Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Frugal Mommy Tips

Money is tight for almost everyone these days.  It's even tighter when you are trying to feed them whole, real food.  Here are a few tips I have for stretching your food dollar.

1) Instead of sticking left-overs in the refrigerator and eating them for lunch the next day, bag the left-overs into single serving portions and freeze. This turns your left-overs into convenient "frozen meals" you can send with your husband to work, eat them on the go, or just pull them out for lunch when your day has been just horrible. I find that burritos are the best thing to save this way! I make about twice as much as I plan for us to eat, then I create and freeze five or six for later.  So easy and tasty!

2) To make your ground beef go further, add 1 can of black beans to each pound of ground beef. It'll add some more nutrition to the beef and make your meat go twice as far. Plus, it's super yummy! Also a great option for burritos!

3) When making casseroles, always double the recipe and freeze half, uncooked. Then you can just pull it out and cook it anytime. This works best in a foil pan (you can get them for a $1 at Dollar Tree). Pull out the night before and let thaw in the refrigerator all day. Then cook like normal.

4) Plan meals ahead of time.  Go through your week and plan out each and every meal, including breakfasts and lunches, before going to the store.  Plan to use or freeze everything you buy.

5) Buy for one week at a time.  Okay, this is actually in direction contradiction from my usual grocery shopping plan.  After Evan was born, I started doing one major grocery shop at the beginning of the month and buying all our meat (freezing it), cheese, butter, and snacks.  It sounded like a great idea.  It definitely was a time saver.  Unfortunately, I have not found it to be the most frugal.  What happens is that you eat the food really quickly, more quickly than you would have, and then instead of having one or two days out of each week where you are low on groceries, your pantry is bare for a week.  So, you have to go back and buy more stuff, and you end up going way over budget.  So, my advice?  Buy one week at a time.  If you run out of snacks or fruit a day early, wait until your scheduled grocery shopping day and "wing it".  You'll be amazed at the meals a little resourcefulness and creativity can conjure up.

Do you have any "frugal mommy tips"? I'd LOVE to hear them.  Leave them in the comments!

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