I have, again and again, told you how great Flylady and Leanne Ely, Saving Dinner are to your overall health and well being. Here is a email letter from Leanne today about saving money by planning menus and grocery shopping wisely. Read it, you will enjoy it!
I've had a few emails asking me how to plan menus when you have no
money. Well, this is a subject that is near and dear to my heart. Been
there/done that! It isn't a lot of fun when you have $25 in your
pocket to feed your family for a week! That's what happened to me in
the mid-90's. My budget was $100 a month to feed my family!
I want to preface what I'm saying with it was an emergency and I had
no choice. It wasn't easy—but it was necessary. So instead of whining,
I did something and I got real creative. Now keep in mind: we're not
talking diapers, detergent or any other non-food items—just food, and
Okay, so here's what I did.
First off, I utilized the loss leaders the stores advertise each week.
I shopped at about 2-3 stores a week and made my menus according to
what was on sale (after awhile, you don't even need to do that
much—you will have quite a stocked pantry and freezer if you shop via
I also availed myself of the scratch and dent section of the grocery
store. Not all grocery stores have this, but be on the look out for a
big cart at the end of an aisle filled to overflowing with bread or
another like item (I once bought whole wheat bread for .25 a loaf. I
bought 10 loaves because I had the freezer space and made my (now ex)
husband's lunch every day—and saved a fortune). Look in places you
don't normally look—toward the back of the store or a shelf over by
I also went early in the morning and took full advantage of the
markdown meats. Yeah, it was a hassle and at the time, I had two
little kids. But I got huge markdowns and sometimes, I even asked for
markdowns of stuff (that maybe they missed) and cleaned house (I
bought a HUGE fresh turkey right after Thanksgiving for $4 that way).
There's a good lesson there—always ASK when you don't see something
that should be marked down (ask the dairy manager, meat manager, etc.)
Check the dates on everything and ask for markdowns when appropriate.
I bought my milk this way too. Milk freezes well after you pour a
little out, or it pops and leaks all over your freezer! Simply thaw it
overnight in the fridge or in a sink full of cold water during the
day, add a pinch of salt—it is a preservative, shake it up and it'll
last a week. I bought whole gallons of milk for 50 cents a piece.
Other times, I mixed dried milk with fresh and my troops never knew
I also bought most of my produce marked down. You can always cut off a
bad spot and make due. I made applesauce out of the apples that didn't
make good eating apples. If I didn't buy it marked down, I bought it
on sale and in season. I avoided imported produce as that it was
almost always more expensive, even when it was on sale.
I also found out about grocery outlets. These stores are usually
listed in the yellow pages under surplus food or salvage food. They're
usually not in the best neighborhoods and there are even a few
undesirables in these types of stores (not always, but sometimes).
However, it was survival time and I bought stuff there that was way
seriously marked down.
And last—I bought cheap food! We ate a TON of dried beans. We ate
cheap cuts of meat cooked in the crockpot, we ate homemade everything
(that convenience stuff costs a fortune).
Breakfast was a biggie. I made homemade pancakes, waffles, oatmeal.
When you make it yourself, it doesn't cost much. Good filling food and
infinitely cheaper than cold cereal.
Speaking of breakfast, we had Breakfast for Dinner a few times a
month. Breakfast foods are cheap and if you add a little ambience
(light a few candles and put the OJ--made yourself from frozen
concentrate- -in wineglasses) everyone will enjoy your cheap trick!
Our beverage of choice was (and still is) water. Water costs nothing.
I had a water filter that enabled me to skip the expensive bottled
water and that helped a lot. We had OJ for breakfast (and breakfast
only was the rule) and that's it. We had milk too, but it was only
allowed with the meal and even then, only one glass. One glass is
adequate…no one in my house was deprived or starved.
Nothing went to waste in my house—I mean NOTHING. If there was any
leftover anything, I froze it and made it into soup later that week
(no, I didn't scrape the food off my kids plates, but honestly? There
wasn't any usually). My famous Rubber Chicken recipe was born out of
that period of time (on my website!).
That's it in a nutshell. It took extra time that I had back then. I
figured the way I slashed my grocery bill so dramatically, it was like
having a part time job without the taxes, pantyhose and rush hour! I
got to stay home with my kids and we made it through that very rough
time and ate quite well.
I hope some of these tips will help any of you who are wondering how
to make a menu with no budget. You sometimes just have to do what you
have to do! I did it and so can you!
Sunday, November 9, 2008
Thursday, November 6, 2008
If you have a stomach virus, try a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, inbetween meals. I have now known of two people who tried this. For one, it took only one tablespoon, and for another, it took two. With both people, symptoms began to subside after a few hours, and within a day they were able to resume their activities. If this works for you, by golly how cheap is this? And how fast? Each person used NON Organic apple cider vinegar, for only 98 cents a bottle, which means what, about 4 cents a tablespoon. Pahleeze, is it not worth at least a try? Come on, what do you have to lose? And let me know the results, please!