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Can you feed your family for $25 per member or less each week?

ALL YOU is running another this year. They are challenging the public to spend $25 or less per family member per week on groceries during a four-week period (June 20th – July 17th, 2010).

The winning family will receive a $1,000 grocery card and the opportunity to appear in the November issue of ALL YOU magazine.

Sign up for the .

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  • Sarah says:

    Thanks for sharing! We have a family of 7 so $25 each would be around $750/month ($175/week). I currently spend around $400/month (including cleaning supplies, diapers, paper products, etc).

  • Alexis says:

    This is a funny challenge because we already do this. And our budget includes any restaurants and all household sundries (shampoo, tp, cleaners, etc). And I know that I could be doing WAY better!

  • says:

    I can’t believe this is a real “challenge”; at least in my neck of the woods with moderate grocery prices. We do this week in and week out — AND eat a pretty healthy menu, we few boxed or canned items. A few years ago I did the $21 a day food stamp challenge and had zero problems sticking to that.

  • says:

    I’m with you all! I don’t think $25/person/week is a challenge. I think this could be a great challenge for someone looking to get started with coupons or someone who needs a goal to get going! I think 15 a week a person would be better for my family that would be 60 / week which is more then I spend now hmm maybe ill challenge myself with $13. That’s $52 a week with diapers that’s close for my family of 4.

  • says:

    Haha- super easy!! We are 5 and spend 50-60 a week on EVERYTHING!!

  • Sarah says:

    Not much of a challenge! We spend about $60 a week for 4 of us and that includes household supplies and stockpiling. For the next two months we could probably spend only $20 a week and get by fine!

  • Dani says:

    Yea there is only three of us, but we still only spend $35.oo, including diapers, wipes, paper products (rarely buy) and cleaning supplies. Every so often we might need something that is not on sale and spend maybe $10 more but thats RARE!!!

  • Stephanie says:

    I have to imagine that this would be harder in places like Boston or NYC and easier in some other places. In a high COLA area this challenge may not work if you want to feed your family healthy food. We buy organic as much as possible when we can afford it. Here in MA coupons for milk generally don’t exist and it does not go on sale due to state minimum pricing and we buy organic milk products since I am pregnant and we have a toddler. The cheapest organic milk I have found is $2.99 a half gallon which is way better than the $4.50 and up that I usually see.
    I shop at three different supermarkets all within 4 miles of my house, watch sales, coupon like mad, limit meat, have minimal brand loyalty, avoid convenience foods and premade sweets and we still end up spending $450/mo on the 4 soon to be 5 of us.
    I am so excited because tomatoes are on sale for $1.30/lb (my sister in Maine just paid 99 cents a pound at her local organic store- sigh) and lemons are 50 cents each- I already have parsley and bulgur- tabbouleh here we come!
    I’m not going to feel bad if I don’t meet $25 pp but I am going to see how low I can go while feeding the family good food. I may just surprise myself.

    • says:

      @Stephanie, I hear you! I live in southern NH. It is a challenge for my family of six to spend less than $150/week on groceries. On the weeks that I plan really well and find good coupon deals, I can do it, but it takes several hours of my time and trips to three or four different stores. The time is worth it, but sometimes I just don’t have it!

      I experienced the same when I lived in Las Vegas. A lot of the deals people talk about (triple coupons!) just haven’t existed in the places where we’ve lived.

      • Stephanie says:

        Triple coupons?! Heck, I would be thrilled if any stores here doubled!

      • Angie says:

        @Andrea Q, I live in Western MA which isn’t is expensive as the Boston area, but isn’t cheap either. I always shopped the sale items or shopped at BJ’s or Walmart. But I never really used coupons other than the BJ’s coupons. I was still spending about $130-150/week when we were a family of 3. But I did have one in diapers. Recently I started using more coupons in addition to sale items, striving only to buy dry goods I could get with both a sale and a coupon. But it is taking more of my time. I probably spend about 2 hours planning for a shopping trip right now, and so far I’ve only manage to cut about $15-20 off my weekly expenses. I think there really is an art to it. I have yet to hit that ideal where the stars align and I find something on sale and I have both a manufacture’s and store coupon. But I’ve only been couponing for about a month.

        The only place I know of that will double-coupons is Big Y. Maybe Stop & Shop does too, but I haven’t been there in years because it isn’t as convenient as Big Y. Triple coupons are unheard of where I live.

        I have found the best milk price is at BJ’s for $2.06 a gallon for skim. Of course that’s not organic. But I also found some items are more expensive at BJ’s and I’m not yet sure which items are worth buying at BJ’s other than milk.

        I go to these couponing sites and I hear of all the great deals people get at Kroger and I am so jealous because there is no Kroger where I live.

  • Emily says:

    I spend about $18.75 per person per week and am trying to get it down lower (although I look at the total amount per month, not per week per person). So, yeah, I find it funny too. I’m not in a high cost of living area, though–don’t know what the average per person/week would be there.

  • Maria says:

    That would be a challenge, but I’m not willing to forgo our diapers, vitamins, and organic milk to meet it!

  • says:

    @Sophia, I lived in four different states (none of them was California) in both rural and urban areas. Food does cost that much (and more).

    • Stephanie says:

      Metro Boston is not cheap for food or housing. I see what Crystal comes home with and I am impressed. Even the about to expire stuff she is able to find costs 2x as much here- I know because I buy it too.
      It is all about doing what you can with where you are- we may spend more on food but by planning ahead we are able to go to some amazing museums, historical sites and other events for free or near free. Most town libraries around here have a great museum pass program and we just went to the zoo for $2 each and the kids were free! Our town has a free outdoor summer concert series with music from all over the world and MA has a pretty good and inexpensive state park system. Every place has advantages and disadvantages.

      • Anon says:

        @Stephanie, I am soooooo with you. I live North of Boston, a family of 4 (2 adults, 2 kids) and our grocery budget is an astonishing $800/month!!!! How do these ladies do it? I am trying to trim down the costs to live off of a single paycheck. But, we always run over budget. I am looking into couponing .. but, for the kind of deals we see around – not sure if its even worth looking into. I salute to all you ladies you live well within defined budget boundries.

        • Stephanie says:

          Do you know how to cook? That helps a LOT. We are single income and being able to use raw ingredients makes it less expensive. I make our baked treats from scratch, some of our bread, our salad dressings, marinades and hummus. I have yet to have success making yogurt but someday…
          Another thing that can help is using ingredients for more than one meal and setting your menu based on what you like to eat and on sale/cheap that week. Tonight’s dinner is veggie tacos, mostly organic and all bought on sale for the same price as El Paso and I can use leftover ingredients as part of nachos for lunch. Tomorrow’s dinner includes tabbouleh I am making- if I bought it premade it is over $5 per container. I am using sale parsley, tomatoes and lemons with bulgur and spices I already have and the entire huge batch is probably going to cost as much as one of those single serve plastic containers.
          Coupons are awesome even when they don’t double- if there are products you like the company- I received quite a few Seventh Generation and Horizon coupons that way.
          Another question- is your current grocery budget realistic? Do you buy soda, chips, juice boxes and Lunchables? Stuff like that will kill any budget you try to set. At our house the snacks tend to be fruit, veggies and crackers. We do tend to have ice cream in the house during the summer but when it is gone it is gone. Eating seasonally is key too- when apples are cheap eat apples and when watermelon is cheap eat that. the kids were thrilled when I brought home $4 watermelons this weekend- they wanted them the week before but we will not pay $7 for one.

  • Megan says:

    Does anyone know if you have to have a blog to be able to compete in this challenge? It doesn’t say so in the official rules, but on the main entry page they mention blogging about your progress… Thanks!

  • says:

    I agree that this doesn’t seem like much of a challenge. We have a food budget of $500 per month which includes 3 gallons of raw milk per week (which is $7.50/gallon) for 6 of us, so it works out to $20.83 per person per week. I didn’t think I was doing very well with getting our food budget down but their “challenge” makes me feel better! LOL I’m hoping to get us to $300 per month eventually!

  • says:

    The challenge does seem a little easy to me also. I have been able to get my weekly expenses (ie. food, toiletries and cleaning supplies) to around $30.00 a week for everything (we are a family of 4 with one still in diapers). That’s about $7.50 per person per week. I do make a lot of stuff from scratch though and don’ t buy very much processed food (at least not for us to eat, I like to help out family and our neighbors who don’t exactly have the same diet as us). I do sympathize with all of you who live in places where the cost is higher. (we have lived in similar places). Good luck to all that try the challenge.

  • WilliamB says:

    Piece of cake for me, even without doing High – or even Middle – Frugal. But I don’t have teenage athletes or live

    Really, the challenge design is a little weak. There are three big gaps: what counts as “groceries,” adjusting for cost of living differences, and adjusting for age/size of children. There are smaller gaps: does eating out count? What about toilet bowl cleaner? What if I get register bucks for the toilet bowl cleaner and apply them to my pot roast? How do they treat donations (including grandpa) and goverment support? What if a child’s tuition includes lunch?

    I imagine these have come up before, if All You has run the contest before. I wonder where the full list of rules is.

  • says:

    I think it also depends on how old your kids are. I have two adults, a 17 year old boy, a 14 year old girl, a 6 year old and a 3 year old. The 17 year old could out-eat the entire rest of the family during a growth spurt!

  • Patti says:

    You will want to sign up just to see what the others are doing. I learned a lot last year even though I didn’t participate. It is amazing to see how imaginitive the contestants are. I don’t think you have to have a blog, just write in their blog about what you are doing.

  • says:

    I was one of the ten finalists in the All You grocery challenge last year. I did blog my progress, as did many of the finalists, but not all of them did. All You sets up a blog where you can comment as much as you like, or you can set up a free blog and track and link (I did a combination of both).

    Many of the people who were in the challenge last year found it pretty easy to stay within the $$ part of the challenge. There are three people in my family and our budget for food, toiletries and cleaning supplies is $140 a month, so it was no biggie for me either. In fact, I think that ended up playing ‘against’ me. The lady who won last year’s challenge had couponed in the past, but had gotten away from it. At the beginning of the challenge she got back into couponing and made a lot of changes. So, she was able to say something like, ‘Thanks to the challenge, we saved $xx, we ate better, we made more choices together, I lost weight!’ – all of which was true. There were a few of us whose participation in the All You challenge didn’t really teach us anything new or make a ‘new change’ in our lives. I sort of suspect that someone who is already doing all the frugal stuff is less interesting (as a winner of the challenge) than someone who ‘learned from the challenge’.

    It was totally fun, and I had a blast doing it. It was also neat to ‘talk’ with so many other people who use coupons, gardening, a co-op, freezer cooking, rebates, etc. etc. etc. to save. I had a great time, and if I weren’t so busy with some other things these days, I might join in again!

    -Laura at TenThingsFarm

    • Miss Jay says:

      @Laura at TenThingsFarm,

      I’m really curious if you can only eat what you purchase during that 4 weeks? Is it on the honor system? Can we use our stockpiles? I could probably spend $30 for the whole month if I menu planned and bought as much fresh stuff as I could the week before we started.

      • says:

        @Miss Jay, Hi, Miss Jay,

        If you’re going to sign up for the challenge, you should make sure you read the rules, because my answer is based on the rules from last year. You could use anything you already had on hand/in your pantry. A lot of us said up front that we could spend exactly zero if need be, hee hee.

        It’s all on the honor system to a point – I mean, no one is following you around watching you shop…but if you are seriously doing the challenge, you need to save all of your receipts. The finalists were all asked to send theirs in for ‘verification’. True, someone could send in only some of their receipts but I don’t think anyone was doing anything like that.

        I hope this helps! 🙂

  • says:

    I am laughing, I usually spent $400 a month for my family of 8. Right now my pantery is really stocked, I am stocked up on wheat, the goat is in milk, the chickens are laying, and I just got our first squash from our biggest garden in years. I bet I could go the whole month without buying anything as long as I got toilet paper before I started. That is if I could resist continuing to stock up on free or ultra cheap things.

  • Teresa says:


    I can’t compete but would like to know how I can feed my family of four, in the city not in the rural area, with just $100 per week. I run out of food if I stay to the budget. I don’t buy organic nor prepared food. Can’t afford them. Mostly my shopping list consist of milk, eggs, yogurt, ceareal, bread, cheese, pasta, onions, potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, carrots, chicken and ice cream. Cleaning supplies are not part of this budget.


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