Feeding Your Family on a Budget: 4 Moms, 35 Kids

Before we begin talking about food budgets and kitchen stuff let me give you my caveat,  this is not my strong point.  Want to get ideas about scheduling, planning, cleaning, organizing, homeschooling?  No problem.  Want to talk about feeding your family?  Not so much.

That said, we feed our family for less than half of the average per person cost.  My husband loves meat, our kids are big eaters and we eat healthy.

There are also 3 other moms who are going to be tackling the topic of budgeting to feed a crowd, so be sure to see what they have to say.Connie at Smockity Frocks
The Deputy Headmistress at The Common Room
KimC at Life in a Shoe

From what I researched the average household spends $150-$200  on food per person per month.  Our grocery budget (which includes personal care products, cleaning supplies and paper products) is $800-$900 per month.  That’s $75 for food per person per month. (Well, it would be $75 if we were eating the shampoo and toilet paper, we don’t so it’s actually less than that.)

Feeding your family on a budget is all about balance, the balance between time, health and money.  Each of us are going to have different priorities and different tolerances for what we consider “healthy” and what we consider “expensive”.  Sometimes healthy choices will save you money and sometimes they will cost you money, they’ll almost always cost you time.  It’s just a matter of balance.

Here are some tips that our family has learned that can keep our expenses down.

Have a food budget and know what it is.

If you don’t have a food budget or at least a number to shoot for, it’s pretty hard to plan to hit it.  My hubby is the budget guru in our family and so I know exactly what I am able to spend.  Our food budget also includes personal care products, cleaning supplies and paper products (more about saving on these items later) so I usually take a certain amount out for those things.  For menu planning purposes I figure out how much we have to spend per meal.

Have a menu plan.

I have a  menu plan for breakfasts and lunches that we only change occasionally.  We currently bulk cook freezer meals for dinners, but before that I planned out several weeks of dinners using the same planning methods that I use for my breakfast and lunch plan.  (See above link for my “secrets” to menu planning.  :) ) As you plan your menus keep your budget in mind.  I like planning some meals that cost less, so that we can splurge and have more expensive meals at other times.

Have an extra freezer.

This enables us to stock up when something is on sale and to do a lot of freezer cooking.  You can purchase a used freezer very inexpensively and we’ve found that it has more than paid for itself.

Buy in bulk.

I suggest looking for a food buying co-op in your area.  If there isn’t one already, it may be worth your while to start one.  Our co-op enables us to buy basic staples such as wheat, oats, rice, beans, honey, etc. at prices much lower than we would spend at the grocery or health food store.

We purchase our beef  directly from the farmer and then pay the butchering fees.  We work together with other families so that we don’t have to buy a whole cow at a time, but are able to buy a quarter or half.

Cook from scratch.

Bread, hamburger and hot dog buns, bagels, granola bars, tortillas, granola, yogurt, buttermilk, kefir, desserts and sometimes even pasta are supposed to be made from scratch.  Doesn’t always happen, but that is the plan and it saves us a lot of money.  Usually if we’re not making it from scratch we simply go without.  That is good motivation to get cooking again.

Shop at discount groceries.

This is not something that we do much anymore, but before we made all of our own bread, we would shop at the day-old bread store.  I’ve also found great deals at salvage and other discount grocery stores.

Shop at produce stands.

In my effort to balance health and budget I set aside a specific amount of our food budget to spend only on fresh fruits and veggies.  I find that I can cut my produce costs by about 20% by shopping at local, side-of-the road produce stands.

Avoid fast food by keeping some quick meal options in the pantry.

My standard for “instant” meals is not as high as for regularly planned meals. I don’t mind spending a bit more per meal and they don’t have to be quite as healthy.

Some of our “instant” meals:

  • Pasta and canned spaghetti sauce for a quick spaghetti dinner.
  • Saffron rice and canned black beans for beans and rice.
  • Canned chicken and/or refried beans, cheese, salsa and tortillas for burritos or chicken quesadillas

Snack healthy.

This is one of those things that short term can seem more expensive (fresh fruit and nuts are more expensive than Little Debbie’s and chips), but long term yields healthier kids, fuller bellies and less cravings.

Skip dessert.

We have dessert every Sunday and whenever we have company.  Outside of that we skip the sweets.

Drink water.

Um, self-explanatory.  We serve milk or juice each morning for breakfast, but other than that it’s all water.

Don’t forget to plan for hospitality.

Our food budget is tight.  However, we believe that we should practice Christian hospitality.  The way that we reconcile these two concepts is that our “hospitality” does not come out of our food budget.  This enables me to plan much “nicer” meals for company and to not cringe at the thought of feeding a large crowd.

Use re-usable.

I mentioned earlier that paper products and cleaning supplies come out of our food budget.  With 12 people these things can add up very quickly. (Seriously, we recently won a month’s supply of toilet paper.  When the children opened the package they all exclaimed at one time, “That won’t last us for a month!!”)  To cut down on these expense we don’t buy a lot of  disposable items.

We generally use cloth napkins (click link to see how this helps with dinner time spills and I avoid spending all day washing napkins), old cloths rather than paper towels, cloth diapers and wipes.

We do on the other hand purchase toilet paper, lot’s of it.  Here’s a tip I read recently, before you place the toilet paper  on the roll, smash it so that you bend and flatten the cardboard tube.  This helps cut down on toilet paper waste.  We’ve noticed a big difference!

Make your own cleaning supplies.

We make our own laundry soap and disinfectant cleaners.  We are talking serious savings on this one.  We do buy some cleaners for heavy duty cleaning, but our day to day cleaning is done with homemade, non-toxic cleaners.

For more grocery budgeting tips check out these other posts:

Connie at Smockity Frocks
The Deputy Headmistress at The Common Room
KimC at Life in a Shoe

What tips for saving money on your grocery budget have I missed?  Do you use coupons?  If you do, do you really save money on the basics?  Should I reconsider my “no coupon” policy?

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51 Responses to Feeding Your Family on a Budget: 4 Moms, 35 Kids
  1. Kristin
    April 1, 2010 | 7:56 am

    I LOVE your blog and am always so inspired by your family. I learn and I “chuckle”. I’ve found coupons save me money, but not necessarily time. So again, it’s a balance. However, I think you already have your food budget down to a science and the coupons probably wouldn’t save enough money to make the time investment worth it.

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Time is the reason that I’ve stayed away from coupons. It’s also why I pretty much shop at one store rather than head to several different ones.

    You’re right, it’s all about balance and figuring out what works for your family.

    [Reply]

  2. Lorie
    April 1, 2010 | 9:37 am

    If you did some couponing you might be able to save on toilet paper, toothpaste, tooth brushes, deoderant, sanitary napkins, etc. I can usually get these items for free or almost free from Walgreens or Rite Aid. But, Kristin is right, it does take some time. I love that you make so many things from scratch & your own cleaners. I’ve been relying on more convenience items since I’ve just had baby #3. Can’t seem to keep caught up on the laundry & the dishes yet much less cook a lot, but I know it’ll come. I’m really look forward to summer. We’ll do a garden which will help with our good costs. What about doing a garden for your family? I need to look into a coop, too. Thanks for the suggestions & I can’t wait to read what the other mothers do. Love your blog!

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    I actually thought about those things while I was writing my post, especially the TP. We don’t get the paper, so would I be able to find those coupons etc. online?

    [Reply]

    Lorie Reply:

    Some of them, yes. You could also sign up with the manufacturers to receive coupons directly from them. This is usually the best way to get high dollar coupons. As for the newspaper, I get the Sunday only paper since that’s when the coupons come out. I subscribed when they had a deal for a $1 week for one year. That’s well worth the money. For online coupons try smartsource.com, coupons.com, & redplum.com. I also sign up for whatever freebies I can. Although it’s minimum, it is a way to save some cents.

    [Reply]

    Sarah H. Reply:

    I found a blog that I follow that posts the deals every week in the stores in my area, and where to print coupons online to match up with the sales. I assume it wouldn’t be too hard to find a blog that does that in your area, which saves a lot of time….you just have to organize your coupons and such I think you can also buy coupons off of ebay and other sites for very cheap and end up saving a lot of money on the paper products and such.

    [Reply]

    Rachel Reply:

    I have bought coupons on Ebay. It’s awesome. I really use coupons a lot, but we’re at a point where I have a little more time than money and I spend probably an hour a week preparing my shopping lists. I try to be flexible on most things (we don’t really care what brand of TP we use), but there are certain things we choose to use certain brands. One example is peanut butter. We go through a lot of it at our house and there is one brand that is both very healthy and also similarly priced to the national less-healthy brands so that’s what we use. I went on ebay and bought 20 coupons for it for under $2. Then I wait for it to go on sale and stock up. So, I paid under $2 to save over $20 on a product we use like it’s going out of style. Because or our unusually tight budget at the moment, I think it’s worth it.

    [Reply]

  3. Trenchmommy
    April 1, 2010 | 9:41 am

    At first I was in a panic thinking that I spent a whole lot more than you…but then I broke it all down and realize I don’t. We spend $87 per person per month and that includes disposable diapers, detergents, cleaning supplies, paper products (including napkins & such!) along with shampoo, hair dye for me!, and anything else that we might buy that remotely fits in this category. We too buy a 1/4 of a cow at a time and also 1/2 a pig at a time. After reading your post I see ways I can cut down, and also am encouraged that due to full-time ministry our schedule is not as “schedulable” but I feel that I’m doing well with our family! So thanks for the encouragement and motivation all in one!

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    We include the things that you listed in our food budget as well. Disposable diapers (we’ve been using these since the beginning of this pregnancy), cleaning supplies, shampoo, toothpaste, detergents and other related items all come out of our food budget. The only thing we don’t purchase is the hair dye. :)

    I’m glad that this was encouraging to you. I love hearing how others do it and learning new tips.

    [Reply]

  4. Alene
    April 1, 2010 | 9:42 am

    I NEED your tortilla recipe! We love tortillas – beans and rice being an inexpensive yet healthy filler, and garden produce rounding out our burritos – but I have been SO unsuccessful at making them. Is there a ‘secret’? Do you, perchance, make whole wheat tortillas? I grind my own whole wheat flour with which we make yummy bread, but I know not everything works perfectly with WW flour. (Still working on pie crusts; pretty much reconciled to part whole wheat/part white.)
    Please, please, pretty please post your tortilla recipe??? :-)

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    We use a very basic recipe.

    We’ve made them with WW flour, but the finished product tends to break rather than bend. (We use them like tostadas.) Still looking for a recipe that will work with WW flour.

    We have a tortilla press and that makes the process more efficient. We are also looking into purchasing a “fancy” tortilla press that cooks the tortillas while it presses them, because we use a lot of tortillas and I tend to get too many things going and end up burning tortillas.

    [Reply]

    Lorie Reply:

    I’d love to know about a tortillas press that also cooks them. I’ve never heard of such. Eventually I’d like to grind my own wheat.

    [Reply]

    Mama Mirage Reply:

    It will not let me reply to individual comments so I get to moosh this all into one. ;)

    Coupons I do. I love coupons. They can be a big saver on the paper goods and toiletries! I have rules for my couponing though. First rule, I never ever ever save a coupon for something that I would not buy without a coupon. This prevents me from buying stuff that would be extra outside our budget just because I have coupon for it. Second rule, I do not print coupons unless they are for several DOLLARS off because a 30-cent coupon isn’t worth the paper it takes to print it. I also don’t use coupons from the paper unless I have some free time to cut them out. I like the ones the companies mail me direct best because I only have to cut apart 2 or 3 of them or some of them even don’t require cutting at all. I have more things I do and don’t do with my coupons. Basically I don’t do anything that’s going to be a pain in the neck or cost extra money or time. By setting those rules I can save alot with coupons with barely any effort. Coupon trains are another great way to get coupons but they do require a little more effort.

    If you grind your own wheat I have heard and tasted that red wheat makes a lighter, tastier bread.

    [Reply]

    Mistee Reply:

    I hope you don’t mind my butting in here, but I have a tortilla recipe that we use whole wheat flour (or spelt or kamut) for and it works wonderfully; nice soft tortillas. :-) We also bought a heated tortilla maker and definitely don’t regret it! It goes a little slow though, so we also use a big counter top electric griddle to cook the tortillas along with the tortilla maker. Here is our recipe:
    28 c flour (whole wheat, kamut or spelt)
    8 tsp salt
    2 2/3 cup coconut oil (you could probably use butter or olive oil too)
    8 c water.

    Adjust the water/flour as needed so the dough is not too sticky or too dry.
    We love these!
    (We make these and use some and freeze the rest; hence the large recipe. :-))

    [Reply]

    Katie from NC Reply:

    Mistee, could you post a link to the tortilla maker? My family also goes through a lot of tortillas, but hand rolling to make them from scratch is out of the question ;-)

    Thanks for your recipe. I’ll have to give it a try.

    And thanks Kimberly for the post!

    [Reply]

    Mistee Reply:

    Here is a link with a picture. Unfortunately, they say the manufacturer is not making it at present. :-( Sorry about that; maybe you could find a used one on e-bay, or another brand?
    http://www.buy.com/prod/villaware-v5955-grand-wrap-tortilla-and-flatbread-maker/q/loc/66357/203163127

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Thank you Katie and Mistee.

    Mistee that is the exact tortilla maker we were going to purchase. We actually tried to purchase it from two websites, but they were out of stock.

    I recently noticed that they were for sale again at Amazon, but procrastinated ordering one and now… *sigh*

    It’s good to know that you like yours. I will probably check out eBay. Katie – Don’t you dare bid against me. ;)

    [Reply]

    Paula Reply:

    We have the tortilla press, Villaware. It is great! we have used it now for five years and it was the best investment besides my mill and bread maker:) Chcek out breadbeckers.com. They may not have a co-op near you, but you could at least get the recipe they have for tortillas- it’s great!- and for sweet tortillas off their website! The tortillas are great with fruit and yogurt in the morning!!
    Sue and Brad Becker also use a griddle when they are cooking large quantities for their big family.

    [Reply]

  5. jeana
    April 1, 2010 | 9:54 am

    Thanks for this list. We spend about the same and eat very healthy. That makes me feel better, I was a little worried we spent too much. I’ve been making more from scratch, so I can’t wait to try more that are on your list!

    [Reply]

  6. Young Wife
    April 1, 2010 | 10:02 am

    Great post! I think it’s great idea to keep a hospitality budget in addition to the grocery budget. It’s always hard for me to stay on budget the weeks we have company.

    [Reply]

  7. Sandpiper
    April 1, 2010 | 11:08 am

    Those are some great tips!
    We’ve always had a tight budget and so many of these things have just become habit. We rarely eat out and only have dessert on special occasions(birthday cake). However in the past year I’ve really become convicted in being a good steward of our food and the blessings God gives. I’m starting to make a lot more from scratch(laundry soap, cleaner, wipes etc) and I’m finding it very satisfying!
    Although I try and keep a menu plan for dinner, I don’t for breakfast & lunch, but maybe I should!
    Blessings!

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    I resisted menu planning for breakfast and lunch for a long time. However, I’ve found that it is actually easier to have a plan (I know what I need at the grocery store each week) and we eat more variety.

    Of course, it’s not for everyone. :)

    [Reply]

  8. Amber
    April 1, 2010 | 11:26 am

    Thank you for doing this series. I’m enjoying and benefiting from it. I haven’t gotten to read this post yet but hope to later today. I’ve linked to you so I can come back easily and any readers I have can, too.

    [Reply]

  9. My Boaz's Ruth
    April 1, 2010 | 12:28 pm

    I’m wondering where the $150-$200 per person for food number comes from? Because while I do know people who spend more than I do for food, I don’t know anyone with kids who spends that much, and most can not even afford to if they wanted to! (I could see a single or a couple spending that much)

    So who are they asking to figure out their “averages”? How are these numbers coming about? Are they being created in the first place to justify some government program? (In which case they are probably inflated)

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    @ My Boaz’s Ruth, The $150-$200 number actually came from my “scientific” method of using Google to try and get an average. I actually selected one of the lowest figures that I found (save one saving-money, get-out-of-debt website where she spent to $100-$133 per person per month).

    The “official” government numbers are actually higher than what I quoted, over $200 per person per month. So I was being generous.

    Also, as Michelle pointed out below, this is an average. Many people spend way more than this and many people spend less.

    Edited to add: Here’s a more “official” number, The U.S. Dept. of Labor reports that American’s spend $185 per person per month, so still in the same ball park.

    [Reply]

  10. Jenn
    April 1, 2010 | 12:35 pm

    Great post! One bonus of having a very young family is that our per-person numbers are very low! :) I know that will change as they grow though, but hopefully then I will also be able to make more from scratch than I do know to help balance things out. I have tried buying produce from road stands but I’ve never found it to be cheaper than what I can get at Meijer. I think it’s because Meijer can buy the exact same items from the farmer in bulk and then afford to sell them for cheaper. I also think the growing organic & local movements have driven the price up for road side markets since they know people will pay it to get something “local”. What I know is that Meijer also buys local so I can go there get the same produce and save $ yay! :)
    I also do not use coupons for two reasons -first we were paying more for the paper than we were saving in coupons. Second, most coupons are for name brand items but you can usually get a store brand cheaper even considering the coupon, and well if the store brand is on sale -there’s just no comparison!
    I save money buy shopping the sales and stocking up. My grocery etc. list each week contains almost exclusively items that were at a good sale price and then my menu comes from those items and what I know I have in stock. :)

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    There are a lot of produce stands that have more expensive prices than grocery stores. We’ve lived here 5 years and only during the summer months is there a stand that has prices better than the stores. Back home, we had a year round stand and the prices were super.

    [Reply]

  11. Michelle
    April 1, 2010 | 1:45 pm

    @ My Boaz’s Ruth–Hi. We do spend $200/person a month if you include non-food items from the grocery store and also restaurant meals. That includes mostly organic produce and dairy and local meat, and we do not have room for a spare freezer. I have one child, who is a big eater.
    The number probably came from a survey. The problem with averages is that it doesn’t tell you the median, though, so a few very high or low spenders can throw things off.

    [Reply]

  12. Tracey (momtofivekdis)
    April 1, 2010 | 6:45 pm

    First of all, I want to say that I find your blog very inspirational! I have a couple of questions about OAMC. Next week I’m going to be bulk freezer cooking for the 3rd time (second time with another family). I’m wondering how you thaw your meals. Do you put them in the refrigerator a day or two ahead of time, do you take the meal out in the morning and leave it on the counter for the day, or do you put it right into the oven from the freezer? I’ve been putting them in the fridge a couple days before I plan to eat. Is it safe to leave it on the counter for the day, then cook? Also, what does your husband think? Does he mind freezer meals all the time? Thanks!

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Tracey,

    I do a few things to thaw freezer meals.

    I either set it out on the counter to thaw for the day and then cook and serve it that evening. I don’t usually set it out until around 10 or so and it’s still cold or partially frozen when I put it in the oven, so I’m pretty comfortable with the safety of that. (If it’s a casserole that is frozen in a 9×13 I try to set it out earlier or remember to leave extra time for it to cook.

    Some things I put into the slow cooker while they are still frozen, first thing in the morning.

    Sometimes I forget to thaw something and at the last minute pull it out and cook it. This works for things that I can heat up on the stove top like soups, etc.

    My husband really enjoys the freezer meals because it means that he gets a real, home-made dinner every night. (I did mention that the kitchen isn’t my strong suit, right?) Also, we do have “regular” food “regularly”. This week I prepared and served two meals that weren’t from the freezer, a roast and a beans and rice dish. We also regularly grill and have seafood in addition to our freezer meals. And I rarely serve freezer meals to company. So we don’t live exclusively out of the freezer. :)

    [Reply]

  13. CookieMonsterKatrina
    April 1, 2010 | 7:03 pm

    Very helpful advice. Cooking/Meal Planning/Groceries are also not my forte. I got married only knowing how to make spaghetti (jar sauce), scrambled eggs, and hot dogs. I still struggle with learning to cook. It’s not as intuitive for me as so many other people. But I have a budget and I stick to it. : )

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    I had a steep learning curve on the cooking front when I was first married also.

    My girls will be much better prepared. :)

    [Reply]

  14. Kim
    April 1, 2010 | 9:55 pm

    Wow! Our family of 4 spends about $700 a month on food. We do also end up waisting some food because I end up overestimating the amount of veggies/ fruits we will eat, in hopes that we will start to eat healthier. We arn’t big meat eaters, but I tend to have an eye for gravitating towards the artisan whole grain breads, and $1 a cup yougurt. Your post certainly did inspire me to budget my food expences better, although I do not exactly know how I could find the time to cook from scratch so much ( I work out of the home)!

    [Reply]

    Lorie Reply:

    Kim,
    Here are a couple of suggestions for you. I know fresh is always better than canned or frozen but I figure canned or frozen is better than nothing at all. I keep a few cans of fruit on hand just in case we run out of fresh fruit & I can’t make it to the store yet & I also keep frozen veggies on hand for this same purpose.
    My other suggestion would to try making your own yogurt. It’s super easy to make in the crockpot. Here’s a link to the recipe that I use: http://crockpot365.blogspot.com/2008/10/you-can-make-yogurt-in-your-crockpot.html. Add granola, honey, fruit, vanilla, whatever you like.
    Hope this helps.
    Lorie

    [Reply]

  15. Nicki
    April 1, 2010 | 10:47 pm

    Great post! I plan to do an entire week (next week) on coupons and other ways I save LOTS at the grocery store.

    [Reply]

  16. Emily
    April 1, 2010 | 11:49 pm

    I highly recommend Aldis!!! We recently moved from Knoxville and I am really missing the Aldis there. They have probably the best prices on eggs and milk, cheese, bread if you dont have time to make it etc. Take a quarter with you though or you will be without a cart! :)

    [Reply]

    Lorie Reply:

    LOVE Aldi’s. When I started shopping there years ago, it immediately cut our grocery bill in half. Now I’m working to reduce our bill even more.

    [Reply]

    CookieMonsterKatrina Reply:

    I have discovered Aldi’s recently, also. Nice low prices on a few of those essentials! I had tried Aldi’s before in our previous location and it wasn’t that good. But, the one by us now is really great.

    [Reply]

  17. rachel
    April 2, 2010 | 4:46 pm

    kimberly,

    hello, i am public school teacher, married to my highschool sweetheart for nearly 10 years, with one 21 month old son… i just wanted to let you know how much i have enjoyed your blog, even thought it wouldn’t seem to apply to me. but your tips and advise for a large family just need some tiny tweaks to work really well for a family of 3. i have especially enjoyed the 4 moms, 35 kids posts and getting each of your perspecitves. i will probably never have a large family (though i am one of five, ha, ha, i know for you that’s not really large…). i am not sure that homeschooling is in the cards for me (though i think our public school system is a mess and i work in it). i am a budgeting, simplifying, living within my means, hopefully one day soon (working now to pay off mortgage so we are totally dept free)stay-at-home mom, who loves the Lord and needs the advise and inspiration of Godly women to keep on course. Thank You for what you do!

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Rachel – Thank you for taking the time to comment. It’s good to know that you are enjoying the 4 moms series. I’m also learning a ton from the other women.

    [Reply]

  18. Bri
    April 3, 2010 | 3:43 pm

    I love reading about larger families and how they save on groceries! So glad I found your site :).

    One thing that I have started doing to cut our paper use is to use “family cloth” instead of toilet paper. This is a touchy subject and I don’t want to go into a lot of detail here…for obvious reasons. I find it is super easy to just throw them in with my cloth diapers when I wash and I never run out.

    This is something that I do just for me (and only for non-solid situations). I use cheap Gerber brand baby washcloths but it would be easy to make from old flannel receiving blankets or even t-shirts (I just had a bunch of washcloths). We went from using 4 rolls of toilet paper every week, to every 2-3 weeks. And unless I tell someone, nobody even knows. I keep a basket on the back of the toilet with clean cloths and a bag under the sink for dirty. They get washed every other day with cloth diapers and I have never had a smell issue.

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    I’ve broached this subject with my husband and he is a no-go, but I really think it’s a great idea and with using cloth diapers it just seems that it wouldn’t add much/any extra work.

    [Reply]

    Bri Reply:

    My husband doesn’t participate in this particular money saver :) He thought it was really gross at first, but since he doesn’t come in contact with anything (except seeing the clean cloths on the back of the toilet in a basket).

    I don’t know if you do much Aldi’s shopping, but we found 4 2-ply rolls for .89 at the one by us…that is what we started buying and it saves quite a bit also.

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Aldi’s is simply inconvenient to where we live, but I’m thinking that I need to start including it into our routine.

    Thanks.

    [Reply]

  19. Veronica
    April 8, 2010 | 10:05 pm

    Just want to chime in here…

    I grew up with my mother making tortillas EVERY day to go with dinner. It didn’t matter if we were having meatloaf, pasta, or carne guisada, there were always homemade tortillas. She grew up with her mom doing it, who grew up with her mom doing it, and so on and so and on.

    I broke that cycle and we don’t have them all the time. But we do have them homemade. My daughter, who is only 20 months won’t give a store bought tortilla the time of day, but will gobble up one straight of the griddle, piping hot.

    Anyway, all this to say, with the recipe I use (from generations of tortilla makers), I successfully substitute 1/2 of the white flour with ww flour and they still come out beautifully.

    2c. flour (can substitute 1c. ww)
    1tsp. salt
    1tsp. baking powder
    1Tbsp vegetable shortening
    water

    Mix flour, salt, and baking powder. Add shortening and mix with hand forming little “peas”. Add water slowly until it forms a soft dough. Pinch off 12 balls and roll on a floured surface. Heat on cast iron griddle.

    What is important, that I don’t think most people realize, is what you do with the tortilla after it comes off the griddle. You immediately put it in a kitchen towel wrapped up. Once the next one is done, put it in with the first one, and wrap it up again. Continue in this manner with the rest of the tortillas. The kitchen towel keeps the tortillas warm and the just the right amount of heat and moisture stays in to make the tortillas oh so soft, flexible, and utterly delightful.

    Sorry for the book on tortilla making, but obviously it’s a passion ;)

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Wow Veronica! Thank you so much for chiming in. I thank you, my husband thanks you and my children thank you.

    We needed someone to tell us the secret about wrapping the tortillas right after taking them off the griddle!! Our tortillas have never been as soft as ‘store bought’, now we know!

    I appreciate your taking the time to write a “book on tortilla making”. Very helpful and timely.

    Thanks again.

    [Reply]

  20. Paula
    June 9, 2010 | 2:21 pm

    Kimberly,
    Would you mind listing what you use for making cleaners? Tried some that did not work, so I’m very interested!! I do make my own laundry detergent, but haven’t ventured out anymore in these waters!

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    We use very simple homemade cleaners for our daily cleaning, but we still purchase more heavy-duty cleaners.

    We use a vinegar/water mix for an anti-bacterial, all purpose cleaner (kitchen, bathroom and floors) and baking soda for all scrubbing needs. Ammonia makes a great window cleaner, but we don’t use it because the kids do most of the cleaning.

    Those are the basics that we use. Like I said, we still use store-bought cleaners, just much less frequently. :)

    [Reply]

  21. zeemaid
    July 27, 2010 | 10:24 pm

    all excellent suggestions. I’m so glad i stumbled across your site today. I now have to go and visit all the side links. :)

    [Reply]

  22. Jen in Oz
    December 15, 2010 | 8:34 pm

    The biggest battle I am having in my household of 6 is not the food shopping or menu planning but in the attitude of my children who won’t eat this or that. I stick with the plan but the complaints are wearing me down.

    [Reply]

  23. Holly
    June 21, 2011 | 11:25 am

    I have been re-reading your stuff on your site. I absolutely love and enjoy it!
    As for the coupon questions~ I absolutely think you have time. You are organized and you love teaching your kids the importance to use God’s resources wisely. Kids can help with this. Get a baseball card binder, kids can cut coupon and put in each section. Use help like the Krazy Coupon Lady to help you find the deals! She even has links to print out coupons and find match ups. Like you, I cook healthy. I even added “Clean-Eating” to my website. I really stock up on toothpaste, soaps, shampoo/conditioner, laundry detergents, deodorants, etc… I’m all about frugality, so I choose to buy only when it’s extremely cheap, for pennies, free, or even a “money maker”! You can search my blog page for “coupons” for a little bit more of what I have to say about it. Hope it helps you. Talk to you soon

    [Reply]

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