Saturday, September 23, 2023

How to Reduce Food Costs

Food ranks among the average American’s top five monthly expenditures. The battle for your wallet is often quietly fought at the dinner table, where the desire for convenience and comfort sometimes conflict between nutrition and cost.

According to the USDA, U.S. consumers spent an average of 11.3 percent of their disposable personal income on food in 2022. While 30 to 40% of all food produced in the U.S. is wasted, which ends up costing approximately $161 billion every year.

By making goals for your kitchen and making some small changes such as taking inventory, and using food creatively, you can have a major impact on your food budget.

How to Reduce Food Costs

Reducing food costs and waste starts with tracking and monitoring the food coming into your home. Some families order food in bulk, but then do not have a system in place to use up that food. Then those items linger in the freezer or pantry and it may be difficult to use all of that food before it spoils.

Consistency is key here when it comes to saving money on food by cooking from our own kitchens rather than eating out regularly.

We purchase food in order to feed our families, and one of the reasons we choose to do that is an effort to save money. So, we need to use up that food rather than let it go to waste, which would end up costing more money in the long run.

To reduce food waste, here are some steps you can take:

Calculate Your Food Costs

Calculating food costs in your home can be a time-consuming task, but staying on budget with your finances could help you save time, money, and food in the long run.

Be Consistent When Taking Inventory

When a grocery order arrives, you should always inspect the contents to ensure that you are not accepting food (and therefore, paying for it) that is past its prime or damaged and unusable.

Checking inventory regularly can give you an idea of how and at what rate your food is being used or wasted. For example, if you notice that you have an item that is going unused and spoiling, change your grocery order to a lesser amount to reduce food waste. Conversely, if you’re running out of mozzarella cheese before your dinner service even starts, you need to increase your grocery order.

Work with Your Food Suppliers

Once you have an idea of how much food your family uses at a given time, you can work with others to lower your food costs. If possible, shop around and see what competing food suppliers are willing to offer you. My friend’s Dad would make deals with the produce sellers at the flea market where they both sold items,

When purchasing food, there is also the option to cut out the middleman and go straight to the source which includes local farms and farmers markets. We often see homemade signs selling eggs in people's yards. Buying food locally ensures that you’re getting the freshest products possible while also supporting your local economy.

Manage The Food You Purchase

When it comes to food, the harder you’re willing to work, the more you can save. Below are some ideas on how to save money, while also making good tasting food.

Offer a limited menu. By limiting your menu, you can cut the number of ingredients you need in your kitchen. This will definitely help reduce food costs and food waste.

Take extra time to do the prep work yourself. For example, buying a chicken that is already deboned, skinned, and portioned is going to be more expensive than just buying whole chickens.

Keep track of food prices and how they can affect your shopping list. For example, a drought in California would affect the avocado harvest, so it probably wouldn’t be the best time to introduce avocados in your menus.

Use Portion Control

Controlling food portions is an excellent way to reduce food costs. If your family is unable to finish a dish consistently, the portion is too big. Use food scales, measuring cups and spoons to serve the proper amount of food to your family. Serving smaller portions will help lower your food costs.

Use the First In, First Out Method

The first in, first out method is pretty straightforward: use the first ingredients that you put into your pantries and refrigerators first. This forces you to use the oldest food first and ensures you’re always stocked with fresh ingredients. It also helps prevent food from expiring without being used.

Tips on How to Reduce Food Waste

Here are a few ideas for using leftovers wisely and reducing food waste.

Save vegetable scraps like onion skins, carrot peels, and mushroom stalks for making homemade vegetable stock.

Don't throw away any stale bread. You can use it to make things like croutons, breadcrumbs, and bread pudding.

Shred up roasted chicken and turkey the following day and use the meat in a soup or stew.

Food waste can have a big impact on your food budget. But by shopping the sales, looking for markdowns, buying locally, serving reasonable portion sizes, and using your ingredients creatively, you can reduce food costs in your frugal kitchen.

Mortgage & Debt Free
~ Living within our Means ~
My Linktree

~ She looketh well to the ways of her household ~
Proverbs 31:27


Friday, September 22, 2023

Fourth Frugal Friday of September 2023


Welcome to Frugal Friday! 

Quote of the Week

Don’t get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life” ~ Dolly Parton

My Frugal Week

I scanned all my receipts into Fetch this week. It’s great how fast it all adds up as you get 25 points for every receipt and sometimes more. I’ll be using my reward points for $50 gift cards for Kroger or Walmart. We could definitely use free groceries for something as simple as scanning our receipts for items we are buying anyway. 

If you are not a member of Fetch and want to sign up using my referral link you can sign up here with code KB3EV and get 100 points in the process. 

I filed a claim form with Angie's List for the stolen artwork, broken appliance dolly, and a service call for an HVAC company. The total cost was $120, so now we will wait and see what happens. 

We received a check from Sweet WeePeets for the consignment sale, which was right under $500 for everything we sold this past week. I ended up with one item from the consignment sale for the kitchen, which was this scraper for $1.00. I’m such a big spender. 😂 

I was out of the house on Tuesday and Wednesday for physical therapy and a routine doctor visit. The physical therapy office had a Little Free Library in there. I picked out three cook-booklets for myself and will bring some books with me for the next time I go back.

My doctor wrote me a DME prescription for my physical therapist. Rather than having to drive back to Chattanooga to give them the prescription they allowed me to take a photo of it on my phone and text it to them, which saved me time and gas. I just love technology. 

Also on Tuesday I had a Zoom meeting about bank overdraft fees. There were three other people in the meeting with me and we spent ninety minutes in the meeting and were paid $150 for our time. Cha-Ching! 

I redeemed a $5 coupon Etsy sent to me via email and used it to purchase a Christmas present. 

On Saturday we decided to get out of the house and have some fun. Yard sales weren’t very good as it kept raining off and on all morning. So, we headed to Chattanooga and went to McKay Used Books. We brought multiple books to trade and we received $36 in trade credit. I spent all of my time in the cookbook section, which is always fun for me. 

Here is a photo I took of my new to me books. 

Here is the link to each book on Amazon, if you're interested. 

Southern Living The Slim Down South Cookbook Eating well and living healthy in the land of biscuits and bacon

Ultimate Superfoods by Kelly Pfeiffer

Good And Cheap by Leanne Brown

The Reboot with Joe Juice Diet

Vitamix Getting Started Plus The Perfect Inspiration for Every Meal

Vitamix Savor Recipes

The Great Chicago Style Pizza Cookbook by Pasquale Bruno, Jr. 

Alabama’s Historic Restaurants and their recipes by Gay N. Martin

Famous Dave’s Backroads & Sidestreets


This week I received a free copy of the Halloween Magic issue of Good Housekeeping.

My three free cook-booklets from the physical therapy office. 

Through my no spend group I received a box of four rolls of toilet paper, one box of tissues, one roll of paper towels, one bottle of Dawn dishwashing detergent, and a bar of soap. Also received a box of spaghetti, spaghetti sauce, several granola type bars, corn, soup, canned chicken, a loaf of bread, grape tomatoes, and a bag of oranges. 

Photo of the Week

This is our cat Archie, who was so busy scratching his ear this week that he didn't realize he flipped his ear backwards. LOL

Avoiding Spending

I filled up my gas tank on Wednesday, so I couldn’t avoid spending this week. 

Saving Money on Entertainment

Shadow Casting on PBS The Making of “A River Runs Through It” 

What I've been Reading This Week

Last week in the comment section, Barb told me that Rhonda over at the Down to Earth blog is back to blogging again. Rhonda is a wealth of information as is her blog, so be sure to check it out. And thank you for letting us know, Barb. 

My Frugal Halloween

60 Dinners that will $ave you Money

Thank you for dropping by my frugal blog, you are always welcome here. 

We would love to hear all about your week in the comment section.

Mortgage & Debt Free
~ Living within our Means ~
My Linktree

~ She looketh well to the ways of her household ~
Proverbs 31:27

Monday, September 18, 2023

Saving Money in my Frugal Kitchen ~ Meal Plan Monday


Saving Money in my Frugal Kitchen

My Frugal Week

We stopped in at the apple orchard on Saturday and bought a peck of Honey Crisp apples. There were some big apples in there and we ended up with 22 apples and the cost was $18.00 and they are delicious.

Recipe of the Week

This is a tried and true family favorite I’ve served in my home since 1989. I used to feed the sauce to Bailey when she was just starting to eat real foods. It’s easy to make in the crockpot on those days when you are busy doing something else. 

Swiss Steak


2 pounds round steak

1/4 cup flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 stalk celery, chopped

2 carrots, peeled and chopped

1;4 cup chopped onion

1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 - 8 ounce can tomato sauce


Cut steak into serving pieces.

Dredge in flour mixed with salt.

Place in Crockpot.

Add chopped vegetables and Worcestershire sauce.

Pour tomato sauce over all.

Cover and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours.


What’s for Dinner

Monday ~ Last of the Asian Stir-fry, Pear Salad, Green Peas, Scalloped Potatoes. 

Taco Tuesday ~ I thawed some chicken thighs in the refrigerator overnight and put those into the crockpot on Tuesday with taco and fajita seasoning mix. We made tacos out of them for dinner that night. I served them with tortillas, lettuce, tomato, onions, and cheddar cheese. 

Wednesday ~ Chicken Tacos with tortillas, cheese, lettuce, tomato and onions. 

Thursday ~ Baked Chicken Tacos, Corn on the Cob, Salad. 

Friday ~ I was on my own for dinner tonight, so I had a strawberry banana smoothie for dinner. It was cold and refreshing. 

Saturday ~ We were out of the house most of the day, so came home and cut up apples to have with peanut butter or tuna salad with crackers. We also have a couple of apple dumplings we picked up at the apple orchard. 

Sunday ~ I woke up early on Sunday and placed six chicken breasts in the crockpot for chicken today and some other days this week. I served the chicken breast with a can of mixed vegetables and made brown gravy to cover it all. 

What’s on the Menu for This Coming Week

This week I’m going to make a healthy version of Veg-All chicken casserole, Tacos, Soup Beans with Cornbread, Chicken Quesadillas, Chicken Enchiladas, Salmon, and Chili. Be sure to come back next week to see what sides we serve with these main dishes.

Mortgage & Debt Free
~ Living within our Means ~
My Linktree

~ She looketh well to the ways of her household ~
Proverbs 31:27

Friday, September 15, 2023

Third Frugal Friday of September 2023


Welcome to Frugal Friday! 

My Frugal Week

We had a bad experience with a “pro” from Angi’s List last Tuesday. I ended up filing a police report for theft and will have to file a claim to be reimbursed for the losses. 

To make a long story short, the person who does our garbage on Saturday was able to get our new air conditioner up and running for us and we are so grateful. 

That is the second time this summer I’ve gotten the run around from a “pro” on Angi, so we won’t be using them in the future. 

Tasks completed this week include washing my laundry, folding all the household laundry, steaming for Bailey, cleaning off the back porch, garbage, and weeding. 

I went to the eye doctor on Monday. I didn’t need an injection in my right eye, but he is going to keep watching it. The swelling in my left eye was much worse, so he is going to try a new medicine in four weeks and see if that helps. 

I went to the orthopedic doctor on Wednesday and received the final shot of a series of three in both knees. So far I don’t feel like it is working as well as the cortisone shots, but time will tell. 

Our electric bill this month is $192.49, which is down $53.74 from last month. I’ll take the savings and look forward to an even smaller bill next month. 

It was a quiet week here with no spending, which is always a good thing. How are things were you are located? 

Thank you for dropping by my frugal blog, you are always welcome here. 

We would love to hear all about your week in the comment section.

Mortgage & Debt Free
~ Living within our Means ~
My Linktree

~ She looketh well to the ways of her household ~
Proverbs 31:27

Monday, September 11, 2023

Saving Money in my Frugal Kitchen ~ Menu Plan Monday


Saving Money in my Frugal Kitchen

My Frugal Week

We've been in use it up mode this week and I used up several ripe/spotted bananas in smoothies for breakfast along with the last of the frozen peaches and blueberries. The blueberries were the Great Value brand and were kind of bitter, so I replaced those with the GV wild frozen blueberries and I’ll see if that makes a difference. 

We went to Walmart on Tuesday and bought a few groceries like chicken, ground beef, spices, cranberry beans, white popcorn kernels, tortillas, cauliflower rice, bean sprouts, peanut butter, frozen strawberries and blueberries. 

I took inventory of all the canned goods and dried beans we have in our pantry, which will help me a great deal with meal planning. 

There is a YouTube channel I’ve been watching this week for MeatDad. You can find him on all the popular social media platforms. He is a butcher and teaches people how to save money on meat, how to cut up large portions of meat into smaller portions, and how to cut up chicken to save you the most money. 

He demonstrated in one of his videos how buying a whole chicken was cheaper than buying two boneless skinless chicken breasts. He doesn’t blame people, but rather society for not teaching each other about these money saving skills. 

I checked the price of whole chickens at Walmart and they are $1.14 a pound right now when you buy two of the Perdue oven roasters. That is definitely cheaper than boneless, skinless thighs or chicken breasts. 

Recipe of the Week

Pico de Gallo Grilled Chicken


1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast

1 & 1/8 cup cilantro

2 limes

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

4 Roma tomatoes, diced

1/2 cup onion, diced

1 jalapeno pepper, diced

1 clove garlic, minced 


Combine one cup cilantro, juice of 1 lime and 1 teaspoon salt. 

Add chicken and marinade for 15 minutes.

Mix tomatoes, onions, garlic, cilantro and jalapeño pepper. 

Add salt and pepper to taste.

Add lime juice and toss.

Grill chicken and let it rest for a few minutes. 

Top with  Pico de Gallo mixture.

What’s for Dinner

Monday ~ Chicken Taquitos, Corn on the Cob, Fresh Broccoli. 

Tuesday ~ Movie Night Pizza

Wednesday ~ Grilled Chicken Club Croissant Sandwiches, Potato Salad. 

Thursday ~ Roasted Chicken, Baked Sweet Potatoes, Green Beans with Onions. This was the whole chicken we picked up for free during Trade Day in August. I roasted it in the crockpot with multiple spices and some orange flavored soy sauce and chicken broth. It came out moist and delicious and fed both of us for dinner with plenty of leftovers. 

Friday ~ Repeat of Thursday’s Roasted Chicken, Fried Potatoes, Green Beans. 

Saturday ~ Bailey had a movie night with a friend, so I was on my own for dinner. I made a vegetable plate with a baked sweet potato, green beans with onions, sliced tomatoes, and carrot and celery sticks with cucumber ranch for dipping. 

Sunday ~ Asian Ground Chicken with Pineapple & Toasted Sesame Oil, Cauliflower Rice, and Edamame. 

What’s on the Menu for This Coming Week

These are the items we have on hand that I can use to make meals this week. 

Chicken Breasts
Chicken Thighs
Canned Chicken
Ground Beef
Dried Beans (Great Northern, Garbanzo, October Beans)
Canned & Frozen Salmon

Be sure to come back next week to see what sides we serve with these main dishes. 
 resourceful and raid your cupboards or

Mortgage & Debt Free
~ Living within our Means ~
My Linktree

~ She looketh well to the ways of her household ~
Proverbs 31:27

Homemade yogurt that didn’t set up well – mixed with some homemade jam;

Leftover Jell-O that didn’t set up well or Jell-O that you make for this purpose from a store brand.

Juice or syrup left over from canned fruit. 

Juice that has been in the fridge and needs to be used up.

Kool-Aid or lemonade mixes bought on sale.
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