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How I Feed My Family of 7 for $400 per Month

Guest post from Jamerrill of Holy Spirit Led Homeschooling and FreeHomeschoolDeals

When I tell people that I feed my family of 7 for $400 per month, I usually get the crazed-eye look. I know they wonder if we live on hot dogs — no, we don’t!

Here are a few tips from my experience that may help finetune your grocery budget and feed your growing family.

Once-a-Month Grocery Shopping:

I’ve been shopping once-a-month for my family for nearly three years. My grocery costs where literally cut in half by taking this step. 

If I’m not in the store then I’m not spending money. I also have a better plan laid out since I must maximize my time and resources on this one trip.

Note: You can see an example of what I buy for my once-a-month shopping trip here. You can also read some answers to Frequently Asked Questions I get about shopping once-a-month here.

Shopping at One Store:

When I shop, I often go to two or three stores, but then again, it’s just one day per month. However, depending on my schedule, I can usually feed my family for the same $400 just by sticking to one store. It may not be bulk amounts, but it’s doable.

Buying in Bulk:

I buy rice and oatmeal in 25-pound bags for a cost of $16.59 per 25-pound bag of brown rice and $15 per 25-pound bag of quick oats. I divide these large bags into gallon storage bags and stretch them to last three months.

Home Cooking:

When I left the outside workforce to stay home full-time, I quickly learned that cooking from scratch was a wonderful money-saving method. Be sure to check out Crystal’s articles on freezer cooking and cooking from scratch.

Meal Planning:

It helps me to lay out a monthly meal plan before I go once-a-month grocery shopping. Make yourself a monthly calendar and save it to reuse the following month.

I usually cook a large meal and serve it various ways over several meals. There are many other ways to meal planSome moms even do once-a-month cooking!

Shopping Cabinets and Pantry:

Access everything you have in your pantry before giving in to the urge to run to the store. If you shop your pantry, you should be able to come up with a few extra meals.

Gardening & Canning:

This is the first year that we’ve made a large garden; I plan to teach myself how to can as well. I can’t wait to see the additional savings this gives our family.

I’m sure many of you garden and can fruits, vegetables, and jellies. I’d love to hear your tips and cost savings in the comments.


I’m still learning this one. I wonder how much more I could save by couponing, furthermore how many extras I could stock up on?

As I’m able, I page through the coupon information here on MoneySavingMom.com, slowly learning this skill. At this point, even without couponing my pantry and freezers are full!

What are your best ways to save on your monthly grocery bill?

 Jamerrill Stewart‘s passion is to help families afford the homeschool life. She offers free stuff, goodies, and bargains daily for this purpose at FreeHomeschoolDeals.com. Join Jamerrill and her family as they live the life of faith at HolySpiritLedHomeschooling.net

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  1. Sara says

    I notice that Green Peppers are on your list. These have really come up in price. I plant 8 plants each year along with other peppers. I dice, slice and add to making salsa, pizza sauce, corn relish, spag sauce, and picked peppers. This is one veggie we use a lot. Peppers are also frozen diced, and sliced. Tomatoes are also something we grow I planted 10 plants for my family of 6. We do not have to can salsa every year. We do make stewed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, salsa, pizza sauce, spag sauce. My stewed tomatoes does a double duty it is put into chili, tomatoe soup, and just stewed in mac and cheese. We buy our corn off a farmer who lets us pick what is left over in the fields.

  2. Sherri says

    Does your $400 per month include household items, pet care, etc? We have a family of 5, including an Infant that we buy diapers, wipes, formula, and baby food for and we spend about $200.00 per week. This includes any eating away from home we do during the month.

    • Danielle says

      Id go to costco for wipes they have 1160 case for $25 huggies natural care & u can use a wipes coupon if u find one.. Definitely get in to couponing for diapers. Most people do huggies but i cant stand those i get pampers.. Ive gotten jumbo packs & a case for free by rolling rewards at cvs !

    • HardestyMom01 says

      You could also make your own cloth wipes and spray wipe solution to save money. (I have used cloth wipes with three out of our four children.) Commercial wipes we only place in the diaper bag for church. I also made diaper cream from beeswax, shea butter, and coconut oil. Cloth diapers at home and with baby; commercial diapers at church too. With the formula you could call the 1-800# on the back of your canister to see if they offer coupons. (My sister did that. She used the Target brand and saved about $2 to $5 per container. She just had to call each month to get a coupon.)
      I did not use formula. I breastfeed my babies instead. We also made baby food for three out of four of our children. This not only saved us A LOT of money. We’re expecting baby number five and will be doing these same
      I pray you find ways to help you and your family. Many blessings.

  3. says

    I run all my store bought pickle, relish jars threw the dishwasher, dry good, and put the lid on loose. I use these jars to make canned pickles and jellys. If I give as presents, I don’t lose my good jars. They are reusable only once, but saves on buying jars and lids.

  4. Angela says

    Hi where do you find 25 lbs. of rice and oatmeal for 16.59? I love your blog read it often! Keep up the excellent work! =)

    • Yda says

      Latino/Hispanic stores have the price for rice, look for one close to your house. I buy a bag of 20 lbs in a store called “Compare Foods”, I pay no more than $11, it lasts 2-3 months.

  5. says

    It is amazing how all of these suggestions work to keep the grocery budget down.

    I have recently started working out of the home more and I’ve had less time to cook from scratch. I am watching my grocery spending skyrocket. Cooking from scratch is my #1 tip followed closely by buying in bulk.

    Thanks for sharing these excellent suggestions. I can testify from experience that they work well.

  6. Jen B. says

    All good tips! I use Ibotta & Checkout 51 (coupon/rebate apps), and the HEB app and in-store coupons and meal deals to save roughly 15% off my groceries. Reviewing the apps to meal plan before I go takes less than 10 minutes. $115/week for 3 and we eat mostly organic produce, very little processed foods. We’ve cut back from $650/month easily. :-)

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