Learning Life Skills – The Food Budget

Y'all have probably already noticed that I am much more adamant about teaching real “life skills” than I am about book knowledge.

I came into a marriage at the age of twenty not knowing how to do…well, anything really. I mean, I had lived on my own for a while so I could do laundry and fix a pot of spaghetti, vacuum a carpet, and clean a bathroom — but that was about it.

I decided early on that I didn't want my children to be so ill-prepared for life. I wanted more for them. I know I have mentioned in previous entries that my children begin doing chores at age 2, my oldest four can cook and bake (and they even prepared an entire Thanksgiving meal by themselves when I was in bed with a migraine), and more.

This week my oldest son, age 11, decided he wanted to plan the meals for the next two weeks. My only guideline was that the total had to come in at $150 or less per week.

So Gator sat down yesterday and planned away; breakfasts, lunches, and suppers for ten people (I'm on a restrictive diet, so I don't eat what the rest of the family does) for two weeks. He made a menu in OpenOffice, printed it out (along with his recipes), made a shopping list, and placed them all in his binder. Then last night we went grocery shopping.

The total: under $200 for two weeks!
Way to go, Gator! He undercut his budget by $100!

He will be sharing his mealplan on his blog later today, if you want to check it out.


  1. Fiffi says

    Hi Janne

    That is an excellent thing that you are doing for your kids! Those lifeskills you are teaching them will allow them to be an absolute blessing to their future spouses and not to mention themselves! I applaud you…Well Done !

    This post has made me do a little rethinking! Thank You!



  2. dawilli says

    That is soooo industrious! How do I get my kids to do that sort of thing? Really! Tell me how!!!!! Oh, how I long for the day that my kids take some ownership and responsibility for things that reach beyond the end of their little noses.

    I’m realizing that I’ve been way too easy on my kids (though they don’t think so LOL!) and need to train them (myslef first) to do so much more than the bare minimum required to not get thrown out!

    It’s getting better, slowly, but surely… I’m always on the hunt for good reading, good advice, testimonials, ideas, tips, practical suggestion, and have been absorbing a lot latey (love raisinggodlytomatoes.com) and am enjoying seeing the wee little first fruits of my labor as I endeavor to implement some of the things I’m learning.

    So know that I’m watching you! lol! You’ve been a great source of inspiration and encouragement for me, and I’m glad to see you posting again!

    Well, have a good one,



  3. eyecorn says

    How terrific! What a great learning experience. I will definitely check out his meal plan. Congratulations on helping your children learn to be independent and good stewards with money.


  4. ktneis says

    Mom you are a good teacher, at age 11 to plan a menu and stay under budget is awesome. I feel the same way, you need to teach life skills for when they are on their own. You did awesome.


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