A few of you have asked how to plan decent meals on a tight budget.
Having a menu and list is important, and of course coupons help. An easy way to save money and time, get your menu done easily and NOT use coupons is to shop your local ad and buy what's on sale. For those of you lucky enough to live around me here's a list of dinner ideas based on the Peterson's ad for this week. I usually spend about $7 to feed a family of 6--the baby eats tiny portions, so for now, she doesn't count. For basics I have on hand like sugar, flour, seasonings and dressings I usually factor in a small amount-like $.10 to $.25 because I buy in bulk.
Here are 5 dinner ideas to feed 6 people for about $7
1 can chicken $2.50
1 pkg. light cream cheese $.99
1 pkg. chicken gravy $.33
1 lb. red potatoes for either fried potatoes or potato salad $.59 for potatoes; for salad you likely have 1 c. mayo and 6 eggs and seasonings. So, total for salad $1.70.
1 lb steamed broccoli or cauliflower $.89
1 lb. sliced apples or oranges $.79 to $.99 cents/lb
Total meal for 6: $7.20
1.5 lb. ground chicken $3.15 (mix with one egg to bind patties and seasonings)
1 pkg. buns $1
garnishes/sauces-on hand. I'd figure $.50 for all 6
Homemade potato fries-using red potatoes $.59/lb (I cut the potatoes into strips, mix in 1 Tbsp. olive oil and seasonings and bake at 450 deg. for 45 min.)
2 cans of canned peaches $.88 cents/can
Total for 6: $7
Roast Chicken dinner
1 4 lb. fryer- $3.50
1/2 lb. red potatoes (.30 cents)
1 c. carrots- (usually on hand, but if you have to buy them they are $2 for a 2 lb. bag and you'll use 1/4 bag. $.50 cents)
Pasta Roni sides $.88--To feed 6 you'll need 2
Apple sauce canned $.69--you'll need 2
Total to feed 6:$7-$7.44
2 lbs. pork ribs--serving size 1/3 lb. per person-$4
Steamed broccoli (.89/lb) and 1/2 lb. carrots (.50)
2 Sliced fresh mangoes- $1.78
Total for 6:$8.16
2 Palermo pizzas-$.2.69 each
Garlic bread $1 (I just buy a loaf of French bread and add seasonings)
Carrots with ranch -.50
Apple slices (3 apples) $.99/lb
Total for 6: $7.87
You can apply this same meal planning to any store ad. I find Peterson's and Harmon's to be a bit more expensive. If you shop at Wal-Mart their prices are lower and they'll match any local ad--bring your ad. Of course if you use coupons, that takes the cost down too.
Hopefully this makes your planning and preparation easier. Making your pennies stretch is going to be the way of life, if it isn't for you already. It's my goal to get as much as I can for as little as I can, but I am not going to extremes to save money. If I have to drive 10 miles to save $2 on an item, I am using more in gas and precious time, and to me it's not worth it. I'm getting creative this year...stick around.