My husband Mike and I have been discussing our finances quite a bit lately. While we have enough money to pay our bills, it never seems like we can save much. We sat down to look at our budget and see where we can trim back. There are the simple things we are doing like not having cable (since we pay for netflix), smaller cell phone package and cutting back on the small purchases daily that add up to a lot at the end of the month. But we noticed that our grocery bill can get very large so we decided to explore ways we can lower it.
Now there is of course couponing. My sister Sarah is a master and this and I plan on taking advantage of her wisdom. I will be using couponing for my household things like shampoo, conditioner, etc. It does have its value in grocery shopping but I have noticed that most coupons are for convenience food. Most of the convenience food that you can get coupons for simply does not fit with my new lifestyle. I have been on a very slow weight loss journey. No I am not loosing tons every week but I am loosing and plan to continue with this. Frozen pizza, taquitos and macaroni and cheese, while nice on occasion, simply don’t work for the way I want myself and my family to eat.
I have heard many people talk about cooking from scratch and its nutritional and economic value. Personally I had never put much stock in it. I am a very busy mother, wife and student. Taking the time make things from scratch has never really appealed to me. Plus I have bought the ingredients to make bread before and simply believed it is cheaper to buy a loaf. This week however I decided to sit down and actually do the math on a few things. I priced out buying my ingredients in bulk and figured out my costs per item made. I was actually quiet surprised by my findings.
A good loaf of bread at Safeway costs (on sale) around $2.50 I figured out that I could make a loaf for $0.56. A pack of 18 large tortillas at Safeway costs $5.95 (not on sale) I can make the same amount and size for $0.80. A cup of canned beans costs $0.99 cents and I can cook dried ones for $0.18 cents a cooked cup.
My original assumptions about the cost of making things from scratch is simply wrong. There is quite a bit of money to be saved and the outcome is healthier and tastier food. Now to reach these prices I have to buy in LARGE bulk. So Mike and I are going to be buying several large tubs with sealed lids to keep in my pantry. We will be buying bulk oatmeal, dried beans, rice, flour, yeast, vegetable oil, shortening, sugar and anything else that makes sense to us.
We have agreed to alternate cooking days so that one person is not overwhelmed by the amount of work. This makes sense to us as we are both full time students and neither one of us stays home exclusively while the other works outside of the home. We plan on eating lots of oatmeal for breakfast (dressed up in various ways), homemade soups and stews with homemade bread and lots of different meals using rice and beans.
Our goal is not to limit our meals to a few things but to expand our possibilities in a very frugal way. I plan to use my blog to show our successes and failures. I also plan to use this to show the other ways we are going to save money. A lot of those are going to come from Pintrest, thanks Sarah, and will include homemade ways to do things. I plan on trying to make my own laundry soap and dishwasher soap as well. We’ll see if I like the final products enough to stick with them but it never hurts to try 🙂