Sunday, September 30, 2012

The rest of the story

I thought I would embellish on yesterday's post.

Meal plans are a quick jot of the main dish in this house. I usually have a good idea what I am going to serve with the main dish.

I try to do balance them by using this formula:

2 beef
2 pork or chicken
2 vegetarian
1 fish

You can use a different configuration to suit your family's tastes. The two vegetarian
Ones help to balance a higher cost of meat.

By stocking your staples, you almost never get stuck paying full price for them. I use a guideline of keeping about 24 of something that I use once a week, or 6 or so of
Something I use once a month. Things like mustard, mayo, artichoke hearts I keep one ahead so I don't have to make a special trip if I run out. Basically, when something is on sale for the rock bottom price, you buy 1) as many as you can afford to buy. 2) as many as the store will let you buy, or 3) as many as you need to reach your target goal for the product -- whichever comes first.

In the long run, after you get set up, you will find you probably spend less time shopping and cooking than you did before. If you spend more time on the front end of the meal to the table train, and less time on the back end, you will be money ahead. Basically, you get "paid" for shopping wisely, but you dont get paid for cooking.

On the subject of ready mades, sometimes salsa is cheaper ready made when tomatoes are not in season. You can also make salsa out of diced tomatoes. Tortillas are not worth making from scratch. Mashed potatoes when you can get them for 50 cents, are sometimes cheaper than scratch. I recenrly got sweet potato fries for .20 cents a pound and sweet potato in a box for .35 a meal. Pudding cups, fruit cups, boxed juice drinks, hamburger meal boxes, are not cheaper. Pudding takes no longer to make from scratch than it does from a mix. Read the ingredients on the package. They have to list them in order of volume. Fruit cups ready made, have 16 grams of sugar in them. The juice boxes I checked had 16 grams as well. That's thirty two grams of refined sugar. My carb max for a meal is 45 grams according to my dietitian. I wouldn't want it to be used on sugar syrup instead of good food. When cake mix or brownie mix is a buck, I think that they are worth it. I keep a few on hand. Base it on the amount of times you reach for them. I like an emergency stash in case I am getting company.

Stocking food at the lowest price gives you a sense of empowerment that you beat the stats; and a sense of security that you always have food in the house in the event of an emergency, be it unexpected company, sickness,or an act of God-- like snow!

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