Mary's $20 Monthly Menu

Written by Mary aka

Question: How would you feed your family if you only had $20 for groceries during the month?

This is not a fair question for a dumpster diver! I could do $20 easy any month, anytime. But it would be a lot easier in the winter because I could get a lot of meats and dairy.

If you take into account my dumpster diving, I'd buy $20 worth of markdown meats. I'd drink water that month. And I'd dive everything else. With this strategy, I could eat EXTREMELY well if I stuck to $.29/lb chicken, marked down ground beef, etc. We actually only spend about $40/month including Coke and extras. If it were the dead of winter, I could still have the Coke and extras. I have a daily meat source, that I didn't develop until late during the cold weather. We currently have enough meat in the freezer to last until August or so -- all free.

If you don't take into account the dumpster diving, I would shop the reduced racks at my 2 grocery stores where produce goes for $.19 and $.29/lb. Bagged salads are $.29. I'd buy everything else at Save-A-Lot and salavage grocery store. The prices below represent my lowest prices from salvage and thrift groceries. (Wish we had an Aldi's) We only have 2 in the family.

2 cans spaghetti sauce $1.00
2 lbs. marked down ground beef $1.50
1 lb. dried kidney beans. $.25
1 lb. red beans $.25
1 lb. lentils $.25
3 onions $.30
1 lb carrots $.19
1 bunch of celery $.49
20 lbs of potatoes $2.00
marked down ham (saw one yesterday) $3.50
3 loaves of marked down bread $1.00
margarine $.49
2 lbs marked down cheese $1.50
2 dozen eggs marked down (they really do this here $ .50
3 lbs of pasta at big lots $ .90
Whole chicken marked down $1.75
2 Creamed Soups $ .50
2 bags of salad $ .60
Rice $ .49
2 cans tuna from salvage store $ .60
15 lbs marked down produce $3.00
(apples, broccoli, green beans, tomatoes, cucumber, lettuce grapefruit, lemons, mushrooms, and whatever else I could find.)

I'd make 30 meals as follows and eat the leftovers at other times of the day. There would be some stuff like pasta, veggies, and soup left. I could have toast for breakfast, with soup or other leftovers. Maybe some fruit. I cheated. This assumes I have spices, flour, and dry milk (which I always do).

Of course, I could go for a lot longer than a month with what I have in the freezer and under the bed. LOL And not have to buy a thing if I didn't have to.

I think I'll stick to dumpster diving. It's a constant stream of free food. So much food that I have trouble dealing with it all.

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