Feeding a family of seven on a $300.00 budget requires, in my opinion, some skill, planning, and determination. Although, I set a $300.00 budget for groceries even before I committed to a journey towards financial freedom, and have been successful at maintaining that budget I continue to look for ways to improve. Sometimes those improvements include: spending less than the budget but still having everything needed, including more quality foods (fruits of vegetables) while within the budget, or avoid wasting foods and/or making the groceries last longer.
HOW I AVOID WASTING GROCERY ITEMS
Planning meals is a great way to avoid wasting grocery items. When you meal plan and prepare a list, usually you only purchase foods that are necessary to prepare those meals, which in turn avoids wasting groceries or money on groceries. However, if the extensive work involved with meal planning is too much for you, then you could really just prepare meals with the foods that you already have. As a result, you are 1.) avoiding more grocery store trips, 2) saving money by not purchasing take out and 3.) preventing the food from going to waste.
Although, I utilize both techniques to avoid wasting groceries and saving money, freezing items is my most favorite and less work. I freeze most everything. I was introduced to the concept first as a child. My mom use to freeze our milk and sometimes our bread. As an adult, I took a food safety course that, at that time, said that food is safe in the fridge for about 5 days. Afterwards they should be consumed, discarded, or frozen. The first two options were obvious but the third one, freezing, had many of the students puzzled. The instructor shared that it was perfectly fine to freeze foods and that it was nothing more than “frozen meals” that we prepared ourselves as opposed to whomever prepares the frozen meals purchased from grocery stores.
Shortly afterwards, I began freezing most left overs. I purchase the compartment containers, section the meal into the compartments, cover it, and then place it in a freezer ziploc bag to ensure that it does not become freezer burned. At the point that my family or I are ready to eat it, then I thaw it out and reheat in the microwave. A very similar concept to “frozen TV dinners” with less preservatives. Aside from some left over meals that I’ve frozen, I also freeze these grocery items:
- Fruits except citrus fruits: I peel and cut up for smoothies or smoothie bowls
- Seasoning vegetables: Onions, peppers, celery, tomatoes for soups, omelets, or juicing
The two above methods combined with how I shop for a family of seven on a $300.00 budget almost ensure that I stay within budget and sometimes under.
Do you freeze dinners to eat later? Do you freeze any grocery items that I didn’t mention? Please share your food preservation or money saving tips?