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Have you heard the one about the homeschooling family that lives on less than $22K a year in an area that costs above 100% (116%) of the National CoL Index?

I haven't quite figured out why so many people still persist in perpetuating the myth that living on a single income and homeschooling on a dime aren't possible. I can only suppose these are people who can't imagine life without a daily trip to Starbucks and dinner out several times a week. The people who actually shop at malls (*shudder*) and think "Brand Name = Best". The people who really live by the "Keeping up with the Joneses" mentality.

That? Would not be us!

Welcome to our world. We cook from scratch. Buy from thrift stores. Find 95% of our homeschool materials for free. This is my blog and this is how we do it.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

My $3.50 chicken.

Yesterday I bought a whole chicken for $3.50. I also bought a bag of potatoes for $2.88. I had some carrots on hand, as well as two onions, and about 6 oz. left from a chunk of cheddar cheese. And, in the freezer, a little less than half a bag of frozen broccoli.

So... today's lunch was roasted chicken with potatoes, carrots and onion, served with rolls and "sunshine salad" - a jello salad made from lemon jello, crushed pineapple, and grated carrot, and dinner was a mock-quiche (following the general concept behind BISQUICK'S IMPOSSIBLY EASY CHICKEN-N-BROCCOLI PIE, though I use my own, homemade "biscuit mix"), served with home-made applesauce. And then tomorrow morning I will cook down the chicken bones to make a nice broth to make chicken noodle soup for lunch, which I will serve with my son's favorite: cheddar-garlic drop biscuits. The soup always makes enough for two meals, so I'll freeze the rest.

My point? You can get a lot of mileage out of a $3.50 chicken.

Apparently, some of our congressmen have recently TAKEN A FOOD STAMP CHALLENGE wherein they attempted to live on a food budget of $3 per person, per day for One Whole Week (*gasp!*), to highlight the difficulties faced by those surviving on food stamps.

Our family of four lives on about $1.75 per person, per day, and as you can see by my above menu, it's not like we're dining on Hamburger Helper every night. And it's not like we live in a particularly cheap area. According to the CoL Index, our food costs are at about 100% of the national average.

Frankly, it comes down to smart shopping, using up every bit of each item you buy, and learning to make everything from scratch. Is it as easy as calling for a pizza to be delivered? Of course not. But it can be done, and with practice and trial and error, eventually, it can be done without much difficulty.

I do not want to sound as if I'm condemning people on food stamps. Far, far from it. What disturbs me, though, is the general belief that $360 a month for a food budget for a family of four is the equivalent of starving. It is not, by any means.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree. When I read about the Food Stamp Challenge, I was shocked. Not that they had so little, but that they had so much. At first, I sincerely thought that it was $3 a day/family. I couldn't for the life of me figure out how $18 a day for my family could be right. We eat, for a family of 6, for about $13 a day. I have been known to buy the occasional convenience food. I could still do better, and I am appalled at the whining going on about the $ amount for the challenge. $3 a day is plenty for anyone, if you are willing to actually cook.

June 5, 2007 at 11:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

First, I agree about scratch cooking. And fewer and fewer of our country regularly cook from scratch .

However, prices are amazingly location-dependent. In 2004, we moved from the Midwest to the West. My $360/month grocery budget immediately jumped to $525.


July 3, 2007 at 9:19 PM  

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