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Thursday, January 15, 2009

How do you cut the food budget!!

About two years ago -- After hubby complained that our food bill on average ranged anywhere from $600-$900 a month, I got to thinking.....

Well ok at first I thought, "How could I possibly save more money on groceries--it wasn't cheap to feed our family of then 7. What did he think I was -- a miracle worker?" At that time I cooked according to a weekly menu-- usually based on the sale items of the week or what I had available to me in freezer stock, made alot of our own cookies, quick breads, etc.. most every evening meal was cooked from scratch and I spent a good deal of time in the kitchen. If I didn't have a recipe I couldn't make it.. I was a good cook, but just not willing or able to "step out of the box" a bit to substitute out ingredients. If the recipe called for red pepper and all I had was green pepper --then it was off to the store! I envied those cooks who had the courage to cook without a recipe-- or were so daring to substitute a green pepper for a red one in a recipe.

After Xmas that year I was cleaning out the fridge and found several grocery bags of food that was all bad.. potatoes, onions, celery, lettuces, carrots, meat, etc.. and that didn't count the stuff I threw down the garbage disposal--several meals worth of lunchmeat, soups, main dishes, bits of pork chops, chicken breasts, etc.... All things I had bought thinking I would make -- this or that recipe with them -- and then never got around to it, lost the recipe, the kids decided that week they didn't like oranges--etc.. I sat down at the computer one day and got to thinking about how much food I'd thrown out -- maybe four grocery sacks full! And that was just the fresh produce. And then I thought about my Grandma Mabel -- how she had raised 6 kids -- mostly growing boys through the depression era. They had lost their farm, they had a garden but I thought to myself, "Man, she would be rolling over in her grave thinking how wasteful her granddaughter was!" It was then that I thought -- well, heck why couldn't I cut at least a hundred dollars off our budget every month? That wasn't so much to ask. So I set a goal for myself and -- thought back to things I'd seen her do and things I'd seen my aunts and mother do when times weren't so easy and the money had to come from somewhere -- and started applying that to what I did.

Today about two years later -- I'm so happy to announce that my food budget is down to around $300-$400 a month! That feeds a family of 5 kids -- ages 15, 13, 11, 9 and 2, and my pregnant self and my dear sweet hubby. Grandma would be so proud! So -- how did I do it? Well-- I'll tell you.

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