Monday, January 27, 2020

Save Money of Drinks

One of the best ways to save money on drinks is to drink water.  Instead of purchasing a soda for 2-3 dollars when going out to eat, drink water at the restaurant.  If you absolutely need your soda, buy an inexpensive 2 liter for half the price of one drink at the restaurant.

It isn't healthy to drink a lot of soda.  Soda may taste good, but besides saving you money, drinking water will help you to be healthier.  You will also keep from having lots of calories added to your day just from drinking soda.

How much do you spend on soda in a week?  A month?  A year?

Drinking water is one of the simplest ways to save money without a lot of effort. Try it!

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Save Money by Not Wasting Food

I know someone who goes through their fridge each week and throws out lots of food before doing their grocery shopping for the next week.  It is hard for me to see people waste food, especially when they are living on a limited budget and the food could be used to eat if they applied a little more thought.  Any food wasted is also money that is wasted.  Here are some ideas to think about to help you cut the food waste in your home.

If you have leftovers, freeze them if you are not going to eat them in the next day or two.  If you do this right away, you won't have containers shoved to the back of your fridge, only to find them a week later and realize that they aren't good any more.  You can also take the frozen leftovers for lunches.  On busy mornings, you can just pull something out of the freezer and be on your way.  If you don't feel like cooking one night, you can pull your containers of leftovers out of the freezer and have them for dinner.  If you have a month where money is slim, you can use your leftovers instead of having to buy groceries. 

Before going shopping each week, clean out your refrigerator.  See what you have that needs to be used.  If you have leftover spinach, for example, make a meal with spinach.  If you don't want to, at least cook and freeze the spinach to use later BEFORE it goes bad.  Use what you have before you buy more.  Incorporate the food that needs to be used into your menus so it will not be wasted. 

Have you ever had a loaf of bread start to mold?  One thing I do is to leave out what we can reasonably eat, and freeze the rest of the loaf right away.  The same thing can be done with bagels and muffins and cookies, etc.  They taste much better from the freezer and thawed out than to have them sit on the counter for several days. 

What problems do you have with food being wasted? 

What are some things you have done to eliminate food waste in your home?

How to Determine the Cost of a Recipe and How to Cut the Cost to Fit into Your Budget

One of the challenges with a very low grocery budget is wondering if you
can afford to make a recipe or not.  This morning I was making a soup
recipe that I found on the internet. I added up the cost of the ingredients,
and they cost a total of $9.00.  
Corn:  50 cents
Green chilies:  2 cans at 98 cents each
Canned tomatoes:  89 cents
Tomato sauce:  2 cans at 39 cents each
Kidney beans and Pinto beans:  50 cents per can
Ground beef:  $2.78
Chicken broth:  59 cents 
Spices:  around 50 cents total
This recipe yields 6 servings.  I take the total cost of the recipe and divide
it by the number of servings it makes. If I wanted to make this recipe, it
would cost $1.50 per serving, which is more than my budgeted amount if I
am trying to only spend $1.00 per meal.  What can be done if you still
want to make this recipe? The following list has ideas you can use to
lower the cost of this recipe or find another way to make it by cutting
back elsewhere.

 Eliminate the meat.  This alone would almost make the cost fit into
your $1 per meal budget.  

If you don’t want to eliminate the meat, cut down the amount you
put in by half or one fourth, for example.  Using meat for flavor,
rather than in larger quantities, really cuts the cost of the recipe.  

Buy store brand items.  They typically are less expensive unless
you use coupons to get the name brand for a lower price.

Make sure you eat proper portions.  One cup of soup or casserole
is plenty for one person.  The recipe I made looked like it made
more than 6 servings, so it really may cost less than initially thought.

The beans were from my pantry and were bought a few months
before for only 50 cents per can.  I have even found beans for
39 cents per can. By purchasing items at rock bottom prices, your
recipes will cost less than if you buy things at regular prices.  

Look into buying a larger size, which may be cheaper than buying
two smaller cans for a recipe.  For example, I could have looked to
see how much a 16 ounce can of tomato sauce cost as opposed to
two eight ounce cans.

Serve half portions.  This will make the recipe only 75 cents per
serving which gives you an extra 25 cents to make bread or buy
veggies or fruit to go along with it.  Make sure you buy your
produce on sale or on a reduced rack!  

Last, if you really want to make the recipe, but can’t find ways to
cut down the cost, consider making less expensive recipes for
your other meals during the week to make up the difference.

This is the process to use if you find that you can’t afford to
make a recipe on the budget that you have.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Free Food - Accept What People Give You!

Every once in a while, someone offers us free food.  Of course I take it and then try to figure out what to do with it.  We made pie filling earlier this week with free cherries from our neighbor.  We also made jelly.  Our other neighbor offered some beets and red cabbage.  I like beets, but have no clue how to use the red cabbage...but I will figure out something.  I personally do not like beet greens very well, but on a limited budget, you make the most of what you get.  So, I cut, sorted and cooked the beet greens and gladly offered to share them with my husband.  Sometimes all that people offer is zucchini, but there are lots of great recipes to use zucchini or you can freeze it and use it for later.  I do that when we have too much zucchini of our own.  Accept what people give and be grateful for it.  Find a way to use it.  Every little bit helps.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

My Year of Living on SNAP

I am not poor, but there are many people that are in this world.  They live with challenges that the average person has no concept of.  Several years ago, I read an article talking about how people cannot eat on the amount of money they receive from the government for food through the SNAP program.  I tried a challenge to feed our family of four for $50 per week.  I was amazed at how well I could feed us and learned a lot of skills throughout those two years to help me feed my family very inexpensively.  All of our kids are out of the house now, but this time I am going to document what I do throughout the year as I do the SNAP challenge again, but this time for just two people, my husband and I.  The challenge should be much easier since there are only two of us this time.  

Plant a Garden

Planting a garden is a great way to save money on food, especially if you are living on SNAP benefits or if you live on a tight budget.  Some of you are probably wondering how you can do that if you live in an apartment.  In the place where we live, they offer some public plots of land for people to plant a garden.  You can also plant things in pots.  If you don't have pots, use plastic containers for the time being until you can find a better alternative.  Some things grow just fine indoors.  It is amazing how much food you can produce and how much money you can save from planting a garden.

Our raspberry plants, garlic and oregano plants came from extras that someone else had and didn't want.  In turn, we have shared with others as well.  Raspberries send out shoots each year and you can give those to people you know who would like them.  A typical raspberry plant costs from 8-15 dollars where we live.  Getting them for free is much better!  We grow enough raspberries and other garden produce to last until Christmas time and even longer.  Gardening is such a great help in reducing our food bill and helping us to eat better on the money we have for food since we don't have to buy as much produce.  And, it is organic.  We couldn't afford to buy organic raspberries to eat throughout the year at the price they are at the store.

Our neighbors also gave us these sour cherries.  We can make cherry jelly, dry the cherries, or make cherry pie filling to freeze for the holidays.

Have you tried gardening?  Share your experiences with us in the comments section.  If you have questions, leave a comment and we will try to find an answer for you.