Sunday, June 28, 2009

Healthy food on a budget

Back in the day...when we had a regular income, I used to cruise around the grocery store throwing whatever I wanted in my cart. I knew nothing about budget shopping and didn't think I needed to know anything about budget shopping. We all need to know about budget shopping. No matter your financial situation being smart about your grocery bill can help you save a ton of money.
What do I wish I would have known then that I know now? Buy Frozen! Frozen foods are cheaper and easier than non-frozen foods and I promise if you came to my house and sat at my dinner table you wouldn't know the difference. One of my absolute favorite products is Tyson 100% natural boneless skinless chicken breast which comes flash frozen in bags of 6 breasts per bag. We practically live on this chicken. You can cook it from frozen or put it in a pan in the fridge and let it thaw over night. It generally costs between $6 and $9 a bag. I never buy it at higher than $6 a bag. When I am at the store I always check to see how much it is going for and if it is on sale for $6 I buy as many bags as I can. This chicken has no artificial ingredients, no hormones administered and is recommended by the American Heart Association. The best part is that I cook it for my toddler and 6 year old with nothing on it and they love it!
Frozen fish is another one of my budget secrets. Most people think of frozen fish sticks when I say frozen this is about heatlthy food on a budget...we don't do fried fish in this house. I buy frozen tilapia filets. Fresh non-frozen fish costs a fortune and is far from being budget friendly. Different stores carry different brands, but all of the ones we have tried so far have been great. They come in bags individually wrapped with about 8 fillets per bag for about $7.75 per bag. I know you can find them at Walmart and Target, but you are probably going to have to look for them they aren't as advertised as other products. I am a huge supporter of fish, it is probably one of the all around healthiest meats you can eat. Not only do we eat fish when we can we also take fish oil pills and give fish oil pills to our dogs.
Now onto the sides. We eat a ton of veggies! Once again, unless there is a sale, we buy frozen. Walmart carries a brand called Great Value that is a good bargain. A 1 lb. bag of frozen veggies costs you $0.98 a bag. You can get frozen carrots, green beans, corn, peas, etc. To cook I throw the veggies in a tupperware container, pour 2 tablespoons of water over them and cook for 6-8 minutes. I usually don't season them because whatever is leftover after dinner will be lunch or a snack for our toddler the next day.
Instead of buying expensive snacks for the kids I buy a big bag of pretzels, animal crackers, goldfish or whatever and spend 5 minutes with Ziploc baggies and divide them up into snack bags. This is better than buying snack bags because you know how much your kids will eat better than the snack companies and it saves you a ton of money.
In order to not turn this post into a 20 page essay I am going to leave it short and write more about money saving shopping including making your own household cleaners in later posts. Let me know if you have any tips or ideas you would like me to share with my readers!

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