Canned tomatoes have been a great help. Fortunately I had quite a few of those and they have provided pasta sauces, soups, and even a stew (with a small amount of beef I found at the back of the freezer and my last remaining cloves of garlic). Instead of buying bread, I've been using up my stocks of rolled oats and having delicious porridge for breakfast, sprinkled with blackberries I picked last year and froze. Frozen peas have gone into pasta sauces and soup. With my last two eggs, I made a Spanish omelet with onion and potato.
Today for lunch I had red lentils simmered with a stock cube, a bit of the slightly withered leek at the bottom of the fridge, and half a tin of sweetcorn - and it was delicious, with some mint from the garden snipped on top. I've been stewing prunes too from the TWO bags I discovered I had bought at a discount months ago and had forgotten about. When my four year old nephew came round yesterday, we had hot chocolate made with powdered milk - even better than the fresh kind!
I now have three days to go and stores are running low. But I haven't spent one single penny for a week and I've discovered how much wonderful food I've already got and how a little bit of ingenuity is a useful challenge.
By Lucy from Oxford, UK
Do you have a frugal story to share with the ThriftyFun community? Submit your essay here: http://www.thriftyfun.com/post_myfrugallife.ldml
You can also cut off the corner of a envelope and that will also work.
By Dorothy from New Creek, WV
By JodiT from Aurora, CO
You no doubt know which stores in your area have the best prices on food. Most stores send sale adds out, usually on Wednesdays and Sundays in my area. Sign up to get on the mailing list of the stores you frequent most, or if you can, subscribe to the newspaper or buy a newspaper on the day they send their sale ads out.
Go over the ads thoroughly. First check the foods you plan your meals around, whether meat, poultry, fish or veggies. Making the most economical choices comes first. See what is on sale, and look at seasonal foods too. Then plan for variety and nutrition.
Next, plan for ease of preparation and quick meals, if these are important to you. Other things you can plan for are making meals that provide leftovers for easy, quick meals later in the week. For example, when I make roast chicken, I know I will have leftover meat that can top a pizza, make sandwiches, or go into a casserole.
One idea is to plan your weekend meals, when you have more time to cook, to provide leftovers for 2 or more weekday meals. If you have trouble planning the week out for variety and health, you can plan like this - 2 days of ground beef, 3 of poultry, 1 of fish, 1 of vegetarian, or whatever mix works for you.
You can even take it another step, and plan a complete menu to cover two weeks, a month, etc, then just repeat that menu for however long you like. A repeating month long menu shouldn't become too boring if it has plenty of variety.
Ways to add variety are to choose different meats, a large variety of veggies, to alternate potatoes, bread, rice, grain and pasta for your starch, and to choose recipes from a variety of cuisines. No doubt there are a lot more ways to spice things up (including using a variety of herbs and spices, lol).
When I actually follow the advice I am giving, I do save money, and I actually make better meals. But I think I like most the fact that I don't even have to think about meals once I've planned them out. I put my menu on the fridge and follow it. I get the meat I want out of the freezer the day before, and know exactly what to do to get dinner on the table. So this saves me some time, too. I hope it helps some of you out there too.
By Copasetic 1 from North Royalton, OH
Next time you think no more will come out without the awful spitting, unscrew the top and pour some milk in, then put the top back on - tightly. Now shake like crazy (the container that is) and pour into a glass. Fill the rest of the glass with milk and enjoy.
By Gloria from western NY
I simply put the salad in that bowl and mix it up. Today was light day, so I just had Surimi (imitation crab), cauliflower, and the little dots are dehyrdrated cranberries. As Rachel would say, "Yummo!"
You could do the same with Hummus, too.
By Sandi A. from Salem, OR
By Marty from Knoxville, TN