Cheap Family Meals: Getting Back to Basics

Foods & DrinksFood

  • Author Genesis Davies
  • Published August 20, 2009
  • Word count 575

The majority of us spend a large portion of our monthly budget on food. It doesnt have to be that way. With the economy looking rather grim, its high time we all started looking at our eating habits and learning how to change them to save money. You can literally save over 50% of your current food bill by making a few simple changes.

Making your own food from scratch might seem like a tedious task, but it`s well worth it when it comes to saving money. You will find that baking your own bread can save you quite a few dollars each week and that all adds up. But there are even more ways to cut back your food spending.

Keep It Simple

Many people all over the world survive daily on a ration of rice and beans. While you dont need to be THAT extreme, theres something to be said for simple meals. Making just one dish is far more efficient than cooking up a three course meal and if you triple the recipe, you can freeze some or use it throughout the week.

For example, if you take the time to cook up three or four lbs. of beans all at once, you can then use them for the rest of the week in a variety of recipes. One batch of beans can be used to make baked beans with cornbread one evening, refried beans and eggs for breakfast, bean salad, bean soup and, of course, beans and rice, among a myriad of other dishes. You only cook them once and you have food for a week with only the addition of a few ingredients.

Cut Back On Expensive Items

Some food items are just not practical when you are on a tight budget. Take boxed cereal for example. Its mostly air and sugar and terribly expensive for the amount you get out of it. Instead, turn to oatmeal (made from scratch, not the instant kind) which can be made more palatable by adding fruit and flavors like maple syrup, or by turning it into baked oatmeal or granola. Youll get more nutrition and can feed the entire family for pennies.

Other expensive foods that can be done without include cheeses and meats. Most dairy products are quite high priced and while you probably won`t want to cut them out completely, using less is a good thing. Rather than making lasagna with three different cheeses, opt for a creamy white sauce over linguine.

Lunch meats are very expensive for the amount of food you get out of them and they arent even particularly good for you. You can make your own roast beef and then slice it thinly for a delicious sandwich or look for alternatives like egg salad. If you are a family that eats meat several times a week, cut back to two times a week and youll be amazed at how much you save.

Buy bones for just a few cents and make your own soups and stews. They will have the rich meaty taste without having to purchase expensive cuts of meat!

Food tends to be the one place we can really tighten the purse strings and still eat well. It might require a change to your normal habits, but if you are serious about saving money, then this is something you`ll be able to do fairly easily.

Get more money saving recipes and ideas at Gourmet Mama, where we strive to provide quick and easy recipes that keep your food budget low while still impressing guests.

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