Saturday, August 24, 2013

A Regular Schedule, and how it helps with eating frugally

There are many ways to eat frugally.

There is the "Pantry Principle" (Amy Dacyzyn) - keeping a stocked pantry full of food purchased at rock bottom prices and eat from it. 

There is shopping a few times a week, and buying ONLY what you will eat that week (nothing goes to waste).  (Less is Enough follows this mode).

There is very carefully buying in bulk and planning your meals a month in advance based on this.  This is a strategy used by The Grocery Shrink.

There is heavy use of foraging and collecting free food (at the end of a farmer's market or discards from a grocery store) - 100 Dollars a Month and Penniless Parenting.

And there is simplifying by eating foods on a regular schedule.  This would be the Frugal Healthy Simple method when kids are little and work time is big.

This is really how I've been working lately.  Now that I'm full time, I don't have that extra hour at the end of the day to clean and chop.  Pretty much, if I don't prep it over the weekend, it doesn't happen.

So my regular schedule has many parts to it:
1.  Shop at Fresh and Easy on Friday afternoons, after picking up the baby (it's a few blocks away).
2.  Make TJ's baked chicken tenderloins and steamed broccoli (pre-cut and washed) on Tuesday.  Sure, this meal is on the more expensive side compared to some ($3 for the chicken and $2.29 for the broccoli), but it's easy and predictable.
3.  Make some kind of meat in the crockpot on Wednesday (after we've run out of leftovers from the week) with a frozen vegetable (by Wednesday, the CSA veggies are gone).
4.  Wash all CSA veggies on the weekend.  Steam, roast, freeze, whatever is needed.
5.  Make bread on the weekend (bread machine).
6.  2x a month, cook up a pound of beans.  3/4 of the time, this is refried beans in the crockpot (which turn into bean and cheese burritos in the freezer).  Sometimes, it's another bean.
7.  Make a salad or casserole for Sunday night potluck, which can be eaten during the week if not finished.
8.  Hard boil 1/2 dozen eggs for salad or snacks, once a week.  Twice if my hubby gets into them.
9.  Lunch: I eat the same thing every day.  Salad.  I'm trying to lose some baby weight.  It's not really working - I lost 7 lbs, but if I don't count calories, I stall.  And with the job and the lack of sleep (molars - I have had exactly one 7+ hour stretch in the last 7 days) - it's not happening.  But at least just eating salad keeps the weight in check.  If you eat the same thing every day, you aren't buying many items, and you are less likely to waste food.

Try to check out the freezer once a week and use up things that I put in there, thinking they'd be useful at some point.

1 comment:

Jen Blacker said...

This is how we do it:

Twice a year a big meat and fish shopping trip at Costco. Mostly chicken, but ground beef, pork chops, and salmon as well.

Once a month I create a monthly meal planner and then do our big once a month grocery shopping.

Once a week I'll go back to grab fresh fruit and veggies, usually runs under 20 bucks, a little more in the summer when there's a bounty of fresh fruit. Every other week I have my husband grab 3 gallons of milk, eggs, and bread from Costco (you can't beat their price on milk and eggs anywhere).

Sure I get tired after working all day and coming home having to cook, and there are days I'd love to just order out. But I make sure the menu is flexible and there is always something I can make quick instead of what I planed, such as frozen fish or spaghetti.

On the weekends when I've run out I'll make chicken stock and spaghetti sauce, lay the ziplock bags flat to cool, then freeze them flat. Then I just stack it all in the freezer. So much cheaper and healthier making it yourself.

Being a stay at home mom or a working full time mom, we are still moms that have a ton of stuff to do no matter what our jobs are. It can be done!