Apr 27, 2016

Making Many Meals

There are just certain times of the year when we go through rough stretches financially...like when we found out child number two needed braces. I mean need, as in, let's start immediately despite the fact that you have older brother in orthodontia with no end in sight kind of need! So we have to pick apart the the majorly tight budget and see where we can do cut-backs to fit in another payment.

Usually, right off the top, we have to cut the grocery bill. Okay, so our family of four who normally spends $120.00 per week on groceries (including pet food), needs to drop to at least $90.00 a week. No worries right? RIGHT! I don't even really coupon like I should either so we still have potential to drop more if needed.

One of the easiest ways to cut back (for me) is to buy larger quantities of meat. Yes, go ahead and buy the $8-$10 pack of hamburger meat or chicken and split it up! Here, I've taken my $9 investment and instead of splitting it like I normally would, I doubled the split.

Instead of dividing the 3.25 pound package into thirds, I split it into sixths. What can I do with smaller portions?  On busy afternoons, one easy, super quick main dish I prepare is a $0.45 box of mac 'n cheese (the certain store brand my kids love best) and add in the small pieces of browned hamburger meat. They love it! Park a salad next to it and you are done!

Smaller portions can also be browned to add to soups giving them a little something extra. My family loves beefy vegetable soup with crackers. You can always use smaller amounts for spaghetti or to top baked potatoes.

One of my favorite go to meals is what I named Cowboy potatoes. I usually brown the hamburger meat in one pan and fry the potatoes/onions in another. After draining both on paper towels for a couple of minutes, I layer the bowls with my spicy potatoes and onions, hamburger meat and top with cheese and a dab of sour cream. Ever so often I add some type of beans in there as well to change it up but talk about a delicious and cheap meal, this one is a winner with my crew!

So don't let the grocery budget get you down. Just get creative by using less of the most expensive items. You'll be stretching that dollar, and that smile!