Saturday, February 7, 2009

Baby steps add up

I have been having fun being frugal in the kitchen the past few weeks.  I have been thinking about how many baby steps  ( Thanks for reminding me about baby steps, Ann Marie!) I have had to take to get to the place that I am now.  I've still got a long way to go, but I am much better than I was 18 years ago when we got married.

I like rules and I realized that over the years, I have compiled several rules for myself that give me some guidelines for being frugal in the kitchen.  They are not hard and fast rules, just general ones and I go through times when it is all I can do to keep my kids fed. 

-It is always cheaper to eat at home than at a restaurant.

-Plan ahead. One week at a time.

 -Meal planning steps.
   1. Check to see if I have any items that need to be used up.  Google ingredients to find a 
   2.  Check store circulars online.
   3. Check my running list of favorites and choose what sounds good.
   4. Choose one or two new frugal recipes online or in cookbooks.

-Learn to make convenience foods from scratch.  
         frozen breakfast foods
         pizza dough and sauce
         chicken nuggets
         refried beans

- Use dry beans instead of canned.

-Freeze chicken or turkey broth when it is available.

-Shop at Sav-a -lot.

-Beans once or twice a week.

-Only buy meats (other than hamburger and chicken) when they are on sale

-Get grocery money in cash and only spend that much.

-Only go out to eat if you have left over grocery money.  ( Usually I don't want to spend the money I saved, so we don't go out to eat.)

-Don't serve a meal too often or it will become despised.

-Eat homemade popcorn instead of potato chips.

-Serve leftovers for lunch.

-Make snacks out of leftover ingredients.  for example


-Get kids on board by showing them the money we save by the sacrifices they made, like eating    beans instead of going out to eat.  Occasionally, give one of them a bonus from the money            saved and use the saved money toward a family treat, like a trip or electronic device.

-Always remember, a meal doesn't save any money if no one will eat it.

I would love to hear some of your "rules" in the kitchen.


DebiH. said...

These are all great I recently switched my shopping habits. For years, I made a weekly menu and then shopped. I have started shopping only what is on sale for the week and then planning a menu from that. I check the grocery sale ads online and plan from there. I am able to spend less and it actually helps me be more creative and willing to try new recipes. So far I have been spending the difference in what I would have saved on extra items to build up a supply of certain items in my pantry. I especially watch the BOGO specials to help stock up. I also finally bought a cooler to take in the van for us when we will be out during lunch time.

ann marie said...

These are all good tips. I try to hold off on shopping until the pantry is empty. I used to go every Thursday or Friday, regardless of whether I needed to or not,but now I just wait it out. We eat out much less than we used. Today we did a "fancy" place at the beach,that wasn't even fancy, but because it's been so long it felt like a big treat. But afterward I was kind of thinking "ugh, I wish we hadn't done that." I wouldn't say it though because Greg and the kids were so happy to be at a restaurant. I am going to start a garden this year. We used to have one when the kids were really little and for some reason I got away from it, but it's foolish to live in Florida ns not do some growing.

MyStory of HiStory said...

How great that you're having fun being frugal!! I think that takes a special person :)

crispy said...

Great tips...I have enjoyed shopping at Aldi andyou can get great deals there.

MyStory of HiStory said...

Hi there! I left a reply to your comment over at "my place". Stop back over when you get a chance.

MyStory of HiStory said...

left this comment at my end..but wanted to make sure you see it -...

Really?! ... I had a brother w/ Downs Syndrome. He died. 5 yrs ago - today. I miss him! so much.

Kayla said...

I try to do pasta once a week, and breakfast for dinner once a week. So, for at least 2 days out of the week, we're eating extremely cheaply. I love doing the math to see how much meals at home cost, and it helps us stay motivated to stay away from fast food.

MyStory of HiStory said...

I found her...I think. 4th of July Parade? & Fall Festival? She's beautiful!

Melissa said...

Great post! I'm slowly building up recipes for meatless or mostly meatless meals - learning to like beans (sort of). I've been enjoying the challenge of eating for less.

GardenofGems said...

Maybe I need to shadow you for a while, because I am doing a horrible job of this on my own. And we really eat too much garbage. Will you help me, please?