“Holy cow, Batman!” she says with a huge smile. The response to Will Work For Food was fantastic.
I also posted the article on Serious Eats, which turned into it’s own thread of advice, including “…buy an entire cow with friends and share it,” and “…visit your local food bank.” I even have some people praying for us. Not necessary. Really, everyone, we’re okay (fingers crossed.) I’m just trying to be smart and stay ahead of the game.
I have no intention of turning this into a “Meals for $10” blog (although that would be pretty cool…), but I think everyone can benefit from some of the incredible suggestions that came through. Wouldn’t we all prefer to save money on food, if we can?
Here’s a recap of all the collective comments, catered to those of you who didn’t have time to read through them, or have A.D.D. – consider it a Cliffs Notes version.
• Eliminate dining out, liquor, snack foods, and soda.
• More beans, rice, and pasta. Less meat and fish.
• You don’t have to eliminate meat from the meal, but downplay its role as the star ingredient.
• Buy inexpensive cuts of meat for soups and stews.
• Bake your own bread.
• Cook dried beans, instead of canned.
• Buy a whole turkey or ham and make different meals every night like sandwiches and casseroles. Freeze the rest for later.
• Don’t waste anything; use leftovers for lunch the next day and use meat carcasses and veggie peelings to make stock.
• Incorporate more eggs into the dinner menu. They’re quite versatile, healthy and affordable.
• Use a crock pot.
• Plant a garden.
• Buy on sale and buy in bulk.
• Cut coupons and find a retailer that honors double coupon days.
• Invest in an extra freezer.
• Plan the menu ahead.
• Shop at ethnic markets.
• Buy generic.
• Shop in your own cupboards. Once in a while cook and eat everything you own like the pantry staples, fridge, and freezer. You aren’t making any interest off your food investment…Eat it!
• Do a once/week exchange. You make a big meal and give someone half in exchange for them giving you a meal for four. Or stick part of it in the freezer for another time.
• Shop your local Farmer’s Market toward the end of the day. Most start to discount the produce in the last half-hour or so.
• Find a U-Pick farm in your area where you pick your own.
• Volunteer to help a CSA farm and you’ll be provided with a “workers” share.
• Go to the library and check out old cookbooks and old recipes from the Depression. Those ladies knew how to stretch a dollar.
• The Mennonite cookbook “More-With-Less” has wholesome, frugal recipes that are good, with ideas for how to use leftovers.
…and the one tip mentioned more times than any other (and the most difficult for me):
• Cut up your own meat, shred your own cheese, slice your own vegetables, and so on. The more work other people do for you, the more expensive it tends to be.
Other recommended links (that I’m going to check out this weekend):
W. Hodding Carter’s series about being frugal, some focusing on your food bill:
…and the one that I already follow:
Thanks everyone. These ideas were all wonderful, thoughtful, and appreciated!
Back to the recipes next week…time to get creative.