Wednesday, August 28, 2013

5 Tips to Eating On a Budget

I'm not going to give you a bunch of useless common sense tips that you could deduce on your own (like don't eat out every meal). But rather things I have just figured out for myself or have learned from my mother.

Buy whole ingredients. Sure you can get a really cheap box of something-or-other, but are you really getting a good deal? Realistically can you feed your whole family with one package or box? Let's take a seasoned rice for example. For $1 you get 3 servings of rice (6oz package, $2.32/lb). Or you could buy rice in a 10 pound bulk amount for $5.79 (57 cents/pound) and you get 116 servings and you get to make it whatever flavor you stinkin' want!

Don't buy your chicken cut up. When you look at the per pound price of chicken you will see there is a 2-3 dollar jump from a whole chicken to pieces whether boneless/skinless or bone in/skin on. This is because you are paying for labor. Same chicken but cut up buy some big guy in an bloody apron holding a cleaver. Get a good knife, watch a video on how to cut up a chicken and don't look back. Also, learn how to roast a chicken properly. Buying a fully cooked rotisserie chicken may save time but if you plan ahead, making your own roast chicken on the weekend and stashing it in the fridge doesn't take more than 15 minutes of actual working time.

Learn to like what's on sale. So, you like grapefruit. But, it's July. Grapefruit is wicked expensive right now because it's not in season. But, look! There is watermelon on sale! Dirt cheap. You just don't "feel" like watermelon. Get over it.

Bake. No, not get baked. Bake! Put wet stuff in dry stuff and mix up some magic! Like, today, I made two loaves of GF sandwich bread, one loaf GF cinnamon raisin bread and GF english muffins. For a few hours work I saved about $20. Not even kidding. Gluten free has a bit better return on making it yourself because it is a grossly overpriced specialty food, but you can see a pretty good return on the regular stuff too. If not in cost than at least in better quality!

And, shop with a list and a calculator. There are so many times I go in the store with only so much money and I can not go over! So, as I put things in the cart I add them up on my phone calculator. If I go over I pick something I don't 'need' and either don't grab or put it back. Yes, it's annoying to have to deny yourself, but less embarrassing than coming up short at the register (been there).

There are tons of other ways I make our tiny budget work. Feel free to ask me!

Til next time.

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