November 3, 2011

Keeping our family on budget

We're doing it.

We're sticking to the anti-cancer diet, our family budget is $200 a week, and we've all lost a bunch of weight.

The crazy thing is, I think I actually like the food I'm cooking better. Plus, we keep coming in under budget.

Now, the $200 is for everything that isn't a set bill. So, we use 7th generation disposable diapers at night (for my heavy heavy wetter), those have to come out of the $200, all food, any coffee, stamps, etc. What we've found is that we buy less and don't miss it. Coffee's also a big one, because I use A LOT Of it. We go through a bag about every four-five days. And GOOD coffee ain't cheap.

For example, last week I realized that all T's long sleeved shirts were 3/4 length, his jacket was getting tight and his pajamas were horrible to get on. My first instinct is to get online and order him some clothes. I would have spent $100 on clothes instantly. But I waited and was going to use a coupon at the consignment store in town, till we ended up at my sister's and her three year old was getting rid of clothes! T got all new clothes for winter for free (I actually bought a lot of them for my nephew years ago with the hope we would get them someday - and we did).

Things that are working for us:

1) Buying one cut of meat and using it in everything else.

Usually its a chicken (pasture raised and happy), roasted with Thomas Keller's fantastic recipe. We eat the breast, legs (OMG, you should have seen T DEVOUR the leg - we cracked up the whole dinner), and wings, then stick the rest in a pot of water to boil all day long. One its been boiled to death, we pick the meat off for T to eat and use the stock to make everything else, the rest of the week, taste fantastic. I use it in brown rice as half the liquid, in soups as the broth, in casseroles, and really just about anything requiring liquid.

Last week, Bubbs was sick of chicken so we bought a pot roast (grass fed, local, you know the drill) (less meat for your money on this one). I cooked it in the crock pot all day and we used the liquid left over for the pot of beans that I usually make (to replace the chicken broth or bouillon).

Quote from Tim, "best beans ever."

2) Pot of Beans

That brings us to my beans. I make a pot of beans. Sometimes with canned beans and sometimes with fresh (at trader joe's canned are BPA free and just as expensive as dried). The beans become our go-to snack. We make quick breakfast burritos, bean and cheese burritos, or dip multigrain tortilla chips in them. We started using whole wheat tortillas and grass-fed cheddar. Only T gets cheese, mama and bubbs don't have it (and don't really miss it either).

3) Soup

I usually make one soup (from the chicken broth) - half for one night and the other half frozen. We've had butternut squash; kale, white bean, and smoked sausage; lentil; and chicken noodle. Yum - gonna do the kale soup again (just side tracked for about 20 minutes looking for free-range pasture fed smoke sausage (kielbasa like).

4) Greens

And we buy a TON OF CHARD so every night I saute up some chard in olive oil with salt and pepper and it is a quick easy green vegi.

5) Tofu & Quinoa

We buy these both organic at Trader Joe's (cheaper than in bulk at the organic local market). They are fantastic for "clean out the fridge meals." Any left over vegis can be mixed with quinoa and tofu for a casserole, quinoa cakes, or a quick healthy side dish. Cook the quinoa with chicken broth for amazing flavor and add chard to hide your vegis.

I'm learning to love Tofu. It is cheap and if you get it nice and crispy on the outside and smear it in good tasting sauce, it is okay.

6) Fruit
We buy a TON of fruit. Right now it is pears and apples. Our rule is that we can buy it if it is less than $2.00 a pound - so usually that leaves 1-2 types that are on sale. If we want a snack, we eat fruit. When I travel for work, I bring TONS of fresh fruit.

That's our general shopping list - and our new way of life. And we like it. A lot.

No comments:

Post a Comment