Monday, September 26, 2011

Cooking on a Budget - Part One

So we have all noticed food prices going up.  I posted about my experience not long ago.  Now we have to feed the same amount of people with the same amount of money, but the food costs more.  And if you are like me, it's not the same amount of money anymore.  We are now a one income family.  It is more important than ever that my food budget stretches.  It can be done, but it may not always be fun.  You will feel a great sense of satisfaction though once you have learned new habits and follow some simple rules.  After a while it will be second nature to you.  Trust me, if I can do it ANYONE can do it!

Start with a plan.  I'm a list maker, and I've always got a plan.  Trouble is remembering to follow through with it.  But it can be done!  Planning menus, using the grocery store ads and cutting coupons are key.  It is a little upfront work, but really not all that much.  You'll see once you try it and get used to what you're looking for.

You've got to start cooking at home more.  And I don't mean frozen pizza.  OK, well every once in a while that's ok....if you get it on sale :)  You will definitely save money by cooking at home rather than going to restaurants.  I'm not saying to cut them out all together.  We still go out to eat, but only for an occasion.  Birthday, anniversary, celebrate something.  That sort of thing.  But most of the time you need to be cooking at home, and cooking enough for leftovers either for the next night or to take to work the next day.  The more work you do yourself and the more basic foods you buy the more money you will save, and have a great family experience at the same time.  Do you ever watch the show Restaurant: Impossible?  Robert Irvine is always telling the owners that making their own is not only fresh and better, but cheaper as well.  I was actually surprised to learn on certain things that it was cheaper to make your own.

I know this might sound like a lot right now, but once you get into the habit of cooking it will become second nature and you'll learn time savers specific to your own style, kitchen and family along the way.   Plan for everything.  Plan for meals, snacks and leftovers.  Start by planning for the week, and as you become an expert you might even be able to plan for a month.  This may sound like a hard task, but once you have the meals planned for the week and the shopping done, you'll be surprised at how much time you have for everything else.

Let's start small.  Go through some recipes.  List everything that you DO NOT have in the house.  I do this on Sundays because my local paper puts all of the grocery ads and the coupons in the Sunday paper.  See what is on sale where, and go buy your ingredients for the week.  Try just that much right now.

Until Next Time.....


  1. I also can make the lists but the follow through is hard. Today is a stocking day for me as I have to run to Sam's to get the necessities(mostly the cheaper priced ground beef--around here it is almost $4-5/lb for the 90/10..there much better...I want to say $2.50 +/-) We are big ground beef eaters. I do try to make as much as I can at home because even on the dollar menu it can be big money to feed 7 of us. We are a homeschooling family also so we are here for all meals and snacks and we have 4 fur-kids as well. Loving this topic and can't wait to see more! :)

  2. Do you have a big freezer? Check out an older post about Going whole hog...or beef. We got a side of beef this summer. That ground beef will last awhile. Purchasing, slaughter and packaging cost about $2.64 per pound or something like that. Steak same as gr beef!