Thursday, January 24, 2008

Being Frugal

Ok, my reason for starting this blog, other than enjoying cooking, eating and taking pictures (what a wonderful combination!)... is to show people how I feed our family for such a small amount, as it is a mystery to some, and they ask. So, I've been trying to figure out how to do this and what I've come up with is to track my expenses and give a dollar amount to each dish. So I hope that helps- though this might take some time, so if you don't see it at the bottom on the recipe post, then I haven't gotten to that recipe yet.

Typically our grocery budget is $300/month.
  • When I started making breakfast from scratch it saved us $80/month- that's what I had been spending on cold cereal and milk!
  • We hunt, (yes, I hunt too!) we get between 5 to 7 deer a year, we butcher them ourselves so it works out to be $.84 per pound for meat. So that does cut my grocery bill down alot through the year.
  • I do buy turkey during the sales around Thanksgiving- so $15/turkey= 5 meals= $3/meal.
  • Watch sales: we go through alot of eggs, so when Albertson's has their 10/$10 sale on eggs I buy about 10 dozen. Or during the summer I can get them at the farmers market for $1/dozen as well. Albertson's also has rice on sale now and then 10/$10- both white and brown- which is great and I will buy about six 2# bags- it works out to $.40/meal.
  • I compare prices and normally buy generic. Most grocery stores have a "price per unit" on their price code sticker- this is so much easier than carrying around a calculator!
  • Menu planning is a must to stay in budget.
  • I make pretty much everything from scratch. It's not much more work and it doesn't take long before you have recipes memorized and you don't have to have the recipe in front of you.
  • I do not buy pre-made or prepackaged things- except for Mac & Cheese and hot dogs, but that's not often, and spaghetti sauce.
  • I grind our own grain- I have no idea how to work this out cost-wise. I buy a 50# bag of each: soft wheat ($14), hard white wheat($14), hard red wheat($14) and rolled oats($30). These last about 6 to 8 months. I grind soft wheat about once every 2 weeks and have it in the freezer for baking quick breads. I bake bread=4 loaves about once a week.
  • I use dry beans instead of buying cans of beans-- so much cheaper! It takes a little more time, but I try to plan it around days I know I will be home most of the time.
  • Snacks are limited. On school days the boys have a snack when they get home from school- on Saturday they have a morning snack as well- but snacks are not normally much, a couple carrots, apples, oranges, muffin, a piece of toast, etc.
  • We don't drink milk or pop and juice, rarely. I don't believe milk is very beneficial- so water it is!
  • When cooking (except gravy) I use powdered milk. I can buy a huge box at the scratch and dent store for $4-- normally $15 at Walmart. So using 2 cups for pancakes in the morning is just pennies.
  • We don't eat out. When I have a higher budget ($350/month) then we can drive-thru on Sundays- but the boys eat so much- they each need 2 burgers and they are still hungry!

I do not have any picky eaters- I am very thankful for a husband who likes pretty much everything. He won't eat mushrooms or sardines (he is totally missing out on this- oh well, more for me!), but I think he likes everything else.
I have never cooked separate meals for anyone and the kids know this, so they eat what is on the table. There are somethings I know they don't care for, so I do offer things on the side- example: Jesse doesn't care for oatmeal, so I will have toast as well; Luke doesn't care for Peanut Butter Rice, so I serve rolls with it. It's not a stress point- I want the family table to be enjoyable. I do think that because of how we do this, they have learned to not be picky and are very good eaters. Too good sometimes, it seems- but I would rather have that!
When we try a new recipe- we all vote on whether to keep it or not. When they don't like something- they are allowed to say "I don't care for this" or "This is not my favorite", so I have a good idea of what people like and try to have a verity.
We eat every meal at the table. This means we all sit down for breakfast and dinner and lunch on the weekends.
That's all I can think of right now. Hope that gives you some idea of how I work things out!


Liz's Random Thoughts said...


And I'm w/ Brian about the sardines


berkeleydan said...

You sound like a great mother! I think it's very important for families to sit down together for meals. There are some great tips here for those who aren't as frugally-minded as we are :)


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