Sunday, April 29

Squeezing the Budget

I recently blogged about a financial goal of mine. I guess you can say that, for me, this is the goal. So, in response to a reader comment I thought I'd provide some details on how I plan to achieve this goal.

Quite frankly, I'm going to squeeze the budget very tight!

Luckily, eating frugally does not have to mean neglecting your health. For example, eating oatmeal for breakfast on a regular basis is actually good for you. If you have cholesterol problems, for example, your doctor might recommend that you do something like this.

Similarly, brown rice, as opposed to polished white rice, contains rice bran and rice bran oils that research has shown to be very beneficial to cardiovascular health. As well, whole grains in general are a good source of fiber and can help prevent various types of cancer.

My diet is already similar to this as you can see by posts such as "Healthy and Cheap" and "Rice Cooker Bliss. So, perhaps a day of meals would be something like this:

  • Oatmeal, frozen blueberries, milk
  • Fried onions, rice, eggs
  • Roasted green peas snack
  • Fried ground beef, spices, rice
  • Cottage cheese snack
This doesn't mean that I won't mix things up here and there, or treat myself from time to time, but it does mean that I can stay fed and eat healthy on an incredibly tight budget. You can read through my blog to find some other cheap meals ideas that I've written posts about.

I'd say that $6 of oatmeal and $6 of rice will allow me to eat as much of both as I might want for an entire month. Milk, butter, onions, spices, ground beef and other meats, cottage cheese, fruits, vegetables and other additional ingredients can be used in fairly small quantities to round out meals and make sure my diet is nutritionally complete.

I'd say, based on experience, than I can shave $200 a month out of what would be a common food budget for a non-extravagant lifestyle. I'm very lucky that I honestly like these foods and don't mind eating them very frequently.

Note: Part of the recent Festival of Frugality at Money $mart Life.

Frugal Guy said...
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I'll try the rice recipes. The Fried onions, rice, eggs and Fried ground beef, spices, rice sound good.

Frugal Guy said...

They are good! :p

Half the battle with simple plain foods, in my opinion, is variety of spices and accompanying meats or vegetables.

I only use a pinch or two, but sometimes I'll put mint in fried rice, for example.

Jenny said...

Simple, whole foods are such a great way to save money and eat well. We participate in a co-op which also helps out with the budget. Every few months we'll buy 25# bags of whole grains and legumes which comprise the bulk of our diet.

Frugal Guy said...

Jenny, thanks for the note!

Sounds like a great plan... do you get the 25lb items from the coop, or have you found someplace else to buy them, as well as participating in the coop?

I think it would be incredibly helpful to the health status of society if everyone stocked up on basics like you describe... then going to the supermarkets for variety -- instead of for everything.

AZAmber said...

Your ground beef and rice recipe sounds like a Thai recipe called Khao Pat. My father was stationed in Thailand during the Vietnam War and loved this dish...When he returned home, he told my mother about it, she learned to cook it, and as a result, I grew up eating it. It was one of my favorites! It has ground beef, eggs, green onion, soy sauce and maybe some other ingredients. You might try it!

threadbndr said...

"Dirty Rice" is another dish in the same vein

Ground Beef or Turkey - fried, crumbled and drained/rinsed
Rice - cooked in beef bullion
Chopped Scallions
Cajun spices


M said...

What about fresh fruits and vegetables. Seems like you might not be getting enough with the diet you described. I agree with eating healthfully and eating whole foods, but I like to have more fruits and veggies in my diet (also I don't eat meat, but even those who do benefit from eating veggies and fruits--organic preferably, which isn't cheap).

Frugal Guy said...

Amber, Threadbender, those shound like some good ideas to try!

M, I've always been a bit light on the fruit and vegetable portion of my diet -- it's not because I'm trying to squeeze the budget.

However, I do get fruits, such as frozen blueberries or mixed field berries with breakfast, I often stock up on roasted peas as a snack, onions, tomatoes and peppers are in a fair number of dishes I make.

I recognize it may not be ideal, but I've always had an issue with getting my vegetables in. Honestly, it's why I take a super supplement. While not as good as eating more real vegetables, is better than eating the way I do and not taking the supplement.

In short, I try, but it is my recognized nutrition weak spot... thanks for pointing that out! ;)