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How to budget and still eat healthy - Page 2

post #21 of 40

I don't have any suggestions for gluten or dairy-free, sorry.  What I've got is just run-of-the-mill budgeting stuff that I do.

 

1.  I write a menu plan for the week before I go shopping.  I make a list, and I try not to deviate from it (unless I go shopping hungry, and then I am weak, weak, weak)  I know how much my family eats, and how much most of the recipes I use make, and so at least half of my meal slots read "leftovers".  When I make out the menu plan, I look at what I've already got that needs used up: veggies getting wilty, leftovers, partial packages of tortillas, etc, and put in meals using up those ingredients in the first couple of days.  Toward the end of the week, when fresh produce is used up or getting old, I plan a couple of meals that are based off of pantry staples or things I've got in the freezer, so that if things don't go according to plan (and they never do - someone invites us over to eat, leftovers last longer than I thought they would) that meal can be bumped into the next week without any perishable foods being wasted.

 

2.  I shop one time for the whole week.  This saves on gas money, too.

 

3.  Crock pot cooking - If I see a really cheap cut of meat, I buy it and take it home, and then I freeze it.  I look for a recipe and work it into the next weeks meal plan.  I don't have a deep freeze, unfortunately, so I can't really stock up huge amounts.

 

I don't really do couponing - I find that most coupons aren't for things I use anyway, or generic brands are still cheaper.  I do keep an eye on the sales flyers and I also have a general idea of which local stores always have the best prices on things like meat, milk, etc (and it is hardly ever Wal-Mart).  I get rice in huge bags at the asian store.

post #22 of 40
Just stopping in to say that yes, beans can be home-canned (only with a pressure canner!) and will stay good a very long time (over a year). Get the Ball Blue Book of Canning and it will have everything you need in there! It's $5 last time I bought one. If you need, I can always get mine out and give you the directions.
post #23 of 40

I am a vegetarian so I cannot help with meat meal ideas, some of the things we make on about the same budget:

 

eggs and rice - sounds not good but what you do is bottom layer maybe spinach or other green, then rice, then cheese, then eggs over easy/medium or whatever, then all your veggies - cabbage, broccoli, tomato, salsa, cilantro, peppers, carrots whatever you like

 

rice and bean burritos w sprouted tortillas - stuff w beans and rice and massive veggies, same as above, w sour cream alternative, add simmered kale for extra taste boost season rice and beans well

 

homemade pizzas - make own dough or TJs has cheap dough to buy 

 

stir frys - greens like collard, bok choy, kale, spinach, rice or rice pasta, soy sauce, terryaki sauce, ginger, garlic, carrots, green onions, bean sprouts whatever you like

 

try breakfast for dinner sometimes

 

oatmeal w fresh fruit for breakfast - blend your frozen fruit and add to oatmeal or whole fruits

 

buy more frozen fruits

 

try making large smoothie in am for everyone w a lot of frozen fruits so everyone gets good fruit intake to start the day with add whey protein, flax meal and yogurt for good protein/fiber hit

 

make your own pasta with sprouted whole wheat flour

 

veggie wraps - veggies in sprouted tortilla

 

stuffed peppers - stuff w rice, broccoli, tomatoes and marinara sauce w or w/out cheese - cook pepper cleaned out w top cut off til tender take out stuff and back in oven til cooked through

 

just some ideas from our kitchen! shop around, buy more frozen even at safeway their O brand has sales all the time on  frozen veggies

 

with love and respect

post #24 of 40

Shopping on a budget does take time to figure out but once you got it it is super easy. If you don't know what prices are at other stores take a notebook and write down what each stores prices are for the foods you buy most often and shop at those stores where it is cheaper.

I have learned that it works best when I make up a menu for 2 weeks, go through cook books, look online for easy good recipes. ( less or more weeks if you like ) using up foods that you already have in the freezer and pantry and somethings that you would like to eat. ( always ask your husband what he is hungry for and try to make at least one meal that he really really likes. they always love that ) after your menu is made up go through the freezer and pantry and come up with a list of everything that you need to make the food and ONLY buy what you have on your list. if you have money left over get things that are on sale or clearance. and only make what is on the menu ( unless something comes up and you can't but try to stick to it. or switch days )

stock pile for the next week of groceries so you don't have to scrounge for food.

don't buy name brands. most foods you are just paying for the name. ( except cereal. but there are some great granola recipes out there )

Look for dent and bent stores. good food that had dents and damage to the can but are perfectly fine for super cheap. some foods you do have to look at the expiration date but for most canned items it doesn't matter that much.

look in the meat section for meat to be reduced, buy it up and take it home and freeze it.

it takes a lot of time but it saves you lots of money in the end. just look around for cheap places to shop. ask friends, family, neighbors, strangers where the best/cheapest place is to shop. who cares if it looks like a dump they might have good food.

post #25 of 40

i also use some rice mixes when fighting time....but I use brown rice, and that also works well....food budgets are a huge challenge....I totally have deleted buying mixes, or pre-packaged food.....up front it doesn't seem like it makes a difference, but over the year....turns into a good savings......also...WALMART...(yuk)....some of their prices where I live are as much as our local store, and @ times even more...I am terrible @ remembering prices of things, so I have started a pocket notebook that I can take with me.......the BIGGEST savings I have incorporated into my home are less meat, and I make my own laundry soap....(1 bar of fels-naptha, shaved....2cups borax.....2cups washing soda.......cook on low in an enamel stock pot with about a gal of water....let cool....pour into a 5gal pail....add 2.5/3gals. more water.....stir often while curing....I have an immersion blender that works great.....

post #26 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by mommy212 View Post

My best suggestion is meal planning for your week. It keeps you form buying extra spontaneous junk, or wasting produce and such. Also, TJs is really an expensive option. I know TJs is nice and has a good selection and whatnot, but with your budget so low maybe consider a larger chain store or even walmart (ugh, walmart)- you gotta do what you gotta do sometimes, and 60 dollars really is very tight for 3.



I find our TJS to be cheaper than WalMart on most organic produce, soy milk, etc....

post #27 of 40

Be careful on bulk and pre-packaged deals as well. You'd think they'd always be a better deal,  but not always. You really have to look at the unit price. Just the other day we were at the store, and they had a pre-packaged set of six Jiffy cornbread mixes, which I automatically reached for - until I checked the unit price. The pre-packaged set was actually more expense than buying the boxes individually, by almost five cents! 

post #28 of 40
Thread Starter 

Hi everyone, OP here. Thank you so much for all of your wonderful ideas!! Especially the freezing beans one! That is great. Do I put them in glass or plastic bags??? Obviously then I have to wait for them to cool. 

That will help a heap when it comes to buying, since we do eat canned beans almost everyday. (often times we just buy those at costco, which is cheap)

We just moved, so now I have a bit bigger fridge. Before we lived in a studio and I had no where to put things. (Small fridge/freezer combo)
 

Thank you a hundred times!!

 

Also, I have been buying the corn tortillas in bulk and we have been eating those a lot too. However, their ingredient list is super long, so I doubt they are all that "healthy"

 

 

post #29 of 40

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by bonjourmama View Post

Hi everyone, OP here. Thank you so much for all of your wonderful ideas!! Especially the freezing beans one! That is great. Do I put them in glass or plastic bags??? Obviously then I have to wait for them to cool. 

That will help a heap when it comes to buying, since we do eat canned beans almost everyday. (often times we just buy those at costco, which is cheap)

We just moved, so now I have a bit bigger fridge. Before we lived in a studio and I had no where to put things. (Small fridge/freezer combo) 

Thank you a hundred times!!

 

Also, I have been buying the corn tortillas in bulk and we have been eating those a lot too. However, their ingredient list is super long, so I doubt they are all that "healthy"

 

I just did a batch of beans today. After you cook them, spread them out on a rimmed baking sheet so they cool down faster, if you can. I packaged mine in small zip-top freezer bags in two cup portions. I just laid the bags flat in the freezer, and when they're frozen solid I'll be able to stack them neatly vertically in an organizing box in the chest freezer. 
 

 

post #30 of 40

Our farmer's market was open Wed-Sat. Going on Saturday, one hour before it closed, meant getting great deals on fresh produce. Like, "a whole large box of veggies for $3" deals.

post #31 of 40
lurk.gif This is a great thread!
post #32 of 40

Watching and learning. Thanks for all the good ideas! lurk.gif

 

I just started making my own sweet potato fries - one of the only veggies I can get into my little girl. They are almost as easy as grabbing from the freezer - take the same amount of time. I just peel and cut into julianne pieces. Spread on a cookie sheet (I use parchment paper, but that stuff IS expensive! I need to use it more sparingly) then lightly toss with olive oil and bake. My daughter likes them even more than the frozen kind.

 

I am going to try and make my own chicken nuggets, but I am not sure if I will save any money there.

post #33 of 40


Depends on what kind of frozen ones you normally get, I suppose.  They are certainly easy!  And home made are so much more tasty, too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by anyalily View Post
 for television

 

I am going to try and make my own chicken nuggets, but I am not sure if I will save any money there.



 

post #34 of 40

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by anyalily View Post

 

I am going to try and make my own chicken nuggets, but I am not sure if I will save any money there.


I bet you could - use dark meat and try to get it on sale. You could also make your own bread crumbs for the coating. 

 

post #35 of 40

What she said.

 

Also, I've dumped odds and ends out of boxes of cereal (unsweetened), crackers, bread bags, rice cakes, etc, added some parmesan cheese, and a dash of Old Bay and whizzed it up in the food processor and used that to coat.

post #36 of 40

coatings for meats....veggies.....I use part ww flour/white flour/baking powder......dredge....let rest and then coat again......makes a good batter for meats & veggies.......walked into just the end of a program on LARD.....does anyone have info????....just heard this guy counting off the benefits...???.....peace

post #37 of 40


http://www.westonaprice.org/food-features/put-lard-back-in-your-larder

 

and one on making your own..... http://www.thenewhomemaker.com/makeyourownlard

 

I have started making mine because we raise pigs.  I will be making more in 2 wks because we are butchering our last 2 pigs.  I do not scald and scrape the hide--we just skin and then I take the fat off of where ever I can and use that.  I expect to get at least 2-3 quarts.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Viv Vetrono View Post

coatings for meats....veggies.....I use part ww flour/white flour/baking powder......dredge....let rest and then coat again......makes a good batter for meats & veggies.......walked into just the end of a program on LARD.....does anyone have info????....just heard this guy counting off the benefits...???.....peace



 

post #38 of 40

thank-you for the info.....I STILL remember frying potatoes in lard, and how good the taste was...as we evolve and grow, so much of the things my grandparents used....both the Sicilians and Cherokees...were not bad for us, as today's manufacturers want us to believe....I wish to have all my ancestors knowledge....peace to all~~~~~~~

post #39 of 40

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Viv Vetrono View Post

thank-you for the info.....I STILL remember frying potatoes in lard, and how good the taste was...as we evolve and grow, so much of the things my grandparents used....both the Sicilians and Cherokees...were not bad for us, as today's manufacturers want us to believe....I wish to have all my ancestors knowledge....peace to all~~~~~~~

 

I save the fat from when I fry bacon in a mason jar in the fridge. I use it on my oven roasted potatoes and to do scrambled eggs and omelettes in. So delicious!

 

 

Also, just wanted to let everyone know that the November issue of Saveur is featuring some good recipes utilizing onions (a super cheap ingredient!) and soups. If you want to check them out - 

 

Onion & Bacon Tart

Beer Battered Onion Rings

Parsley & Onion Salad

Roasted Vidalia Onions with Herbed Bread Stuffing

German Barley Soup

Paprika Spice Cauliflower Soup

 

There are a ton more, but those are the ones that I thought sounded especially good. I've actually never eaten cooked cauliflower and it never really occurred to me to, but that soup sounds really good! And I'm going to try out the tart this weekend I think, to see if it's worthy of the Thanksgiving table. :-) But what I really love is that humble (cheap!) ingredients can made into such amazing sounding recipes. 
 

 

post #40 of 40

I know this thread is a few months old but Trader Joes is WAY cheaper than my big grocers and even my Walmart for about 80% of the things we buy. That being said we do shop mutliple places within reason to save a few bucks on certain items.

 

We are dairy, egg, tomato, strawberry, sesame, and grape free for DDs allergies. Pasts is cheap but not very healthy when you can't even use tomato sauce! I bake any and all processed things myself. We do get meat cheap from our local co-op.

 

I never find useful coupons b/c all the coupons I find are for processed food...We only drink water unless we juice it ourselves.

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