One of the best things about having fed my family on $200/month for the past 14 years is that I have acquired a pretty fair arsenal of meal options that only cost $2-$3 each.
Part of the savings comes from the extensive amount of garden fare we “put up” each growing season. This creates a tremendous savings for our family. It’s almost free food–especially when we’ve been able to save our own seeds. Huge asset!
The rest of the savings comes from my commitment to use low-cost foods–things like potatoes, rice, pasta, eggs and dried beans. These are healthy options that require very little investment and can be prepared dozens of different ways.
We also strive to eat seasonally–not just from our own land, but by buying citrus fruits when they’re in-season in Florida and blueberries when they’re in season in Michigan. You can tell when fresh produce is in-season somewhere, because prices noticeably drop and stores often advertise the savings. This is when it’s helpful to know what a good price even is so that you can take advantage of the savings.
Another big money-saver is eating leftovers. I mean, this is essentially FREE FOOD for my family! For instance, my grocery budget is approximately $7/day for my family. If I prepare a pot of soup out of that $7.00 on Monday, then eat the leftovers for lunch on Tuesday, I am not using any of Tuesday’s budget allotment for that meal. In other words, Tuesday’s lunch is “free”. If I look at leftovers in this regard, then I can logically recognize their benefit to keeping us on-track financially. I will never understand why Americans are willing to throw out so much money when it comes to their leftovers. Are we truly “above” eating today what we were blessed to eat yesterday? My grandma once told me that waste was a form of arrogance. I think I agree.
I will be posting $3.00 meal tips and ideas in the coming weeks. Obviously, there is going to be a bit of variation in pricing due to where we live, how we shop and what we already have on-hand. However, these are nutritious, low-cost meals that you can work into your household menu to provide a little bit of relief at the grocery checkout. Any time you want to search for them specifically, you will be able to find them under the tag “$3 Meals” as well as other pertinent categories, such as soup, main dish, breakfast, etc.
And, as always, if you’re interested in our entire money-saving strategy, you can always check out my book, Eat Cheap!, which tells our story from start-to-finish.