Have you looked into SparkSavings or one of the budget-minded teams? There are resources here for what seems like every challenge in life, perhaps you can get some more tips that might be more applicable to your specific situation.
I know where you are with your budget, My DH and I have been there a few times over the years. We spent one summer w/o natural gas and took cold showers to make our budget work (thankfully our kitchen ran on electricity or we couldn't have pulled it off). Baking your own bread and making soup, often, are great ways to stretch your budget. A $2 bag of rice can feed my family of 4 every night for a week. A loaf of bread is a couple cups of flour (some stores have 15-20 lb bags of flour for less than $10), a teaspoon of yeast and some warm water, maybe a little egg -- if all you're making is the most basic of white breads. Likewise, pasta is flour, egg and oil -- it takes about 10 minutes to knead up by hand, an hour to rest, and half an hour to roll/cut but it cooks in 2 min in boiling water. When it's on sale, I buy whole wheat flour to up the nutritional content of my bread and mix it 1 part whole wheat to 2 parts white and don't have to increase my yeast to compensate for the heavier flour. Dried beans, especially when they're on sale in bulk, are also a wallet saver. Lentils, and split peas are also up there on the budget friendly list. If organic is out of your price range don't sweat it. It's better that you get in-season fruit/veggies non-organic than to do without. I agree that the frozen veggies are great, especially when budgets get tight. Watch out if you shop at a Walmart for your groceries, however, I've gotten the generic brand of some of their frozen broccoli only to get it home and open the bag to a fat lot of woody stems. Fall in love with your freezer, make bread/pasta in bulk on your off days and freeze it to use later in the week. Take leftovers to work for lunch or freeze them for "leftover soup," perk-up Ramen Noodles with bits of leftover meat and veggies. The single biggest budget-buster (after going shopping hungry -- NEVER shop hungry) is serving size. Know the recommended serving size and only make that much.
Since on social security and getting that check once a month and trying to keep all the utilities paid up, plus medications need -- food unfortunately hits low on the list. I will say that Spark has help with many new recipes and suggestions that has helped greatly.
Michele - Central Ohio
Warriors In Pink~~Administrator Classy Quitters~~ Administrator Caregivers Support ~~ Administrator
" Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could." ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
March Minutes: 2,880
Fitness Minutes: (54,048) Posts: 3,151 10/24/11 1:48 P
Yeah, we could go on and on debating organic vs 'manmade' and both sides have good points. My point is, when organic produce is significantly more expensive than commercial produce, some people with tight budgets (as Divine says below) shouldn't have to worry about the commercial produce they buy. Wash it well, as we all know to do, and you're OK. There are some things that I would prefer 'organic' like grass fed beef. But it is VERY expensive because most cattle ranchers feed their cattle grain in the US. That was the big deal about McDonalds not buying their beef in the USA a while back; they only use grass fed beef and they have to go to Australia and New Zealand. Most of the time I don't have a choice to go organic because I can't afford it.
I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.
The first article acknowledges that there can be risk, especially for children. It only says that the risk is low vs not eating the vegetables and fruit. I'm not recommending that they not be eaten, so I'd rather eat the foods that have the least amount of pesticides regardless of how much that is. Using organic pesticides is still preferable to regular pesticides for me.
And some people are more sensitive than others. Ultimately it is each person's choice.
There are foods that you should buy organic because the non-organic is saturated with pesticides. Other foods don't absorb them and can be healthy with a good washing. This should help the budget somewhat. If frozen is still too expensive, you can use canned veggies as long as you rinse them thoroughly to get the salt out. Not as nutritious, but you still get some of the good stuff.
Too much pesticide "The Dirty Dozen" Celery, Peaches, Strawberries, Apples, Domestic blueberries, Nectarines, Sweet bell peppers, Spinach/kale/collard greens, Cherries, Imported grapes, Lettuce
I've figured out the schedule when my grocery store gets meats delivered. That's when stuff is getting marked down because it's hitting its sell by date. As long as I separate it into portions and freeze that day the meat is still good. Buy whole chickens as much as possible.
Make your own bread. Shred your own cheese. Any leftover chicken or meat, even just a bite, I put in my freezer 'soup bag'. When I have enough I make a pot of soup. All the different spicing used for the individual pieces blend all together for a unique taste.
I hope your financial situation improves soon.
Claire ******** Those who think they have no time for a healthy lifestyle will sooner or later will have to find time for illness.
Thanks for those tips---and for the encouragement. I recently discovered these steamed frozen veggies (brown rice, corn, peas, etc) that I've been trying, and they're delicious. For less than $2 I can get three meals out of one bag. I'll load up on canned salmon as well---already buy the tuna and sardines. Again, I thank you.
Charlotte HIS Divine Princess
current weight: 178.0
Fitness Minutes: (55,798) Posts: 2,564 10/20/11 6:43 P
Remember that frozen vegi's and fruit are in many cases more nutirous than fresh. They are frozen at the peak of freshness and retain their flavor and have no added salt in most cases. And they are are cheaper so you get the best of both worlds. Tuna, sardines and canned salmon are a great way to get your protein, cheap and have Omega 3. Those are my favorite tips. I'm in the same boat.
OK, I barely make enough money to pay my bills so there is no budget. After paying the mortgage, utilities, phone, ISP/cable, dentist and a school loan, I put gas in the car for the week. IF there's anything left, I go to the grocery store.
So I'm already challenged on how to restock my kitchen, buy only whole foods and fresh produce in season, organic when possible...when these things cost more. I understand that I'm worth it, but I just don't have it.
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