A friend of mine asked me for some frugal tips on how to manage their food budget for their growing family. It made me start paying attention to all the little things that I do that seem to add up to helpfulness in that area. It also has made me think about how frustrated I get with blogs about frugality and money-saving. It seems like so many of the tips, while helpful in saving money, really don’t apply to people who are trying to save money. I mean, “cut down eating out to only three times a week”???
If I could afford to eat out three times a week I wouldn’t be looking at for frugality tips trying to save money! Well, I suppose I probably would-I’d be broke no time flat! Anyway, the tips that I’ve often found really seem inapplicable to someone in my situation or situations that most of my friends are in. So, I’ve kicked around the idea of posting a series of frugal living tips on my blog. Mostly that’s as far as I’ve gotten-kicking around the idea and then forgetting it again. I’m still not sure if I’m ready to commit to a whole series, but tonight I caught myself doing something and trying to remember to tell her about it next time I see her. I figured I’ll just blog it 🙂
What is working for our family right now in the meal department is this: I make a week or two of main dish entrées at a time, put them in gallon size Ziploc bags, and either freeze them or store them on a dedicated shelf in the fridge. At supper time I pull one out, cook it up according to the directions, and steam a few veggies for a side dish. Voilà! Dinner is served without that crazy what-am-I-going-to-have-for-dinner panic that can hit at 4 PM. Today was the day that I did all the prep for those meals. All of the onion peels, apple cores, potato ends, carrot scrapings, celery leaves and ends, and other produce leavings that we don’t eat went into one big bowl. After I got the kitchen all cleaned up, I dumped that bowl into a large stockpot, added a teaspoon or two of salt, filled it up with water and put a lid on it. I popped it on the back burner to simmer for a few hours, and then put the resulting vegetable broth into a few quart jars and freezer containers I have sitting around the kitchen. Those will go into the freezer to be broth or stock for recipes the next time I cook. The last time I checked at the store, it was almost 4 dollars a quart, so just by using things I would have thrown away, instead I made/saved $16!
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