Thursday, February 14, 2013

Thrifty Thursday: Stretching the Food Bill

Food prices continue to rise which can be so frustrating when you are a family of 5 living on one meager income.  It's discouraging when you are being as frugal as you can and it's still a struggle, but I generally rally and decide to keep a positive attitude and continue to look at all this as an exciting challenge!

I spend roughly a little under $600 per month for food, personal hygiene items, and household supplies.  And yes, I know exactly what I spend because I made a budget and spreadsheet with Excel so I can keep track and plug up the holes when needed!

It can be kind of fun to see how to make due with what you have and still be creative.  Some ways that I stretched our food this week.

► I haven't bought boxed cereal in a few weeks which does require me to get creative for breakfast.  Not my favorite meal but I've been doing it.  Waffles on Sunday, omelets on Monday, homemade granola Tuesday and waffles on Wednesday.

►  I had a family pack of chicken breast in the refrigerator.  The pack had 6 large breasts in it.  On Sunday night, I used 3 of the breasts and made lemon garlic chicken over rice with a salad.  I put the other 3 uncooked breasts back in the fridge.

► On Monday, I pulled a chicken carcass out of the freezer and boiled it for stock.  I ended up with 8 cups of stock.

► Stephen's birthday was Monday and he had requested French dip.  I bought a roast on sale and simmered it all day in the crockpot.  We had that with homemade rolls and salad.  Unfortunately, I should have gotten a fattier cut of meat because even after simmering in the crockpot in a beef broth it was very dry.  We ended up with quite a bit of this leftover.

► Tuesday, I took some of the chicken stock and added veggies, leftover chicken, and I also cut up two of the chicken breasts, and added some egg noodles and made a large pot of chicken soup for lunch.  We also had some of that Wednesday.

► I took the last remaining chicken breast and grilled it for Dan's lunch Wednesday.  He had a salad with the chicken breast & feta cheese.

► I wanted to use the remaining roast beef from the French dip but knew that it was pretty dry and would need some moisture.  I simmered it on the stove with some of the broth from the night before and made a cream sauce, using some sour cream.  I served this over egg noodles with homemade biscuits and a salad.  It was so much better the second night and disappeared!

► Wednesday night's dinner was "Clean out the fridge" and eat the leftovers night!

► We've also had homemade cookies and cake this week for dessert.

I spend quite a bit of time in the kitchen but I enjoy it.  I need to do it to prepare for Emily's allergies but also, I want to make the money Dan works hard for stretch and this helps.

I've started shopping once a week instead of every two weeks and that seems to help me manage things better too.  I'm sharing this here because it may help encourage those of you who are also struggling to keep your family happy while stretching the dollar.