In case you just dropped in, this blog is about eating on the cheap. I want to save 1/2 on food. I try for the savings amount on the bottom of my slip to be at least as much as I spent. My budget is half of the USDA stats.
I can make five dollar dinners based on a "typical" family of two parents and two school age children. I attempt to keep a middle of the road attitude on fat and sugar.
In order to meet this criteria, I don't buy many ready made foods. Picky eaters are not part of my plan. Allowing a child to be a picky eater is doing them a dis-service. It's not giving them the opportunity to try new foods and enjoy natures bounty. There are children that are allergic to some foods, and that you have to deal with. Don't make a rod for your or their future spouses back by allowing a picky eater to be picky. Keep trying to introduce foods to them. Some of what I wasn't fond of as a child, I actually like now.
Staying on a 1/2 price budget in these times of meat prices rising weekly, will take a good amount of flexibility. You have to learn to roll with the grocery ads. Taking advantage of what's in season and what you can find that is on a special price.
Buying in bulk lowers your price and gives you more variety. If you divide the meat into family sized portions, you can freeze them and pull a variety of meats from the freezer.
I suspect that we will eat a few more vegetarian meals and more fish.
There are a few principles that allow you to meet the 1/2 price criteria.
1) never pay full price for food. Develop a spread sheet or a small spiral notebook to keep track of prices of the things you buy often. For is, that would be canned beans, tomatoes, pasta, tuna, refried beans, pasta sauce, instant mashed potatoes.
When they get to the rock bottom price, I buy as many as the store will let me, as many as I need to restock my shelf, or as many as I can afford. If it is something that h I use once a week I keep about a six months supply. If I use it once a month I keep 4 or 5. If it is something like mustard, mayo or salad dressing, I keep one ahead. Going to the store to buy two days worth of food at a time is the worst thing you canDo for your budget. You pay full price and are subjected to impulse buys.
You need to go to more than one store a week and get in and get out. pretty much stick to your list. The more time you spend in a store, the more you spend.
2) Plan. Sit down after you finish putting away the groceries and crank out seven main dishes from what's in the freezer and refer and what you just bought. If you have to think of the answer to the " What's for dinner? " question after a long day, it's a sure way to fall into the let's order pizza trap.
3). Learn to cook from scratch quickly. Buying ready made food is almost always a budget buster. Ditto single serving packages. There are lots of techniques that get you done fast. Spend more time on the front side of the DINNER ON THE TABLE TRAIN and less on back end. You get paid for shopping, you do not get paid cooking.
4) develop your own recipe book of entrees that your family will eat that use low cost sources of protein. Chicken, pork, tuna, beans, cheese, some beef, some shellfish
One of the ways that I save time on scratch cooking is to cook bulk meat shortly after I bring it home. I portion control it and put it on labeled freezer bags.
Roast chicken can be split into two breast portions or a breast portion and cubes.
And thigh and leg portions. Make stock from the bones.
Hamburger purchased or ground at home in bulk can be made into a meatloaf, taco meat, meatballs or Salisbury steak, or hamburger patties, or crumbles.
Pork loin can be roasted and sliced thin for BBQ sandwiches or sliced thicker dor reheated roast. It can be cubed and slow cooked for stew or tips over rice.
Sirloin roast can be roasted , having roast beef dinner one day and the rest sliced thin for a jus sandwiches. It can be ground raw for hamburger with less fat and cheaper than ground 7 percent hamburger.
Cooking a bulk batch of meat uses less power, takes almost no more time, and you only have to do the dishes once. LOL
I usually try to tell you the good buys at the grocery stores based on our newspaper adds, and what you can do with them. I try to find recipes that take advantage of low cost ingredients that taste good and slip in a few techniques along the way.
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