Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Feeding a family of 4 - 6 on $70.00 -- Really???

Hmmmm......

I quite often read claims on various sites that make me go....hmmmmm. They are usually claims of how little it costs to do a certain thing and....if you, the reader, will only have the wisdom, then you'll be able to do so as well. They make it sound so easy and make the reader feel inadequate.

These claims always make me feel I'm doing something wrong because usually it's costing me a lot more to do what they are writing about than the claims they are making. Now, before I continue, I must preface this with the fact I am no stranger to being frugal. I've had more than one bank manager ask me about this. There was even one who said, "I have many clients that make twice as much money as you and they still cannot make ends meet. I don't know how you do it. If you are ever considering re-entering the work force, please come and see me first. I can't guarantee you a job, but I would certainly like the opportunity to have you on my staff."

I recently found such a claim on this site. It claims a family of 4 - 6 can be fed on $70.00/week. Hmmmm....I know *I* don't feed my family of 5 for anywhere near that amount, not even close. We don't buy cookies, chips, pop, or any convenience foods....just the necessities and our grocery bill is still much higher than $70.00. But.... this writer claims it can be done (and elsewhere on the site it even makes claims of menus that actually cost less than that).

So....I thought I'd take a bit closer look. After all, maybe I am doing something drastically wrong and if I can feed my family for $70.00, them I'm all for it. I started by picking 10 items off the list on this site. I went to my grocery store, equipped with my list and wrote down the prices. For my comparison, I chose the cheapest brand on the shelf. Also, as our grocery stores sell things in grams, kgs etc., I had Larry convert them into the same units (and therefore prices for the same quantities) as on the original list. This is what I found:

................................Price listed on web site..........Our price

Hot Dogs, 1 lb .................................89 ...................... 2.47
Margarine, 3 lbs ............................1.35 ...................... 7.17
Ground Beef, 5 lbs .........................6.90 ......................18.80
14 oz. Tin of Salmon ....................... .97 ...................... 2.33
1 lb frozen peas ............................1.00 .......................1.09
1 bunch of celery ...........................1.30........................1.79
10 lbs all purpose flour.....................1.92........................5.70
4 boxes Mac & Cheese.....................1.33........................2.36
3 doz. eggs..................................2.17 .......................6.81
3 lbs long grain rice.........................1.00.......................2.69

TOTALS .....................................18.83.....................51.21


Interesting.

I've only compared 10 items --- there are a total of 48 items on the list. At the end of these 10 items, I've already spent $51.21 and somehow doubt I will be able to buy the rest of the list for $18.79. I would even go as far to say if I purchased everything on that list, my weekly grocery bill would be a lot more than I already spend.

So much for feeding a family of 4 - 6 on $70.00. (I even left a comment on this website and the response seemed to indicate there was no idea what I was talking about and probably it was just a banner ad. When I left another comment with a link to the original post, the comment was never published or answered)

5 comments:

Mama Squirrel said...

Linda,

The ownership of Hillbilly Housewife has changed, but Miss Maggie (the creator of the $70 menu) posts now on a blog called Frugal Abundance, if you want to contact her there. http://frugalabundance.wordpress.com/

Jacqueline said...

Interesting. I saw this menu plan referred to somewhere but I didn't check it out. I just figured the menu would either be full of things I wouldn't be able to get or my family wouldn't eat. Good for you for actually checking it out so thoroughly.

At Home on the Rock... said...

Mama Squirrel --- Thanks for mentioning that, I didn't realize it had changed hands. I guess that explains why she didn't know which post I was talking about.

At Home on the Rock... said...

Thanks Jacqueline. :0)

You know very well about the price of food here, but for me, one of the biggest eye openers when we moved was the difference in grocery prices. Yikes! Like milk, it's almost double here compared to what we were paying. And bananas --- we were paying .42/lb and here they are .85 to .89/lb. I always feel badly for people when I see these posts/threads/polls etc., about how much they pay to feed their family. There just seems to be this over tone 'If I can do it for this amount, then everyone should be able to as well.'

Our grocery bill is easily 1.5 times higher than it was in Ontario and that's with cutting out many of our favourites, simply because they cost too much.

I guess there is always room for improvement in one's spending habits, but it is easy to spend less when things cost less.

MyThreeDaughters said...

That is amazing about the bank manager. That is fantastic.
Linda.