As I mentioned before, I have had house guests for the last several days. Sticking to our small budget is extremely important in our household, but what is more important to me is being a gracious hostess and making people feel welcome. So how did we stick to our $35/week budget and feed four adults and four very hungry children? Here are a few tips that work for me.
1. Planning, planning, planning. I have been planning for the past several weeks and taking advantage of great sales at Safeway. I have purchased lots of kid friendly foods- like chicken nuggets, grapes and crackers- to be sure we had lots of easy options on hand for the pickiest eater. Even without the deals at Safeway, I could have found great bargains at Walmart, Super Target or any other store by allowing myself a few weeks to stockpile.
2. Organization. I still did my regular meal planning based on the items I found the best deals on. We had kid friendly meals that didn’t require a ton of preparation- like burgers, quesadillas, pasta, simple salads, and grilled chicken. After planning the menu, I double checked that we had everything we needed on hand and had a few backup meals just in case.
3. Flexibility. I am a Type A person but I always strive to stay very flexible and accommodating. Rather than panicking that we weren’t following the meal plan, I just used it as a guideline. When we got home from a long trip to San Francisco, instead of making chicken tacos we just put together quick quesadillas for the kids and leftover pasta for the adults. Simple and no stress.
4. Utilizing the stockpile. I have a modest stockpile but was still able to utilize many items to stretch our budget. We had lots of snack foods, cereals, soups, frozen items etc.. to make sure everyone had something they liked. I also love having so many health and beauty items on hand as I did not have to worry about running out of tp, soap etc…
5. Look for extra deals. As I mentioned, I spent a few extra minutes very week planning for this visit. I heard about great Kashi coupons that were available at a store that is not in my area. When I saw the Kashi waffles would be on sale last week 2/$4 at Raley’s, I immediately traded for several coupons. (If you are unfamiliar with trading or buying coupons, I will be posting how to tips next week). I purchased 10 boxes of Kashi waffles for .50/box which were perfect easy breakfast items.
6. Give yourself a break. I planned to spend a little extra early in the month to ensure we had everything we needed. To feed eight people on $35 would have been a quite a challenge so I spent a little extra to maximize deals. We had already planned to eat primarily from our stockpile this week, while the deals are slow, and I can easily make up for the extra spending.
Do you have any tips for entertaining on a budget?