budget

Eating Well Doesn’t Cost A Lot of Money

I can’t remember a time when I didn’t love to cook. Mom started me out baking cookies and from then showed me how to make soup, spaghetti (it was never called pasta at Our house), fried chicken, potato salad, how to bake cakes and all the staples. But I went farther in my love for cooking. So much so that I almost prefer watching the cooking shows on PBS than I do most fictional television. Right now, I’m stuck on New Scandinavian Cooking and John Besh’s New Orleans Cuisine. He rocks.

Because money is tight, I’ve had to reign in my food expenditures, like everything else. This doesn’t mean I still don’t eat well. I might even be eating better. Not having extra money means I don’t eat out, I don’t spend money on extras like snacks or rich, packaged foods and nearly everything I consume now is made from scratch.

Now that most everything I make is from scratch, I can be pickier about the sources of my food. I try to make sure that most of my produce is organic. Sure, not all of it is going to be. But the majority is. One way to cut down on my costs is to only buy what I will consume. This seems like such a simple thing, but it’s really not so easy. Most packaging isn’t made for us single folk, so again, I do better buying the basic products or in bulk, where I can determine just how much I need.

This weekend I roasted a whole chicken. It’s my most favorite food, honestly. But it’s also great because I can make meals out of it all week. And then, I’ll make soup from the bones. I bought a free-range, organic chicken for around $11.00 at Trader Joe’s and it will be two meals a day for me at least through Wednesday. I will probably freeze most of the soup.

There is a cost on my time with all this good eating. I need to do more shopping than most, and that means more shopping in a few more places. I go to Trader Joe’s, the local vegetarian co-op, Farmer’s Markets and even the grocery store if I need basics.

I also plan out my meals. This not only helps my budget, but my weight. I’m losing pounds, to get down to my best running weight and I couldn’t be successful without having alternatives to the empty calories I used to turn to when hungry lurks. I know myself. I know how I get when I’m hungry and have no healthy alternatives  to eat. Take tonight. Even after dinner I was hungry. I waited 20 minutes to see if I was really still hungry and I was. Over the weekend I bought a big bag of deliciously sweet cherries and had a handful of those. That was perfect! They filled me up, cured my sweet tooth and gave me some nutrition besides.

Our lives are busy, I understand. But even though they are busy, there is time to take some moments to think about what we’re eating. This doesn’t mean you need to stop eating out, but maybe think about cooking once in a while. I’ll try to include more recipes in the future, with pictures of course.

Cheers!

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