I was in a carpool a short while ago when the topic of groceries arose. The high cost of food was the source of the expressed angst, and so my fellow travelers were nothing short of amazed when I told them that I fed three people and three dogs and contributed significant amounts to our long-term pantry on $300 to $400 per month – without coupons. And…that I only shop once a month, with the exception of milk and dog food. (With two Shih Tzu’s and a monster 100 pound Shepherd/Lab/Wolf mix, there just is not room to store a month’s worth of pet food in my tiny kitchen!)
I don’t do what many experts in the subject tell us is the best way to cut food costs – that is, to make a menu and only shop for those items. Sure, it keeps your costs down, but I find that this causes people to get stuck in a rut, eating the same things week after week, and having little variety in their diet. I much prefer shopping for what is on sale and creating my monthly menu from what is on hand. This provides us with an extremely varied menu, and my family looks forward with anticipation to each meal. (I am not the only person who feels this way – check out the Shoestring Granny!)
Another factor is that I am a vegetarian. I find that it is possible to eat far more cheaply when one is not reliant on the meat portion of the meal as the basis for menu planning. We focus on vegetables and grains, legumes and a little dairy, eggs and fruit. And we eat well. Very well! We’re talking Cheesy Tomato Soup, homemade Cinnamon Buns, Roasted Veggies and Beans with Cranberry Stuffing, 6 course Indian meals, Coconut Curry (the best thing I have ever eaten!), Eggplant Enchiladas that are to die for…. And all for less than a dollar a serving. It can be done!
At a friend’s suggestion, I am going to start posting my recipes on here. Check back often to find the latest!
Someone in your family works hard for the money….Keep more of it for yourself by becoming a Frugal Cook!