Feeding 4 on $100 a Week: I Don’t Know What I’m Doing Anymore

I’m just going to admit it: I keep track of my food spending very well while dealing with moving the family across the country. With less than 3 weeks till Go Time, it’s survival of the fittest around here. Until I sat down and totaled my receipts, I had no idea whether I’d made budget this week or not. I was leaning toward not.

For one thing, I caved practically every time the kids asked for a treat, which means we went to Dunkin Donuts at least twice. To be honest, most of those trips were bribes because after spending hours on the phone dealing with screw-ups in our still-delayed mortgage, throwing a slumber party for 9 kids (counting my own) and everything else that goes into single parenting and planning a huge move on my own, I just didn’t have the strength of mind to wrestle the kids into the car to go wherever we needed to go those days without bribing them.

Hey, on the upside, I did’t order anything at Dunkin Donuts. But all those little trips added up, in addition to a meal at Flat Top Grill and another at Chipotle, and my restaurant total for the week was $44.

Dunkin Donuts $6

Taco Bell $4

Chipotle $14

Bruegger’s $8

Flat Top $19

I felt like I was doing poorly on the grocery front too, since I had to throw away several containers of leftovers during the week.

But when I totaled my actual grocery receipts, I found that I had spent only $24 at Dominick’s and $30 at Ultra. That’s the upside of all those restaurant meals, I guess — buying less groceries.

And I would like to point out that those grocery runs also included a number of things I needed for the Hogwarts-themed slumber party I held this weekend, at which I had to feed six kids and one adult in addition to my own 3. I had already cooked the main course and put it int he freezer (homemade “Guiness” beef stew, from the Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook), but I had to buy cake mix, frosting, canary creams (Golden Oreos), jam tarts (Pop-Tarts), bacon, sausage, popcorn, chocolate syrup and seltzer. Also, chips and guacamole makings for the other mom and me — she brought the drinks.

The party went over quite well, even if a number of the little guests ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for dinner instead of beef stew and buttered peas a la the Hogwarts Great Hall.

So my total food spending for the week was $98 — I made it under budget after all, even with a slumber party!

(Unless I find a receipt in my purse from a shopping trip I’d totally forgotten about. That happens sometimes!)

WHAT WE ATE ON $98 THIS WEEK, FOR DINNER:

WEDNESDAY – can’t remember.

THURSDAY – vegetarian tacos.

FRIDAY – Frozen pizza, salad.

SATURDAY – Slumber party! Beef stew with carrots and potatoes, buttered peas. For dessert, birthday cake.

SUNDAY – I went out for a blog event and the sitter fed the kids pasta with jarred sauce

MONDAY – pasta left over from last night, salad

TUESDAY – bean soup from the freezer with homemade bread and defrosted pork chops

For breakfasts, we had oatmeal or peanut/butter jelly toast, with fruit. For lunches, leftovers or sandwiches.

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