I was reading with interest  over at Like Merchant Ships when she conducted her experiment of eating with a  frugal menu from a 1950’s cookbook. She then posted some other posts of her $50  a week menu and  thoughts on whether it was healthy or not along with comments on cooking healthy on a budget. <p> I found it interesting along with Crystal’s dilemma on whether to raise her family food budget  of $35  a week to $40 or not, as the things that people  can think are huge things. <p>  I work with a low budget for food, but I have worked with lower budgets for food. I have seen what eating badly or not eating will do to a person’s health from personal experience and I think there needs to be a balance. I am not personally convinced that eating all organic is all that much better for you, I think there is alot of hype involved  with it and am shocked, totally shocked at the price that some farmers can charge for raw milk now!  What a money making business!  Having a cow is not that hard…..I would love one again! <p> Anyhow, this 1950’s experiment i mentioned above interested me because it was just simple food that was homemade. She lost weight, she did not spend alot of money and was in the kitchen alot.  It makes me at least think that maybe i am on the right path! <p> Here are few tips I was thinking about that help me when I am shopping.

  1. Eat as close to the original form as possible- the least amount of processing that you can get.
  2. Grow your own food and put it up for the winter when you can, to save money and to have food that is better for you. I have raspberries, cherries, apricots, tomatoes etc. that I know how they were put up!
  3. Do the best you can with what you have and don’t stress about the big things. For me we eat alot of vegetables, but not alot of fruit year round. In the winter we eat applesauce, canned peaches and cherries and bananas. Sometimes we get oranges.  For vegetables, we do not always have tomatoes, but we usually always have lettuce, cabbage and carrots.  It may not be exactly what you were craving, but you can make some good things from them!
  4. If you like meat and use alot of it, double check and make sure you are not eating too much. Check serving sizes. It can help you save money as well. The same with milk and cheese. These are things that are good for you, but not in excess! We were going through alot of milk, so I counted how much we should be drinking with serving sizes and cooking and  that really helped. I buy a certain amount for the week and that is all we have for the week. It helps because I do not ration it, but they start to realize that maybe they need to be careful and not waste milk too so they have it for the week.
  5. Do a little extra work for snacks rather than buying them- this week, one of the boys poured cereal (Raisin bran) and it got all soggy and gross. I used it and made some really good bran muffins (with no sugar added)  from it and the rest of the buttermilk that left from making salad dressing. I made them with whole wheat flour too, so they were a fiber rich snack, but I used up food that would have been thrown away otherwise and we did not have to spend money for a different sort of snack.  It was a healthy snack, fruit is a healthy snack too, but not as cheap and this was pretty good  as far as health goes. We spent $2 for a treat and we all got a nectarine or a plum this week.  It was nice, but not for everyday.  Bananas are a cheaper snack for fruit,carrot sticks or cucumbers. Nectarines  don’t taste that great this time of year anyhow! 
  6. Toast that did not get eaten? Grind it up and add it to your ground beef before you make it into hamburgers, meatballs or meatloaf.  We like mini meat loaves made in muffin cups with a bit of BBQ sauce on top. We use only 1 lb of meat, and  use oatmeal or old bread crumbs added with an egg or 2  for more protein. Of course we only have 6 of us eating and we eat it with potatoes and salad! Yummy way to use up old dry bread!

<p> Of course some people just say they just can’t do it!  I don’t know what to really tell them, but  I do feel like we eat fairly healthy and we do not spend that much on food, so I think you just have to look at what you  have to spend, what your needs are  (health-wise etc.) and  then  make it an adventure  to stay in your budget and get the food you need.  I think sometimes  the problem is that many people overbuy. I find i spend more if I do not plan meals weekly.  I use what i have and only buy what I need for that week unless it is a good sale and I can use it or a staple I always need.

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  1. pbrfans1

    I agree with you on most of those things and I do them all except for the meat thing. When you are working out or have a good amount of muscle protein is absolutely essential! I'd say if we eat ground beef I use a pound and we get two meals out of it…so we each get 1/4 of a pound with each meal. Also, protein tends to keep you full, so that you end up eating less, therefore spending less. Good tips though!

  2. drewsfamilytx

    We waste a lot of food at our house. I have found that our health and our budget are better off when I am not being LAZY. That's really what it comes down to. I need to make the extra effort to plan and prepare accordingly. Not only will it save us money but it would greatly reduce the daily "stress" of trying to figure out what to cook!

    Thanks for the inspiration, Martha. I will not get off my bum and get busy.

  3. amandasangels

    I think you have made a lot of very good points here. We waste so much food at our house just because I'm too lazy to figure out what I could do with it next if I saved it. Also, we have at least one picky eater and that makes planning meals a little more complicated. But, I think what you said at the last about planning meals ahead is the one that's dead on for us. I know that when I go to the store unarmed with a meal plan I end up buying several odds and ends things that I may not even use for weeks if ever just because I'm sort of picking at random. Anyhow, thanks for the interesting post. Oh, and I think you guys eat really well too. A lot healthier than most of the more expensive, but highly processed stuff. I shudder to think of what it would look like if I posted what we "really" end up eating most of the time….Junk. ;)
    Love & Blessings,
    (: Amanda :)

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