PFC on the CHEAP part 2

Earlier this week we posted 4 great tips to get you started saving money while eating real food. Today, we've got 4 more for you! Let's jump in: Utilize leftovers. One of my favorite quick dinners is a whatever mystery vegetables I pick up from the farmers market or come in my CSA, cooked in fats that I bought in bulk with whole rotisserie chicken (check your grocer: many offer deals on certain days of the week — for example, my Whole Foods has cheap chicken Tuesday $6 for a whole free range roasted chicken!). After dinner, I ALWAYS toss the bones in the freezer to contribute to a future pot of soup. When I have a few carcasses saved up (gross, I know….) I throw them in a pot (or crockpot), cover them with water, add a splash of vinegar, put on top of the stove and let it simmer on the lowest temperature for 12-24 hours to make a delicious, and nutrient dense bone broth (Cassie did this in a TV segment too). Let it cool, then strain out the bones. Use this broth to throw together a tasty soup with whatever is left in your fridge: the last onion (sauté it in some oil), a few wilted carrot and celery sticks, a shriveled tomato on the counter, olives, any mystery veggies from the farmers market you’re not sure what to do with (kohlrabi?). This is a great opportunity to use up the last of your produce so nothing goes to waste. Make sure you add some protein! You might have some leftover grilled chicken to contribute to the pot, or this could be a good time to pull out some of the frozen stuff. Use what you’ve got: sausage, chicken, steak cubes—anything will do! When it’s all in the pot, season with salt and pepper and any herbs or spices that complement the flavor of the soup: parsley, chili powder, fresh ginger, etc. Now you have meals for a few days that are PFC balanced and just need to be heated up. You can even freeze half of it (make sure you get some single-serving sized containers so you don’t have to thaw out a huge block of soup) and you’ve got healthy frozen dinners ready to heat and eat. Head to the farm. Yea yea, I know you are super busy, but I also know you spend plenty of time on Facebook and watching Netflix. Why not take a little excursion with the family to a local dairy farm? One of the most expensive food items (yet most important when it comes to buying good quality!) items is organic dairy, and much of the high cost comes from its perishable nature and the cost to keep it cool during transportation. If you can run to the farm once or twice/month to get some fresh dairy products like milk/cream/butter/yogurt to enjoy, you’ll save money on the grocery store premiums and will know you’re getting good quality. (Plus you might get to pet a cow!) You may find that by solely consuming dairy that is the best quality, you eat less of it since you have to drive to the farm to get it, therefore saving yourself some money and possibly improving your health! Do it yourself. DIY is becoming more and more popular these days and for good reason! You can buy a quart of yogurt for $6-12 in the grocery store OR you could make it yourself at home for under $3. Making yogurt can be a bit of an undertaking if you’ve never done it and most people love the convenience of having it done for you. That said, I want to point out that part of the reason it costs so much is because someone is doing it for you. Maybe you’re not ready to make your own yogurt, but you might be ready to try a pot of soup like we talked about above! Start where you are — maybe that just means throwing together a few hard boiled eggs, an apple, and a handful of almonds as you rush out the door in the morning rather than running through the Starbucks drive through for $7 worth of coffee and oatmeal. Maybe you commit to making dinner at home during the week instead of going out every night. The more you can make at home in your own kitchen with ingredients you’ve bought on sale or in bulk, the more money you’ll save! Try making the following at home:
  • mayo
  • roasted nuts
  • salad dressing
  • beef jerky
  • nut butter
  • yogurt
  • frozen dinners (save half of your batch cooked items in individually sized portions in the freezer to pull out later)
  Do your best and don’t stress about the rest. As a society, we all strive to be perfect. With your nutrition you might find that you feel better if you cut yourself a break. No, this is not permission for a weekly pizza and beer night, but it IS permission to not worry about where the chicken came from when you’re at a friends house and they have lovingly prepared a meal for you. Start by incorporating these points:
  • Buy the best quality foods you can find and afford at the time.
  • Spend more money on high quality meats and fats as they are harboring less toxins.
  • Stock up when things go on sale or come into season.
  • Fill your freezer when you can so you have things to eat when resources are low.
  • Use all of what you buy, even if it’s not in the dish you bought it for. Make soups, stews, and stir fries with the odd bits.
  • Don’t buy too many things that come in boxes bags or have labels. As much as possible, choose real foods that haven’t been packaged and marketed to you. When you buy something in a box, you are really just buying the advertising. Make friends with the bulk section!
  • Set a realistic food budget and stick to it. Write it down, check in with it throughout the month and adjust your shopping accordingly.
As for that pantry of yours, with your new found mindfulness about how what you put in your mouth affects how you feel, it’ll be easier to toss the half-eaten bags of snacks or treats and not replace them the next time you head to the store. By cutting your dollars-spent on pre-made meals and processed snacks you’ll have a lot of room leftover in your food budget for the good stuff. This is a new way of eating, thinking, and shopping, for most people, so cut yourself a break while you learn. If you need help, we’re always here for you! And check out PFC on the Cheap Part 3! What are YOUR favorite money saving tips when it comes to grocery shopping? Leave your ideas below!

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