I stumbled across this website a couple months ago, and have been referring back to it frequently. Because of www.hillbillyhousewife.com, 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 HH.com.
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.
MSNBC.com 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 HH.com, 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 home...you 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.