On a Budget BIG TIME!


I know that most every person has been on a budget at one point or another. Our state, a farming one, is being heavily affected by the rising price of corn and such. Our dairy is almost unaffordable, and our meat IS unaffordable. So we eat a LOT of vegetarian items, and try to use a lot less dairy (milk, cheese, eggs).

I notice, though, that I just never feel full without the meat, eating out and other niceties we used to enjoy. I was wondering if I am missing something in my diet? I take a complete multi-vitamin/mineral to supplement. I am just SO hungry, though my quantity of food has not changed, just maybe the quality.

I consider myself a very frugal woman, but I could be missing some things. We shop wholesale and buy lots of generic items, so we are saving as much as possible that way. We are not spenders AT ALL. Our only “nicety” is that we have a good apartment (but only for reasons of safety.) We tried to buy the cheapest apartment in the safe area of town, and we are not sure we will be able to keep it for long anyways. :frowning: Our furnishings and clothes are minimal and modest, not like we can make money there, and we haven’t bought anything new for a long while.

Another big thing has been my health. I have bad asthma and between the treatments, perscriptions, and doctors visits I KNOW that puts a big hole in the checkbook. So maybe prayers for healing, or at least more affordable healthcare…:rolleyes:

**Any tips on more satisfying budget eating would be MOST appreciated. Any tips for pinching pennies elsewhere are also most welcome! **:slight_smile:

This has been going on for a month now and my husband is SO needing a second job, but hasn’t found one that cooperates with his day job. We have to keep the day job for cheaper healthcare. So if you could pray that he finds a good second job I would be SO appreciative. :slight_smile:

Well the one good thing is I DO find my self offering things up a lot more, and having to depend on God for the necessities of life. SO maybe there’s a point to all of this! :hmmm:


I hate to post to my own thread like this, but please also keep my husband in your prayers as he’s kind of down on himself trying to find this second job. :frowning:


Here’s a post from a while back that may help:

also, here is a longer thread that had a lot of suggestions.


Thanks! :slight_smile:


First of all…praying to God for you. I will offer your intentions up in my holy hour today.

Secondly, it sounds as if you are doing the best that you can and cutting costs where you need to. My wife and I are in the same boat…hey maybe we have a cabin next to each other :wink: and, like you, tend to buy the generic items as much as possible.

I just wanted to offer a word of encouragement to you husband, I am not sure if he is interested, but when we were low on cash, I went to wait tables. Yes, yes, I know. I had never ever waited tables in my life, but when times are tough and your family is in need, you do what you have to do. I did it for a year and a half and I loved it!! I was able to work in the evenings and quickly became one of the top waiters at this resturaunt. I would still be working there if the resturaunt had not caught fire and I had not relocated due to work.

Again, just a suggestion. God bless you!


Thanks! It sounds like we are on the same money “plan.” My husband has a sometimes “irregular” schedule day job. Most days it’s consistent, but it seems like once or twice a week he has to either work late OR stay late for a mandatory meeting/conference. He’s been looking a lot into third shift, but those sleepless night type jobs are SO hard on him right now.

I would get a job, but my asthma forced me to quit my other one! :frowning: I feel so helpless and such a burden to him right now, though he does not feel that way at all. I am truly blessed with an awesome husband! :slight_smile:

Thanks for your prayers and support! God bless you and yours, and you are still in my prayers as well. :crossrc:


I don’t have any budget advice for you, but just wanted to let you know I’m going through the same thing right now and you are not alone.

Our Rx co-pays are KILLING us. All of our bills are behind right now due to Jacob getting a nasty cold that put us out a few hundred bucks in co-pays…that along with a slow month at DH’s work. :frowning:

I don’t see us getting caught up anytime soon before November (DH gets all his vacation pay on his anniversary date then), unless God decides to intervene somehow.

And it is VERY hard to live frugally with 4 kids, especially going to the grocery store. Everything is just so expensive.


I wanted to reply to say please do not ever feel as if you are a “burden” to your husband. I am sure that he loves you and would do anything for you. Be his rock in these difficult times.

Thanks for the prayers.


Thanks you are very sweet. It’s just my depression/anxiety talking. My husband thinks the world of me, and, like you said, would do ANYTHING for me. Thanks again! It helps just to talk about this problem.

God bless you all! :signofcross:


Do you have an ALDI’s in your area.
Their meat quality is generally very good and much cheaper than at the grocery store. Pretty much everything is cheaper some remarkably so and I have found the quality to be quite good. Always check your grocery store’s meat counter for marked down meat that is close to expiration. You can freeze it and used it when you need it.
Do you utilize rice or potatoes as a meal stretcher? Also beans are a good source of protein and quite cheap. Peanut butter is a good source of protein, eggs too. Both relatively cheap. Drink water instead of any other beverage. Or make ice tea from tea bags, which can be done very cheaply.

Trust me I have been there. When my hubby was laid off for months. I feed the three of us for $25 a week. Search the net for frugal recipes, there is quite a bit out there.


In addition to the previous posters comments, I would like to add that eggs are a relativley inexpensive source of protein, and they can substitute for the meat, too. Potatos are also inexpensive, so when we’re in crisis mode budgetarily, I make a lot of egg/potato/cheese dishes. I also “grow” my own eggs, but living in an apartment, I really don’t recommend getting any hens!:stuck_out_tongue:


Can your doctor give you free samples of meds. My drs were able to do that for me with some of my meds when I asked instead of filling an Rx. If not see if a cheaper drug is available. Dr’s are usually pressured to prescibe the newest meds by drug companies, drugs that don’t have generic equivalants yet, which makes the drug comapny the most money. Many older meds work as good as the newer ones and can be bought as a generic which is cheaper.


the Lenten recipe thread on spirituality has a lot of good non-meat recipes

I well remember the 70s when meat prices went through the roof (so did gas prices, plus long lines for gas, which we have not seen yet, but it is coming).

Thanks to TV home ec experts we learned ways to extend meat. You only need an ounce of meat per meal to get the flavor and enough protein, if it is accompanied by beans and/or whole grain and/or small amount of dairy.

for instance buy a whole chuck roast 3" or more thick, bone-in. if you lay it out on the counter you can see how by using your good butcher knife you can cut out the round or oval middle section for 4 small steaks (cut in half lengh-wise, then in half again, you will have 4 (3-4 oz steaks) tenderize by marinating or pounding with a meat tenderizer mallet or both. Cut the meat along the bone in a strip, then in chunks for stew or soup. the strip you cut on the opposite side of the bone, around the center, cut in cubes and marinate for shish-kebob or beef tips. Calculate 2 good size cubes per serving. Marinate in wine and call it beef bourgionon, who’s to know the difference? A $3 bottle of red wine goes a long way as a marinade, and as a splash in your gravy.

this gives you 3-4 meals for a family of 4, remember the meat is 1-2 oz per serving, enough for a protein boost, not a plateful. better for your heart, too.

Use the bone to make stock, along with all the meat and veggie trimmings you have been saving in the freezer, and veggies you overlooked now too limp to cook. Bring just to a boil in your big pot, simmer for 2 hours with a TBSP of vinegar, tomato juice anything acid, and a couple of bay leaves (don’t buy them if you don’t have them). Strain everything. Cool the bone and give it to the dog. Remove the slivers of meat, but toss the fat and gristle. Toss or compost the veggies they have no nutritional value, it is all in the stock, which should set to a gel in the refrigerator. Skim off the fat, freeze in 1 qt containers for soup and stew base. Add boullion cubes or powder for flavor. You now have a rich protein based stock. When you shop buy a pack of bones or just ask the butcher for them, cheapest thing in the store.

every culture has its meat extenders: rice, rice pudding, noodles, spaetzle, dumplings, pierogi, pasta, yorkshire pudding etc. Mix yours with a bit of cheese, milk etc. for additional protein and your family will not suffer. Don’t waste anything, freeze it and add it to whatever. If cheese is getting hard, grate it and freeze it, add to white sauce for veggies, with powdered milk, you are also satisfying protein needs.

same thing with a whole chicken, esp if you can by stewers for less, or split broilers plus a very cheap pack of necks and backs. Stew in your big pot, with an onion, celery and carrots cut up (rememer you are saving celery tops and all veggie trimmings and leftovers for this purpose). When cooked, strain, cool and remove all meat. Larger pieces will go in pot pie with either mashed potato, mashed turnip or piecrust topping. Smaller bits will go in a casserole with pasta, veggies and cheese or cream sauce (mushroom soup base plus powerdered milk). Shreds are for soup, extended with rice or noodles. Again you are looking at 1-2 oz meat per serving, not whole pieces of chicken. One whole chicken should render at least 4 meals. Plus you still have a few quarts of protein rich stock.

Our markets have whole wings which look gross, but much cheaper than the cut up wings. Just buy a cleaver and cut them up yourself. throw the tips in the stock pot, serve the wings instead of fried chicken, at a fraction of the cost of pre-packaged pre-seasoned wings.

Ways to extend protein and add more veggies
grate carrots, celery etc. in your food processor or buy hand, mix with leftover chicken or canned tuna or salmon in proportion of 1/3 meat to 1/3 veggies to 1/3 cooked drained pasta for hot casserole or cold salad.

get whey protein powder and/or powdered milk and add to everything to boost protein.

power mashed potatoes (or mashed cauliflower, turnips or rutabaga if you are low-carbing):
Add 1/3 cup whey powder or powdered milk (veggies will be watery enough, potatoes may need a couple TBS milk), plus grated carrot, broccoli and cabbage. Grandkids call it confettie potatoes and don’t seem to mind getting veggies this way. Use more powdered milk to make cream gravy with stock as base.

when you are baking muffins, biscuits, pancakes etc. add 1/4 to 1/3 cup powdered milk or whey protein for each cup of flour to add protein.


DH and I certainly know what it’s like to budget. It sounds like you’re doing pretty well with groceries…as a nurse, I know that ALL doctors offices get drug samples and can also write your office visit into a payment plan, or even write off. at the office I work at, we have hundreds of patients that are “regulars” that we mail free drug samples to. Also, we have dozens and dozens of patients that we “write off” their bill for. we’d rather see them treated and taken care of. you could certainly talk with your doc’s nurse about either option. lastly, visit www.crown.org. this is a biblically based financal advice group. they aren’t like the things you see on TV about consolidating debt, but they give really good financial advice and have free budget coaches! they may be able to help you, and all of their advice is free. lastly, if you have a SAM’s or the like nearby, they mark down their meat every sunday morning. you can get GREAT deals there. it’s likely from a nutrition standpoint that you need protein and iron in the form of meat if you are always hungry. good luck and prayers-twk


our standard breakfast when kids were little and we were poor was oatmeal, made with powedered milk or canned evaporated milk for more protein, plus raisins (buy generic bulk). find a bulk food store which can really save as well. for variety when fruit is cheap like end of season is fritters made with protein enriched pancake batter and fried, or what kids called “Crumby”, fruit mixed with bisquik and milk, with oatmeal cinamon crumb topping. buy the fruit that is cheapest, marked down, wash it, cut up, freeze and bag for quick baked goods, cobblers, shortcakes.

go to walmart and get their list of discount drugs, take it to your doctor and findout how many of these can be used instead of current higher priced drugs.


You might check to see if your state has either SHARE or Angel Food Ministries. They are both ou a co-op plans that buy in mass quantity and sell you a pre-set order of food for a small amout ($25-30). See if that will work for your family. It is open to anyone at any income level.

Angel Food



PuzzleAnnie had great ideas. The best advice I can give, because we are there right now too, is to make absolutely all your food from scratch. I have had to learn how to cook from scratch, but it is easier than you think!
I now make all our bread. A bag of whole wheat flour costs about the same as one loaf of bread, but you can make about 4 loaves with it. We buy nothing premade, and no mixes.
We also eat a lot of vegetarian meals, but if you do it right, you can fill up on them. Like, eating beans with rice to make a whole protein. You can do them so many ways. Check out some vegetarian recipe sites, or just google the words ‘recipe’ and the ingredient you’re looking for. And add lots of seasonings, it helps! Herbs, soy sauce, hot sauce, all that stuff is cheap.
www.hillbillyhousewife.com is a site with tons of very cheap but good recipes and ideas for saving money. I love it!


There’s always the food bank at church. Use it for canned goods, bread, etc. and free up funds for meats. Food stamps are also a really good option. Been there; done that.



Thanks everyone! You are all so kind! May God richly bless you all!

We are definitely cheaply eating. Beans, rice, spaghetti, potatoes, peanut butter, eggs, REPEAT! :smiley:

We have a wholesale membership…but…just don’t have enough to get the bulk quantities right now. We did for over a year and it was great! It really saved a lot. We just can’t gather up enough cash for pounds of this or twelve cans of that. We get what we need for the next several days and go from there. Luckily, we do still have some stock from the wholesale from when we were last able to shop there several months ago. It’s going fast though!

We really are still very blessed, when you think that our “hunger” would be considered very full and satisfying to SO MANY people in our world. It’s just an adjustment. I grew up pretty wealthy. I had what I want, we ate out almost every day, life was a piece of cake. My family, if they knew what we were living on, would be sending money non-stop. BUT, we don’t want that. We are very blessed. And we thank God for all things!

We are seemingly unable to have children, so its just two adult mouths to feed. However, I can’t wait until we are back on our feet, have college nearly paid off, etc. Then we can finally save up for our dream of adopting several children. I believe in miracles! :heaven:

Keep praying, and you all are in my prayers too! :thumbsup:


This may not be far from the truth. My mom is severely Anemic. Also EVERY SINGLE PERSON on my mom’s side has diabeties. My sister is Hypoglycemic.

It may be mild Anemia or mild blood sugar problems. I have been getting weak and dizzy lately. However, I can’t afford to have either of those diagnoses on my health insurance right now. I already bumped my husband up to premium care with the severe asthma.

As for the inhalers they don’t have mine in a sample. Well…they DO…but it’s too expensive for most offices to just give as a freebie. It’s over three hundred dollars for one month. THANKS BE TO GOD our insurance covers 2/3. That leaves us about 100 for that one, 25 for another. Specialist appointments run 40 a peice, and then the “extra” meds I get put on from time to time. Antibiotics, steriods, etc. My husband laughs and says I am a “druggie.” :rolleyes:

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