Let’s welcome another fantastic addition to my guest blogging team of FABULOUS! It’s Krisca, bringing you amazing frugal meal ideas! When not out building relationships with other bloggers, Krisca Te can be found reading blogs that tackle how to save money. She is also a personal finance freak who is currently working with CCF, a personal finance blog that writes about financial literacy.
Food is a celebration of life. You don’t need to spend a lot of have good food, but sometimes you forget that when you’re on a budget. Here are some things to consider when choosing frugal meals for your family.
One of the biggest misconceptions about frugality is that you need to sacrifice the good in order to save money. Many people who are on a tight budget focus on the amount of money they can save, and nothing else. They forget other things that are as important when it comes to planning your family’s meals while still keeping within your budget. Taking a look at the bigger picture can help you plan your meals better, and save more along the way.
Here are 6 things to consider when choosing frugal meals for your family:
- Your family’s health comes first. Never sacrifice quality and healthy food to save a few bucks. It’s easy enough to just grab a few tins from the canned goods aisle, or opt to get microwave meals for that quick lunch or dinner. It’s convenient indeed, but the downside of is those foods have a ton of preservatives that are not good for your family’s health. Many processed and canned food contain plenty of salt, sugar and other things that should be taken in small amounts — if not at all.
- Cooking your own meal is cheaper than you think. Many people don’t really like to cook because they believe that it’s expensive and takes a lot of effort. It’s definitely more convenient to call a restaurant to deliver food. However, if you total the amount of money you spend every time you order out, you’re actually spending more money. Not to mention that you aren’t a hundred percent sure what’s in the food you’re ordering, particularly if it’s fast food. Also, remember that you don’t have to have special training in order to cook simple recipes, and you don’t need expensive ingredients either. Some of the ingredients you buy are good for more than one use. Salt, olive oil, vinegar, soy sauce, dried herbs, as well as other spices and condiments can be used in a variety of dishes. They can also be stored for months at a time, so you only need to buy them once in a while.
- Shop only for what you need for the week. One of the biggest advices many people give when it comes to being frugal is to shop for items in bulk. However, this would be more applicable to items that are non-perishable and have a long shelf life; or items that you consume a lot of. Fresh produce, seafood, poultry and meat would be best purchased in exact amounts and used immediately. This prevents wasting ingredients that are easily spoiled.
- Use coupons wisely. While it’s true that using grocery coupons help cut down grocery costs, using it haphazardly can actually cause your grocery bill to skyrocket. It’s easy to get carried away by the bargains, particularly if the prices are marked down to fifty percent off. Consider the following:
- Use coupons only for the things you’ll really use.
- Check the conditions of the coupon. While some offer a straight out discount, others may require you to first purchase something at full price before you can avail of the discount.
- Combine several coupons and use them in one grocery visit. This can eliminate a substantial amount on your total bill.
- You don’t have to cook bland food when you’re being frugal. A misconception people have with frugal meals is that it’s bland and boring. I attribute it mostly to the fact that people think that seasoning and flavorful ingredients cost more than regular ones. One the contrary, simple and easily available seasoning is quite affordable. Think garlic, basil, ginger, onions, rosemary, oregano. Not only are they easily available in groceries or weekend markets, but you can grow them in your own garden.
- Check out your local market. These days, more and more people are creating backyard gardens and selling their extra produce to their neighbors. There’s bound to be several farmers — and certainly organic ones — within a hundred miles of your home. While some may cost a little more than the ones you get in groceries, the guarantee that they are really fresh is high.
In addition, you can plan your meals for the next week and make a list of the things you need. This way, when you visit the grocery, you’ll be able to cut down on aimlessly browsing the aisles and get out of the grocery as fast as you can. Make your food planning a family affair. Ask them for suggestions on what you can cook at a small budget. Everyone will appreciate the food even more when they know they helped make it in some way.