Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Eating well on a budget

Today I had the privilege of speaking at MOPS with my homemakin' sistah Sarah. We both tackled different topics revolving around eating well.

Anyways, I thought I would share some of our "secrets" about how to eat well and stay within your budget. Here are my notes from today's meeting.

How often do you go to your pantry only to find stale cookies/crackers/chips?

How many leftovers do you put in the fridge only to throw out the next week?

How often do you throw out moldy bread or spoiled milk?

~ 27 percent of the food available for consumption is throw away. That is about 25.9 million tons and about 30 billion worth of food.

~costs the U.S. around $1 billion every year just to dispose of all its food waste. Rotting food releases toxins that need to be regulated.

Think about how much money your family spends on groceries each week/month that is wasted? And now think about what your husband would say if you told him 25% of the food that you buy is wasted!

Now that you have the picture, what can I do about it???

1) set a dollar amount of what you want to pay for groceries each month. Start with a practical number and then work your way down.

a. My husband has set up a separate account which he puts $ in each month for groceries. That way, I don’t really have to keep tract of how much I spend.

2) Make a menu

a. Make a master list of your families favorite meals/healthy meals/ meals you want to try. (you can always add to this)

b. Get a menu planner (mine is from the dollar section of target)

c. From your list, make out a meal for each day. You can do this for all three meals a day or just dinner. (I do just dinner…will explain more on that later)

i. TIP: look for meals that include similar meats. Chicken fajitas one night, roasted chicken breast another (so you only need one item)

3) Start your grocery list

a. Do this in your kitchen so you can look for the ingredients you need for each meal and add ones you don’t have.

b. After this add breakfast and lunch items that you DON”T have in the house

c. I also add 1 to 2 snacks for the week (pretzels, tricuits) You can even ask your kids what they want.

4) Stick to your list!

a. If it isn’t on the list, don’t buy it!

Money saving tips

1) Make a lot of your own food.

a. Bread (super easy and MUCH cheaper and healthier) I have some recipes if you would like (50 cents per loaf)

b. Yogurt

c. Granola for breakfast

d. Fruit leather

e. Trail mix

f. Smoothies

g. Kefir

h. Peanut butter

2) Avoid buying packaged/processed food

a. Do you need to buy frozen waffles?

b. Premade meals are extremely expensive and can just as easily be made before hand.

c. My rule: If you great great grandmother couldn’t buy it, Don’t buy it!

3) When cooking a meal, make double and freeze the rest

a. Baked ziti, casseroles, bread (that way if you cannot make a scheduled meal, you have a back up plan)

4) Make meals with other moms

5) Buy certain things in bulk and freeze

a. Chicken $1.99 per pound, ground beef (half a cow)

6) Find a bulk food store

a. I get my flours, nuts, dried fruits

7) Find stores that have good deals

a. Sometimes it is cheaper to buy closer to home than to waste gas on driving to the “cheap” store

8) Buy in season fruits/veggies and can/freeze them

a. It’s a lot easier than you think…I can jams (blueberry/strawberry) apple sauce, pie filling, butter, pickles, sauce, salsa. Freeze beans, carrots, corn.

9) Grow your veggies

10) Compost!

Do I do this all the time? I do menu plan each week but there are days I don’t stick to it..sick kid, sick mama, just don’t want to! And yes, I do buy take out every now and then!


michele said...

Hey Kara! I like to see how other mamas handle household tasks & budgeting. Your approach is very similar to mine (minus the bread making!). I found a blog that speaks a lot to menu planning & household organization in general. It's
She even has printable worksheets.

AmyCS said...

Hi Kara,

I'm so glad you recorded all this on your blog. I went home and tried to jot down everything you said, because I wanted to tell my readers about you and your unbelievable thriftiness -- especially when it comes to food. You put this frugal mama to shame!

There are so many pearls here. You could write a blog post on each point, I'm sure!