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

milk and orange juice

QFC & Fred Meyer – $5.29

There has been a new development with the Milk Situation in our house. Monkey Boy refuses to drink the “good milk.” And since the Handsome Husband only uses a wee bit of milk in cereal, and I only use it in my tea, and The Girl mostly drinks water, {and some juice} I only had to purcahse a 1/2 gallon of milk last week. HOW ODD!

Will this trend continue? Who knows, but The Girl and I find the whole thing amusing.

cucumber and green peppers

Local Produce Store – $3 for 6 peppers and 2 cucumbers {Monkey Boy ran off with the 6th pepper}


Backyard Harvest – Beets!

cut wheatgrass

Indoor Harvest – Wheatgrass!

amazon subscribe and save

Swagbucks – FREE

I redeemed the remaining Swagbucks credit I had for a few Amazon gift cards. I ordered fancy nut snacks for the Handsome Husband, Eggo syrup for Monkey Boy, plus tuna and my favorite Traverse Bay dried cranberries for all of us. Clearly had I  known I could have scored some cheap Mrs. Buttersworth’s syrup at Albertsons this week before I placed my order, I would have bought that instead, and used my credit for something else. Oh well, it happens. I also ordered some Kashi Crackers which are on sale right now, but those have not arrived yet.

costco meatloaf and mashed potatoes

Costco – $15.99

The short version on this story – I was sick, asleep, and the Handsome Husband was hungry. The way it works in our house is, if there is no prepared food at eye level for my husband to find, he assumes we have no food. He doesn’t cook. He doesn’t clean. He doesn’t grocery shop, but he gets up everyday and goes to work to provide for his family, and, he lifts heavy stuff occasionally for me. So it’s all good.

While I was napping one day, he ran to Costco and bought “food.” I’m not exactly sure how the man figured out how to take the plastic top off the package and turn on the oven, but he did. God Bless America.

one hundred dollars a month

Albertsons – $2.37

Double coupons are cool, especially when you can leave the store with a giant sack of food for less than the cost of a latte. Read about it HERE.

fresh produce

Mr. Produce Guy – FREE

There is no need to buy this stuff when you can get it for free! Read about it HERE.

oroweat bakery outlet

Oroweat Bakery Outlet – $2.00

After I brought the bread home, I read the NPR article, and I’m going to try my hand at baking my own bread. Not only am I hoping it will save me some money, but I’m thinking it will taste better too!

So how did YOU do this past week? Did your husband buy anything to throw off your grocery budget? Did you score some great deals?


Total Spent This Week $28.65
Total Spent This Year $281.55
Total Spent This Year on Garden Seeds/Supplies $0

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  1. Lisa says

    You inspired me Mavis! I’ve committed myself to $100/month for our family of 4 this year. My family thinks I’m crazy…and I do too, but goals are good, right? So far, so good. I scored a boatload of food this week for $37. My 17 year old (who shops with me) attempted to derail me this week with some crap food that caught his eye. He’ll remember his wallet next time…lol! I will not be deterred!!

    • Heather J. says

      Good job Lisa! Having kids in tow is always dangerous when grocery shopping and I always spend more when my son is with me. Luckily he prefers to stay home so usually I am fine..

  2. says

    I can totally relate to the “husband means well but overspends at the grocery store” issue!! We have a running joke (thank goodness it has boiled down to joke territory rather than hurt feelings territory) that he cannot look at the fish counter when he shops. I’m lucky enough that he offers to do so on rare occasion, but he sure is good at buying what he wants or thinks we should have without considering the bottom line.

    I wrote about it back when it happened.

    Love your sight! Keep on keepin’ on!

  3. Cathy says

    When my handsome husband throws off the grocery budget with unnecessary food purchases, it comes out of his mad money allowance, and not the grocery budget. Of course, we HAVE to stick to our grocery budget (and all of our other budget categories) if we want to make ends meet and not get further into debt or pay our bills late. It’s not just something we’re trying to see if we can do. Anyway, that has helped our marriage immensely and cut down on conversations about my not having enough grocery budget to feed the family because he stopped at the corner market by his work to buy burritos, soda and chips when there was plenty of cooked food in the fridge for him to choose from. Of course, the same rules apply to me. When I’m making the shopping list, I always ask him if there is something specific he wants and what food he would like me to cook him for his lunches. Then I can work everything in, weigh everyone’s needs, and if decisions have to be made about cutting something, he can be involved before the money is spent. Sticking to a budget can be a lot of work, but the pay off when financial goals are met is worth it.

  4. Angie Smith says

    I did great this past week, but it wasn’t easy! I decided that in order to save money on food, I need to stop throwing away food that was hidden because the fridge was too full for me to see it in the back, and I decided that I need to shop based on a menu plan. This is going to be super hard for me because I’m a spontaneous person & I like to just eat what sounds good at the moment, but that leads to having a stuffed fridge just in case I’m in the mood for some particular thing, which leads to things going bad in the back and throwing away food that would have been perfectly good had I seen & used it a few days earlier. Anyhoo, I decided to stop grocery shopping – except for fresh milk, cream & random items like produce – until we’ve eaten what we already have in the house. It’s been 10 days, and all I’ve bought are milk, cream & a FEW produce items. We still have lots of food in the house. It’s been really hard to remember to NOT go grocery shopping. Who would have thought?! Haha! I’m feeling pretty good about my progress so far, and I’ll be working on menus in the next week or two so that I’ll be prepared when it IS time to shop again. :) Thanks for your wonderful blog!

  5. Danielle O says

    Good luck in the bread making department. I’ve been active at it for about 2 months now & still can’t master “THE” perfect loaf…. Then again, I’m also working with gluten-free flours here. Maybe you’ll have better luck with wheat.

    The taste is not even comparable tho to the junk in the store XD

    • Rosalea says

      I tried my hand at GF bread in the bread machine last night; and although I “cheated” a bit by using a Bob’s Red Mill GF Bread Machine mix, it came out pretty good. Next time I will use butter instead of veg oil and might put a splash of vanilla or cardamom in to make a bit of a flavor.

  6. suzanne says

    What is the boy drinking in place of all that milk? Inquiring minds want to know. Whould of thought that upgrading would have broken that habit.

      • Marcy says

        The cereal thing…sheesh. I actually will only buy 2 boxes of cereal a month because three teenagers who use it for a ‘snack’ at 2 bowls a sitting the milk flies out the door. They don’t even eat it in the morning, makes me nuts! I can even buy the ‘gross’ cereal and they’ll slop a bunch of sugar or honey on it and slog it down when I’m not home.

  7. Jenna says

    We kicked the dairy milk habit about 2 years ago. It took us over a year of ‘tasting’ various nut milks to find which brands/flavors we like best for cereals, hot chocolate and cooking. We really don’t drink these straight up and haven’t missed that aspect of dairy milk. My favorite thing is that they come in shelf stable containers as well as in the fridge section of the grocery store. And the expiration dates are beyond extraordinary. And bonus, they also have regular coupons for the big brands like Blue Diamond and Silk. – My personal favorite for cooking, sunflower milk!

  8. says

    OMG!! Your husband sounds just like mine. Mine doesn’t cook either and I’m totally fine with it. He is awesome helping with dishes, lugging groceries, or taking the family out when I don’t want to cook (admittedly, not often…I LOVE to cook!). Rock on!

  9. Jen says

    My husband will actually cook, but it’s macaroni noodles and tomato sauce (usually he’ll use the can of tomato sauce I needed for spaghetti the next day) and it always results in burnt noodles stuck to the bottom of one of my nice pans that takes 3 or 4 good scrubbings to get completely clean.

  10. Leanna says

    Yep, my hubby will not cook either. He can make a few things but would rather eat crappity crap like chips & candy. Usually will not even warm it up if it’s already made.

  11. says

    My honeyman cooks very good. But he is really bad to take to the grocery store! LOL He actually likes to go to the grocery store or any other store LOL. Which I admit has really come in handy as I hate shopping. With our new budget goals I am going to have to stop having him pick things up LOL. Because when he goes he always picks up all sorts of things on top of what it was we needed :O). We usually go to the grocery store together on the weekends as we live out in the country and its an actual outing to go to Costco or Sprouts Grocery both 45 minutes away.

    I see your totals are for a week and for the year. So you average out your total for the year at the end with a goal of averaging 100.00 a month? I have set our goal at 200.00 or less a month to start with. Which would be GREAT ! Then I can whittle down from there :O).

  12. says

    Some great deals this week! Spent $0.74 at Albies and $9.38 at Safeway and got:
    3 Minute Maid OJ, 1 Special K cereal, 3 Yoplait greek yogurt, 1 Ken’s dressing, 2 Kraft Fresh Takes, 4 Jennie-O turkey bacon, 4 bananas, 3 Fresh Express salad kits, 2 bags shredded cheese, and 1lb package of steaks.

  13. Helen in Meridian says

    If you don’t eat the Costco stuff (what was that anyway) you could count it as his allowance and not your food budget. You should have a “health insurance” exclusion in your food allowance. When you are sick or he is crazy….however you consider it…it should be from his allowance, and not count.

  14. says

    Mavis Butterfield thank you. I found your blog by reading an article on and I am truly glad I came to visit.

    The article says you ‘got burnt out’ on extreem couponing – I can understand. But even dispite the burnout – coupons and 2 for one deals are becoming slim pickings where I live in florida.

    Maybe I will take your tips and start my own back yard garden – don’t always have the best weather in florida, but it can’t hurt?

  15. says

    I don’t understand how people can save money baking their own bread! I really can’t. Even buying the Franz white (my son) and Cascade Pride wheat of some sort (me and my daughter) at full price it is cheaper than when I bake a loaf!

    And how do you slice it as thin as packaged bread? When we have home baked bread we eat big chunks hot with butter! No savings in my family. And it is so much work, my time is worth more!

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