Frugal cooking

Now everyone has a different idea of what frugal means. I will give my own version of it and go from there. Frugal to me is saving money on anything and everything possible to make sure that neither my children or I go without one necessity in life.

The biggest and most necessary change I had to make in my budget was for groceries. This included eating out. I couldn’t figure it out. I would make a list and go to the grocery store and come home with at least twice what I had planned on. Now, for a single mother of 4 to have to spend over $150.00 a week on groceries just wasn’t working. Not to mention the little stops off at the fast food drive-thru on the way home. It was killing me.

One day I sat down, my bills in hand and cried. I didn’t have enough money to make any of them.

So, the first thing I had to change was the way I bought groceries, then the way I used them.

I had the world at my fingertips and ran a search. I must have read and looked through one-hundred sites or more.

Each one I took a piece of advice from and moved on to the next. By the time my eyes and brain gave up I had an entire notebook filled with my new plan.

First I wrote out a month’s worth of meals, 30 breakfast, 30 lunch and 30 dinners. Next, I followed the advice off of a few sites and found out which recipe’s I had that I could cook in one day (referred to as once-a-month cooking) and made a new list. This list consisted of the name of the food item, the contents in which to make the food item and then the preparation and freezing of it. This list would not only save me time and money but health, no more fast food for us.

With my handy lists I started my grocery list. It looked a bit over-whelming but I made columns, A) Produce, B) Meats and so on. Then, once again, went to my computer and pulled up all of my grocery stores weekly ads. Beside each item on my grocery list I wrote the name of the store that had the item on sale. If it wasn’t on sale then I put the name of my local Save-a-lot store. Now if I had been a smart person I would have gathered coupons before my big shopping spree, but, that notion would come later. I didn’t waste much gas having to go to the different store, here in my home town they are all within a 5 mile radius of each other. I spent more time than normal in the grocery store that day (and yes some people looked at me strange because I was buying so much at one time) but my entire grocery list came to just a little more than I was spending on a week’s worth before that. So I was very excited.

Home I went with all of my groceries and a new outlook.

Then it came to putting these things away and start the cooking. This is where the kids came in the kitchen looking at me a little strange. I was in the kitchen until well after dinner time,cooking up a storm. It was a lot of work. Now even though it took quite a bit of work to get it all done I had just about an entire month off. Once a week I still had to stop by the grocery to get milk, but that was it. My menu (I had already planned out) was posted on the fridge, so each morning I took whatever we were having out of the freezer. Some mornings all it took was putting it into the crock pot and turning it on.

Now, a few months down the road on my frugal lifestyle, I have made a few changes to make the process easier for me. I think that is a person’s own trial and error. I expanded my frugality into other portions of my life and hope to add more as the month’s go on. I would not change this journey for anything. It is wonderful to take control over a bad situation in your life and turn it around and actually end up enjoying yourself.