Mondays with Mavis – How to Feed Your Family for $100 a Month

mondays with mavis

Old Mother Hubbard went to the cupboard…

Let me just say this… I will be at Costco bright and early when they open their doors at 10 am on January 2nd. I’m not exactly sure why they are closed on New Year’s Day, but I’ve made it this far… waiting another day to fill my refrigerator with food isn’t going to matter, right?

After all, we have 3 pounds of Christmas salami {my mom gets The Girl one every year for Christmas} some eggs, pasta sauce and a wee bit of juice left tide us over.

Feeding my family for $100 a month this past year was more challenging than it was in 2011. Slowly backing off the processed foods we used to buy all the time, and working towards growing and learning how to prepare healthier recipes has been an adventure.

So now the big question.

Will I do it again next year?


Here is a little slice of what went on around here in Mavisland this past week.

charmin toilet paper

On Christmas Eve we headed over to my parents place where Monkey Boy received his annual package of Charmin toilet paper {he LOVES the stuff and I typically don’t buy it, so Granny buys him his own stash every year}.

playing cards

We also played our traditional game of 31.

elf on the shelf gift cards

When I was a kid my grandparents would play with nickels. Over the years we’ve upped the ante and now play with $5 gift cards.  My brother ended up winning this years game and went home with $130 in gift cards to cool places like Starbucks, Jamba Juice, Target and more.

Hertz rental car

The next morning we hopped on the first flight to Orange County and spent Christmas Day with the Handsome Husband’s family where there was lot’s of food, kids, animals and toys, toys, toys.

man with nerf gun

I think I gained at least 10 pounds.

loaded baked potatoe

Because we had ham the night before at my parent’s house, I opted for a fully loaded baked potato for dinner.  While I was eating my Brother in Law proceeded to tell us his cat had herpes.

tan cat

Which was just really, really, lovely.

baked pies

Then he offered us dessert.

panera gift cards

The highlight of trip {besides learning the cat had herpes, overeating and hanging out with family} was all those Panera gift cards I won from the “Christmas Quiz” game my Mother in Law plays every year. Let’s just say I studied on the plane ride to So Cal. and it really, really, paid off.

Because of the holidays, and all the travelling we did last week, I didn’t go to the store once for food. And you can bet your bottom dollar I won’t be going to the store today either.

In it to win it baby!


Total Spent This Year $1,195.67
Total Spent This Year on Garden Seeds/Supplies $536.26
Total “Seed Money” donations received $51.00

Go HERE to read more Shopping Trip Stories.

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  1. Heather says

    Oh you have sooo got this! Congrats! Happy New Year to you and your family! Can’t wait to see what is in store for you in 2013…maybe up your total to $2013.00/year food budget?! Striving for all organic, homemade foods? Selling goods at the local farmers market? The wait is killing me…lol!

  2. Mary says

    Your posts have been so informative and I’m so inspired by them! We’ve grow a garden every year but NOT to the extent of yours and this year I’m going to actually weigh the food we bring in and see just how much we grow and maybe try to grow more in years to come. I also love this with only spending $100 a month! I don’t know if I could do this!! I have two small children (8 & 5) but the hubs and I have talked about just lowering our bill to $200 a month and see if we can handle that before going any lower, lol! I can’t wait to see what you’ve got in store for 2013. Happy New Years to you and your family, Mavis!

  3. Roo says

    Herpes is very common in cats. If your cat was in a rescue or shelter, they probably have it. It’s the leading cause of upper respiratory infections in cats and once they have it they have it forever. Just sayin. LOL But yeah… lovely dinner conversation! Not that I wouldn’t put it past myself to bring up the same topic…

  4. Megan says

    You’re not the only one going to Costco on the 2nd. We’re TP snobs but I won’t buy it without the coupon at Costco. We’re down to the last three rolls with a toilet training three year old. Should be an interesting next couple days!

  5. Hege says

    Mavis, Happy New Year! I can’t wait to hear what sorts of challenges you will have for 2013! I mentioned to my dear husband that I had been reading a lot about red worm composting lately, and he hardly glanced away from the football game…until I casually mentioned that you could do this indoors. Ha! That got his attention!! That will not happen in a million years in our house! But here in Texas, I think the worms would absolutely dread working for me in a million degrees outside. Anyway, I think I can use this to my advantage when sharing other bright gardening ideas with him, you know- at least it’s not like I am asking if we can do worm composting indoors or anything (he, he).

  6. Susan says

    With the economy the way it is and rising food costs, I hope you will consider upping the ante to $150 or $200 amonth (which would still be considerably low for a family with 2 teenagers!)

    It would definitely put a lot less stress on you! Just suggesting….

    You can keep the onehundreddollarsamonth website. Those of us who come here often won’t mind :)

  7. Deborah says

    Sorry to hear about the cat, but congratulations on making your goal of $100 a month! Can’t wait to see what your goals are for 2013! I am working on mine today! Happy New Year!

  8. Helen in Meridian says

    Send your kids to their friend’s houses to gossip, play and eat their holiday treats for the next day. You can host them later on in the week. Was that a pan of carmels in the front of the dessert trays? Most of those look like purchased crap. What’s with the lack of baking skills on the HH side?

  9. Mary Ann says

    Congratulations on meeting your goal! I, too, think you need to add some to it for 2013. Prices just keep going up and up and without buying all the processed crap (that even your neighbors don’t want) it’s going to be near impossible to do it at $100 a month next year.

    Nice score on all those gift cards, too!

    Thanks for all of your hard work on the blog.

    Happy New Year!!!

  10. vickie says

    Mavis -I like how you are turning away from processed foods -do you think you could share a menu for a week and let us know how that’s going? I’m very interested -not sure I could go all the way from processed foods but would love to get away from a lot of it.

  11. Heidi says

    Sound like you had a wonderful fun filled holiday. Can’t wait to hear about your 2013 goals. I need to come up with my own but one things for sure they won’t be as ambitious as yours. Love your blog! Keep up the good work :)

    My husband woke up today to announce that milk will be going up to $7 a gallon in the next two months. As odd as it was to have my husband even care what the price of milk is or will be, I’ve been hearing this for the last few months. Scary!

    • Marybeth says

      When I bought milk yesterday the cashier told me it was going to be $6 a gallon and I kind of laughed it off but now seeing other people know about it, I may stock a few gallons. Freezer space is a hot item in our house but so is milk and I can’t pay that much a gallon, even if I did increase our food budget for 2013.

      • Ashley says

        Personally, I find it hard to believe it will go up that much. It seems like there’s always a worry over a certain something-something doubling in price. BUT- never hurts to stock up when it’s cheap, just in case!

        • Heidi says

          I agree Ashley.

          The reasoning behind the price hike hype for milk is that the corn crops were so bad this past year that the price of feed for the cows has skyrocketed. The price of meat is predicted to rise as well. I’m not freaking out because like Ashley said there is always some big rumor about the price of something going thru the roof.

          The price of groceries was predicted last year to have a huge rise as well. I definitely think that the price has gone up but I’m not certain it was nearly as high as predicted.

          Thank goodness I have a full freezer of Zaycon meats which helps on that end. I spent yesterday planning my next 31 days of meals so I can use it up before it goes bad :)

  12. MaMaLaLa says

    I like the idea of taking the budget up to a higher amount since food prices are projected to go up. Curious- eating out isn’t in the food budget is it? If it isn’t I would go out to eat for today. hehe

  13. Brenda says

    I made your ham and cheese biscuit recipe and it was sooo soooo good. The hubby loved them too.
    If you have a recipe for freezer biscuits could you share it. We love biscuits but I don’t know if those could be frozen and eaten later. Thanks for all you do!

  14. Robin says

    She shoots she scores! So happy you made 2012 goals and I loved watching on the sidelines while you did it. We scored Olive Garden, Starbucks and Panera gift cards. Enjoy your New Year’s Eve and day you deserve it.

  15. Lisa Brooks says

    I HOPE you continue with the $100/month goal! It’s so inspiring. I am hoping to expand my garden. Would you share what you will plant this year? Maybe don’t worry so much on the amount of food in weight that you grow–maybe focus more on what keeps the $$$ lower.

    By the way, the farm bill was extended so the price of milk shouldn’t go that high–I hope.

  16. Patty says

    Holy cow! I thouht that we were the only family that played 31. Love the gift card idea, our buy in is $1 for three poker chips. This year the pot was $14 (I didn’t win, it’s been a few years sine I have).

  17. Helen in Meridian says

    I always believed that cramming right before an exam was good. You proved it. What kind of questions did she ask…Christmas trivia or what? I know you love Panera and it is great you studied hard to score free gift cards. We don’t have Panera but we do have a new restaurant of 1 year called Kneaders that makes great bread and sandwiches.

  18. Tracy says

    With your focus on non processed food maybe you could give yourself a seperate budget that only goes to sustainible or local whole foods. Or maybe add a freezer for half a pig and cow thats different budget so you can purchase what’s important to you.

  19. says

    sounds like a busy family time for you guys! :o)
    I actually wanted to give a bit of advice to help out kitty. The kids and I helped tame feral kittens a few years back so they could be adopted and we dealt with a TON of upper respiratory crud in them. For some of them it moved into the eyes and such (herpes). We found a natural thing that helps it l-lysine. We opened capsules and mixed the powder with water for kitties and syringed them, BUT a lot of vets have a paste for kitties.

    The Cat Lady 😉

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