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Woman Shows How She Spent $44 To Feed 4 Adults & 3 Kids For 5 Dinners

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There's no doubt about it, we are all feeling the pinch in our wallets nowadays, from gas prices to grocery prices and everything in between. (And we won't even talk about housing prices.)

One mom on TikTok is determined to figure out a way to feed her large family as cheaply as possible, and the hacks she landed on during a recent grocery trip just might help others do the same. 

The mom shared how she spent $44 to feed her family five dinners — for four adults and three kids.

Yes, it sounds impossible, especially with today's inflated grocery prices, which aren't coming down even as inflation starts to abate. And yes, she and her family are cutting a few corners to do it, most notably by eating portion sizes that are small by American standards (so, normal everywhere else in the world).

But still — they did it, and it's come as a huge relief for a lot of people struggling to make ends meet.



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The mom explained she is doing this simply to help others struggling with high grocery prices.

The mom, whose name is Brittany Giaccani (@giaccani_family on TikTok), explained after her first thrifty meal went viral that she and her family, composed of her and her husband, her parents, and their three children, are lucky to not be struggling financially.

But she used to be a single mom and knows how hard it is to feed a family when money is as tight as it is these days. So she wanted to see if it was even possible to find a way to feed a large family real dinners without breaking the bank, especially after getting lots of blowback saying it wasn't possible.



She set a goal of spending $40 to feed 4 adults and 3 kids for 5 dinners. It's an incredibly tall order and she didn't quite make it, but she came darn close, going over by just four dollars on her Walmart grocery shopping trip.

And lest you think she's just cooking TV dinners or frozen burritos each night, think again. That $44 included everything from meat and fresh vegetables to staples like rice, beans and canned goods. And as she showed in her videos, it ended up working out not only very economically, but deliciously as well. 

Day 1: Spaghetti and Meatballs for $6.25

Again, that's for a whopping seven people. Can't be done, right? Turns out it definitely can, and from the looks of her little kids' spaghetti sauce-covered faces, it was pretty tasty, too.



To make the meal, she used: 

  • 1 pound of spaghetti
  • 1 12 oz can tomato paste
  • 4 cups of water
  • Onion powder
  • Garlic powder
  • Oregano
  • Basil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 bag of frozen meatballs

Boom, that's it. And as she showed at the end of her video, there was even one portion of spaghetti and meatballs remaining at the end. Leftovers!

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Day 2: Red Beans & Rice With Peppers & Onions for $6.25

She noted that if your kids hate peppers, as many kids do, you can substitute any vegetable you like. That may affect the cost, though, so bear that in mind. Still, this is another cheap, easy meal.



For this dinner, which also had tons of leftovers, even after some members of her family had seconds, the mom used:

  • 3 bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • Olive oil
  • 2.5 cups of rice
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 can of red beans
  • 2/3 package of smoked kielbasa, diced
  • Paprika
  • Cajun seasoning
  • Tomato boullion

Day 3: Sausage & Potato Chowder for about $11

This dish is a bit more on the expensive side as this mom's menu goes, but of course that's offset by the first two meals being less than a one-person meal at McDonald's nowadays. So, you know, still a major win!



For the chowder, the mom used:

  • 1 pound of red potatoes, diced 
  • 1 pound of frozen meatballs, left over from spaghetti and meatballs night 
  • 1/3 package of smoked kielbasa, left over from Day 2's meal
  • 1 pound of carrots, chopped
  • Half an onion, chopped
  • 6 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 cups of milk
  • 2 cups of chicken broth
  • 1 can of cream of potato soup

The mom reported that they had so much of this meal left over, she boxed it up and put it in the freezer. So this one's definitely a keeper. 

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Day 4: Chicken & Herb Pasta for about $10.50

This is another dish for which the mom used some ingredients leftover from some of the previous days' dinners. This too is one of the higher priced options but went over very well with her family.



For this pasta, she used:

  • 1 pound of breaded chicken (she used frozen chicken nuggets)
  • 1 pound of spaghetti leftover from the box used for Monday's meal
  • 1 can of cream of chicken and herb soup
  • 4 tablespoons of butter
  • 1 tablespoon of garlic
  • 2 cups of milk
  • 14 ounces of peas
  • 2.5 pounds of potatoes, diced
  • Half a teaspoon of chicken boullion
  • Salt, pepper, oregano and basil

Giaccani explained that this dish really represents the core of her method here — it's not organic and certainly would never be called "health food." But it's still nutritious and filling while using the cheapest ingredients possible. And as she showed on Day 5, you can even get some truly indulgent dishes out of this whole plan.

Day 5: Cajun Chicken Pasta modeled after the Cheesecake Factory for about $10.50

Can't afford a night out with the novel-length Cheesecake Factory menu? Who can nowadays? But this mom has you covered with the final dinner of her $40 experiment.



For the Cajun Chicken Pasta, she used:

  • 1 pound of frozen breaded chicken (she again used the aforementioned chicken nuggets)
  • 1 pound bowtie pasta
  • 1 can of corn
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 can Golden Mushroom soup
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 1 tablespoon of garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon of chicken boullion
  • 1/2 teaspoon of tomato boullion
  • Cajun seasoning, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder

And there you have it — a decadent Friday night meal for, again, less than a McDonald's value meal. Of course, you still have to factor in the time and energy spent planning and preparing, and this does not account for breakfast and lunch each day.

Still, it's a place to start, and she's not done yet giving struggling families cheap meal ideas. The mom has launched a second week of her experimental meals, this time by using the trusty ol' crockpot to make five meals for $40.



It's not going to solve all of our money or economic problems, but it's good to know it is indeed possible to beat the financial pinch just a little bit, and have some tasty meals while doing it.

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John Sundholm is a news and entertainment writer who covers pop culture, social justice and human interest topics.