Happy 4th of July! Since it looks like we are not going to any fireworks because of thunderstorms, I have a few minutes to add a new blog entry. Here are 2 pictures of one of our 4th of July traditions…patriotic cupcakes! Yum (and not natural or organic!)
When people know our family food budget, I get asked for tips on how I make it work. While I am not certain I want to put out there yet how much our weekly budget for a family of four is, I did actually think of a couple of simple tips today to help make your own food budget stretch. While these two that I thought of today aren't anything earth shattering, hopefully, I will remember more of my little ideas that when you put them together make our budget work.
A couple of things about our food and budget. We eat as much organic/natural food as our budget will allow. I don't coupon as not much natural/organic food is available for coupons. Also, I almost always forget coupons when I go to the store, so they don't work so well for me. I do shop between 4 stores (sometimes all 4 in 1 week if that is what we need). I shop primarily between Costco, Trader Joe's, and Target. If I can't find what I need there, Whole Foods is my fill in. I have learned between those stores, where to get the best price and what works for our tastes and our family. I am not a nutritionist and am sure we don't eat as balanced as we should, but we try and I think we eat relatively healthy. Now I've made all those disclaimers so I won't feel as judged as I anticipate (my perception at being vulnerable and putting this out there).
These may be money saving tips you already know…I don't know what is obvious and what is new, but they are ideas I thought of today that may be some of the reasons I am able to stretch our $'s.
1. Make your own bread crumbs. I think a lot of people don't realize that making your own bread crumbs is simple and, in my opinion, a free way to help your budget. We don't usually eat the heels of our bread. So, when we are done with a loaf, we throw those heels in a bag in the freezer. I have a container that I saved from the last time I bought organic bread crumbs (a small container that I think was $5!) in the freezer. You could also use a storage container like these (affiliate link). When that container is empty, I just take all those frozen heels, throw them in the food processor and voila…bread crumbs. Fill up the $5 container and I just got free bread crumbs from the food I already bought but wouldn't otherwise use.
2. Freeze your bananas. A lot of people don't know that when those bananas are really ripe and ready to be made into banana bread or thrown away, you can take them out of their peel and put them in the freezer. We have a bag in the freezer for bananas. Then when I have time/desire we make our banana bread/ muffins or whatever we want. They defrost pretty quickly and you get some good juice with them when they defrost, which makes your recipe even more moist. I saw a recent episode of either Cook's Country or America's Test Kitchen where they were talking about how bananas in the freezer actually have way more banana flavor/taste when you use them fresh. It was their preferred methods for getting the most banana flavor into banana bread. So, in addition to saving money by saving them for a day/time you want to use them, you get superior flavor out of what you make!