Sign in to follow this  
Ruck

Bachelor it up

Recommended Posts

So for the next month, my wife is going to be roughly 1385 miles away from me. We both made a deal to try and save as much money as we could while she is gone on food.

So asking the LDS Social Network Community, what is some easy and cheap dinner ideas. The main idea is to make some low cost meals for dinner and hopefully some left over for lunch at work the next day. Give me your thoughts.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Knorr/Lipton Rice Sides or Pasta Sides. Mix them in a 2.5 qt casserole dish, add some cooked frozen chicken strips or can of tuna, or can of chunk chicken, or 1/3 can spam, or 3 or 4 hot dogs cut up, or can of chunk ham. Note: drain the tuna, canned chicken, canned ham.

Cook according to package- put some bagged frozen veggies into a steamer bag (Reynolds) and nuke for 4 min. You now have dinner with veggies and lunch to boot.

If you prefer canned veggies: drain the liquid and save. Put veggies in a steamer bag. Use the saved liquid and add water to make the amount needed per envelope directions on the rice or pasta.

Broil or fry two pork loin chops, serve with Idahoan instant mashed potato in an envelope. The individual envelopes that require two cups of water and nuke for 4 minutes. Save one chop and 1/2 the potatoes and veggies for lunch.

Marie Callendar frozen entrées are pretty good. My local Fred Meyer (Kroger - Fry's) has lowered the price from $3.59-3.89 to 2.39 - 2.89. They have a meat, side of potatoes and veggies. Healthy Choice also includes either an apple crisp, peach cobbler, or cinnamon apples in some of their meals. I get these for our (Husband & I) lunch, and sometimes breakfast. Sometimes he likes homemade Mexican Chicken soup and I like Nalley's Chili with Walla Walla Onions!

There are also the smaller entrée only frozens - those are generally 10/$10.00. When taken to work for lunch, pack a steamer bag of frozen veggies.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What I tried to do on my mission is spin variations off of low-cost staples. For example, rice (brown or white), beans, and potatoes are 3 low cost staples. Frozen veggies are another. Let that be the bulk of your meal, then splurge on the toppings. You could make rice and tuna with some sort of sauce (or go crazy and make a sort of casserole), a baked potato, a bean and chicken burrito, some chili with meat (and beans and veggies, of course), and so on. There's a million places you can go with staples. The cool thing about this is that as long as the staple is the bulk of your recipe, splurging on the other parts of the meal won't really cost you that much because you won't use as much of them. However, all those extras will make you think you're eating like a king. You could by a package of frozen chicken and have it last you 2-3 weeks. A bottle of nice teriyaki sauce or maybe some cheese for a casserole will last you a month or so. Another cool thing is that you don't have to depend on too many recipes. Just look in the fridge, decide what looks yummy and throw it together. You'll eat good and probably improve your cooking skills along the way.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Eating cheap is great, but you have to make sure what you eat is nutritious. I follow a staple of my Drill Sergeant that he taught us: All you need is some meat, som vegetables, and maybe a salad. Following this is cheap, and healthy. Buying a pack of chicken breast will last you a week. And then canned/frozen veggies. Voila!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Speghtti, make once use off and on for a week.

Raman with just a little water, to soften, and frozen veggies in a frying pan or wok, add chicken if you want.

Ham & cheese grilled, soup if you need more.

mashed potatoes and gound beef with cream of mushroom soup or cream of celery soup (use rice if you don't want the potatoes.)

Taco soup, recipes all over the internet, lasts a while.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Learn how to cook rice/beans/pasta. Add a few steamed veggies. Don't buy meat for more than $2 a pound. Tada, a healthy, easy, satisfying dinner.

My most expensive meals tend to have a lot of cheese in them. But really, nothing wrong with a grilled cheese now and then.

If you buy it on sale, and only buy one or two buns in the bakery section, hamburgers are tasty and affordable.

Spaghetti is easy. You can buy frozen meat balls and throw a couple in the sauce while it's cooking if you're a meat loving kind of guy.

Wasting food is a big money pit. If you buy a loaf of bread, plan to eat it. Don't make a lot of food thinking 'i can eat these beans all weak!' if you're going to get tired of them all weak.

Breakfast for dinner is great. Eggs are a cheap source of protein. Add some toast and fruit. Frozen breakfast sausages usually have one brand that is on sale when I go to the store.

Having fresh fruit and veggies for snacks is good. I also have some soy protien powder meal replacement mix that I use to make smoothies with. They're actually really affordable if you get the right brand.

Do you have a trader joes around? They have a great selection of affordable frozen meals that have no preservatives. Sometimes you just want to pop something in the microwave, ya know?

A favorite meal of mine that is simple: Boil a chicken breast. When it's done, set it aside to cool a little. Use the same water to boil (half a bag for one person) egg noodles. While the noodles are boiling cook some chopped onions in butter until translucent. Drain the egg noodles, and shred the chicken, adding to the noodles. Add the onions. Drizzle it all with olive oil, pepper and plenty of salt. IT's so simple but the flavor is WAY better than expected.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I coupon alot to feed my family. With 12 of us living on my husband's income, I feel I have to. It's pretty simple once you get used to it, and I often find while he's at work & the kids are at school, my youngest ones are down for a nap, the house is clean and there's nothing else to do. It seems to be using my spare time wisely, and I think I've done pretty good with it. I've managed to bring what used to be a $3000 a month grocery budget down to $1500 a month....and we eat VERY well.

The extra money I've saved in the past year has gone towards our debt and as of last month, I'm proud to say we are completely debt free. No loans, no credit cards... not even a penny is currently owed to the phone company or electric company. I also have about a 2 month stock pile growing should anything ever happen and we're unable to buy groceries (it's happened in the past that hubby has been laid off or had to take a pay cut) Now that we're debt free, I'll be working on increasing that stockpile to a minimum of 6 months worth.

There's lots of places on line to get coupons either by printing them or having the companies mail them to you, and there's always inserts and coupons in the papers (usually saturdays in my area) by comparing your coupons to the current sales you can really cut down your grocery budget. I now refuse to pay for tylenol, laundry soap, shaving cream or tooth paste.... there's just no need to, there's always coupons available for those items and they go on sale dirt cheap quite often. Also because of coupon use, I've been able to donate personal hygiene items to our local homeless shelter at no cost to me, and help out our children's school with donations of things like cereal and hot chocolate for their breakfast program.

If you'd like more help on that, I'd be happy to give away all my little secrets.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I coupon alot to feed my family. With 12 of us living on my husband's income, I feel I have to. It's pretty simple once you get used to it, and I often find while he's at work & the kids are at school, my youngest ones are down for a nap, the house is clean and there's nothing else to do. It seems to be using my spare time wisely, and I think I've done pretty good with it. I've managed to bring what used to be a $3000 a month grocery budget down to $1500 a month....and we eat VERY well.

The extra money I've saved in the past year has gone towards our debt and as of last month, I'm proud to say we are completely debt free. No loans, no credit cards... not even a penny is currently owed to the phone company or electric company. I also have about a 2 month stock pile growing should anything ever happen and we're unable to buy groceries (it's happened in the past that hubby has been laid off or had to take a pay cut) Now that we're debt free, I'll be working on increasing that stockpile to a minimum of 6 months worth.

There's lots of places on line to get coupons either by printing them or having the companies mail them to you, and there's always inserts and coupons in the papers (usually saturdays in my area) by comparing your coupons to the current sales you can really cut down your grocery budget. I now refuse to pay for tylenol, laundry soap, shaving cream or tooth paste.... there's just no need to, there's always coupons available for those items and they go on sale dirt cheap quite often. Also because of coupon use, I've been able to donate personal hygiene items to our local homeless shelter at no cost to me, and help out our children's school with donations of things like cereal and hot chocolate for their breakfast program.

If you'd like more help on that, I'd be happy to give away all my little secrets.

People have given me web sites and such to coupon and it just seems so overwhelming! I just don't get how it is much more than saving a few cents here & there....and how do you get free tolietries?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It IS overwhelming at first, but like every new skill you need to take it one step at a time until you get the hang of it. The saying of "how does one eat an entire elephant...one bite at a time" comes to mind.

With couponing, it's all about having the right coupon matched up to the right sale. It's a bit of being prepared (with the right coupon) with a bit of luck (the right sale). It helps to know what each stores policy is on coupons. Some don't accept home printed coupons, and some stores will allow overages (meaning if the value of your coupon goes over the price of the item they give you that extra money or allow it to be put towards other purchases.

It really helps to have one really good website to help you. I use a Canadian one, that's a forum where everyone participates to help out their fellow shoppers by sharing what coupons are available and even coupon to store match ups.

Some examples of some of my past couponing deals have included... a coupon for Save $5 when you buy 3 gillette products.... shaving cream went on sale for $1 a can... I bought 3... with that coupon I got my 3 cans of shaving cream for free and because of the store I used it at allows overages they actually paid me $2 for every coupon I used. At the time I had an abundance of those coupons, my daughter desperately needed a new pair of shoes that I just couldn't afford. So I bought a large numer of shaving cream just for the overages so that I could make my daughters shoes come down to 0. I don't need that much shaving cream so I took what I could reasonably use and the rest I gave to our homeless shelter and donated it.

Other great finds are coupons on a product to get another product for free. Often the value of the free product is more than the value of the one you buy to get it. I went to our local dollar store and found boxes of hot chocolate for $2 on the box was a coupon for a free tv dinner. I bought 25 boxes of hot chocolate for $50 in return I got 25 coupons for tv dinners that sell for $4.99 each. My husband likes to take those tv dinners to work for his lunches , I held on to that coupon until my local grocery had a sale that rewarded customers with bonus points with every purchase of that tv dinner, because I did it that way I earned enough bonus points that I also received a $20 grocery gift card to use at that store for anything we wanted. I was buying the product to get something better... but I didn't need that much hot chocolate, so I opened all the boxes, and put the individual packages of hot chocolate in a big banana box and took that to my children's school and gave it to them for their breakfast program for kids that don't or can't eat breakfast at home before school. It cost me $25, I received products worth nearly $125, and my children's school befitted as well.

Also, look at any reward programs that may be in your local grocery stores, and use them to your advantage. Some product websites will also offer special programs or rewards. One of our ice cream makers offers such. For 10 minutes a day I sit and do a few crossword puzzles, they very easy and I earn points, once I've accumulated so many points, they send me a coupon for $5 off their ice cream, but their ice cream sells for $4.99 regular price in our grocery store.

I know it's a lot to take in, I've been doing it all for more than a year now, and between getting the coupons, searching out the best sales, mail in manufacturer rebates and all that other jazz, I feel like I have everything going in a million different directions sometimes. But with 10 kids the cost of child care if I were to return to work would be overwhelming for us and honestly, probably more than I would earn. So since I don't work, I feel it's my job to keep the home, and stretch the dollars my husband earns so that we're living within our means. My husband earns a decent enough salary, but when you factor in 10 kids, it's not very much. My savings for coupons for the month of January total up to about the same I would have earned in a retail setting part time job, but this allows me to be here for my family.

I know it can be confusing, and over whelming. I had to start off somewhere too. I'm happy to help anyone that has any questions

Edited by IamMe

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this