchase one gallon of milk? Well you can get the savings on both iBotta and Checkout 51 at the same time for the same purchase!
  • Super easy to use. On some you scan the barcode directly from your phone on the product you bought.  You also just take a simple picture of your receipt on your phone.  That’s it and you get anywhere from $0.25 to a few $$ back on your purchases!  Can you see why I love it?
  • Did I mention they are FREE?  Yep totally free apps for mobile.  You just need to be connected to wi-fi to use them.
  • Build your personal team of friends and earn more!  I have a couple of referral codes that I listed above.  If you feel led I would so appreciate you inserting those if you sign up and I will earn a little bit of cash.  You can do the same by inviting your own friends to join under you!

Think Outside the Box to Generate More Income

We are doing quite a few things to help us generate new income.  My husband works a normal job but is able to get overtime hours which he takes advantage of.  He also donates plasma weekly which we receive an extra $200 a month for.  You might be able to do this in your area too.  It is not for everyone but my husband is a champ at it!

I run an online business doing website design and of course my blogging generates income (thanks to you!).  I dabble in sewing to sell and my husband is considering using his woodworking skills to make and sell furniture locally.

I have also started taking advantage of local garage sale groups on Facebook.   This has given us a few extra bucks here and there when we needed it, as well as keeping my home de-cluttered.

Think about what you have to offer in order to generate a little bit of income.  Could you babysit?  Do you sew?  Could you make food to sell?

There are a lot of ways to generate income that we just don’t think about.  This is a great way as a wife to aid the family income in a small (or big!) way. 

Get creative.  Get organized. Get to Saving.

The Homemaker’s Companion: Homeschool Edition

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Have you began your homeschooling year just yet?  Some have and some haven’t.  We just started this past Monday!  My six year old is in first grade and we are having fun exploring our new curriculum, Alpha Omega Horizons!

I have created a few FREE printables for you to get you started in organizing your homeschool this year.

What will you receive?

  • Lesson Plans for every month of the year
  • Report Cards – choose your style options
  • Detailed Attendance Record
  • K through 12 Attendance/ Grades Record
  • 100 Days of School Printable to keep track of that special goal – plan a party to celebrate!
  • Field Trip Planner
  • Craft Planner

If you are already a subscriber check your next newsletter for your FREE download!

Here are a few sample pictures from it:

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   Are You New to The Homemaker’s Companion?

The Homemaker’s Companion debuted in February of this year and is NEW every month and is COMPLETELY FREE for subscribers.  Have you ever heard of a Homemaking Binder?  This is kind of like a homemaking binder but on steroids.

Each month has a different theme and they cover everything from financial planning in April to Back to School in August.  This is a year long event with FREE Printables for YOU every month that come straight to your inbox.  Do you want to get in on it?  You can sign up HERE. Once you confirm your subscription you will be taken straight to your FREE Homemaker’s Companion.  If you are already a subscriber, then no worries! Check your next newsletter for the direct download!

Want to read more details?  You can watch the video clip HERE.

 

How to Save on Arts and Crafts for Little Hands

GrouponandMichaels

Can you really get through life with Littles without having arts and crafts thrown in somewhere?  Sure it is messy and sometimes even a headache for mom, but we all know it is a really great opportunity to both spend time with our children and to encourage their individual creativity and imagination.

 Whenever I am planning an art project I go to Michael’s to get my art supplies.  One of my favorite projects that we have completed is the Father’s Day canvas we painted with all of the kids.

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I got the idea from Pinterest.  I painted the grass the tree and of course the words, but then I painted each of the kids hands to place directly on the canvas to make the impression of Fall leaves.

I found these canvases for a great deal at Michaels and I always keep a set of Crayola’s washable paint for children.  Grab a multi pack of paint brushes and you have at least a full hour of fun planned.

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I seem to always be able to find a discount in the newspaper or online for Michaels. If you are a homeschool mom, don’t forget to ask for a teacher’s discount card before checking out. All you must do is present proof of homeschooling and you will get a special discount on all your craft supplies!

Right now Groupon.com has a whole list of special Michaels Coupons that you just cannot get anywhere else.  Stock up for this school year and for those rainy days by shopping for all of your craft materials at Michaels.

CHECK OUT GROUPON + MICHAELS SAVINGS

 

I was paid by Groupon.com to review this product.  My opinions are honest and my experiences were reality.  Thank you for your support of TheRoadto31.com

Create Some Extra Income with Simple Sewing Projects!

 

GrouponandJoanns

Before I began blogging and designing for a little extra income for our family, I had a cloth diaper business!  I still sew but I now just enjoy it as a hobby, but at the time God really provided for our family through the income I generated through my small business.

Would you believe that I had never really sewn anything before I jumped right into my baby boutique business?  I basically just decided one day that I was going to go buy a sewing machine and figure it out.

So after a lot of learning and a few oopsies, I had my personal patterns created for my own bibs, burp cloths, blankets, nursing covers, nursing pads, nursing pillow covers and of course, cloth diapers!

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Trust me, if I can do it, anyone can!

I purchased all of my fabric from Joann’s Fabric Stores.  I love their huge selection of prints and the quality over other fabric stores I have shopped at. 

Want to SAVE on your fabric and sewing notions?  See all the JoAnn Fabrics Coupons available at Groupon.com!

Here are a few tips for beginners to get you started ….

Here are a few easy and FREE patterns, tutorials, and ideas to get you started …

Follow my sewing/ craft board on Pinterest to get all the projects I find!  CLICK HERE TO FOLLOW.

 

I was paid by Groupon.com to review this product.  My opinions are honest and my experiences were reality.  Thank you for your support of TheRoadto31.com

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