Getting through the day, one cup at a time.

Budget Cuts

on June 9, 2012

Due to the new budget cuts to our household expenses, we now have only $50 per week for groceries for our family of four. Luckily, I had already stocked up on some discount meat a couple of weeks ago, so we are still okay for the protein portions of our meals. A couple of days ago we had our first ever $50 grocery shop. This consists of making a list, estimating the costs of each item and stopping once you reach around $47. Taxes people. Taxes.

Week One Groceries

  • celery
  • cabbage
  • 3 cans of tomato sauce
  • 875 grams (5) tomatoes
  • hamburger buns
  • 3 lbs apples
  • one brick of mild cheddar
  • 2 bags of 1% milk
  • 2 bags of homogenized milk

TOTAL: $38.58

Well, sweet. The grocery store was out of canned beans (I will get you next week!) but we came in $11.42 under budget. That means that for Week Two we have $61.42 for groceries. Excellent!

These small purchases will allow for the following meals:

  • cabbage rolls (I’ll take pictures this time and share the recipe. Yum!)
  • homemade hamburgers
  • Pasta Fagioli (substituting shred chicken for beans)
  • shepperd’s pie
  • spaghetti with meatballs

I also have ingredients for Americanized Wonton Soup, a stiryfry on riceย or a ham dinner. Voila. Seven. We went grocery shopping on June 6, I made Americanized Wonton Soup (see: I make stuff up and name it silly things) for dinner that day, then Phil made homemade hamburgers for dinner last night. Next week we’ll be camping for three days, so one dinner will be homemade sushi, courtesy of Aunt Heather, and another dinner will be homemade chicken noodle soup, courtesy of me; neither of which will cost extra money. Sweet. I’ll be brainstorming some other cheap ideas and bringing back some old favourites over the next little while. Please post your cheap recipes on your blog, and if I use them I will feature you on Au Courant Fare! Ooooooh. Bribery.

I know that not all weeks will be as successful as this one, but at one time I was so poor my grocery budget was a mere $20 a week. I think I can handle it.

Americanized Wonton Soup (or French Onion Soup with Tortellini)

Well, the second name pretty much gives it away. I made this soup several nights ago because some of my yellow cooking onions were starting to go south. I buy the big bag of onions because it is only $4 and I can use as many onions as I’d like. Cost effective, no? Once a bunch of them start to soften I make some French Onion soup, or as my cousin used to say ‘Spanish Onion Soup, it’s like french onion but without the expensive cheese’.

Make broth in a pot. However you’d like. Meat bones, powder and water, premade broth, anything. Cut your softened onions into slices. I remove the skin (obviously) and I also remove the inner pieces, they’re most likely to go soft first and have a…less than pleasant texture. Toss the slices into the broth and boil. Boil for…oh, I don’t know. Twenty or thirty minutes until the onions are all soft and see-through. Yum! Be careful not to boil away the water and make your soup too strong. You can always add more water halfway through boiling, that’s what I do. Once you are confident that your onions are cooked, toss some frozen tortellini in and cook for the package time. Mine was 5 minutes. Voila. That’s all. If you want more or different vegetables, then toss them in, it’s a very lenient recipe.


  • premade broth – $1.79
  • 7 soft onions – $0.80
  • 1/4 bag of frozen tortellini – $1.25


Not too shabby, if I do say so myself. Fed four with leftovers.


19 responses to “Budget Cuts

  1. Palatka Mom says:

    Love this! I had no idea milk came in bags. It looks like I learned something new today about Canada. I wondered about the frig picture and the two different milk jugs on a previous post. You’re doing great!! I’m good about MAKING lists, but terrible about remembering to actually bring them with me to the store. I’m positive I’ll be the youngest person in history to have alzheimer’s. I can see the headlines now, “35 year old mother of three with early stages of alzheimer’s couldn’t find her car at the grocery store and decided to walk 5 miles to her house. Once there, she not only realized she’d left the groceries at the store, but had walked to her childhood home instead of her current home of 10 years.”

  2. betsyk1 says:

    Good work on keeping within the budget and your meals sound fab!

  3. sillyliss says:

    Wow, you did fantastic at staying under budget. I am inspired! I’m a terrible about buying things without looking at the prices. Then, when I do look at prices, I am ridiculous in the way that I will buy a container of orange juice because it is ten cents cheaper than another brand, like I’m doing myself a huge money-saving favor!

    Also, milk in a bag?!?!?!?!?

  4. Amy says:

    I remember those days. I even tried using dried beans instead of canned to save money, but could never get them to soften. Yuck.

  5. Holy moly, I am IMPRESSED! $50?! I’m ashamed to say what we spend on a weekly basis :/ I do notice though that when I purposely find budget recipes, the bill goes significantly down.

    • This is a cut of 33%, so our bill would normally have been something closer to $65. I also shopped less frequently than weekly, but I figured that this would make me more accountable for the foods purchased that week. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for being impressed, it makes me feel a little better…hahaha.

  6. This is inspirational! I will not attempt to stick to a budget. No really. I’m going to start now. Thank you!

    • I’m assuming that your ‘not’ was supposed to be a ‘now’ otherwise that is counterproductive. And YAY! We could be Budget-Buddies. I’m going to keep posting about mine, perhaps you could post about yours too!

  7. I meant – I will NOW attempt – see….my mind won’t even let me type that right!!!! LOL!!

    • Oop, apparently I should read all of the comments before opening my big mouth. :S
      Silly coffeepoweredmom!

      • ha!! Ok – i’ll be combining my two biggest challenges! Food photography + budget wise. I don’t know about you – but photographing recipes is so much harder for me than I thought it would it be! I just pulled out a ton of overripe bananas from the freezer so here goes nothin’!

        • I COMPLETELY AGREE! It’s so hard to remember to take pictures of the ingredients, or certain parts of the process, and then remembering to take a picture of the finished product before you start eating! Impossible. ๐Ÿ˜€

  8. […] remember how I’m super poor and we’re down to $50 per week for groceries? Well, for part of this week we were camping so I needed to purchase all of the ingredients for […]

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