REAL Food on a Food Stamp Budget – The Challenge Begins

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WholesomeMommy's Healthy Real Food Meals on a Food Stamp Budget

Last week on my facebook page I announced how I have had a burden for people who are receiving food stamps {or SNAP}.  I talked about how I see that there are a couple of issues in today’s families that stand between them serving a wholesome, healthy, FRESH meal:

  1. SKILL = Many women/men never learned to cook. Several women that I am friends with even, don’t know basic food preparation skills. The extent of their cooking knowledge is preparing hamburger helper or microwaving a vegetable.
  2. TIME =  Many families feel that they don’t have TIME to prepare nutritionally dense, FRESH foods. {If this wasn’t true the processed foods industry or fast foods industry wouldn’t be booming businesses.}
  3. MONEY = Many families feel that they don’t have enough money available to them to purchase REAL, wholesome foods.

I started this blog as a way to chronicle how I kicked processed foods and started preparing REAL, wholesome, or clean foods.  I have always been a frugal shopper {some of you know me from my couponing days at The Centsible Sawyer blog}.  As I’ve walked down the aisles of my local  grocery store I see grocery carts full of convenience food – junk food.  These families are from all walks of life, some with large budgets, but mostly, in the community where I live, the families have a limited grocery budget.

As I talked to more women on my facebook page I realized that there are SO MANY families who genuinely WANT to eat better, they just aren’t sure how to go about it or where to start on a limited income.  All along I’ve been saying that I want to show families that eating REAL food, organic food even, isn’t just for the elite and that cooking from scratch isn’t as difficult as it sounds. Well, now I am putting my money where my mouth is – LITERALLY.

I am taking on a challenge – to cook healthy, REAL food meals, on a food stamp budget.  What will that look like?  Here are the parameters of this challenge:

  • My goal is to spend $100 per week – or $400 per month for my family of 4. Why $400? The federal government would give a family of 4 with NO income about $630 a month in SNAP benefits. Most families on food stamps/SNAP are recieving much less because they report SOME income or assets.  The amount of benefits you recieve depends on that figure. So, that means the federal government expects that if you aren’t recieving $630 per month in benefits, that you are making up the difference in your own income. Now, that said, many families with limited income don’t have the exta to contribute to groceries. After talking with several women on my facebook page – both those on SNAP and those who are not, the consensus seems to be that a limited budget would be about $400 per month.
  • I’ll be cooking ALL meals from home. That means that $100 per week must stretch to 7 days a week x 3 meals a day x 4 people. This budget will also include snacks. What does that mean? If you just did the math, that means I’ll be spending an average of $1.19 per person, per meal.
  • I’ll still be sticking to my own food rules.  That means processed foods are out and real food is in. That means antibiotic free chicken and grass fed beef. That means raw and/or organic dairy.  That means some organic produce. I’ll be squeezing in quality ingredients at every turn.
  • I will assume that families that might replicate this have two working parents and NOT a lot of extra time.  That means the meals will be simple and quick.  Dinner around here happens in 20 to 30 minutes on most nights.  I’ll be teaching some organization along the way and I’ll help you figure out how to make it work on a packed schedule with too many obligations and not enough time.
  • I’m starting with an EMPTY pantry/fridge.  The reality is that my pantry and fridge is far from empty.  But, many people who are on food stamps/SNAP run out of food before the month is over. So, I am going to act as though I have nothing. So, if I use something I already have in my pantry and fridge I will still be subtracting it from my budget as if I had to purchase it for the first time this month.  So, when I say I will prepare 21 meals on $100 bucks, EVERY ingredient will come out of that budget.
  • I won’t be using coupons. WHAT?!  I know, I can hear the shock in your voice! The fact of the matter is, there are very few coupons on items that I’ll be purchasing and besides, not everyone has access to coupons.  I’m trying to level the playing field here.  Now, store circulars are not out of the question.  I will be taking advantage of sales and price matching, but I won’t be rushing to store multiple times per week.  One or two stores, once a week is my goal.
  • I’ll be recording my journey through weekly check ins on this blog. Every week you can expect a post with my success and failures and thoughts along the way.
  • I’ll be keeping track of the meals we eat and groceries we buy so that I can offer you a FREE monthly meal plan at the end of each month.  So, in other words, if you choose to follow my meal plan, you’ll be spending $400 on a month’s worth of groceries that will be REAL, nutritional food.

I’m hoping to offer you more – like video quick tips along the way.  I’m still working out the details on this…so stay tuned.  I am also working on some great give aways for REAL food and needed equipment for families on low incomes – so stay tuned on that too so you can find out how to nominate a family in the coming months.

When will this start?  NOW.  I’ve already begun tracking my meals and groceries and am planning to update you on the progress at the first of next week!  I’ve also added a place in my menu bar {right up top} under “Wholesome Food” called “OH SNAP! REAL food on a Food Stamp Budget,” where I’ll be adding my weekly check ins!  I am SO excited about this challenge.  I think it will be difficult, but doable, and I’ll learn a lot along the way. I think it will be a total blessing to those who read it and I hope the information here helps more families than I ever could have dreamed. I am literally crying over my computer now {just so you know}.  I know that God is in this.  You may or may not believe in Him, but I know He is my inspiration and He wants to use this for His glory.

Any more questions? I’m all ears.  I’d love your comments and questions – so fire away!

Here’s the link to Week One…Hope you’ll join us on this journey.

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Comments

  1. Good luck! I had enough trouble trying to stick to $525/month. I am excited to hear your tips and see the meal plans!

    • Denisesawyer says:

      Thanks Courtney! I appreciate you taking the time to leave a comment. :)
      Denise
      Wholesome Mommy

      • I’d like to see your budget. I am on a fixed income (ssd) and they cut my SNAP from 285 to 73 a month. I called and asked how did they expect us to get by and was told we weren’t supposed to get by. It’s an incentive to go find work. What part of disabled do they not understand? I would much rather be making 350 a week instead of 700 a month. I cook a lot from scratch.. but don’t think I can even pull this off. Help!

        • I know families of 4 that are on extremely fixed incomes that only get 200 a month if they are LUCKY. The majority of us out here in the “real world” would LOVE to have 400 a month to eat with.

          • Well, she does say she’s going to continue to buy quality ingredients. If you don’t do that it will be even cheaper.

        • I strongly encourage you to check out the various food pantries in your area. I have done volunteer work at them. They supply families with meat, bread, fresh produce, as well as dry goods. May God bless you!

          • There’s no food pantries in my state that supply families with meat and fresh produce. It’s a lot of macaroni and canned food items (non-perishable food items). We’re a family of 5 soon to be 6 with both parents working (1 FT and 1 PT), a $1850 monthly rent, 700 plus weekly nursery school/ day care bill and mega medical bills and we get $300 a month in SNAP. Our youngest and oldest (2 and 4 yrs old) require us to buy pedia sure that he and she both have to have 3x daily because they’re not gaining weight, and we have a diabetic in the family as well.

        • I do not know where you live, but see if there is a One Harvest ministry in your area. They supply quality food at a reasonable price. For a few months now I have paid for a box each month for a dear friend in the Dallas area who lost their food stamps all together. She has been taking care of her husband who has 2 different kinds of cancer at the same time. He was not able to take care of himself. He was a vet. too. He passed away 1-3-14. These boxes of food really did help her out a lot.
          I am actively trying to cut our food budget so I will be watching this very close too.

  2. Wow! Can’t wait to follow your journey! Looking forward to learning some new tricks to save money and keep my family healthy!

  3. Natalie Pettegrew says:

    Go Girl! I will definitely follow you on this one.

  4. Wow this is really interesting. As a single mother I receive about 300 in assistance(SNAP) and usually end up with an empty fridge by the third week. So the last week is usually full of cheap and unhealthy food. (The healthiest meals usually cost more) … I am for sure going to Pin this once it starts….Optimistic

    • Denisesawyer says:

      Natalie,
      Thank you for stopping and taking a moment to comment. I hope this journey of mine helps you and you can feed your family nutritious meals every night/day.
      Denise
      Wholesome Mommy

    • Yup.. same here until I started shopping at Trader Joe’s. Now I get assistance from a food pantry for only the last week. It’s been a huge help!

  5. I’m looking forward to this!! I feel like I spend too much trying to eat healthy. It’s so much cheaper going processed and coupons. But I feel better.

    • Denisesawyer says:

      Melanie,
      I learned a while back that I was going to pay more for what I eat – one way or another. Either I could pay more for nutritious foods NOW or I could pay more to the doctor’s office for eating poor foods LATER. :)
      I hope this journey of mine helps you find a middle ground. Healthy eating doesn’t HAVE to cost an arm and a leg.
      Denise
      Wholesome Mommy
      Denise

  6. I am so excited for this! We are a family of six living on a low single income. We have recently joined two CSA’s (one for produce and one for meat) really looking for ways to cut back in other areas to make up for the cost of local and organic!

  7. Many years ago my husband and I were on food stamps. He worked and I stayed home with our 3 kids. I was very careful with our budget and was able to feed us for a whole month for $161.00, the amount of our food stamps. We ate very well, home made dinners every night. I baked from scratch, and all meals were from scratch also. I didn’t buy all kinds of kits, I used a cookbook instead. I did my shopping once a month and then kept some of our stamps for milk and eggs throughout the month. I spent a lot of time before every shopping trip planning out menus and checking the grocery ads. Things are better for us now but, I look back on those hard times fondly because they not only remind me how far we have come but also that it was such a great learning experience. Hard times make you appreciate the good times.

    • Denisesawyer says:

      Thank you for sharing your story Sandy and kuddos to you for doing the hard work to feed your family well. :)
      You are absolutely right – money doesn’t make you happy – it can be less stressful, sure. But, through the tough times is where we grow and learn the most. Someone recently said, “Learn to love the learning,” when speaking of hard knocks. The sooner we embrace the challenge and realize what is ahead for us, the better off we are going to be. It’s all about your attitude. :)
      Denise
      Wholesome Mommy

    • I have to give you props on this accomplishment! I have a family of five and am also on a very very low budget, but there is no way i would be able to feed us all week, three meals a day on 161.00 a MONTH ! What kinds of foods were you guys eating and how long ago was this? Good Job

    • Thank you for this! So many think I’m crazy that I feed our family of 5 on $200/month. You don’t have to go all organic or all processed. I dislike how people are so black and white about it! It’s common sense. Instead of buying a can of spam or a grass-fed roast, I buy ground turkey. Cheaper than hamburger and healthier too. With veggies, instead of buying canned or organic fresh, I buy frozen and try to follow the clean fifteen/dirty dozen when I am able. The cheapest way to go organic is to garden and hunt. Or raise your own animals if you aren’t limited by city ordinances like we are. I agree all food should be organic, but we do what we are able. Also, about the doctor’s visits, most people I know won’t go anyway if they don’t have the money. Maybe home remedies would be another good post.

  8. I am very excited about this. I have been struggling to feed my family of 5 on $500/month so we can pay off some debt. And it’s been almost impossible when trying to eat real food. I’d LOVE to see how you do it! Thank you for this!

    • Denisesawyer says:

      Girl I am with you.
      Besides feeling lead by the Lord to share this information with others I am prayerful and hopeful that it will help my family out of debt as well.
      Thanks for taking a moment to leave a comment Allison.
      Denise
      Wholesome Mommy

  9. Following :)

  10. I’m looking forward to following you on this journey. We’re not struggling financially, but I’d really like to cut our grocery budget down so that we can put more into savings.

  11. I am so excited for this! I like to think my family eats healthy on a limited budget, but I know sometimes I don’t do very good on the healthy end because of budget!

  12. A budget of $400 for 4 people is very doable. I feed anywhere from 3 to 7 daily on a $300 budget and I cook every night.

    • I hope you’ll share how you do this too.

    • $200/month for 5 of us. Beans, rice, oats, and flour as staples. I make everything. Even our bread. Tiring, but necessary. We have a garden and hunt. It can be done. “Necessity is the mother of invention.” Not just a catchy saying. :)

  13. Hey, my friend! So excited to see these posts!! I have to admit that I was shocked when I saw the part about starting with an empty fridge and pantry! Wow – wasn’t expecting that but it certainly makes sense. Thanks for doing this challenge and for sharing it! :)

    • Denisesawyer says:

      Wow I am so humbled by the comments here. I have to admit I am a little bit nervous but even more energized after reading all the comments! This is obviously a topic that many of us can glean from. I know I will learn the most…about myself, real food, budgeting, and helping others. I am so blessed by y’all.
      Denise
      Wholesome Mommy

  14. I’m so excited and thankful for this. We are a family of 6 (2 teens and 2 pre-teens) so our food budget is always stretched to the max. There’s never enough food. I do buy some snacky foods like chips, but I try to make everything else. With two working parents we’re also short on time. We make too much for assistance, but we’re on a very tight budget still the same.

    I’ve shared this on my FB page with the hopes of helping to educate my friends as well. Thank you!

    • Denisesawyer says:

      Thank you for taking the time to comment Norma. :)
      I hope you learn how to stretch that budget even further for your family.
      Thanks for sharing this post. I hope this series helps everyone that sees it.
      I am honored that you are following.
      Denise
      Wholesome Mommy

  15. I am single w/no kids and strive to eat real foods every day. I spend about $60 a week following sales ads and using coupons. I am very interested in seeing how I can carry my $60 for 2 weeks. Also, how is this going to work for the Thanksgiving Holiday?

    • Denisesawyer says:

      That is a great question Tracy. I will likely be paying for and creating several dishes – but not the whole meal. My family always gets together and everyone contributes. I haven’t really put a lot of thought that far in advance LOL, so if you’ve got ideas, I’m open to suggestions and I’m all ears. :)
      Denise
      Wholesome Mommy

  16. I have a budget of $88 a week for a family of four. It’s a tight budget! Too tight sometimes because it includes toiletries and diapers, but we do not qualify for help and that’s what the budget allows. I save a lot by buying frozen vegetables. I like frozen because they do not go to waste in the bottom of your fridge. Stir-fries are a great choice because you don’t need a lot of meat. Good luck!

    • Denisesawyer says:

      Thanks for the tip Rosemary. :)
      I agree Stir fries are an excellent way to stretch a bit of meat. I am known for meals that stretch meat. LOL. I have been eating antibiotic free chicken and grass fed beef for about 5 years now. It’s not cheap! So, to enjoy more of it…we enjoy less of it at each meal.
      Denise
      Wholesome Mommy

  17. Linda Kelban says:

    This is incredible. I will be re-sharing and re-sharing this! I have paid a lot of money to eat this way but have spent much more! All of a sudden my situation has changed where I have to pinch pennies and at first I though I’d have to bag the eating well thing due to the cost. I am looking forward to this journey and will undoubtedly share it with others along the way!! Thank you!

    • Denisesawyer says:

      Thank you for sharing and for your enthusiasm Linda!
      I am looking forward to it as well and know that the Lord is going to use this to help so many families…I’m a little speechless and overwhelmed at the thought. But, I know God will guide me and I’m just excited to be a part of His plan. :)
      Denise
      Wholesome Mommy

  18. Thank you for doing this! I am excited and eager to see what you come up with! I’ve been wanting to switch my family to eating “real” food, it has been a slow process and some days I go back to serving us processed stuff.
    We are trying to get out of debt and have started budgeting. So this will help us and so many others.
    Thank you for researching, learning and sharing!

    • Denisesawyer says:

      Thanks for taking the time to chime in Kimberly. I love hearing about the readers here. I too am trying to pay off some debt so while I’m helping others it will have great repercussions for my family as well. :)
      I am happy to share. I am actually humbled that so many people are looking forward to this. I hope it blesses many.
      Denise
      Wholesome Mommy

  19. I saw your post on facebook about wanting to take on this challenge. By no means are we at the totally clean eating stage yet, but I have been slowly incorporating more fruits and vegetables and trying to go as fresh as possible. I can’t even tell you how timely your new challenge is for me. I received my very last unemployment check today and we will now be living on my husband’s salary of $28,000. per year after living on three times that for many years. I haven’t been able to find a job and am terrified now because he brings home little more than our (very low, btw) mortgage payment. If I don’t find something soon, I will be signing up for assistance. Scary times. My goal is to use your menus and once I do have a job, maintain the budget you are using. There are only three of us, so it will actually be a bit less than what you will spend. It is going to be a long road to financially recover from my 9 months (so far!) of unemployment. Thank you for helping families like mine. And yes, I agree, you were led to this!

    • Denisesawyer says:

      Wow. Just Wow Jenny. I am praying for your family. Your comment has brought me to tears {again}. Each time I read and respond to these comments on this post I am lead to tears and the Holy Spirit just falls all over me. I am so humbled that God has chosen me to help so many. I have to admit that I am a little nervous after hearing of so many families that are depending on this to work. I know He has lead me to this, so He will see me through. Be encouraged. We’ve been through some dark times ourselves with my husband being out of work for two different 6 and 9 month spells. It is tough to recover, but I have to admit that we haven’t ever gone without. Even when I didn’t see how the bills would be payed there was always a way – sometimes an obvious miracle. He’ll see you through this. And, maybe I’ll be a piece of the puzzle for you.
      Denise
      Wholesome Mommy

    • Bless you girl! I am a SAHM of 2 little ones and hubby lost his job last spring. He finally found a job that makes $33,000/yr. I cannot find a job that makes enough to even pay daycare, let alone have any left over to pay bills with. I am trying to start a home business selling things at home, but it’s not going so well. Its hard to be the odd one out. I hear so many job loss stories, but then I see they have a big fancy house, or new vehicles, or their grocery budget is 4 times what mine is, etc. I’m thinking, it would be so easy for them to downsize! We have a small, unfinished house, cars that are 23 and 25 years old (but paid for!), and $200/month grocery budget which includes toiletries and paper goods. So refreshing to hear from someone else that really struggles. Hugs girl!

  20. christa Miller says:

    I can’t wait to see how you do this. Our delema is usually how to fit meat in the budget. Thank you for doing this. We have 4 children and a lot of times it’s difficult to feed us in a healthy way when in crunch time w the food budget. Good luck!!

  21. I am so excited to have seen this today. Thank you so much! I am really looking forward to some tips here

  22. fonda Brugger says:

    This is great, I live on 180 for two of us and would really like to learn some new ideas recipes, I hope you do well, I buy primarily good wholesome foods, I don’t like to use anything that is processed or buy it with my snap. I hear enough from people than to spend money on garbage, so I use my extra cash for that. Right now I spend close to 200 maybe 225, and would like to spend less.

  23. I am so excited about this! I can’t wait to see how this goes for you. I have never been able to follow a modest grocery budget and I really need to learn how. :)
    I’ll be praying for you along the way!

    • Denisesawyer says:

      Kristine,
      I am so honored that you stop by and that you took the time to comment!!!
      Thank you for your prayers. I am so beyond excited about this.
      Denise
      Wholesome Mommy

  24. I can’t wait to read more! Your posts are so inspiring!

  25. tenny vazquez says:

    Jenny, this sounds great ,how do i sign up to be part of this menu meal month of snap i would love to do this we are a family of four and are low income and am always looking for good and low priced meals thank for doing this ,i look forward to future updates ,tenny

  26. tenny vazquez says:

    sorry wrote the your name wrong i was sending it a friend also ,and didn’t put your name in there

  27. I’m so excited about this. I’m feeding our family of four that just barely doesn’t qualify for SNAP on a very limited budget. I believe in real food and want so much to nourish my family. Thank you for this.

  28. Stephanie B says:

    Oh I am so in need of this right now! Thank you for heading the Lord’s promptings about trying to do this challenge. One of the challenges I have found in reading other people’s blogs about budget eating is regional differences in prices and available organic foods. I live in a tiny town in the southeast where the closest organic foods store is at least an hour away. Also not all states allow raw milk.
    Hopefully your meal plans will convert to my local prices and availability. I will be praying for you because this will DEFINITELY BLESS MANY MANY PEOPLE! Thank You again!

    • Denisesawyer says:

      I feel ya! We might even be from the same town!! I live in a small town with 2 grocery stores and the closest Whole Foods is an hour away. :)
      I am trying my best to give people options so that they can be empowered to make the decisions themselves based on their budget, availability, and circumstances.
      Denise
      Wholesome Mommy

  29. I LOVE this! SO many people I know have this struggle. Good food is so expensive, especially here in Florida. My raw milk alone costs me $9/gallon. I’m excited to see and follow how you pull this off. And meal plans are always appreciated here. :)

  30. Thank you for taking this challenge I have had trouble in this area we are a family of 6 and we are living off of my husbands income witch isn’t very much he’s a retired- Disabled Veteran and according to snap we don’t qualify so I have to budget very well and it’s hard for me to have real wholesome meals prepared oh and we only eat Kosher so that makes it harder but not impossible. So thank you and I will defenitly be following you. Good luck :)

  31. grass-fed beef? Only in my dreams. Try $200 a month for 3 people, 2 of which are growing boys who are always hungry. I don’t think it’s doable. Not with organic stuff and grass-fed anything.

  32. What about a family of 9 on $533 a month????

  33. I just wanted to say that I will follow, but after the federal cutbacks to the SNAP program, I am currently only receiving $181 per month for a family of 3.

  34. Excited about this. I get $83 a mth on SNAP snd usually hit Sam’s Club for meats with that, then I buy lesser like fresh veggie and canned foods and pastas with cash.

  35. Jennifer Bennington says:

    Thank you so much for this!! You have no idea how happy this makes me. I am a stay at home mother of 4 children, ages 8, 6, and twins that will be 4 in dec. We do get assistance, but only recieve 436 dollars for our family of 6 because of my husbands income. I am ever so greatful for the help we do get. And yes, my husband works, and he works very hard…but doesn’t make what he should. A lot of people ask why I stay home. Well, that’s a choice we made when my husband lost his very well paying job of 6 yrs about 3 years ago. With the job market so crazy, he took what he could and we decided we would rather budget and cut out luxuries than send our kids into daycare. Anyway, my fridge is usually bare by the beginning of week 3 and I struggle to feed them healthy the rest of the month. We do end up spending some cash at the end of the month so I can try to stay on track with important organics, but that has taken a toll on our budget and caused may an argument with my husband. He wants what’s best, but he aalso is stressed about the budget. This is a big deal!! I am so excited to follow along!

    • Denisesawyer says:

      I am so glad you found me! I hope this series gives you some new ideas and inspires you to help stretch those dollars and keep the good foods coming.
      Denise
      Wholesome Mommy

  36. Lindsey Campbell says:

    I am so excited for this! We do not get foodstamps, but our grocery budget (for a family of 6) is $400/ month. I am a stay at home mom and cook from scratch almost every meal!

  37. Looking forward toreading

  38. Heather Gutknecht says:

    Oh I am excited to follow this plan. I also help my church with their food bank too, would be great to copy some recipes for them. We are living off of one income for a family of six, we do not get food stamps but we sure live paycheck to paycheck. The church pantries are full of boxed mac and cheese and processed items. I pray that if I can at least help someone. Thats a wonderful thing!! Bless you girl for doing the challenge!!!!!!

    Fyi… while you are doing this challenge, can you change a processed food items ingredients into a healthier meal? Like our food bank families don’t really get a choice, whats in the pantry is what we can offer?!?

  39. I am also very excited to see how you do this!

  40. I receive only $71.00 per month and would love to hear your ideas. I eat alot of soups and beans

  41. I am so excited to follow this. We are on SNAP off and on but have always been able to stay within what we are given. I am not sure exactly what defines eating Whole foods but we don’t eat a lot of processed stuff. We are a family of four two small kids and a decent budget for us is about $200-$250 per month. I obviously can spend more but have also gone down to $140 if needed (short term maybe a few months this wouldn’t last month after month). So excited to follow this journey:)

  42. Rachael W. says:

    Thank you SO much for this series! We are a family of six on food stamps STRUGGLING. To feed our family healthy food!

  43. Sorry, I forgot to add that is $71.00 per month for one person. It comes out to $16.30 per week or $2.31 per day. So I can use your help in making ends meet.

  44. I love this idea!!! I get $230 a month for me and my 1 year old. She has only ever had organic or all natural baby food. She just had her first burger today. I would love to stick to REAL food for her but can never seem to figure out how to afford it. I’m excited to follow you!!!!

  45. I don’t get SNAP or Food Stamps, but I am a single person on a very limited income (800/mo), I am going to be following and learning from these tips too! I am so excited….I have just started my real food journey and looking forward to learning and being able to share what I learn with family and friends. Thank you!!!!

  46. I am so excited to follow you on this journey! I have a heart for this cause also. There just needs to be more education! I can’t wait until my husband is done with school and we can channel our extra income to helping educate others on healthy living. We eliminated chemicals from our lives a few years ago and started eating a little better but We started eating Paleo with some modifications a few weeks ago and my husband and I have lost a total of 22 pounds. I am doing it for about $140 a week for our family of 6. I can’t wait to see your menu plans and tips!
    May God bless you in this!

  47. I am a single mother who is not on food stamps but i have a very limited budget of 300.00/month and I’m looking forward to following your journey. I think it might come in handy because I’d really like to learn how to feed me and my daughter healthy meals on my limited budget instead of reying on fast food restaurants and convenience foods!!!!

    Thank you!
    Wendy

  48. We’re a family of 6, including four always hungry boys, and have used a $600-$650 grocery budget (including cleaning and paper stuff) for a very long time. Some months, like around the holidays, we go over. We’ve tried to go organic and definitely try using only whole, non-processed foods to better manage our health issues. I really should be gluten-free, but I often have to eat wheat along with my family due to price challenges and wanting to eat together. I pop an enzyme pill, and hope for the best.

    My kids get frustrated shopping with me because I’m always looking at the ingredients and putting stuff back on the shelf. I can hear them chanting in the background when I pick up something they want, “Please NO High Fructose Corn Syrup, Please NO High Fructose Corn Syrup!” They know if I see that or MSG or Trans fats or any other chemical additives/preservatives, it’s going back on the shelf. LOL

    I always have a watchful eye for healthy ingredients, and that usually means I have to make everything from scratch. However, that often also means that it is cheaper because I buy many items in bulk at a discount. Foods like wheat, potatoes, rice, and beans or lentils are very inexpensive and usually the starters for our meals. We always eat vegetables with them and very often meat too. We snack on fruit and home made baked goods. Fortunately being in So. California, we can find or grow seasonal fruit pretty cheap. I’m really looking forward to your recipes and meal plans to help add variety and keep our costs in check.

    I’m not sure how to ‘follow’ this, but I clicked to be notified of your new posts. If we need to do something else to follow you, please specify for us blog newbies.

  49. Super excited about this! Following!

  50. I’ll be watching this with great interest.

  51. I look forward to seeing your progress through your challenge. We are a family of 5, (with a dog) on one income and receiving SNAP while my husband is in medical school. I understand this challenge 100%. It’s my life [temporarily]. Best wishes.

  52. I’m excited to follow and try this. However, my son has a wheat allergy so I’m not sure how much we will be able to follow it.

  53. mamabearscubs says:

    I am so glad you are doing this. I spend 80.00 a week for my family of 6 which does include toiletries. It is possible!!!! ( we had to come to this budget because of a layoff and the budget stuck since then) We Cut out all processed foods. We eat healthy . ( I make a lot of mixes and if I can make it from scratch instead of buying it at the store I do. as long as the cost is lower to make it than to buy it)
    To be honest, my family loves it. My husband has lost 15 lbs, and I 5 just in a few months. I am back in a size 4. Education on how to cook these foods is key. Like many I grew up in a processed type of lifestyle. My mother never taught me how to cook. I learned by watching “Good Eats” and reading a lot of books. I look forward to this blog and your posts.

  54. christie schaffer says:

    Hello,
    I do not receive assistance, but try to keep a budget with whole foods. Everything is expensive on a fixed income or working. I am excited to see the outcome of this. Anything helps.

  55. This is awesome. I’m looking forward to reading about this journey and learning what things I can do to reduce our food bill, but still eat real food. We’re not receiving benefits, but I quit my job to go to school, so money is really tight (but I know that God was in our decision!) Thank you for taking on this huge challenge!

  56. Christine Donahue says:

    Just seen this on FB and wanted to comment and some feedback.. We did get FS and it was only 157.00 mth. With a teenage boy who can eat that up in 3 days if we let him. My husband was let go from wk in Feb after working there 20yrs. We have never been over the top folks and have no family where we live; just some very fantastic friends we call family.I have learned how to make chinese meals with Ramens and I make homemade pasta.(I learned from my elders, yes I am Italian) As long as you can have a garden you can make just about anything. I will follow this till the end and drop in often to give more ideas as you go. This is a great idea and thank you for doing it. Sincerely, Christine

    • Denisesawyer says:

      Thanks for leaving your comment Christine. :)
      Sounds like you are a pretty thrifty lady. :)
      Denise
      Wholesome Mommy

  57. Hi! We are a family of 5 (2 adults and 3 kids in elementary school), and are in ministry. I stay at home and my hubby works. We function on $450 a month and eat healthy. That $450 for us includes ALL household items, so food, health and beauty and paper products. I cook all of our meals, we do NOT eat out. It is completely do-able. The part I am most interested in is the better meat and produce. Can’t wait to see this and God bless you for tackling this task for the sake of others. You are so right that ppl just need educated on how to make it happen!! Blessings!

    • Denisesawyer says:

      Thanks for you comment Mary. I hope this gives you some new ideas. Sounds like you’re doing an awesome job already. :)
      Denise
      Wholesome Mommy

  58. Following! Very interested and exciting to learn.

  59. Im excited to read about your journey. Finding healthy food on a budget is a challenge.

  60. HI~
    Where will we be able to follow your progress?!?!
    Thanks ;)

    • Denisesawyer says:

      Right here Linda! At the first of every week I do an update and if you subscribe to my newsletters {by giving me your email in the top right corner} you’ll also receive the meal plan for free. :)
      Denise
      Wholesome Mommy

  61. I’m eager to follow this. I have to feed five on $500 a month. Its tough. I don’t have the time to price match or anything. I go yo Sam’s Club for things like cereal & frozen veggies but they don’t offer organic or real /whole foods. I found d a local grocer that has organic & gluten free foods & its a bit pricy but in just switching to organic milk, eggs, real butter, frozen veggies, and raw sugar ( which I don’t use often) I’ve noticed a difference. One issue I have is cereals. My children want the fruity pebbles, fruit loops, etc and those are the worst. Are there any child friendly healthy cereals?
    Good luck on your quest!!!!

    • Five children & myself

    • Denisesawyer says:

      Bracie,
      There are several…but they are pricey. Cascadian Farms, Envirokids, and there are others. But, I actually don’t purchase a lot of cereal. We do other things for breakfast that are just a fast and a lot cheaper {and more filling}.
      Denise
      Wholesome Mommy

  62. I have 189.00 a month to live on and I live in the most expensive state in the union NY! There is NO way I can buy free range organic meat…. I will read what u are doing but I doubt i CAN DO THE SAME WITH THE PRICES HERE.

    • Denisesawyer says:

      Kccat,
      I don’t know what the prices are where you live. But, if you would like to get my menu plan it might give you some ideas and it will also let you know what I am paying so you can compare.
      Denise
      Wholesome Mommy

  63. Thanks!

  64. Incredible! So excited to follow you on this journey! We are not on food stamps, but have a tight budget and would love to save money on groceries while still eating healthy. With God, this is possible and will be awesome information shared with many who need it. Thank you! Awesome, awesome idea! Amber

  65. I am still in transition to going completely local on our meats, but we are farmer’s market regulars. My BIGGEST tip for you if plan on going to the farmers market is to go in the last half hour of the event and haggle! I save at least half off because they do NOT want to haul the excess food back with them. It’s a win-win for getting healthy food on our table for less. We have also enrolled for the first time in our local farmer’s CSA plan, which saves on the meat cost somewhat (kind of like buying in bulk prices from him!)

    I started canning and freezing more this year. That allows for buying at the less expensive, in season prices. We received a bushel of apples as a gift. Well, those would have gone bad before we could eat them if I had not canned home made apple sauce, apple butter and apple pie filling. We are set for at least six months and the holidays for next to nothing!

    I also advocate growing anything you can. I have a windowsill strawberry plant that produces berries all year long…. at this point they are pretty much free :)

  66. I did something similar a few years ago. I found it simple to stick to a food stamp budget without trying, but that’s because of a few advantages I had, like being able to buy in bulk, so I wanted to open up a conversation about how we can help implement these practices in food stamp eligible vendors. http://loveyourmother.livejournal.com/14369.html

  67. Rebekah Brown says:

    Hello there! I am looking forward to following you on this journey. I am not sure where you get the guidelines for food stamps but we are a family of five and only get $260 a month for food and have NO extra income to add to that for food. I am finding it nearly impossible to feed my family on what would be 58 cents per person per meal.

    • Denisesawyer says:

      Rebekah,
      I am so sorry that times are so tough for you! While this won’t be a perfect match for you, I hope it gives you some new recipe ideas and other ideas for stretching your {already stretched} budget.
      Denise
      Wholesome Mommy

  68. Dear Denise,
    I feel like you may be an answer to our prayers! :) I’m SO excited to see what you can teach me. My husband and I are newlyweds, in our early 30′s, and have both been sick for years. We have been to the best of the best, as far as specialists go, but no one can say for certain what is wrong. I haven’t been able to work since 2009, my husband hasn’t worked for over a decade. He is struggling to finish his Masters degree in Theology and hopes to be a blessing to others like you! :) Anyway, I am now appealing for the 3rd time to get disability benefits, but I’ve been told in not so many words that it probably won’t happen. SO…..I feel like if my husband and I are going to get better, it will have to be up to us (and God). After years of research, I am convinced that we MUST start with our diets! I am slowly learning how to prepare foods the proper way, as our ancestors did (fermenting, etc.). I dream of the day when we feel well enough to hold down jobs, move out on our own (we’re currently living with my in-laws) and fulfill God’s will in our lives! If we get better, I am determined to help others! Thank you for your dedication and sacrifice!

    • Denisesawyer says:

      I pray for wellness in your family. You are destined to do great things. I hope this gives you some ideas for eating healthy on a budget so you can get better and get your energy back!
      Denise
      Wholesome Mommy

  69. Cannot WAIT to see the results of your adventure. I definitely need help with this…

  70. Debbie Luzier says:

    I am interested in following this, but, we are one income, once a month, no outside help. My budget is $300.00 per month for a family of 5, two adults and 3 teenagers. We have two dairy goats, so we have milk. We have 5 chickens so we get fresh eggs. In the spring and all summer, I have a garden, but for the last two years, I haven’t been able to grow much due to an accident. How do I get off the boxed meals?

  71. I can’t thank you enough for doing this!!! I am on Snap & fortunately my local framers market takes snap which is great but it will be great to learn what I can do in the winter to stay on a clean food way of eating!! Thankfully my daughter who is 7 loves eating healthy!! I also have been newly diagnosed with MS so eating clean is more important now than ever!! Again thanks for doing this!!

    • Denisesawyer says:

      You are right Tina, our health is directly tied to what we eat. What we put in our bodies is a direct reflection of how our bodies will work for us. Sounds like you are off to a great start! I hope this series and this blog will give you some new recipe ideas that are healthy and simple.
      Denise
      Wholesome Mommy

  72. I’m definitely interested in following this. My husband is disabled and I had an accident in early August and have been off work since. We are living off my husband’s disability which is less than 1/4th our normal income. We are family of 3 and I only started receiving assistance in November. We get 152.00 per month although there is no other money in our budget for food. Fortunately I didn’t have to start with a bare pantry or freezer and we can access our local food pantries. I have always cooked mostly from scratch, not necessarily organic however. I’ll be interested in your meal plans.

  73. mamabearscubs says:

    Did you know that with SNAP benefits, that if you chose to use a coupon, they must pay tax on that coupon out of pocket?

  74. Denise – you read my mind. This is a topic that I am very passionate about. I could discuss the problems with our food stamp program for hours. I’ve never personally been on food stamps but know a few that use and abuse the system. There are also MANY others that use the system but still seem to struggle. I firmly believe this can be changed with a little education and some thought provoking discussions. Kudos to you for offering that assistance to those that are willing to learn. I wish I could respond to every comment on this post. I want to know their stories, what kind of food they are preparing, where they shop, and what kind of environment they live in. I’m interested in the whole picture. I’m excited by your challenge and the prospect of helping others in a time that seems very desperate for so many.

    • Denisesawyer says:

      Amen Tracy!
      Start with the community where you are. You can get to know people and their stories and start thinking about how you can be part of the solution.
      Denise
      Wholesome Mommy

  75. Cathy Johnson says:

    This should be interesting to watch. I cannot spend $100 a week in groceries, but that is a reasonable figure for and average family. I was denied Food Stamps because I was $100 over the income limit, so have had to make many adjustments to allow for meals in our budget, but I am far from starving. The meals are not always balanced, but I do what I can with what I have. I applaud you for taking the initiative to show the younger generation that it can be done, because if things keep going the way they are going, that figure may be a reality for many people, and the participants will find it more difficult to make that budget stretch. Everyone must remember—–SNAP means SUPPLEMENTAL Nutritional Assistance Program. The government is not required to furnish your entire grocery budget for you. You have to be a responsible adult who can make yourself do with what you have. I work in a grocery store and am appalled at what I see go through the checkout lanes, knowing that these participants are purchasing things I could never afford on a good budget. I will be keeping up with this….sounds very interesting! Good luck!

  76. This is interesting b/c we were on foodstamps for a couple months and it tripled our budget for food. We stocked up on so much food that I had to use one of the bedroom closets as a pantry! I have been able to feed a family of 4 healthy food on $100 every 2 weeks. You are on the right track with cooking from scratch. I can make all sorts of different meals from the same ingredients. Granted, we don’t do all organic, but I do that where I can and use common sense on the rest. Happy cooking!

  77. I have a family of 4 and we are currently on food stamps since june when my husband was laid off. I am totally disabled and no longer able to work. i’m fighting for soc. sec. disability but that’s another story for now. LOL we currently receive $497.00 a month in food stamps. we ran out a week and a half ago and we still have about 4 days left b4 it refills. I have found that the best way to stretch the food stamps is to (1) plan my meals in advance (2) fix as many one pot meals as possible. a typical weeks meal planning for dinner might be as follows:
    Monday night – pork roast, mashed potatoes, home made apple sauce.
    Tuesday night – pork roast thrown in crock pot all day and turned into pulled pork sandwiches, along with home made French fries, and diy cole slaw.
    Wednesday – remainder of pulled pork becomes Brunswick Stew.
    Thursday – meat loaf, green beans, baked potatoes.
    Friday – leftover meat loaf becomes the meat in home made chili, often with a little more ground beef thrown in.
    Saturday – oven baked chicken, peas and rice.
    Sunday – left over chicken becomes quesadillas along with any vegetables left over from during the week.
    almost NOTHING goes to waste in this house. we simply can’t afford for it to.

    • If you cut out the more expensive meats like roast and chicken and stick with ground meat and beans for your protein it helps a lot. Try making more soups and use a lot of rice and beans in your meals. Meat is usually the most expensive thing so use it as a complement to the meal for taste. For instance, if I have chicken breasts on hand, I will only use one for a whole pot of stew. See how much more that will stretch that using 4 whole pieces as a course item in one meal? Goes from one meal to 4. Also, I buy large packages of ground meat then break them down myself into packages smaller than a pound. So I will get 7-8 packages out of a 5 pound package. We have a family of 5 and I spend $200 a month on groceries. $500 would be a dream!

  78. a few years back i was raising 4 boys and my husband being a skin flint allowed me 65 dollars a week to buy grocery’s including diapers and formula, no one could figure out how i managed to do it, but i always managed to make sure my kids were fed and never went hungry, not saying they got to eat what they may have wanted, there were not alot of cheese burgers and fries, or steaks or dinner, there were alot of night of soup beans and corn bread, chicken and homemade noodles which was more than one nights meal, or chicken and dumplins again carried over to another night, pots of chili, maybe if a beef roast was on sale it became a pot of beef and noodles and a pot of homemade veggie soup.. one 10lb roll of ground beef made several cassrole;s with minimal other ingredients, now its just me and one last son to raise and im doing that on 200 a mon in food stamps i have a special diet and its so much harder to get by on it. but somehow i still manage to make it work. you have to plan, and shop wisely. use coupons when you can.

  79. I’m a single mom with a hungry 6′ 15yr old boy, I am currently disabled and on foodstamps. We eat a mostly organic diet and cook fresh. We do fruit and protein shakes for breakfasts.. My tip for you- I couldn’t afford it if I didn’t shop at Trader Joe’s. Looking forward to following your challenge and learning some new tricks! :) I am especially in need of healthy lunch options for my son. He doesn’t like the free nasty cafeteria “food” and often waits til he gets home to eat. It is apparently extremely inconvenient to bring his lunch (his locker is so far out of the way he doesn’t use it).

  80. Just curious if this menu will be gluten free. I Love what you are doing here either way.

    • Denisesawyer says:

      Nana,
      This menu will not be gluten free. I am celiac and therefore don’t know much about the gluten free diet.
      Denise
      Wholesome Mommy

  81. Can’t wait to see this. We recently found ourselves relocated and my husband’s job is not paying what was promised and the local economy is such that there are no other jobs. I tried to get assistance to help keep our family fed and was told that for our family of 7 they would only give us $35 a month. We are barely paying our bills let alone finding the money for the luxury of food and clothes and they will only give us $35. I know God will provide as He has in the past. Thank you for what you are doing here.

  82. Heather Voisin says:

    We are a family of 8. We have 5 sons ages 3-15 & a 4mth old daughter. We used to get $335/mth SNAP & they just decreased it to $257/mth. That is all we can afford & we also get WIC. When we run out of SNAP I get help from the local outreach. My daughter is included on our SNAP butt doesn’t eat food yet so I’m scared to c once she starts eating food. I use coupons lots of coupons. I really hope I can put to use the info u give us :-)

    • “We are a family of 8. We used to get $335/mth SNAP & they just decreased it to $257/mth.”

      I don’t understand. A friend of mine in Atlanta has a household of 6 (5 kids plus her) and got $900/month + WIC on top of that for her toddler, before the reduction. Is the amount determined state by state?

      • It must be b/c my family of 5 (they will only count 4) got $600/month + WIC. That was a crazy amount to us b/c I’ve had a $200/month budget for a long time including paper goods and toiletries.

        • Denisesawyer says:

          It is based on income. If you have ANY income or even assets, the amount you receive is reduced based on a formula. It isn’t determined by state.
          Denise
          Wholesome Mommy

  83. This looks like its going to be great! Good luck!

  84. I can’t wait too start reading your updates. we spend right around 400 a month on groceries for 3 and it gets boring eating the same things each month.

    • Our budget is half that with a family of 5 and we rarely eat the same thing twice. Creativity is the product of necessity!

  85. I am looking forward to following your progress this month. So many people are struggling to make ends meet and healthy food for the least financial outlay is a great way to get ahead!

  86. I am glad to see someone doing a blog like this. We do this except we don’t receive snap we missed the cut by$80. We have been living this way for a while now and you can make it work I do this on $60 a week. It can be done wish there were more coupons for real food. I still use them for some items papr products free shampoo ect. We homemake almost everything for our family of four soon to be five. I hope more people realize clean real eating can be done cheap. Way to go on this blog idea .

  87. julie kurylo says:

    It is totally possible to do this and I know because I do it! I spend roughly $70-100 on groceries a week for a family of four. I make every thing from scratch too, no processed or premade! But truth be told, it took me a few years to get my “grocery/food plans/cooking” stratageies down! Many of you may think sure its easy for a stay at home mom, but that I am not! I work full time and so does my husband! I am so happy that you are able to share with others on how to be successful with their limited budgets and time! Years ago I would have loved for someone to show me “the way”! Kuddos to you for starting this blog and sharing the knowlegde!

  88. I was wondering if you can post pictures of the plated food for each meal? It would help to understand just what the serving sizes are for each meal. Feeding a family of 4 with 2 small children is going to be different than trying to feed a family of 4 that has 2 teenage boys. Seeing pictures of the servings would be helpful to get a better understanding of just how much food people can get out of each meal. Great blog!! Thank you!

    • You might be surprised. The recommended nutrition for my 5 year old son includes 2200 calories a day! That is double what I eat in a day. Thankfully, my son gets that over five eating times per day – including two snacks, so he does not need a larger dinner than I eat. We try to make dinner a lighter meal, for many reasons, so he gets the same portions as we do for dinner. Our big meal of the day here is breakfast or brunch. This lends our diets to more healthy eating and to helping limit the meat in our dinners. That helps save us money on groceries! It supports the other budget stretching strategies we use in our house.

  89. I was having such a hard time staying on a budget of less than $100 a week for a family of 4. But somehow God Has shown me how to spend only $240-$250 a month eating ALL REAL foods! We do not eat grass fed beef right now, but Hope to someday when we get out of all debt! I actually enjoy meal planning now instead of crying just thinking about it like before. God is So Great!

    • Bless you girl! We are similar with 5 eating on $200/month. I have the same desire for grass-fed meats. Even the regular stuff is expensive! Lots of beans! lol! We are also trying to get out of debt and drive cars that are 23 and 25 years old, but we paid in cash! No more car payments for us…so not worth it. Wished I hadn’t learned that the hard way.

  90. Oooh… this sounds like a good one! I will be sure to follow your progress throughout this adventure.

    I have a feeling you will meet this challenge, and maybe even find that your family can be fed healthy food for even less than you have allotted. It takes some planning and skill, but it most certainly can be done!

  91. Kelly Clayton says:

    Hello
    I AM SO EXCITED for these posts :)
    GREAT JOB WHOLESOME MOMMY :)
    I’m in Ontario and I can not wait to see what you are going to be able to do to help real people out :)

    BEYOND ECSTATIC :)

  92. I am SO excited to read about this. I struggle to feed my family of five people, one dog, two cats, 12 chickens, 2 goats, and 3+ rabbits on a budget of $600 a month and usually overshoot by about $200. We have one special needs child and we are both working so I am so super excited to get some more ideas.

    • The chickens are a great asset though, the goats too if they produce milk. Maybe time to give up the rest of them to help make ends meet. It stinks to have to sacrifice like that, but your kids are worth it! My kids really want a dog or cat, but I teach them to be responsible by providing needs first, wants second. So far, still working on needs…lol!

      • Well the chickens, goats, and rabbits produce food cheaper than we can get in the stores and a little income on the side. Our dog is for our special needs child, one cat is a mouser, and the other is 17 years old and was born in my husband’s sock drawer. After looking at the menu plans that came out I realize that not only are we in a higher cost area, but we also have severely restricted diets and cannot incorporate many of the foods in this plan because of my daughter’s food allergies and my husband’s diabetes. So it looks like 600-800 is actually really, really, reasonable given our family’s limitations. I’m sure my kids understand wants versus needs considering we sold our fridge to cut down on electricity costs and I hand washed our entire families clothes in the bathtub for several months until we were able to fix the washing machine (among other sacrifices).

        • Denisesawyer says:

          Keep on keepin’ on mama! You are doing a great job. <3
          You gotta do what you can do, with what you have, where you are. :)
          Denise
          Wholesome Mommy

  93. In my family of 5 (3 adults and two small children), I have managed. Total, we get $276 in SNAP, WIC for my two boys, and I go to a local food bank twice a month. It is so hard trying to feed our family. I hit up reduced meats early in the morning, I check unit prices, I buy in bulk when I can, and I do the ad match and I still seem to come up short at the end of the month. I am following your journey in hopes to find a way to feed my family better and not worry about weather I can eat breakfast and lunch, so that my boys won’t have to go with out. Thank you.

    • Denisesawyer says:

      Jessica,
      My heart hurts for you. I am praying for provision for your family.
      I hope this series gives you more ideas so you can stretch {your already stretched} budget.
      Denise
      Wholesome Mommy

  94. I think it is great that so many people are trying this now. I’ve seen numerous blogs from people living off a “food stamp” budget. But I think a lot of people misjudge the generosity of government handouts. When I was on food stamps earlier this year my husband was working 32 hours a week at 11.75 an hour. That’s less than $1600 before taxes. I had recently left my job and we have 2 kids. We qualified for nowhere near $400. We only got $215. Now we moved and my husband switched jobs and I watch kids during the day. We make a little more so we don’t qualify for food stamps. After bills we have $150 left to feed not only my family of 4 but also lunch dinner and snacks for the 3 kids I watch as well. I would be beside myself if I had $400 to spend for the month.
    We get all our fruits and veggies from a food coop. $30 for a basket of organic fruits and veggies that will last 2 weeks. The rest is whole grain pastas and rice. Meat tends to be more or less an afterthought. Maybe throw in a half lb of hamburger meat or a shredded chicken breast. Breakfasts are oatmeal or pancakes. Lunches are ramen or pb and j. Snacks are popcorn or whatever fruit was added to the coop basket. You’d be surprised how well you can stretch a budget if it’s actually a necessity.

    • Denisesawyer says:

      Yes, ingenuity is often born out of necessity. It sounds like you have some great programs in your area to help you stretch your limited grocery budget. I wish there was a better way of knowing where these programs are and how to connect low income families to them.
      Denise
      Wholesome Mommy

    • Because you watch 3 children that are not your children if you will get ‘registered’ with your state to be a child care provider you can get on the federal funded school lunch program. It gives you just over $4.00 a day for each child to buy food. It is easy to do. I am registered child care provider in Texas (since 1989) and I can tell you those checks come in very handy to feed the children.

  95. Frances Sarver says:

    Please let me know how to follow you on this budget, I’m 68 and new to this. Thank you so much for helping us eat healthy on a budget! God Bless You!! <3

    • Denisesawyer says:

      Frances,
      I got you all set up. Please check your inbox now for your subscription activation email from feedblitz@mail.feedblitz.com, the email subscription service for “Wholesome Mommy” – you must click the link in the email to start your subscription. As soon as you confirm you’ll receive the meal plan.

  96. I haven’t received the grocery and menu list on the oh snap.. blog. Please resend me one.

    • Denisesawyer says:

      Molly,
      I got you all set up. Please check your inbox now for your subscription activation email from feedblitz@mail.feedblitz.com, the email subscription service for “Wholesome Mommy” – you must click the link in the email to start your subscription. As soon as you confirm you’ll receive the meal plan.
      Denise
      Wholesome Mommy

  97. Where can I find your blog so I can sign up for your free meal plan

    • Denisesawyer says:

      At wholesomemommy.com right in the top right corner you’ll see a box with a place to enter your email address. By putting your email in that box you immediately receive meal plans from me. :)
      Denise
      Wholesome Mommy

  98. I am going to enjoy reading about this adventure that you are about to have. As a person who has lived off food stamps before and cooks meals from scratch I can say that you might end up having to spend more than $400. We always had to use our own money to buy groceries while on food stamps. We never minded but but $428 was not enough to feed us all for a month. Had we decided to go with boxed dinners we would have probably gotten by like so many others that I had seen.

  99. I am so excited to read this series. While we (thankfully, and at the moment) do not have a restricted budget, I would really love some help on cutting back. We are a family of 3.5 (toddler and baby on the way) and spend at least $100, I think, not even including our monthly raw milk share fee and bulk purchases like that. I do all the frugal things I know of (dry beans, homemade stock, really stretching meat, all from scratch, not many ‘extra’ or fun purchases like parmesan) and don’t know how to cut it back without sacrificing quality! I know you are committed to the same things I am (pastured meats and so on) so I am especially excited to see how you do this.

    • I meant $100/week, of course! And I really don’t even keep track, something I’m learning about.

      • Denisesawyer says:

        Yes, sounds like we have commonalities. :)
        I hope this series gives you some ideas for cutting back your budget and saving a little money.
        Denise
        Wholesome Mommy

  100. I have experience working from a food stamp budget. You learn to get creative. It’s not easy, but it is most definitely doable. Especially if you catch some MAJOR sales! Kudos!!

  101. I spend only 60$ a week on real food. Nothing comes from a box. I think 100$ is a lot of money each week. I make my own bread. And snacks. Muffins cookies. We eat very well. Next year we will be planting a small garden. And I hope to spend half that amount each week.

    Go to the clearance racks. If you shop each week it gets used up.

    Do one pot meals. You get so much more out of your food .

    Freeze what’s left over.

    Make more for your lunches the next day.

    Cook a couple meals in one day. Or double the recipe and freeze that for the week after. Sometimes I can go a whole wee without buying anything because of the freezer reserves

    Making your own food from scratch is easy. And so much cheaper. And only buy something if its on sale.

    So 100$ a month is a lot of money.

    • Denisesawyer says:

      You have some great ideas here and it sounds like you have a great system. I hope to help others begin systems like yours. I also make most of our food from scratch but realize not everyone has time to make everything. Baby steps. :)
      Denise
      Wholesome Mommy

  102. Tiffany Bailey says:

    There are sooooo many comments here I couldn’t read them all. I second everything everyone above me has said. Im feeding family of 4 on very limited budget. We all appreciate your work here and your passion for it! Please also post your mistakes, and/or where it Didn’t work out for you, hindsights, etc. We promise to learn from your mistakes!! Awesime work/ministry you have found! :-)

    • i was wondering if you have posted anything yet? i can’t seem to find it ,but that’s probably because you haven’t had time to post it , thanks tenny

  103. I signed up but im not getting your posts. had to google this. cant find last weeks post at all or did you not post what you bought last week? don’t want to miss any of this.

    • Denisesawyer says:

      I got you all set up. Please check your inbox now for your subscription activation email from feedblitz@mail.feedblitz.com, the email subscription service for “Wholesome Mommy” – you must click the link in the email to start your subscription. As soon as you confirm you’ll receive the meal plan.
      Denise
      Wholesome Mommy

  104. stacey eddy says:

    Would like to. Know more

    • Denisesawyer says:

      Stacey,
      I got you all set up. Please check your inbox now for your subscription activation email from feedblitz@mail.feedblitz.com, the email subscription service for “Wholesome Mommy” – you must click the link in the email to start your subscription. As soon as you confirm you’ll receive the meal plan.
      Denise
      Wholesome Mommy

  105. Kelly Funk says:

    Wow! I am so glad I found your SNAP challenge! I am new to your page and feel like this challenge is a god sent since just this week I found out our food stamps are being cut from $436 to just $110 a month! I am married with 3 children, and both my husband and I are disabled and unable to work. I have a blood clotting disorder which leads to blood clots in my legs and lungs. I also have had MRSA for the past 4 years, with no sign of it clearing up. My husband has Epilepsy and has uncontrolled seizures, which leaves him unable to drive or work. We both receive Social Security,which after we pay our rent, bills, and car insurance, leave us about $100 for personal items, gas, clothes and shoes for the kids and any other pop-up items for the month. I just do not know what we are going to do about food. We figured it out and it comes to $22 a person, a week for food. I went to the Job and Family Services and asked about our stamps and was told food stamps were never meant to be cover all your groceries, just be a supplement! Well, I really want to know what I am suppose to feed my 3 kids for $22 a week for 1 child! I am so excited to follow your challenge and learn some ideas to be able to feed my children healthy food. Thank you so much for thinking about us low income people and helping us feed our children healthy food!

    1

    • Denisesawyer says:

      Goodness Kelly,
      I am so glad you found me and I hope this series gives you some ideas on how to stretch your {already stretched} budget.
      I am praying for your family. I pray the Lord sends you provision.
      Denise
      Wholesome Mommy

      • Kelly Funk says:

        Thank you so much Denise for taking the time to respond to what I posted! I really appreciate the fact you took the time to read what I wrote and offer your encouragement! I have really enjoyed your posts and am learning along the way! It has also been nice to read what others have written and learn from them! Thank you for your knowledge, keep up the great work!

  106. I can’t wait!! I have struggled with this forever and can use all the help I can get! We are a family of 6. Budget of $451.

    • I am curious about those (like me) who have to spend $20 in gas just to drive to the grocery store how to buy/keep fresh food only making one trip per week? I struggle with it. My lettuce and other produce go bad soo quickly I am losing money. My husband has a garden in the summer so that helps but winters are harder

      • Denisesawyer says:

        Marcie,
        I buy a mixture of fresh, canned, and frozen. Most of the winter veggies {like carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, brussels, etc. will last a wee bit longer in your fridge. I try to eat fresh foods first and plan to eat things with frozen or canned veggies later in the week when the fresh is all gone.
        Denise
        Wholesome Mommy

  107. A C, MS, RD, LD says:

    Thank you very much for posting this how to! I work with low income individuals on a daily basis and would love to be able to refer them to your website. The people I usually work with are allotted very small amounts (much less than noted) from from SNAP and are on restrictive diets as well. Good luck on your adventure!

    • Denisesawyer says:

      Thank you for sharing!
      I am thrilled to know there are people out there like you who are spreading this information to those who otherwise might not see it. :)
      Bless you,
      Denise Sawyer

  108. You are doing an awesome thing for So many, God Bless you:)

  109. Im trrying to get your blog and posts.

    • Denisesawyer says:

      Are you still having trouble Melissa.
      I checked for you and it says you are subscribed.
      Denise
      Wholesome Mommy

  110. Thank you for doing this! We are a family of 4 and get almost $600 a month. We work and attend school full time while raising two children. We are trying to change the way we eat and stay on budget, its not easy. Looking forward to taking this journey with you.

  111. I’m super excited about this, we are trying to save money for a new house and some of the budget getting cut was groceries. This is very timely for me! I plan on following along on your journey. Thank you so much for all your hard work.

  112. Jennifer Kulesza-Glover says:

    I think I …… love you! :)

  113. Amanda Mayo Flinspach says:

    I am so thrilled that you are doing this. I am a probation officer in Oklahoma and often have clients who come in asking me how they can feed their family on the little they make at minimum wage jobs. I can’t wait to share your meal plans with them. Not to mention use them myself as we begin fostering next year.

  114. Looking forward to this! We are in a situation right now and are temporarily/reluctantly using SNAP. This will be so helpful!!!

    • Denisesawyer says:

      Praise the Lord April! I am so glad this will help your family. Thanks for your encouragement. Praying for blessings to come your way. <3
      Denise
      Wholesome Mommy

  115. I just found your page so I’m starting to read from this post. It is very timely as I’m about to be unemployed and we’re going to have to adjust to living on one income if I can’t find something soon.

  116. Hi Denise, I subscribed two days ago and got my e-mail to activate my subscription and through the links to your Real food on a a food stamp budget. Today I can’t find any of what I read the other day, what am I doing wrong? Please help.
    Carin

  117. Brandi Trusley says:

    I can’t find the subscribe button to receive meal plans, etc. Can you add me? megnmattsmom@yahoo.com

  118. Marguerite says:

    I put my email address in the box and I confirmed it. I get links to this blog but I never got a PDF for the meal plans. I tried to subscribe again and it wouldn’t let me. I also tried to unsubsribe so I could try subscribing again, but I couldn’t figure out how. My husband lost his job last week and I can use all the help I can get :)

  119. I am so interested in this plan of yours. I am just one single disabled woman with only $54/mo food budget. It’s really hard.

  120. My name is Cory. I’m 24 years old. I’m a single father in a serious and horrible struggle to get my daughter from her sadistic abusive mother. I’m currently waiting for our court date on the 23rd of this month. I’m homeless no job no money I have nothing. This woman has ruined my life please help me so my miracle who is 3 years old can come home to her daddy who misses her and loves her to no end. If you can offer anything please contact me. 775-200-2550 or cory2094@yahoo.com. Again please help me and my daughter who is being ruined.

  121. Cynthia Scott says:

    Tears came to my eyes when I got to the paragraph that ends with preparing “21 meals for $100″. I felt the presence of the Lord before I even read the last part about you crying and knowing that God wants you to do this. I am a 44 yr old biological mother of 2 (15 yr old daughter and 11 yr old son) and step-mother for 23 yrs to 6 grown and married children, with 16 grand children and 2 great grand children. My husband and I are both obese as well as our daughter. I never thought much about the food or drinks we consume until July 2012. I was told I had breast cancer and within a week I underwent my first ever surgery and had a double mastectomy without reconstruction. I was scared to death, not in my right state of mind and felt like a robot doing what needed to be done. I had prayed for guidance on what to do and laid my fleece before the Lord. I then followed through on what His answer was. That was on July 13, 2012. They also took 4 lymph nodes to check out from under my right arm. One of those had 200 cells, which is extremely small, but the oncologists recommended we remove them. On August 10, 2012 we went back and removed all the nodes from under my right arm. I feel so blessed that I did not have to do radiation nor chemotherapy! On Sept. 21, 2012 I had to have knee surgery for a torn meniscus that I was supposed to have back in July when we found out about the cancer. After all this and I was back in my right state of mind, I began reading and researching about the food we eat. To say the least I was shocked. I found the nearest Whole Foods Market and went a couple times and spent a ton of money. I was to the point that I did not want to eat, nor feed my family anything that was not organic. But my husband and I both drive school buses and get paid once a month. We make about 100.00 to much to qualify for food stamps and we never have enough money to make it to the next payday. So we ended up giving up and went back to shopping at walmart. I did find a few things there that are organic, but not much. So I am definitely looking forward to following your story to see if we can manage this thing right and be able to shop at Whole Foods again. I am so excited & grateful that I found this site!!

    • Denisesawyer says:

      Praise the Lord! Thank you for sharing your story and I hope that this series does help you. :)
      I am praying for your family and pray that the Lord blesses you with provision and health in great abundance this year.
      Denise

  122. Denise, I just now caught up with this SNAP menu plan and find it very interesting. You are very helpful to so many people and obviously put lots and lots of time and effort into this plan.
    As a woman in my early 60s, I am reminded of many many years ago when my children were young and one of then President Jimmy Carters daughter-in-law did a wonderful at home experiment of Food Stamp shopping, cooking, eating. That was so many years ago but I still remember the long article (I think it was in the magazine Redbook) and the frustration she experienced during shopping and cooking for her family. I am sure the Food Stamp Budget was larger in those days. It also sticks in my mind that the writer (young Mrs Carter) had a hard time with condiments and spices to give flavoring to the food – expensive!
    I wonder if any of your older readers like myself remember Mrs Carter’s study. It would be interesting to read that article once again and compare to your menus and recipes but I have been doing a well needed magazine resale and purge!
    Wonderful info and thank you for that!
    p miller

    • Denisesawyer says:

      Prissy,
      Thank you for that story! I had no idea that this occurred. I would love to read that article as well! That is so interesting.
      Denise
      Wholesome Mommy

      • I am thinking that Judy Langford Carter did that personal study of food stamp shopping and eating and wrote at length about it in possibly 1977. She contributed to Redbook and I always tried to read that magazine way back when.

        I do believe it was Judy Langford Carter who lived it and wrote about it in possibly 1977. She contributed to Redbook so I feel that was the magazine in which I read it. It would be interesting to find it at a library and reread it or to hear if someone else my are remembers it as well.
        P Miller

  123. mae denney says:

    I’m so excited about this

  124. I’m headed to the grocery store after work and starting this tomorrow. Thank you, thank you, thank you, for taking the time to document all of these meals. Looking forward to eating clean and saving money!

    • Denisesawyer says:

      Thanks for taking the time to leave your sweet comments. I hope these help you and your family save a little time and money. :)
      Denise
      Wholesome Mommy

  125. bonnie frankenstein says:

    I have a question I get $104 ib food stamps an d I can spend about $30 on food from my money A MONTH! Can I do this its just me and my son comes on the weekends and eats a lot. Would I be able to do this on my budget

    • Denisesawyer says:

      You’ll need to tweak it quite a bit since it is for a family of 4. There will be a lot of leftovers and you’ll need to freeze things and perhaps skip entire weeks. I’m sure it can be done. Maybe take a look at the meal plans and see where you think you can edit. It might at least give you some new ideas
      Denise
      Wholesome Mommy

  126. Hi. I noticed you were working with a $400.00 budget and only 4 people to feed. Any suggestions for a family of 8 with only $360.00 a month to feed all 8???

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