Posted by: conradvisionquest | February 3, 2010

Grocery Budget and Depression Cooking with Clara

As a result of our personal financial downturn, we have cut our budget drastically in the past year.  Surprisingly for me, alot of the mindless spending was done in the grocery store.  I wouldn’t plan meals, I would shop a few times a week, and I hardly ever stuck to a list.  This made for a huge money leak!  I think subconsciously I thought, “But we need food.  We can’t cut back on something we need!”  After I learned some tricks that for some would seem like common sense, I cut our grocery spending by nearly half!

What are the tricks, you ask?  ONE– I check and see what I already have.  I can’t tell you how many times I used to buy the same thing over and over when I already had it.  Then there’s 5 jars of jam in the fridge!  TWO– I plan dinners for the week, and make a list of what I need.  Cooking dinners at home instead of going out or eating frozen dinners saved us big money, not to mention being much healthier for you.  THREE– I only buy what is on that list. Remember, you are just shopping for one week’s worth of food!  FOUR– Weekly grocery shopping.  Shopping just once a week, even when I run out of something before the next shopping trip, has greatly reduced grocery spending.  “But I’m just going for one thing?”  Do you ever go to the grocery for one thing and actually come out with just one thing?  My guess is no no no. FIVE– Going vegetarian.  Meat is expensive, and cutting it out was great for the bottom line at the grocery store.

At first, I had us on a very strict grocery budget, but as I have revisited our budget and cut back in other areas, we have been able to loosen up with grocery spending a bit.  We are able to get organic produce, splurge on almond milk, and get hand-made, natural soap.

I’m constantly looking for good-n-cheap recipes, and this quest led me to the wonderful and charming Clara.  At 94, she has her own youtube channel where she cooks recipes that she learned during the depression era, and she often tells stories that illustrate life at the time.  It’s almost like having a nice visit with your gramma at the kitchen table.  And, because the meals are cheap, quite often they are vegetarian or vegan!  My favorite so far is the pasta with peas episode.

You must meet Clara.  She is simply adorable and a great resource for simple, hearty, and inexpensive cooking.

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