4 Ways to Be A Frugal Foodie (Frugal Foodie Series #1)
My budgetary conscientiousness began early. My grandmother raised 6 kids on one income and my mom raised me in in pricy California, also on a single income. It was ingrained in me to never waste things or (God forbid) overpay for anything. Since so many living costs are already determined—rent/mortgage, health insurance, gas prices—food provides one opportunity to take back control of our budgets.
Because of my upbringing, I felt extreme guilt when buying something I knew my grandmother wouldn’t approve of. I was 16 the first time I bought boneless, skinless chicken breasts and I was so worried about what she might say, I actually pulled off the price tag…and LIED.
“No grandma, these were on SALE! They were going to hit their ‘sell by date’ tomorrow so I got them for $4!”
Yeah…that package of chicken actually cost $12 (or 3 hours of work at my after school job!), but I wanted her to enjoy the meal so I kept my mouth shut. I even gave myself a pat on the back for my little fib. After all, didn’t she deserve the best?
While my heart was in the right place, what I didn’t realize was that I was being hoodwinked by food marketers. I was bombarded daily with commercials filled with images of fashionable, professional moms feeding their families quick and easy “boneless” meals. Unfortunately, the ease of those quick meals came at a nutritional cost. To add insult to injury, manufacturers charge us premium prices for nutritionally poorer foods, most of which our own grandparents wouldn’t even recognize.
Food budgets are particularly important when you are trying to provide your family a healthy diet without breaking the bank. Here are a few of my favorite tips. I hope you find them helpful! <3
ALWAYS save these 4 items!
Bones– Bones are easy to salvage from a family dinner. You can also score really good prices with your butcher or at a local grocery store for soup bones ($2.99-4.99 for grass-fed beef bones, as compared to $8-$12 per pound of meat). Then turn those bones into bone broth! Bone broth aids in detoxification, supports a healthy gut, and is rich in amino acids that help us build healthy hair, skin, and nails. Read more in my post “The Bodaciousness of Bone Broth”
Vegetable Scraps -Turn them into vegetable broth or enrich your bone broth! Onion peels and celery & carrot ends make for a tasty addition to my bone broth recipe. Veggies impart a whole new layer of nutrients to bone broths and a veggie broth is a great way to aid your body in detoxification. If you are looking for a straight veggie broth, you will use whole fresh vegetables in addition to your scraps for a Bieler’s broth (aka “potassium broth” in Nourishing Traditions“-affiliate link).
Overripe Apples–Ever find apples you’d forgotten about? Then you bite into them and it’s like eating a sweet mealy mess? I threw away apples like that for years (head hung in shame) before I realized I could turn them into applesauce! Mealy apples are DELICIOUS as applesauce and it’s SO easy to make. Just peel, core, slice, and throw in a slow cooker. Check out my Easy Peasy Applesauce recipe!
(Pastured) Bacon Fat–Turn it into cooking oil! When you pay as much as pastured bacon costs (about $10 a pound at US Wellness), don’t throw away that fat! Once cooled slightly, pour into mason jars and you have cooking fat for DAYS! I have had mine as long as 4 months and it tastes just as good as same-day-bacon-fat! It’s awesome for reheating leftovers (especially anything with a carb content: rice, potatoes, pasta, veggies, etc.) and cooking eggs in (see my recipe), or searing meat in. It’s a saturated fat so that means is stable (consumption of oxidized polyunsaturated fats like vegetable oils have been linked to health issues such as heart disease and cancer). Pastured bacon fat, on the other hand, is rich in vitamin D and CLAs (the good stuff in wild salmon and avocados).
BONUS ENVIRONMENTAL BENEFIT TO BEING THRIFTY!
***Even if you can’t use vegetable matter like I list above, composting is a great way to reduce landfill waste and methane in the atmosphere while creating rich soil for gardening. It’s a win-win-win situation!
(Note: if you want organic soil, stick to organic/sustainable produce/eggshells)
****Disclosure: If you purchase any of the products linked in this post or products through the links on the right side of my page, I receive a small percentage from the respected affiliate programs at no extra cost to you. This helps support the cost of recipe testing. Thank you for your support!****