Sunday, December 6, 2009

Introducing Five Dollar Friday

I want to start something new and I am hoping others will join me. I'm calling it "Five Dollar Fridays". In an attempt to be healthful as well as frugal I have challenged myself to try and feed our family of five for as close to $5 as I possibly can for our main meals. For us that means seven dinners a week as well as lunches on Friday (Dh's day off), Saturday and Sunday. Breakfast and other lunches should be even less. I will use Five Dollar Fridays to share one recipe each week that we are using to accomplish this goal. I have been pleasantly surprised how many I have found and we have not felt like we were missing out at all...well maybe a little bit, but not much!

I am still avoiding additives, preservatives, dyes, other chemicals and pre-packaged foods. I could use Hamburger Helper and stay under my five dollar goal, but white flour pasta, MSG, dye, and sugar (maltodextrin in the Hamburger Helper ingredient list is a form of sugar; see this list for many of the other ways manufacturers can hide the sweet stuff in your food) are not in our meal plan. ;)

I am not counting seasonings or oil/butter into the cost but everything else I will include in the final price. And some of the meals I include may be $5 meals one week but not another because I snagged items at great sale. For example I bought a pork shoulder roast a few weeks ago at $.88 a pound, so I was able to get a roast that fed our family twice for $4! The first time we had pulled pork sandwiches and a few nights later we had barbeque stuffed potatoes with the leftovers. Normally a roast that size would have been almost triple that price. We don't often eat pork but for that price I couldn't pass it up.

Many of the meals I'll share have meat as the accompaniment rather than the star of the meal and several are vegetarian. There was a time when dh would have looked at a plate of food that didn't include at least 8 ounces of meat and said it wasn't a "real meal" but times change. ;) He lost 30 pounds by learning to eat following a modified Mediterranean diet (see the Mediterranean food guide pyramid) and has kept it off for six months now. One of the keys was learning to eat meat in moderation.

Why am I doing this? Well it started out that in an attempt to pay off some bills we decided to cut our grocery budget in half to free up extra money. I appealed to some ladies for help in brainstorming how to do this and found that many of them were routinely feeding their families (some larger than mine) healthful meals on what was now my weekly grocery budget. They shared great ideas and advice to teach me how to get started and one even said that I shouldn't be surprised if never went back to shopping the way I used to. Well I have learned so much in the past months. It has been challenging and even...(should I admit it?) Now don't get me wrong I am looking forward to a time when I will regain my old food budget so that all our meals don't have to be $5 meals but I am confident that many will!

I would love to have many bloggers start their own version of Five Dollar Fridays so that we can learn from each other. You can make your own rules; you certainly aren't obligated to follow mine. Adapt Five Dollar Fridays to fit your needs any way you wish. And leave a comment so we'll all know where to look!



mom24 said...

Hate to say it, but this is an area of major failure for me. Since we have started eating healthier and taking out numerous allergens, I just have NOT been able to keep the budget down. My kids detest beans, can hardly handle grains and are never filled up by anything but meat, so I haven't been able to cut it down around here. *Sigh*
I will be very interested in seeing what you and others are able to do on FDF so TIA!

Makita said...

I so *NEED* to do this! Thank you for the inspiration! :D

Pam said...

i am willing to give it a try and look forward to what you will share with us. so to clarify, it is $5 for the main meals each day?

Jennefer said...

Pam, I added some information to the beginning of the post to clarify what I am using $5 Fridays for. I will be posting one recipe each week that helped us accomplish our goal of all meals being $5 or less.

Feel free to use FDF anyway that works for you: post one recipe, post your week's menu, post other ways you are helping your family save money!

I hope that helps and thanks for asking the question!