Let’s Not Pretend: Eating Cheap

Now that I’ve published the first post to this blog with some words of hope for those who need it most, I bring you information that the rest of you came for…. saving money!

But first, let’s not pretend I’m perfect, because I’m far from it.  I just want to be real and work on the understanding that all of us have great knowledge and shortcuts, but rarely does anyone know it all. If you walked into my place, you’d see that I am not the glamorous, well put together, know-it-all rockstar you’d think a mommy blogger would be. My laundry piles need their own zip codes, for crying out loud!

My knowledge on shopping with less than what most people would refer to as “a budget” was born from necessity, not frugality or cunning.  My husband and I are artists; this means we often forego the cush realities of life that most people take for granted because we choose not to sacrifice our souls to the corporate devil….it also means we are required to feed our family of 4 on $50 a week because that’s all we can scrounge together sometimes.

Too proud to mooch off family, apply for assistance or beg off at a charity pantry, we have made it work. I don’t have the patience to become an extreme couponer like the hoarders on TV, I don’t have the time either.  Here’s what I do in a nutshell:

  • Write out a meal plan for the week.  I try to plan meals around the cheapest cuts of meats I can find that will yield leftovers that can parlay into the next night’s meal.
  • Shop according to the weekly sale ad.  When I am planning my meals, I will only plan around what’s on sale.  If it’s mexican food that week, then we eat mexican a few times because that’s what’s cheap.
  • We typically shop at King Soopers/Kroger.  I will go online to their website and load their digital coupons onto my King Sooper’s Membership Card before heading to the store.  These are additional deals not in the circular that often include manufacturer coupons.
  • www.coupons.com is awesome, but I only visit their site once a month or so since most coupons are good for a few weeks at a time.
  • Keep track of your spending before and during your shopping trip to avoid surprises at the register.
  • Keep treats to a minimum. We rarely keep sugary treats in the house and when they are present, they’re homemade….its cheaper and just as easy as the boxed stuff! I’ll share recipes in another post.

You’d think we would be eating Ramen noodles and hot dogs on a budget of $30-50/week but we are actually eating pretty well and I can say with good conscience that my kids are never hungry.  Granted, it’s not as “clean” of a diet as I’d prefer, but we do keep processed foods to a minimum around here and my kids are learning good eating choices.  Given the option of fruit or a cupcake, they’ll pick the fruit….all on their own.

I am working on downloadable meal plans complete with shopping lists that you’ll be able to purchase very soon for a very low price! There’s an entire series as each one is a meal plan for one week and I seriously doubt you want to eat the same thing every week.  Please note that I am allergic to shellfish, so there will be no shellfish of any sort in the meal plans.  If you’re interested in buying a meal plan, they should be available on the Amazon Kindle market very soon, which is also compatible with the iPhone market with the right app. I look forward to sharing the recipes and lists with you all!

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