I have $20 for 1 wk's groceries. HELP!!!

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
I have $20 for 1 wk's groceries. HELP!!!
Mon, 10-13-2003 - 2:01pm
This is our last really tough month, I HOPE!! My paychecks are finally coming and we're getting caught up, but I really only have $20 for the upcoming week of groceries. I have all household products, but I need to feed us for $20. Can it be done?? Here's what I have on hand (that I won't be using this week):

1 pkg ramen noodles

1 can black beans

2 small cans tomato sauce



1 loaf wheat bread

6 frozen hamburgers

2 frozen chicken patties

2 hamburger buns

1 pkg frozen sausage links

2 pkgs onion soup mix

1/2 bag of lentils



1/2 bag frozen fries

Any input??? I know we can have burgers at least 1 night, and I have the stuff for pancakes, sausage, eggs for breakfast, but I need to really stretch that $20.

Any advice GREATLY appreciated!


Carrie Wife to my best friend Kevin 6/00 PROUD mommy to my 3 gorgeous boys: Tyler 8/18/01, Hayden 3/15/06, & Noah 01/14/09
Avatar for editht
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Mon, 10-13-2003 - 3:15pm
Well, here are a few suggestions...

First if you have Aldi... shop there... your dollar will go much farther.

use the tomato sauce, black beans, 2 hamburger patties chopped up to make a pot of chili. Maybe buy a bag of dried pintos or blackbeans to make this stretch. You could even make this meatless... maybe buy a couple of cans of chopped tomatoes to make it better.

Buy some pasta and it becomes chili mac... stretched even further. If you are able to make a big batch have leftovers for lunch or even another dinner this week. OR, have chili one night, and chili mac another... it will seem a LITTLE like a different dish!

Buy 1 package of cheese, and canned or in season fresh fruit and have grilled cheese on your wheat bread one night served with fruit.

Do breakfast for dinner one night...use some of the cheese and your eggs plus some of the sausage chopped up to make a quich or omlette. If you have money for some veggies add them. Add some bisquits or pancakes and this can be a big meal!

buy a bag of rice and a bag of frozen veggies - stirfry veggies with the chicken and serve over rice.

Use some rice and cook up the lentels for a rice and lentel stew some tomatoes are good in this to.

Cook up the remaining burgers, serve with the fries and some fruit or veggies.

Make up a double batch of onion soup (maybe add some extra onions?) and serve with cheesy garlic bisquits (use your flour and some of the cheese you bought) and a simple salad of lettuce, tomato, and cucumber (or other in season veggies of choice) Aldi has a bag of lettuce salad for .79 cents.

buy another box of pasta and a can of inexpensive spagetti sauce (Hunts or Delmonte .89 - .99 cents in a regular store - or Aldi brand which is 99 cents all the time). Make it a pasta bake for a change by throwing raw pasta, 1 can sauce, 1 can water into a baking dish and bake at 350 for 45 min - 1 hour. If there is any cheese left throw some on top.

I think all these ideas work with this short shopping list

bag of dried beans


fresh or canned fruit/veggies(just enough for the week)

lettuce or bag salad



green pepper?


canned or fresh fruit of choice

canned tomatoes

frozen veggies


pasta (2 boxes?)

1 can spagetti sauce

Milk? Will you need it?

Plan on leftovers for lunches? You might also see if you can afford some PB and J, or some other inexpensive sandwich fixings? You could eat the ramen soup one day for lunch also. Mac and cheese mixed with a couple of sliced hot dogs (served with a fruit or veg of course!) is also very inexpensive for lunch (or heck, even dinner!).

Hope these ideas help a little!


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Mon, 10-13-2003 - 3:43pm
How many are you feeding?

Some of my favorite tips for stretching $20 are below.

* Shop at Aldi's

* A lot of pasta just a little meat

* Breakfast for Dinner

* Beans, Cornbread and fried taters

* Rice or oatmeal for breakfast - Save the Milk for 1 cup per kid to drink and baking

Hope this helps just a little.


iVillage Member
Registered: 08-20-2003
Mon, 10-13-2003 - 7:48pm
I don't really have a lot of suggestions because I'm just learning ;)

But I've found that if you find a REALLY good dollar store, you can get ALL kinds of things for a dollar. Like rice, beans, and things. Just check the product to be sure its not punctured and the useby date is good. I got 5 boxes of mac n cheese for a dollar! Good luck!



iVillage Member
Registered: 09-27-2003
Tue, 10-14-2003 - 11:39am
Well my suggestion would be to check the sale ads this week and look through your coupons. Visit the bread outlet if you have one. Decide what you HAVE to have (like if Dh will not eat a meatless dinner, kids hate oatmeal, etc) then try planning leftovers. I might buy the following if I were in your situation (all store brands or sale if possible):

A whole chicken or whatever parts are on sale(leg quarters often go on sale for .29/lb or so here) $3

10 lbs potatoes $2

1lb carrots $1

store brand mac & cheese & one can tuna $1

eggs, 2 loaves bread, milk $6

big bag salad & dressing $3

a bag of popcorn $1

can pinto beans & tomato sauce $1

2 boxes spaghetti noodles $1

Then I would have spaghetti w/ your sauce & one hamburger patty mixed in & salad on the side, & save leftovers for lunches. Another night roast the chicken. Eat roast chicken one night w/ baked potatoes, reserve some cubed meat for chicken & dumplings w/ your flour, onion & carrot. Save all scraps for soup with your onions, carrots, a cubed potato & broken noodles. I would chook & shred the chicken patties & serve over the salad with hardboiled eggs to add more protein & make a few croutons w/ bread heels fried w/ margarine & garlic salt. Tuna mac & cheese on the 6th night w/ salad; Baked potatoes w. chili topping made out of another hamburger patty, tomato sauce & beans on the 7th. Lunches will be leftovers, (the soup is good for lunches, it makes a lot) toast & eggs for breakfasts. popcorn for snacks. If you have coupons or winetags you may be able to combine with sales & do even better. If these things are more expensive where you live maybe you can adjust. Hope I gave you some ideas!! Good Luck!! Dawn
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-12-1998
Tue, 10-14-2003 - 12:32pm
Here is what I would make if I were you:

You've got hamburgers for one night.

Egg salad sandwiches on another.

Do you have shortening and maybe a few other basic baking ingredients? (Salt, baking powder) If so, you can make flour tortillas and use the black beans with some onion and maybe a few other spices to make black bean burritos or quesadillas. You could even chop up one of those burgers to put in the black beans to make them a little meatier.

I'd buy some pasta, a 28 oz can of tomatoes, and a 6 oz can of tomato paste, and make some meatless red sauce. I have a recipe that is basically that plus onion, garlic, and some spices. I posted the recipe here not too long ago, but could post it again if you are interested. I could buy all the items needed for this for $3 or so. The last time I made it, we ate on it for 2 days and a small amount still had to go into the freezer. It doens't make a huge amount, but it isn't a thick sauce so it seems to stretch pretty well.

Then I'd search around for a store with a good beef sale, looking for a cheap cut around $1/lb; spend about $6 on that if you can find a small enough package. A roast might be a good choice to look at. Then I'd also buy 10# of potatoes, some carrots, celery, and milk. These items, combined with onions and spices will make a lot of food- a huge pot of beef stew, and also a huge pot of potato soup.

You can also make ramen stir fry using things like onion, carrots, celery and eggs.

Those are my ideas. Hope they gave you a few ideas.