I have been getting toothpaste for free. I'm saving up until I get enough to take to the women's shelter. My husband thinks I am nuts!!!!
I have been reading a lot of Betty Crocker lately. The recipes have been appearing on my e mail box. they are family friendly and after fifty years of meal planning I am stuck on a rut. I know kids like repetition , but I get tired of eating the same thing over and over and......again. LOL
I still use a matrix of meals to assure we are eating a variety of food. When I was a kid, my mother went on a savings kick. She wanted to pay down the house to get enough equity to buy up. We brushed our teeth with ivory soap, yuk and she sent my sister to the butcher for 2 pounds of ground round every day. I got so sick of hamburger.! My Dad got bananas for free. We ate a lot of meatloaf and banana cream pie.
I use the matrix of
2 pork or chicken
1 fish or seafood
My husband would only beef and seafood if he could, my daughter is vegetarian, and I eat almost anything. This is a good compromise that makes us eat a healthy mix of foods. your matrix may very well be different. All meats have their attributes, , I think variety is the key. Every week,someone comes out with something else that isn't good for you. pretty soon, we will be taking pills instead of eating like I saw in a scifi picture once! LOL.
I rotate cooking the meat that is on sale the cheapest any particular week. Routinely, the 7 percent ground beef is 2.99 at SAFEWAYS. It used to be 2.67. I find chicken for .99 at times. I will only buy chickens from the northwest. I used to be able to find sirloin tip roast cheap, but that isn't
happening lately. Pork loin or tenderloin happens for under two bucks for loin and I got tenderloin for 3.00 at Costco.
I try for between 2.50 and 3.00 a meal average for protein. If you are working on a SNAP budget, dinner needs to be 5.00 for a family of 4--2 adults and two school age children.
The USDA stats are on the Internet. Google USDA Food costs. I heard on a blog that the wholesale price for fruits and veggies is on a USDA web site as well. You can tell if you are being gouged at the market. I just compare prices.
I try my best to hit the middle of the road. I don't want pre packaged foods with preservatives and things that I cannot pronounce, cheap hot dogs, or things that remind you of the cardboard that they are packaged in, or sugar coated anything. I also don't go for organic everything and forge weeds out of my neighbors yard. LOL. You can be middle of the road healthy meals on a bare bones budget. I think we eat quite well on 1/2 the low income stats.
Do your normal shopping trip. Now stop and analyze your receipt. How much is sports drinks and pop, how much is fruits and veggies, how much is protein. How much is snack food. In any persons budget, more than 85 percent of your sales receipt should be for protein, produce and dairy. Don't buy non food items at the grocery store. You can do better with coupons and deals at the drug stores and alternative stores.
You can expect to take an hour and a half, planning your shopping trip, and going to the stores. Don't go at dinner time and battle the loonies that don't plan their meals and grab something on the way home from work each day. Pick a time when the store isn't crowded so you can make informed decisions. Some stores are open 24 hours, you can fit in the time. I like shopping Wednesday when the specials are fresh.
I had to switch to Friday because my co worker didnt want to split her days to work. She wanted to work two days in a row. I do like to shop SAFEWAYS for five dollar Friday.
I digress, we are talking about meal plans. using a matrix gives you an outline. All you need need to
Clean your fridge and dump anything dead and make a note of what needs to be used upLook in your freezer and jot down enough meats that fit your matrix.
Add the meat that you pick to bulk/batch cook this week.
Survey the ads and fill in the sides that make the best use of the fresh produce that is cheap this
If you are on SNAP, take your total monthly allotment, divide it by 4.2. The answer will be you weekly food budget. try to stay as close to that as you can. Under is better. Remember, after you are set up, you are only buying your bulk purchase of meat(under 2 -3 dollars a pound) , anything at a rock bottom price to fill in your gaps in your stockpile, and fresh produce to round out your meals.
This is not hoarding, you are only buying a six months supply of the main things that you use to make meals. There should be 10-15 of them. If you use the item once a week, keep 24 max. If you use it once a month, keep 6. Don't restock the shortage until you find the item at rock bottom prices.
Admittedly, this takes a little more time than going once a week to the big box warehouse store and buying whatever strikes your fancy. But, the savings are remarkable. You are being compensated greatly for your efforts. Especially of you are out of money before you are out of month. A little time is a cheap price to pay for the peace of mind that comes with knowing there is always something in the house to eat! No child should live with the insecurity of having nothing in the house to eat and no child should have to eat top ramen and potato chips for breakfast, lunch, and dinner .
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