It’s been over 1 year since we first began sharing our family’s $50 weekly menu plan. Over the course of the year we’ve received some interesting questions. Here are a few we’d like to address:
Why we don’t provide a Grocery or Shopping List:
One of our most frequently asked questions regarding our $50 weekly menu’s is whether we can provide a grocery or shopping list.
The answer is NO. Our menu is created based on what we have on hand in our freezer and pantry, garden, what I have home canned/frozen/dehydrated from my garden, fruit trees and berry bushes. It’s based on what I’ve purchased via sales or bulk, or gathered from my chickens in my backyard. It’s based on what loss leaders I’ve taken advantage of and what sales I’ve found locally.
Therefore, what I have on hand in my pantry and freezer is not necessarily what YOU would have on hand in your home. It would be completely useless and counter-productive to list “What to Buy” in a grocery list as I have no idea what you have on hand in YOUR home. What I can purchase here on the East coast may be considerably different than what you can purchase in your area and vice versa.
For example- when we lived in New England, I frequently bought Haddock for less than $3 a pound. In the Midwest, haddock was $17 a pound. I certainly wouldn’t be able to add that to the menu and assume that everyone could purchase it for the same price!
In the Northeast- strawberries didn’t come into season until Mid-May, in the Southeast- strawberries are in season starting in mid-February.
Putting these on our menu and expecting people to purchase them at $5 a pound instead of .99 a pound (their typical in-season price here) would be completely counterproductive to our menu plans.
Check out this Recipe that cost our family .98 to prepare, be sure to scroll down to the bottom of the recipe to see the GroceryBudget101 Breakdown.
How do I make my OWN $50 Menu Plan-
Here is a full explanation of HOWto create your very own menu plan- tailored to your own family.
Sometimes I notice ingredients in your menu plans that don’t appear in your grocery list notes, why?
While I initially attempted to list ALL of the items I purchased weekly, it became quite time consuming & since every region has it’s own prices, etc It seemed counterproductive to list everything out.
Some of our ingredients are home-grown and home canned or frozen, like tomatoes, green peppers, green onions, fresh herbs (chives, cilantro, basil, rosemary, thyme, oregano, etc). Others are purchased at our local farmers market in bulk when they are in season and preserved (freezing or drying) for later use throughout the year.
Other items we’ve caught, hunted or fished- for example, the blue crabs that appeared on our menu several times throughout the year- we caught ourselves. The halibut and salmon on our menu, we also caught ourselves. The butter clams and steamers, we dug ourselves. These items were essentially free.
It is imperative that you use what you have access to locally to save money on your own grocery bill.
If I can’t copy your menu plan recipe for recipe for the same price, why do you post them?
We post our menu plans to help you generate ideas and check out new, inexpensive recipes that you can incorporate into your own menu plans when those items are in season in Your area/region.
Perhaps you enjoyed our Strawberry Melon Summer Salad recipe- where we live, most of the ingredients necessary to make this recipe are dirt cheap beginning in March. When we lived in the midwest, many of these ingredients were not available at decent prices until mid-June.
Maybe groceries are cheaper where you live, is it possible to cut the grocery bill where I live in _______?
In the past 15 years our family has lived in three very different States and Regions, The Northeast, the Midwest and the SouthEast. In ALL three (extremely different!) states we have have been able to adapt our menu to keep our grocery budget consistently under $250 a month. I strongly believe that anyone, in any state (with the exceptions of Alaska and Hawaii) can easily reduce their own grocery expense drastically as well by learning how to effectively menu plan and understand sales cycles.
There is no “magic effortless cure” that will suddenly save you thousands of dollars, you have to learn how to effectively shop & take advantage of the resources you have available to you in your area. Our goal is to help teach you What those resources are and Where to find them, as well as provide as many healthy, delicious, inexpensive recipes as we can; to provide a guideline using our own successes, experience and at times, failures.
For additional In-depth information, we recommend checking out our eBook- “The 2012 Family Guide to Groceries under $250 a Month”