Buy only what you need not what you want. We hear that over and over but it is something that I live by. This time of year especially, my jobs slow down- from now until March of next year. So I take stock of what I already have in my pantry, freezer, refrigerator, cabinet and closets.
I f something goes on sale and it is something I need then I’ll buy at least 2 or whatever my budget always for that week. Our first priorities are to pay our bills so some weeks I may not buy anything.
We don’t have a huge stockpile of food and paper products like I wish we did but we have plenty for just the 2 of us. Cooking from scratch and eating whole foods really does help to save money and tastes better too.
Wow, it has been cold! It snowed on Monday & Friday of this past week. Yesterday when I got up the thermometer said it was 18 outside and 55 in the house. Hubby & I both fell asleep watching a movie and neither one of us stoked the fire during the night. BRRRR! Needless to say I started a fire before I started coffee which almost never happens, I have to have my morning coffee before I can function. Ha Ha.
I'm lucky enough to have a flexible schedule from my 3 (part time) merchandising jobs so I stayed home both Monday & Friday. Since I was staying home and inside I made breakfast for hubby and I all on the wood stove. I started with frying some diced potatoes. Hubby asked for pancakes so I pulled out my trusty old Betty Crocker Cook Book and mixed up some homemade pancake mix. Doubling the recipe made extra that he ate the next morning while I was at work. Then came diced onions and ham that I added to the fried potatoes. To finish off the breakfast we had over easy eggs from our chickens. Surprisingly it only took about an hour to cook it all. Yes that may seem like a long time but I was in no hurry because I wasn't going anywhere, only outside to feed & water the chickens & ducks.
This breakfast was inexpensive because the potatoes I buy in 10 to 15 pound bags, the eggs are from our chickens and the pancake mix I made. The wood stove was already heating our house so no need to use propane to cook with. Nothing like a hearty breakfast on a cold winter day.
Have you ever opened your freezer door and something falls out on your foot? Well I sure have. My refrigerator freezer doesn't have a shelf, it never came with one. Wow I can't believe how much of a mess it gets. I try to freeze most things flat so they will stack but that isn't always the case. The small rack and the black food container only helps so much as you can see. I ended up pulling turkey, turkey stock and the last of the ham leftover from Christmas and pressure canned them so now they are shelf stable. It still needs to be organized but has so much more room. Can you relate?
With the exception of dairy products we have been eating what we already have in our pantry, cupboards, freezer and refrigerator over this past month. I haven't done much shopping since the beginning of January. I recently quit 1 of my 4 part time jobs so my income has decreased so I'm looking for additional ways to save money. I consider myself a extremely thrifty person but figure I can always learn new ways to save.
I'm the type of person that likes to make as much of my food from scratch whenever possible and none of our food goes to waste. What we don't eat goes to our chickens & ducks. Over this past month we have ate a few of the same meals that hubby & I both like. I feel that if I would have started at the beginning of the month by looking in all cabinets and the freezer I could have came up a monthly meal plan instead of just winging it like I did. Some days I opened the pantry and just stood there looking and thinking what am I going to make for dinner. That's hard sometimes when nothing in there sounds appealing. I ended up making several soups, scalloped potatoes & ham, chili, spaghetti, other hearty and filling meals. Having salad or vegetables and bread helps to round out most meals. Luckily I had canned potatoes, beans and some meats that I home canned and used to make a quick meal on days I worked.
My biggest take away from eating this way is that I need to plan and prepare ahead of time. You can eat healthy, hearty food and save money doing it. Now I need to replenish my pantry and freezer but that will take some time but hopefully I be able to find some good sales. Would I do this again? Absolutely!!
This was a quick trip after doing some merchandising work but even tho it was quick I was able to save $50.00 or 55% in this trip. I finally picked up the turkey for Thanksgiving- 18+ lb frozen turkey for $11.60, 6 boxes of stove top stuffing $6.00, Best Foods Mayo $2.99, 4 cans Swanson broth $2.00 and more for a total of $40.21. Now I was happy with that total. I didn't use any paper coupons but I did load digital coupons to my Safeway card.
After I got home I was get cash back from 2 apps on my phone. The first was Checkout51 where I earned $1.25 cash back. Best Foods mayo $1.00
The second was from Savingstar where I earned $1.00 cash back on Best Foods Mayo.
So the mayo ended up costing my $0.99. If I would have printed a coupon (no longer available) from coupons.com it would have brought the price down even more on the Best Foods Mayo.
Don't be like me and miss out on savings click on the link below and save on your broth. There are many other coupons available like Reynolds Foil, Campbell's Condensed Soup, Mezettas Olives, Ziploc Bags and more.
I've been wanting Lasagna for a while but it's not something that I make very often not sure why. Homemade is always better to me than those frozen ones that you can buy at the store plus mine cost less for each pan. The picture is a pan of cold Lasagna but still looks yummy! I didn't use a recipe because I've made this so many times, it's just layering the ingredients.
Thrifty living started many, many years ago
Thrifty Living Part 3 is about food. I will list what works for me. First off I'd like to say I'm so lucky that my family has no restrictions on what foods they can eat and that they will eat pretty much anything I make. No picky eaters in my house.
Having a plan before any shopping is pertinent.
Step 1- Look at store flyer for the week to see what is on sale.
Step 2- Make a meal plan around sale items and make a shopping list.
Step 3- Look for coupons to use.
(Step 4- Now days with smart phones you can use apps with coupons or get cast back on items you buy)
Step 5-Eat something before you go shopping so you won't be tempted to buy something on impulse.
Step 6-Gather coupons and shopping list and head to the store.
Step 7-When returning from shopping put away perishable and non perishable items.
Step 8-If time allows in the same day start the prep on some of the meals for the week. Chop vegetables, cook some of the meat (I cook ground beef ahead for quick and easy meals), measure and package meals for either the refrigerator or freezer.
Step 9- Make dinner for that night from planned meals.
Step 10- The next day do the work under step 8 if time didn't allow.
It's so much easier to have meals planned out for a month. I kept the monthly meal plan on the fridge so my family would know what we are having for dinner that night. Plus a bonus for me if I have a meal prepped ahead in the freezer and I had to work late I would let my guys know to pull that meal out and put it in the oven. They could eat before I got home and not have to wait for me to cook. Yeah!
We eat a lot of casserole type dishes, homemade soups, stews and chili. We all love meat but for the most part whatever the meat is becomes part of the dish not the main part unless we are grilling. Yet when grilling we try to grill lots of veggies too to bulk up the meal.
Below you will see a list of meals or foods that I thought my family would like and so I based some of the meal planning around them. (this is from 8-2014). Who doesn't like comfort foods? For simplicity I would print of a generic calendar month to use for meal planning and write in the date and the meal. That's it for that part. If your new to cooking look at some cook books or online for inspiration. I never thought I would like split pea soup until I made it myself and now I love it. More food posts to come.
Happy Thrifty Living!
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Hello I'm Michele & I'm the matriarch of the Leverone Family Farm. I'm a wife, a mother of 2 grown/married sons and have 4 adorable grand kids. Thrifty for more than 30 years. I love gardening, cooking and saving money.