Food Budgeting Part 2

Here’s a link to Part 1
I’ll jump right in. Breakfast at our house when we were super poor was almost always oatmeal or grits. Why? Because oats bought it bulk are hella cheap. When we’re not super poor I always keep bread for toast and eggs around. Why? Because eggs with toast or potatoes is still pretty inexpensive and it keeps everyone full. (Also my kids are a little obsessed with eggs, but that’s its own thing.)

Notice anything missing? Cold cereal. Cold cereal is really expensive compared to other breakfasts. To feed everyone enough oatmeal to keep them full costs me less than a dollar, to feed everyone a decent quality cereal (so not 50% sugar) that will keep them full is usually around $5. Part of that is that we have to have milk, part of it is just the reality that cold cereal costs a lot more per serving always.

Lunch is usually people fending for themselves. My kids are old enough to make their own sandwiches, salads, grab their own fruit, or open a box of crackers. I try really hard to always keep fresh and dried fruit on hand that they can get to whenever they’re hungry.

Now that we’re not so mind numbingly poor we eat different for dinner. Lots of fresh veggies, lots of fish, lots of awesome things I find on pinterest. You know… all the stuff I couldn’t afford before. But this week I’m saving up most of my money for when Kristen comes to visit so we’re doing a little super budgeting flashback so I can spent all of next week hitting up breweries and eating sushi with her.

So here’s a few cheapy cheapy dinners.
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Grilled cheese and tomato soup is cheap… but this is the even cheaper version I discovered when we were really stretching the money. A family sized can of tomato soup, an $.88 loaf of french bread (thank you WinCo), and some shredded cheese that I also got obnoxiously cheap cause it was on sale. I cut the french bread pretty thin, put some butter and garlic powder on top, and let that crisp up in the oven while it preheated. Once they were toasted I flipped them over, added cheese to the other side, and threw it under the broiler for a minute.

Then I cut them into little sticks because A)it’s easier to dip that way, B)it’s easier for tiny kid fingers that way, and C)Verona thinks it’s fancy and we’re very into Fancy Nancy right now. This fed 5 people tonight for about $3. BAM!

Here’s another winner, bean quesadillas. Because meat is expensive yo.
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One can of refried beans, one can of black beans, one can of tomatoes, and a healthy scoop full of rice all mixed together. The rice is 100% because it’s cheap as hell and will make the filling stretch twice as far. Rice is magic. Slammed between two tortillas with some cheese. It costs about $5 to feel 6-7 people, or $5 to feed my family dinner tonight AND tomorrow. (It’d be even cheaper if I used dried beans instead of canned but the amount of extra effort involved to save $1 isn’t usually worth it for me.)

The truly magic thing about this dish is we almost always have the canned stuff and rice already but if we didn’t have money for cheese… ta-da! Now it’s a burrito instead! No cheese necessary! And if we couldn’t afford tortillas but had the cheese… ta-da! Mix the cheese in with the rest of the filling and just grill it up in the pan like a weird Mexican falafal. Poverty at it’s finest.

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