Published: Monday, March 26 2012 5:00 p.m. MDT
Awesome article!I have made a lot of similar food decisions over the
last couple years- probably not nearly as many, but I have learned some valuable
lessons. I used to eat out frequently, and now have learned to make every dish
I've ever liked from a restaurant on my own. After refinement I make it
better and healthier than the restaurant recipes anyway. I spend far less than I
ever did on food. I hear so many people complain about not having time or money.
After very little practice I spend less time than it takes to go out half the
time.Sometimes people think my obsession with quality is snobbish,
yet it costs less and is more fun making your own anyway. Besides, the lessons
you can teach children, the self-sufficiency, the more informed food-management,
and the health benefits alone justify this approach.I am also VERY
pleased with the mentioning of the food pyramid. Big steaks, little veggies, no
bread is not the answer. The pyramid is even more aligned with the Word of
Wisdom. Plus it costs less! It's totally a win win scenario.
Good points here. I would add that couponing is unbeatable for non-perishable
items such as soap, deodorant, toothpaste, etc.
Those are all really great ideas. I think another great way to save money is to
grow the food in your garden. It tastes way better than those shriveled up,
bland veggies in the grocery store and you don't have to worry about
preservatives, pesticides, and the occasional e. coli outbreak. Most of the
stuff can be preserved by freezing, canning, or drying and used throughout the
year as well.
Kefir has been used for centuries as a way to ferment milk without
refrigeration. It is indisputably one of the healthiest things you can add to
your diet to boost your immune system and digestive function. It also can
contain up to 2% alcohol particularly if fermented in a sealed container. If
you don't believe this, do a little research. It is time to rethink some
of our social knee-jerk responses to ingesting alcohol.
Kefir IS NOT yogurt. Kefir is fermented milk. Why include this in your story
and then disallow factual comments on the thread? Kefir is one of the
healthiest things you can ingest, and it also contains some, albeit very little,
alcohol. This is a fact!
Making food from scratch is not as hard as many people think; start with a
couple basic recipes and get comfortable with them. Afterwards you can start
learning to make variations on them. I love knowing exactly what is in my
family's food; we eat much less sodium, preservatives, and artificial
everything. I hardly ever use coupons.Another big 'trick'
to saving money on food is in not throwing away as much. Have a Leftovers Night,
save bi of food in a freezer bag to put into soup, cut down on what's
thrown away off plates by cutting down the amount you put on the plates
(especially for kids). I wrote a blog article you might find useful, on cutting
food costs, called "Does Expired Mean Dead?", on TheProvidentHomemaker.
As long as this is an article about saving money with food, maybe other people
have their own tips they may wish to share.Here are a few from
Andrea Woroch:1. Buy vegetables and fruit in whole form. Pre-sliced,
chopped and diced bagged produce is marked up by 30%.2. Bake your own cake
and cupcake. Bakery items are marked up by as much as 300%!3. Shop high
and shop low to find better deals. More expensive brands and products are
displayed at the average shopper's eye level. 4. Look for store
brands and compare ingredients with the name brand item. Most manufacturers who
create name brand cereals also make the generic brands too so you can get the
same quality for less.
How on earth is the average family of four eating for $237 a week? My family of
four eats for about $90 a week, and it's not like we're living on
Ramen...we get plenty of chicken, pasta, fruits, veggies, etc, and red meat once
a week or so. Oh, and that number includes non-food items that we buy at the
store (pet food, toiletries, etc.). I'm guessing that the average family
is probably eating out multiple times a week which is why they're spending
so much on food.Here's a tip: Stop eating out - you'll be
a lot skinnier and a lot wealthier.
Here are a few more tips from Woroch:5. Opt for large slabs of steak
or chicken breasts and buy what's nearing it expiration date as those are
typically marked down. When you buy meats prepared for stir fry and grill meals
(chopped/diced/etc) you are paying for convenience. 6. Make your own salad
dressing.7. Shop on Wednesdays when grocery stores release new store
circulars. They will still honor last week's sales, so you can more options
of discounted goods.8. Use a basket instead of cart so you'll be more
aware of what you are filling it up with and less likely to buy on impulse.What are your tips?
I totally agree. Couponing is for convenient, unhealthy foods. Cooking healthy
food, from scratch does provide a greater value - both monetarily and in
health.I would add that a few stores price match, and that way you
don't have to drive around to each store that has a good sale.Buy grains and legumes in bulk, and produce on the sales. When we buy meat we
divide it up in 1/2 lb servings and freeze it, to use it up slowly, one serving
at a time. These things help us live the word of wisdom, and save a whole lot
Not all coupons are just for unhealthy foods. Supermarket coupons where if you
spend 20 bucks, you get 2 bucks off, or something like that, will save you
money. The temptation is to spend for things you don't need, but if you can
keep your spending to the limits of the coupons they are a decent solution. Also
some grocers have programs that offer gas discounts and that's one thing
that helps a little too. You really just have to do the math, and many stores
have a Cents/Ounce to help you see the very best values. So I guess if
supermarkets were all evil, they'd hide that... ;)
My own grocery choices aren't quite perfect, but I've made at least a
few improvements. My goal isn't entirely about saving money though-
sometimes I support certain brands or companies because of their practices or if
they are local companies. And I rarely buy in bulk if it isn't something
that lasts a long time.1. Use hand-baskets most, smaller carts
second, and large carts very rarely.2. Look at the quantity! Sometimes
buying 2 smaller cans is cheaper and contains more. Sometimes not, but at least
look at the numbers.3. Try new things. This may sound expensive, but it is
easier to convince myself to not go out when I can make my own Naan bread,
Gyros, Pizza, and other common restaurant items. Learning to make those things
isn't only fun, but with practice you can make it more to your liking and
better quality with food you can trust at a lower price tag. The more variety I
can make at home, the more I save.4. Garden/food storage as much as
possible. My goal is to eventually grow almost everything I buy, except raising
animals (milk, eggs, meat).5. Haggle! Sometimes it pays off.
So many wonderful ideas. For us, we are in a position to raise our own milk,
eggs, and cheese, butter, etc. Not everyone is. However, what is important is
often to be prayerful as to what will benefit your own family according to your
circumstances. One solution does not always work for everyone. When we do eat out, once in a blue moon, we got to a fast food place that
offers "a bag of burgers" (4 total) for $2.00. Since there are four in
our family, this works out great, then we add to that a bucket of fries and
share a couple of lemon-aides. Under $10 and we can have a fun family outing.
We go out to the movies just as often, to the local dollar theater -- movies are
second runs, but the ending are the same as first run films.We grown
too accustomed to using money for entertainment and as proof that we are
successful. I think we need to change our perspective a bit. Wasn't it
President McKay who said --- "No other success can compensate for failure in
the home."? Again, we need to re-think things.
Gardening is well and good-but living in an apartment building does not allow
for that. I shop at several different stores, and use the weekly sales ads for
reference. I must use a basket when I shop, as I get paid once a month, and must
shop for the whole month at one time. I love fresh veggies, when they are in
season, but in Kansas the growing season is not always dependable.I use a few
prepackaged mixes because I can't afford to buy all the ingredients for
some dishes I like to have for meals. To do this I do a lot of shopping at
WalMart and Aldi's. They have the best prices across the board for what I
eat. I use coupons when possible, but most times they just aren't worth
it.The people interviewed for this article make it sound so simple---I got news
for you: shopping and cooking for one person is not easy. Variety is often
sacrificed for what is available.
secret #1: elect Mitt Romney and get rid of Barack Obama. Oil drilling goes up,
gas prices fall along with grocery prices. Pretty simple. Once again hope and
change equates to getting rid of Obama.
It is very easy to spend $60 per person a week on food. Think beverages if you
want your kids to have milk for more than just cereal. Diapers. Food allergies
can really make a dent. Lunch meat more costly than peanut butter. Meat more
expensive than eggs. Some people can't just eat citrus without facing mouth
sores. So the sale on oranges does the family no good that week and apples and
bananas are purchased not on sale. Some prefer to eat some items organic.
Kansan by choice,In my experience, transitioning to a more planned
meal lifestyle- I have heard several complaints from others about not having
time, money, options, or ability. In my experiences I have learned that we all
have the choice. I have been dead broke, poor, full-time student with no free
time, jobless, in debt, and all the above- I still have a choice or can choose
to get to a point where I truly have choice.Consider this, a bag of
prepackaged hash-browns cost me the same as a bag of potatoes. 1 large or 2
small potatoes shreds to the same quantity. Clearly the prepackaged option is
not the cost-effective choice and every last person paying a prepackaged price
can afford this option.I have cooked for myself, two, and more.
I've had far far far greater challenges in the home than planning and
preparing meals. As you pointed out, not all options are available to everyone-
but choice is real and prepackaged meals are very literally a convenience.Plus, corn (90% of Kansas) can make truckloads of stuff. I agree- It may
not be easy, but typically is far cheaper.
We got a couple of goats a few years ago and it is great. Their milk (if
chilled quickly) tastes better than cow’s milk, it’s fresh and more
digestible and more nutritious than cow’s milk—makes great yogurt
and ice cream. And, if we can’t do the milking there are neighbors who
will do the job because they like the milk too. We also got a few chickens and
so we have fresh eggs. The neighbors don’t mind at all. Goats
don’t take a lot of space (you need good fences!) and they can be tied out
and will eat grass in your yard while fertilizing the lawn. They also eat weeds
from the garden and lots of table scraps. They’re clean, fun and are a
great tension reliever.
DeseretNews.com encourages a civil dialogue among its readers. We welcome your thoughtful comments.— About comments