Today I’m joining a host of other bloggers writing about Real Food on a Budget. Most are sharing recipes, but I’m sharing tips.
I’ve listed these tips before, but they were buried in a post about Spam (of all things!) so I wanted to give them the attention they deserve.
I feed a family of 3 adults (assuming that the combined diets of my two sons equals what I eat) on $80/week.
Here’s how I do it.
1) I prepare our own meals. Eating out is a luxury. And contrary to what KFC claimed in their infamous $10 Challenge commercial, it really is cheaper to cook your own food at home.
2) I buy in bulk, and directly from local farmers when possible. I pick up bulk grains and beans and natural sweeteners from my local grocery store, and I also plan large once-a-year purchases of pastured beef and poultry.
3) I eat fewer animal products (and more veggies). While I believe animal products are far healthier for me than the diet dictocrats would have us believe, I’m also a vegan for about 40% of the year thanks to my religious principles (Orthodox Christian). And, even when I’m not keeping a vegan fast due to pregnancy or breastfeeding, my family still only averages about 2.67 lbs of meat per week over the course of the year. The trick here is to make meat only a part of the meal, rather than the centerpiece. Instead of serving one chicken breast per person with some sides, we’ll cut up the chicken and put it in a casserole or soup.
4) I don’t waste food. We save up unused vegetable parts and uneaten leftovers to make hearty broths and soups each week, use chicken guts to make gravy, use the carcass for a gelatin-rich broth that’s oh-so-good for your joints. This way, I can generally get four meals out of each chicken!
5) I make my own convenience foods. Breads, salsas, salad dressings, condiments. It’s all healthier and cheaper when you make it at home.
6) I try not to double up on expensive animal proteins in any given meal. This means I rarely pair meat with cheese, eggs with cheese, meat with eggs, and the like unless I’m cooking up something special. I save lasagna and quiche for when I have company.
This post is part of the Real Food Wednesday blog carnival hosted by Cheeseslave. If you’re interested in saving money, go check out the other interesting recipes and tips carnival participants are sharing!