Published on August 26, 2008 By Texas Wahine In Blogging

I stumbled across this website a couple months ago, and have been referring back to it frequently.  Because of, I bake bread from scratch once or twice a week.  The HH website is what prompted me to introduce powdered milk into our home (I do powdered milk with evaporated milk mixed in for flavor and it's used for baking and for eating with cereal...regular milk is only for drinking at our house).  I've made casseroles and from-scratch cinnamon rolls based on recipes on

The website features recipes, but also suggestions on how to budget and how to run a household for less.  One feature is the Low Cost Emergency Menu for 4 to 6.  It demonstrates how to feed a family for $45/week.  We are pickier eaters and haven't used the Emergency Menu, but it is great for getting ideas, and certainly cool to have on-hand in case the need did arise. has an article up on how families are shifting toward old school home economics-type moves to save money and the very first paragraph mentions the hillbilly housewife website by name.

I actually think it's pretty cool to make things from scratch, although I don't usually have time to do everything that way.  We still eat out sometimes and we spend money on unneccessary groceries but the amount of convenience food I buy has definitely been reduced.  Partly to save money but also, it's just cool to be able to make something.

I can't sew, if I could that would probably greatly increase what I could save.  But I do like to use home made cleaning supplies and use left-overs in creative ways.  Not that we always get it all eaten, but I can make a big thing of spaghetti noodles (cheap!) and use it for all sorts of meals. 

I base my menus on the cheap cooking websites' recipes, recipes from, and I actually found a government food stamp website that has a TON of recipes, with nutritional info, and price per serving/meal that is pretty cool. 

One thing I don't plan to do is use rolled up baby socks as tampons, LOL, but there are plenty of less weird ways to save money.

I have been buying big blocks of cheese instead of the pre-shredded cheese.  I buy generic cereal often, although Adrian and the boys go for the name brands more.  I even buy frozen juices.  I am sure people checking out behind me are convinced I am on welfare with some of the things I buy (powdered milk, frozen juice, generics, block cheese, eggs, etc.), haha, but nope.  I'm a SAHM, so there's no reason why I can't manage to spend a little time on preparing food and save money that way.  Plus, it's just fun.  It feels good to bake or make something from scratch.

We don't eat a lot of meat, either.  I can usually feed our family of 5 for about $375 a month.  Sometimes a bit more, sometimes a bit less.  Of course, that doesn't include the expense of eating out, which we still do, but I think it's a pretty good budget for food.  I have several friends who have a hard time believing we only spend that much on food since they have smaller families and can't get groceries for less than $700.

I can't imagine how to make a menu requiring $700 worth of food per month.

They also don't understand how we can get by spending much less than $200 a month on gas.  You do without when one parent stays sacrifice...but also, it's less expensive to have someone staying home.  

I think being a "homemaker" is pretty fun.  If I had more money to spend on holidays I might like it a little bit more, and I wouldn't mind having my nails done and my eyebrows waxed, but overall, I like being a hillbilly housewife.

on Aug 26, 2008

I bookmarked it on delicious.  I have been doing better about making meals.  I am really bad about hey kids - there's sandwich meat, hot pockets, frozen chicken nuggets and a can of ravioli.  It's not very good food or healthy either.  I really would like to start making a menu every week and actually sticking with it.  I have tried before but its the sticking with it part that's hard.  I do know that we're having chicken enchiladas tonight. 

I do agree that you do get a big sense of satisfaction from making something from scratch instead of a box.  I feel all Martha when I make peach jam or banana muffins. 

lol - on the baby socks for tampons - I'm with you.  I may be poor but there are certain things that are worth spending the money on.  Tampons are one of them - thank you very much. 

on Aug 26, 2008

I love the site.

Thanks for sharing it.

I read the whole thing today...hahaha

My favorite part is the packed lunches!  Already today, on the first day of school, I was thinking...hmmm what can I pack that's not boring?

I am so gonna get a cold pack and wide mouth thermos.  And the trick about putting hot water in the thermos to warm it before adding the hot cookie that hillbilly housewife.

She reminds me so much of my Aunt Shelby.  She makes lots from scratch, and if she uses a box for something she adds so much of her own stuff you can't tell.

The bread thing...I dunno.  That's a lot of work to save a buck.  And I buy the double fiber Dutch Country bread that has like 5 grams of fiber per slice.  That is fantastic and really filling.

Anything over 4 grams of fiber per serving is considered a good nutritional choice when it comes to grains and how they affect blood sugar, plus it keeps ya fuller longer and um helps other things..heh.


on Aug 26, 2008

Boudica:  I am pretty good with making a menu but I have been doing it that way for so long it's second nature to me.  I do like having something easy around for days when we're busy or I'm really tired. 

I have never tried making jam before.  Is it difficult?

Tova:  Glad you like it!  I think there is a lot of info on the site that is the kind of thing women used to learn from their moms or to run a household, how to cook, how to clean...I don't think that stuff is common knowledge anymore.  I was never taught how to clean, although I was doing my own laundry from the time I was old enough to reach the top of the washing machine.  It wasn't that my mom did it all so I didn't learn, which I think is the case for a lot of people, it's just things didn't get cleaned like they should have.  I had to figure out how to clean on my own, LOL, which you would think is like the simplest thing in the world, but common sense is not my strongest attribute.  I also taught myself how to cook, with mixed results, ha. 

I want to teach the kids how to do these things so they don't feel so clueless and beyond their depth when they get out on their own.

I don't think bread is too expensive to buy, but after I tried it the first time beginner's bread was a lot easier to make than I expected and everyone LOVED it.  The site says you can substitute it for sandwich bread, but maybe mine doesn't come out right because I wouldn't use it for a sandwich or anything.  It's good with butter or jelly or to have a slice with dinner.  Not really sandwich bread texture.

It reminds me of beer bread, which is a lot easier, haha.

LOL about the bread that makes you poop.  I am sure we don't get enough fiber.  We still eat too much processed stuff.  I don't like whole grains very much.  Reason #4,572 why I'm fat. 


on Aug 26, 2008

I love making stuff from scratch.  My daughter loves no-bake cookies.  You can make a huge batch for not much money at all.  There are so many things that are cheap if you make them yourself or at least do some of the prep yourself.

If I budget, I spend about $50 a week on food.  If we don't budget (which I have been doing lately because I'm lazy) we spend about $75 a week.  Even though we make dinner from scratch almost every night, my husband and daughter like pop and chips, and that can add up quickly!

on Aug 26, 2008

Karma:  I remember a while back you mentioning how little garbage output your family has, and I am sure your from-scratch habit helps a lot with that!  I have started trying to buy things with less packaging, although we still make plenty of garbage.

$200 a month is great for a food budget.  I think when you do more homemade and from scratch stuff you can make a lot bigger and nicer meals for less...convenience stuff is what really makes groceries expensive.  Well, that and produce.  Of course, nearly a buck for a candy bar or a coffee doesn't seem like a big deal but $3 for a cantaloupe seems like a ton. 

Adrian drinks a lot of soda and Isabella and I have a My Little Pony fruit snack habit.   

If you have time, I'd love an idea of what types of things you do for dinner.  I am imagining that you guys probably eat a lot more varied/"fancy" meals than we do.

on Aug 26, 2008

I have never tried making jam before. Is it difficult?

Not as hard as I thought it would be.  Just buy the sure gel, your fruit (easier if you pick a fruit you don't have to peel like strawberries) and lots of sugar.  I just followed the recipe and directions from the sure gel box.  I bought the jars with seals and didn't even have to put them in the bath.  I just put them upside down while still hot and they all sealed that way.  You can test the seal and if it doesn't work, then you have to refrigerate and use those jars right away.  Of course, the peach jam is extra good when you have parker county peaches (a big deal around here) plus most stores don't carry peach jam. 

on Aug 26, 2008

Toni is awesome at making from scratch food.  She makes pasta, muffins, cookies, cakes and pies.  She also does things like buys cheap shoulders and makes stuffed rolled roasts.  As for bread, well we have a bread maker that is so easy to use, even I can't fail at it.

We also grow our own vegetables and try and buy as much as we can local and fresh.  The other thing we do is buy a lot in bulk and use our freezer.

I'm going to have a go at making chutney when our tomatos and mangoes come on this year.  I'd also like to try making jam.  Thanks for the site, I'm going to have a look and mention it to Toni as well.

on Aug 26, 2008

TW you sound so much like me when I had the kiddos home.   I was definitely a "hillbilly."  I made almost everything from scratch.  I also made homemade jams (with berries I picked myself).  Strawberry freezer jam is the best!    I canned alot especially greenbeans which were the easiest to do.  I used to buy food from the co-ops from my friends, stuff like baking supplies and spices  in large cinnamon, flour, yeast and garlic powder.  One thing I never really mastered and that was the art of pie baking.  My pies tasted ok. sometimes pretty good but they looked terrible.  I just didn't have the knack.  Still don't. 

oh and during Apple season in Maine, I'd buy two bushels of apples.  One to eat and I'd take the other and make the whole thing into applesauce that went well into the winter and spring.  I would get the "drops" which were a ton cheaper.  You can make applesause cake, muffins, etc plus just eat it.  I found it easier to freeze my applesause than can it.  It takes the whole afternoon but you end up with tons of applesause at the end of it. 

I used to go to the bread stores  (I still do this) and stock up on bread products as well as make my homemade stuff (not so much now) inbetween stops to the bread store.  Some weeks back in the days I had only like $45 for groceries  for a family of five plus other kids who'd be at the house......although that went alot further back then than it does today. 

Old habits die hard.  Today I got two bottles of free soda, a free (1.79) hand sanitizer pen and two big boxes of Colgate TP for .75 each.  Oh....and a box of Tampax for .99!  Yep a big box!  I also got two pks of Superman Scrapbook stickers in the 90% off bin for .19 each.

 Every week I still end up going home with freebies and stuff like brand name cereal for anywhere from .75-1.25 (it can be done).  There's a few tricks to the trade and once you get started it's hard to stop.  There's always a good deal around the corner. 

At one time I figured out I was saving with either coupons or free merchandise about $20-25 a week without really trying hard.  That's on top of buying other stuff at sale prices.  At Publix as they hand you your grocery slip they always say...."you saved xxxx" they look at the bottom of the slip.  When they see my figure they gasp and say something like "you saved $58!!!!  Like WOW!   I usually walk out of Publix with four or five full bags and spend about a $40-45  right now. 

I had fun and still do trying to get the best deals.  Hope you have fun as well. 



on Aug 27, 2008

Nice, I'm going to check it out!  I love cooking from scratch too!  I want to be just like you when I grow up!lol!  You have the patience to do all these cool things girl, I'm jealous!

on Aug 29, 2008

Jam isn't hard to make at all.  and if my oven didn't heat the house up so much...I'd bake bread more often.