Reviving Motherhood

Learning on the Journey

Frugal Food, Part 1

3 Comments

Everyone has been impacted by the skyrocketing cost of food lately. Here are ways to cut costs on the grocery budget. I’m writing to myself as much as anyone else on this one!

Eat Simple

Contentment is key here. Save fancy, rich, expensive foods, or meals with great variety, for special occasions and holidays.

Drink Water

Not only is it a whole lot cheaper, it’s healthier. For special occasions, try fruity herbal teas.

Don’t Eat Out

Add up how much you spend on eating out for one month. You’ll probably be shocked.

Go Meatless

Meat is expensive. Contrary to popular opinion, you won’t succumb to a terrible malady if you don’t have meat every day (although teenaged boys and men seem to have a genuine physical need for meat more often than the rest of us). Try non-meat protein alternatives like beans and rice, eggs, and moderate amounts of cheese. When you do eat meat, go for inexpensive things like chicken. Have red meat once a week or on special occasions.

Have a Bean Day

When I still lived at home with my parents and my family was having to pinch pennies every way we could, we instituted Saturday Bean Day. We cooked a huge stock pot of pinto beans with onion and chili powder. Sometimes we added some cheese or browned ground beef at the end. We served it with homemade cornbread. Then we ate leftovers through the week as burritos, nachos, or just plain beans. Our Saturday friends ate a lot of beans with us! Monday is often bean day at our house now, but I cook red beans and rice.

Cook From Scratch

Prepackaged foods cost an arm and a leg. Compare the price between, say, homemade chicken salad and deli sandwich meat. Or homemade vegetable soup and Campbell’s chunky from the can. Or homemade bread and store bought. The homemade versions usually taste a lot better too.

Make Your Own Snacks

Make cookies, don’t buy them. Muffins, granola, and popcorn are all good, relatively inexpensive snacks you can make at home.

Buy in Bulk

Be careful though, bulk isn’t always cheaper. Compare prices at places like Sam’s Club. I miss the whole foods co-op I was part of in Shreveport. Let me know if you hear of anything like that locally!

Use Store Brands

Except for things that really taste that much better, use the store brand. It’s sometimes half the price.

Compare Prices

I don’t do this as much as I should, but if something is drastically cheaper at one store than another, sometimes it’s worth the extra stop. These days we have to factor in gas prices too, though.

I recently started a pricebook to keep track of what items cost at different stores, but I think a spreadsheet would be more effective. I’ll let you know if it works.

Shop Sales

Self-explanatory. I don’t do this as much as I should either.

Garden

If you have the time and man power, a garden can save lots of cash. I hope that a big garden will be part of our food source one day. Right now that’s not possible, but as our kids get bigger it will be a more practical option.

(picture: Breakfast Under the Apple Tree by Swedish artist Carl Larsson)

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3 thoughts on “Frugal Food, Part 1

  1. Stephanie, do you use a bread maker? I have one and just last night I was considering baking bread myself. Please share your favorite bread recipes to help me get started.

  2. God is very into making miracles happen everyday. Even small miracles. Our family spends a frugal amount on groceries every two weeks!! The amount stays the same on our budget all the time.

    You may wonder how that can be. Well here is how… I go through my pantry, fridge, and freezer and write down everything we have. Then I come up with 15 breakfasts, 15 lunches, and 13 dinners (we have 2 Wednesday night suppers at church) with what we have and write down what we need on a grocery list to make those 43 meals happen. Then I trust that the Lord is going to make those meals happen with the money we have. So many times I have been in the store and decided at some point that a certain meal was unnecessary and another one would work better. And EVERY time I have come to the register within the dollar amount of what I have had.

    I used to try to bring a calculator to make sure I stayed within my amount, but I would always end up pressing a wrong button and it erasing. I also used to write the costs on a list and then add them as I went… another nightmare with two kids in a grocery store!!! Now I do just what I mentioned first… I trust that the Lord will take my efforts and bless them, and it has happened every time I have gone to the grocery store for 4 months. No I am not trying to be hokey!!! I just know that we have used our credit card as a fall back before and that doesn’t leave room for God to meet our NEEDS. He loves doing that!!! So no more credit!! Trust that God will meet our needs.

  3. Consider shopping at the local farmers market. My grandparents live in Gray and have a huge garden (the kids love it!). They sell their vegetables from their home by posting a sign on the highway. They also have gardening friends that sell at the Farmer’s Market. I can’t speak for all local farmers, but my grandfather prices his vegetables below what Rouses and Wal-Mart sells their veggies for.

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