Everywhere you look, people are complaining of the rising prices and the difficulties of keeping up with their monthly expenses.  The average family of four spends over $500 a month on groceries (including paper products and cleaning supplies) with some families spending over $800 monthly.

If you are in need of some extra cash and are not sure where you will find it, consider changing your family’s eating habits for one month.  If you typically spend $500 a month on groceries and could manage with a $150 a month grocery bill – you’re looking at $350 extra dollars to fix the car, buy a new front door for your home, or whatever else you  need it for.  You may have to eat slightly less than what you are used to, and agree to eat breakfast for dinner once in awhile- but if you’re up for a challenge, try the following menu for a month’s worth of eating in order to find an extra few hundred dollars:

  • 2 Boxes of Spaghetti  ($2) = 16 Servings
  • 2 Cans Del Monte Spaghetti Sauce ($2) and 2 small cans of diced tomatos or tomato sauce ($1)  to increase the servings to 16 servings per can of spaghetti sauce
  • 1 pound lunch meat ($6) =  6 sandwiches
  • 2 Loafs of bread ($3)
  • Family pack of ground beef ($13)  = 3 different meals, meat loaf, hamburger and gravy, taco sald
  • 1 Box of Bisquick, 40 oz ($3)
  • 1 Cut up Whole Chicken ($4) = 5 servings
  • 1 Family pack of boneless chicken ($13) = 8-10 servings
  • 2 Bag Salads, Dole or other brand, complete with salad dressing ($5) = 7 servings
  • Small jar of mayonaisse or mustard ($2) = 30 servings
  • Raisin Bran, 15 oz box, ($3) = 7 Servings
  • Yogurt – (can often get 10 for $5) = 10 servings
  • 2 Gallons of Milk   ($4.80)
  • 2 Cans green beans ($1.40) = 7 servings
  • 2 Cans corn ($1.40) = 7 servings
  • Taco seasoning packet ($1)
  • bag of storebrand tortillas ($1.50)
  • Fresh tomatoes ($3)
  • Pancake Syrup, store brand, big bottle ($3) = 12 – 16 servings
  • 18 Eggs ($3)
  • Can of Gravy ($1.25)
  • Bag of apples ($4)
  • Bag of potatoes ($3)
  • Bag of oranges ($4)
  • Store brand Peanut butter, 28 oz ($2.50) = 25 servings
  • Store brand jelly, 32 oz ($2.50) = 45 servings
  • Store brand butter, small container ($2)
  • Beverages (bottled water if you can’t drink your tap water, soda, iced tea mix, coffee, etc $10)
  • 1 pound of american cheese slices ($4)
  • 8 Rolls store brand paper towels ($10)
  • 8 Rolls store brand toilet paper ($10)
  • Dish detergent ($2.50)
  • Bag of Shredded Mozzarella Cheese ($3)
  • 3 cans of Tuna fish ($3)
  • household cleaning supplies you have to have ($7.15)

The above grocery list is exactly $150.  You can obviously make changes to make it work better for your family, but here are some ideas of meals you can make with the above groceries.  This should help you see how you can make it stretch out for a month’s worth of eating:

  • 6 Turkey and Cheese Sandwiches, with an apple
  • 6 Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, with an orange
  • 4 Grilled Cheese Sandwiches with or without tomato, with an apple
  • 6-8 Tuna Fish sandwiches
  • 4 Spaghetti dinners with side salads
  • 4 Spaghetti dinner (no salads)
  • 4 servings Meatloaf with mashed potatoes, corn and green beans.
  • 4 servings ground hamburger and gravy over mashed potatoes and corn.
  • 4 servings taco salad (hamburger with taco seasoning over tortilla chips, lettuce and tomatoes)
  • 7 bowls of Raisin Bran
  • 56 pancakes with syrup
  • 4 Servings french toast with syrup
  • 4-5 Servings of Oven baked chicken with bisquick recipe, baked potato, green beans
  • 8 servings of chicken parmesean
  • 2 Servings of boneless chicken
  • 6 servings of scrambled eggs or cheese omelettes
  • 10 servings of yogurt (great for breakfasts and/or snacks)

It may not be what you’re used to, and it’s not something anyone would want to do month after month – but it is a way to reduce your expenses for a month or two while still eating fairly healthy.

The prices in this article are estimated based on Price Chopper prices in Glenmont, NY, and sometimes reflect sale prices or shopping with coupons.  You can probably get lower prices on a lot of the items listed here by shopping carefully and finding more coupons or sales!