Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Eating on a budget

I know my menus lately haven't been super budget-friendly, but they are improving! Believe it or not last year I was spending about $225 per week at the grocery store and I have that down to about $125 now. My vbf encouraged me to share some of my cheap eats. Last month we paid Audrey's annual preschool tuition bill so we were, how do you say?--tightening our belt. Here's what worked for us...
  • Menu planning. This is the number one thing that helped immensely in keeping costs lower. It helped in making sure we use what's already in the freezer and pantry, plus also prevents that 6 pm panic that causes last-minute runs for take-out.
  • Strategic use of leftovers. Monday night's roasted chicken turns into Tuesday night's chicken pot pie. Wednesday's taco filling turns into Thursday's taco soup.
  • Double up. I pretty much don't make anything that I don't make a double recipe of and immediately stick half in the freezer. It's great for stretching dishes because sauces and pastas can really make things go further.
  • Eggs, eggs, eggs. My favorite cheap source of protein. Quiches, fritattas, or good old "breakfast for dinner" is great. Who doesn't love pancakes? Oh, right, me.
  • Go meatless. Twice a week try black bean quesadillas or briami.
  • No leftovers for lunches. I got this idea from my major-mom-crush Kim R. It's much cheaper to prepare lunches (sandwiches, soups, salads, etc) than it is dinner, so the rule in their house is dinner leftovers are for dinner. So she typically cooks for two or three nights, and then has a fend-for-yourself night where everyone scavenges leftovers.
  • Save fresh produce for a special treat. Frozen fruit and vegetables are excellent quality and usually are a better buy.

Any other tips?


Jansen said...

shannon i love your menu planning and your budget friendly tips. i'm so impressed with all your blogs...so happy you're blogging! fun times.


Laura said...

thanks for the tips!!!