Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Single Income Families: Frugal Food

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 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 usually bean day at our house now, but I cook Cajun 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, inexpensive snacks you can make at home.

Buy in Bulk

Find a whole foods co-op or shop at Sam’s Club. Be careful though, bulk isn’t always cheaper.

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.

Shop Sales

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


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.

1 comment:

Pastor Steve said...

On Going Meatless...

It isn't always necessary to completely give somthing up. You can just change your "American" attitudes.

For example, many of the old family meals from the 40s and 50 in our family fed a huge family with very little meat, like stew, or Chicken n dumplings.

Our Korean friend cooks an entire meal with the amount of meat we would serve on person...and you never feel hungry or shorted.

We just think we each have to have a huge piece of meat at every meal, and it just isn't true.

Yes, we men in this house love our meat, and an occasional big steak is fantastic.

But on a daily basis, we really don't have to have huge amounts. I'm sure others would disagree, especially those known to consume large quantities of porkchops! ;o)