I've been trying to cut our food budget down a bit lately. I don't even want to go through our grocery bills but I wouldn't be surprised if we've been spending close to $1000 a month at assorted grocery stores and take out enterprises. I've tried using coupons and I think I end up spending more with the coupons than I ever was without so I'm starting to take a different approach.
Lately I've been mega busy with eBay and as much as I'd like to cook three nutritious meals every day for my family it's just not practical. My previous solution to that problem was to pick up takeout but it seems there's no way to order anything halfway decent without dropping at least $30 (usually more) and that was getting ridiculous.
I had to look at things differently.
A couple of weeks ago Stop and Smell the Chocolates posted a WFMW post about an instant oatmeal mix and I did not hesitate to make up a batch. I threw in a handful of chocolate chips to the batch and now even the kids are asking for it! Way less expensive and so much healthier than the sugary cereals they love to eat. I eat it, too, every morning and it's delicious. It even keeps me from being hungry all the way until lunch time! I sacrificed a 1/2 cup measuring cup that just stays in the container so it's so easy in the morning when I can barely think.
The kids are home for the summer and it seems they always want to eat. Previously I would have stocked the pantry with individually packaged snacks that they could just grab so I wouldn't have to stop working every 20 minutes to fix them something. Instead of doing that I've changed things up a bit. I bought bananas and apples. They're already individually packaged and so much healthier. :) I also washed grapes and put them in snack bags in the fridge. Not only that, but I've learned that my kids are not inept. They can do a lot of stuff for themselves and with enough training they even might stop making messes while doing it. I've learned that they can make themselves peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. They can even pour themselves a drink. In fact, if I truly want to neglect them they'll feed themselves successfully all day long. Today Bug heated up a leftover casserole in the microwave for himself and his brother. Amazing!
Which leads me to my next way we're being more frugal with food. The kids are eating leftovers. It sounds so simple, I know.... but it's something we just didn't do before. They ate sandwiches and chips for lunch and the leftover casseroles and baked ziti went bad in the fridge. Now my kids are learning that leftovers make a great lunch and they're happy to have them.
Today I was so busy with work and our cupboards were practically bare. I thought I was going to have to run to the store where I would have probably grabbed an already fried 8 piece box of chicken, some cole slaw, and baked beans and thrown it at my family in my haste to get work done. Instead I forced myself to be resourceful. Instead of spending a half hour running to the store and back, I made hot dogs for dinner. I cut up an onion and opened a jar of relish to dress them up a little more than we usually do and I served some macaroni and cheese from the pantry as a side. For a little bit of nutrition I opened a can of peaches, a can of pineapple, and a jar of cherries and mixed up a delicious fruit salad. Perhaps it wasn't the healthiest of dinners but neither is fried chicken. :) It costs us less than $7, made my kids smile, and was done in about 10 minutes.
So that's what works for me. :) For more WFMW tips, check out Rocks in My Dryer!
PS - Why not check out the rest of my blog while you're here? Grab a diet coke or a coffee (or a bourbon) and sit a while. :) I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and gosh darn it, people like me!