A pint of example is worth a gallon of advice.
One of my sisters once asked me for advice on how I save money on groceries. We compared notes, and she knocked down every one of my ideas. She wasn’t being mean or belligerent. It was more about staying inside the box. There was comfort in what she knew her family (and dog) would eat. She prized convenience more than affordability.
For example she paid an exorbitant amount of money on ‘special’ dog food. The prices she quoted me were obscene. I countered with my own recipe for homemade dog food, but she felt it was too much work.
At the prices she paid, I’d make the time to make dog food. LOL! I’m serious. That was highway robbery.
The same goes for organic products. If you’re struggling to make ends meet, something has to give. No one is going to die if you switch to less expensive commercial foods. It doesn’t have to be forever. You can always add one organic product back on the menu when times are less lean.
I have the advantage that I grow some of my food, so I know that not only is it organic, but safe. (That’s not always the same thing.)
Since I started menu planning (menus post on Sundays) my food bill has dropped dramatically. I’m making better choices, and I’ve learned to stretch a meal.
A regular rib eye steak can serve two meals, dinner and breakfast. Chicken can last at least three meals or more. Greg gets tired of it the second time around so I’ll freeze a part of it to make a quick chicken salad with the leftovers.
Because my grocery bill has gone down, I don’t feel guilty splurging on shrimp and expensive fish.
Legumes, quinoa, and rice are excellent fillers for lean wallets, and beans and quinoa are a great source of protein too.
Have you ever tried quinoa or barley? They are surprisingly good and filling. Not what I expected at all. And these are ancient grains which means the government has not tampered with them as yet.
Do you need more cheap protein sources? Try eggs, peanut butter, tuna, salmon, and Greek yogurt.
I don’t like peanut butter, but I’ll eat tuna or salmon any day of the week. Avocados are another staple in our house. When Greg wants a peanut butter sandwich, I make myself an avocado sandwich. That’s marital bliss.
There are ways to making things work without spending a fortune. I always recommend that people do a test and save every grocery receipt for a month to see where their money goes. I do it for myself even today because it’s good to have a frame of reference.
Sometimes you don’t realize how far you’ve strayed from the path until you see the numbers in front of you. Other times we prefer to stick to what’s familiar instead of trying to find recipes that use less expensive ingredients.
The other side of the coin is not to beat yourself up if you buy a few convenience foods now and again. We buy those big egg rolls from Costco. Greg makes fantastic homemade egg rolls, but it’s something we have to plan ahead. The ready-made ones are quick and cost effective when you consider the time it takes to make them from scratch.
Do you know what you spend on groceries every month? What’s your favorite way to stretch a meal?