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Food


  • How to create a frugal holiday dinner for four or more (9 comments)
    This article is by staff writer Lisa Aberle.

    From late November until early January, we fill our stomachs and empty our wallets. As I sat down to plan my own little family’s Christmas dinner, I didn’t mind the stomach-filling so much, but I would like to keep our wallets as full as possible too … without the necessity of tapping into our online savings account. So, I decided to calculate some holiday feasts … on a…

  • How you and your community can improve your finances (6 comments)
    This article is by staff writer Lisa Aberle.

    Have you ever received a financial boost by being part of a community? Back in April, I wrote about how (and why) to build community. Along with the article, we also conducted a survey (both of the GRS community and, later, of the general population) about points in the article. The survey covered questions such as: Does your community improve your lifespan? Can you rely on…

  • 3 ways to beat McDonald’s All-Day Breakfast menu on speed and price (27 comments)
    This article is by staff writer Lisa Aberle.

    Are there seasons in your life where you’re more likely to swing through the drive-thru because you’re tired, stressed, or overwhelmed? Fall is like that for me. My friends start talking boots and flannel. Pumpkin Spice Lattes start showing up in my Instagram feed. And the corn mazes and pumpkin farms open for business. And me? While I love colorful leaves and impossibly blue autumn skies…

  • 19 tips for building your own food bank (29 comments)
    This is a guest post from former GRS staff writer Donna Freedman.

    Grocery prices got you down? Fight back by building your own food bank, i.e., a pantry full of staples you bought at rock-bottom prices. This is not emergency food, mind you, to be saved for the next hurricane or other disaster. The point is to eat from this pantry all along, replenishing when prices are best. The practice saves you money in…

  • So easy, it’s barely cooking: Healthy, simple recipes (10 comments)
    This article is by staff writer Honey Smith.

    Recently, I wrote about meal planning and delivery services. Most of the meal delivery services that I found were priced similarly per meal to most of the fast-casual restaurants in my area. To me, at least, that’s rarely worth it, especially when you consider that with, many such services, you still have to do the cooking yourself. One reason a service like that might be worth…

  • 35 tips for packing a lunch your kid will eat (21 comments)
    This is an article from former GRS staff writer Donna Freedman.

    About four in 10 elementary school students bring lunch from home. But it’s not likely to be a good one, according to a 2014 study from Tufts University. Not one of the lunchboxes examined met all five National School Lunch Program standards, and only 27 percent of the meals met at least three NSLP recommendations (fruits, vegetables, low- or nonfat dairy, whole grains,…

  • Meal plans and delivery programs — costly or cost-effective? (29 comments)
    This article is by staff writer Honey Smith.

    The three biggest items in most people’s budgets are usually housing, transportation, and food. That’s because they are needs; but like most needs, costs can range from the inexpensive, no-frills version to the outrageously expensively extravagances seen on some reality TV shows. For example, you could live in a studio apartment or a mansion, take shanks’ mare or drive a luxury car, slap a PB &…

  • 7 grocery staples more expensive this summer (15 comments)
    This article is by staff writer Lisa Aberle.

    Summer may not have arrived according to the calendar, but it sure seems like it’s arrived based on the weather. The sunshine and balmy breezes may have you dreaming of backyard barbeques, luscious produce, and fresh salads. But your grill’s charcoal might not be the only thing on fire this year. Some food prices are heating up too, so watch your food budget. Beef After planning…

  • Advantages of online grocery shopping (40 comments)
    This article is by staff writer Lisa Aberle.

    As someone who doesn’t like to shop for groceries (or lug them all from my car to the house), the thought of finding a service that helps me avoid the check-out line altogether is very appealing. A service that would put my groceries away would be even more amazing, but I won’t get carried away. Even without that added bonus, though, the advantages start to stack…

  • Will canning your food save you money? (44 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Lisa Aberle. When I was a child, we lived on a farm that had a grape arbor loaded with Concord grapes. Each September, my mom would can jars upon jars of grape juice, and I have fond memories of evenings around the kitchen table as our family ate popcorn and drank that delicious stuff (which doesn’t taste like anything I’ve ever purchased from a store). Well, apparently, nostalgia set…

  • Dinner ideas — cooking “flexipe” style to save money (41 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Lisa Aberle. I’ve been cooking for years. Although, if you ask my husband, I’ve been screwing up fried eggs for just as long. (His secret: Fry them on low to avoid cooking the egg too quickly.) So I am no genius in the kitchen, but I am getting better. Flexible cooking I used to follow recipes exactly, afraid to deviate at all. (Didn’t have all the ingredients? Find another…

  • Eating healthy on a slim budget (72 comments)

    This article is by staff writer April Dykman. I spend almost as much on groceries as I do on my mortgage. Now, before you spit your coffee all over your keyboard, you should know that my mortgage is pretty low, lower than what some of my friends pay in rent. And for me, “groceries” includes all of the extras one buys at grocery stores, like paper towels and soap and the latest issue of the…

  • Cutting grocery bills: Aldi and bulk-food stores (68 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Lisa Aberle. No matter what I do, we’re still spending more on food each month than I want to be spending. Two of my weapons in the battle to lower my food bill that I haven’t talked about yet are Aldi and bulk-food stores. One thing I don’t like to do is stop at several different stores, so I don’t shop at all stores every week, or even every two weeks….

  • Food spending: When bad habits attack (94 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Holly Johnson. In 2010, my husband and I were pregnant with our second child. And although we were making plenty of money, we were burning through all we made at lightning speed. Yep, we were wasting it. In fact, we were spending money we didn’t even have by financing cars, miscellaneous purchases, and trips. And, even though we had a baby on the way and two rental properties, we didn’t have…

  • How to meal plan and save some cash (62 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Lisa Aberle. Few questions are as unwelcome or unanswerable (at least in my house) as “What’s for dinner?” Every few months, I make futile attempts to meal plan or grocery shop smarter. I spread out cookbooks, I write down recipes, I make shopping lists, and then everything disappears (it seems) and I am back to my usual chaotic “It’s 4:45 and what are we going to eat again?!” In…

  • A wine guide for frugal folks (31 comments)

    This article is from J.D. Roth, who founded Get Rich Slowly in 2006. After a year off, J.D. is once again writing here at GRS. His non-financial writing can still be found at More Than Money. Kim and I first connected on a wine tour 18 months ago. Perhaps it’s not surprising, then, that we’ve continued to build our relationship over glasses of chardonnay and carménère and (especially) Champagne. We enjoy wine, and we’ve had…

  • Save money by cutting food waste (45 comments)

    This post is from staff writer Lisa Aberle. I barely brushed the surface of combating food waste in a recent article, but the comments added so much to the article that I thought I could stop at just one. And then I found some more statistics. In the U.S.: We waste 40 percent of edible food It costs $750 million just to dispose of the food we waste And when you consider the extra costs of packaging, transporting,…

  • The sneaky sales strategies of your local grocery store (98 comments)

    It’s Thursday, and I’ve been to the grocery store five times this week. This isn’t normal for me. Usually, I take the time to plan and list what I need and get everything in one frugal, fell swoop. Not this week. Nope — this week I battled with work, deadlines and 14 days’ worth of laundry. They all won — I surrendered. In fact, after I write this, I’ll be making yet another trip to…

  • Food fight: Waging a war against food waste (93 comments)

    Back in December, I decided to eat more fruits and vegetables. No matter what, I was going to eat more of them. And that’s saying something, especially since I’ve created a few excuses to avoid eating healthy food. Even though my main excuse wasn’t the expense, it’s still an obstacle to healthy eating. At least, that’s a common excuse I hear when eating better food comes up in conversation. And I wanted to know if…

  • Which is Cheaper: In the Kitchen (87 comments)

    Until the end of this week, we’re sharing “audition” pieces from folks interested in being new staff writers at Get Rich Slowly. Your job is to let us know what you think of each of these writers. Pay attention, give feedback, and after a couple of weeks we’ll ask which writers you prefer. This article is from long-time GRS reader Sarah Greesonbach. Her first audition piece was about surviving student loans. Here at GRS, we’ve…

  • The Reckoning (or, What Mint Revealed) (298 comments)

    For the next week (or two), we’ll be sharing “audition” pieces from folks interested in being new staff writers at Get Rich Slowly. Your job is to let us know what you think of each of these writers. Pay attention, give feedback, and after a couple of weeks we’ll ask which writers you prefer. This article is from Honey Smith, who says she’s at the beginning of her debt-reduction journey. Honey’s first audition piece was…

  • Want to Save on Groceries? Cook like a Peasant (145 comments)

    This post is by staff writer April Dykman, who just discovered the wonders of walnut sponge cake. Ever notice how most cultures have their own take on rice? Risotto in Italy, Spanish rice in Mexico, dirty rice in New Orleans, paella in Spain — all filling dishes that can satisfy a family with just a few ingredients. In fact, it could be argued that some of the most famous (and delicious) meals were invented by…

  • Three Game Plans for a DIY Valentine’s Day (72 comments)

    This post is from staff writer April Dykman. I love Valentine’s Day. I know many people don’t — they think it’s a commercial holiday that makes people feel obligated to drag themselves to the pink and red grocery aisle and sort through an explosion of cellophane-wrapped chocolates, candy hearts, hideous stuffed animals, and $4 cards. Love is expensive! And all this trouble just to say, “I love you.” And, they argue, why only show your…

  • How to stock your liquor cabinet on the cheap (108 comments)

    This post is by staff writer Tim Sullivan. It’s Friday night. A few friends and I are debating whether or not to go to the college bars down the street to get a drink when my friend Steve chimes in that his apartment is just up the way, and says, with his chest slightly puffed, “I have a fully stocked liquor cabinet — something for everyone.” Steve obviously likes to keep his apartment ready for…

  • Reader Story: The 30-Day No-Restuarant Challenge (136 comments)

    This guest post from Michelle is part of the “reader stories” feature at Get Rich Slowly. This seems like a natural follow-up to Friday’s reader question about when to start a family. Some stories contain general advice; others are examples of how a GRS reader achieved financial success — or failure. These stories feature folks from all levels of financial maturity and with all sorts of incomes. My family just finished a month-long hiatus from…

  • Food Fight: Does Healthy Food Have to Be More Expensive? (286 comments)

    This post is from staff writer April Dykman, who recently wrote about taking apple turnovers to the next level. Last month a food fight erupted when Anthony Bourdain, chef, author, and host of the Travel Channel’s “No Reservations”, was asked by TV Guide to give his opinion of a handful of celebrity chefs and cooks. Of cooking show host Paula Deen, he criticized how unhealthy her food is, saying, “If I were on at seven…

  • Ask the Readers: How Much Do You Spend on Food? (399 comments)

    Five years ago, I posted the first-ever “Ask the Readers” question here at Get Rich Slowly. “How much do you spend on food?” I asked in a short post (the likes of which one never sees around here anymore). For five years, people have been posting their food budgets for others to see. Shauna wrote earlier this week asking for an update: Would you consider doing an update to the “How much does your household…

  • American Cookery: Magazine Ads from 1939 (26 comments)

    My wife knows me pretty well. At a recent garage sale, Kris picked up the November 1939 issue of American Cookery magazine. She wanted it for the recipes. But after she was finished, she handed it off to me. “You’ll want to look at the ads,” she said. She was right. Fun trivia: American Cookery magazine was originally called The Boston Cooking-School Magazine. The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book was first published in 1896 and written…

  • Recipe: Spicy Pickled Carrots (37 comments)

    This guest post from my wife is yet another installment in her ongoing quest to grow and preserve food for our household. I’ve had the canning bug pretty bad for the last week or two. But although Spring has officially begun, our garden is months away from producing anything worth turning into jam, pickles, or other home-canning treasures. Plus, farmers’ markets and produce stands are still closed for the season. Summer harvests can be beautiful….

  • Fight Rising Prices by Building Your Own Food Bank (102 comments)

    This post is from new GRS staff writer Donna Freedman. Donna writes the Living With Less personal finance column for MSN Money, and writes about frugality and intentional living at Surviving And Thriving. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, food prices are expected to rise as much as 5.5% in 2011. Those prices aren’t likely to go back down. So why not invest in food futures, i.e., your own pantry? Put it this way:…

  • Wine on a budget: How to get good deals on wine (72 comments)

    The holiday season is upon us, the time of year for family, friends, food — and wine. Yes, it’s true, I associate the holidays with alcohol. It never used to be this way (probably because I didn’t drink), but for the past five years, I’ve spent late November stocking our wine rack. There are several reasons for this: From mid-November to mid-January, the local supermarkets have huge wine sales. Every winter, Consumer Reports lists holiday…

  • Waste Less Food, Save More Money (79 comments)

    Coming home after more than three weeks in Europe, our refrigerator was practically bare. Kris and I love food, and our fridge is usually filled to the gills with tons of good stuff, so seeing the vast emptiness was almost shocking. But in a good way. One of the drawbacks to keeping a full fridge is that we sometimes lose track of what we have on hand. It sucks to dig behind the smoked salmon…

  • The Joys of Home Canning (53 comments)

    This guest post from my wife is yet another installment in her ongoing quest to grow and preserve food for our household. Making jam makes me happy. Okay, that’s only partly true. I’m also happy making jelly, preserves, and syrups — and I’m pretty darn pleased with conserves, marmalades, and most things pickled. No matter that I could never eat everything I make — even with J.D.’s help — the mere process is somehow satisfying…

  • Save Money by Baking Your Own Bread (64 comments)

    Ah, at last: The sun has arrived in Oregon. It’s not hot, but it’s warm, and we’ll take it. The coming of summer means I can stop whining about the rain, and it also means that Kris and I have started baking bread more often. (During the winter, our house is too cold for the dough to rise.) We’re still using the easy and cheap home-made bread recipe we stumbled upon a couple of years…

  • Extreme Personal Finance: Eating Well on One Dollar a Day (74 comments)

    Last Thursday, Ron Lieber (who writes the “Your Money” column for The New York Times) posted an innocuous little tweet: This person will have book deal & Today show slot in 5 minutes. RT @marypilon Personal finance blogger eats on $1/day. http://bit.ly/aeGlmC To translate into plain English, Jeffrey from the Grocery Coupon Guide blog undertook a little experiment last month. In response to a challenge from his sister he “ate well” on just a buck…

  • The Savvy Shopper’s Guide to the Farmers’ Market (48 comments)

    This post is from GRS staff writer April Dykman. Shopping at a farmers’ market is a great way to eat healthier and support local agriculture, but if you’ve ever been to one, you know that the food isn’t cheap. When you’re used to fairly inexpensive tomatoes from the supermarket, the price of locally-grown, heirloom tomatoes can be a bit of a shock, leading some consumers to wonder what makes the market tomatoes so much pricier….

  • Four Cheap and Healthy Grains (43 comments)

    This post is from GRS staff writer April Dykman. We all know that cooking meals at home can save money. For some (like me), it’s a lot of fun, too, but it’s easy to get in a rut — which is where I found myself last year. Brown rice was my go-to side dish, but there are only so many ways to cook the stuff before your taste buds get bored. That’s when I discovered…

  • The Art of the Potluck (36 comments)

    This is a guest post from my wife. Today’s my deadline for turning in the manuscript for Your Money: The Missing Manual (which has an official cover now!). I still have to finish the retirement chapter, so I’m hunkered down in the word mines. While I’m spending all of my time at the office, Kris came to the rescue with an article about one of our favorite frugal pastimes: potlucks with friends. J.D. and I…

  • The Best Pot Roast Ever: A Frugal Recipe for November (48 comments)

    “It’s been a long time since you shared a recipe at Get Rich Slowly,” I told Kris last week. “What about that pot roast recipe?” she asked. “You love that.” “Yes. Yes, I do,” I said. This guest post from my wife may be the best thing I’ve ever shared at Get Rich Slowly. It’s certainly the tastiest. I’m usually a from-scratch kind of cook, and the sort of “semi-homemade” ingredients for this pot roast…

  • Slash Your Grocery Bill With Store-Brand Products (136 comments)

    The October 2009 issue of Consumer Reports contains an article extolling the virtues of generic store-brand products. While shoppers used to sacrifice quality when choosing generic, that’s no longer the case. From the article: If concern about taste has kept you from trying store-brand foods, hesitate no more. In blind tests, our trained tasters compared a big national brand with a store brand in 29 food categories. Store and national brands tasted about equally good…

  • A Visit to the Island of Misfit Foods (84 comments)

    This is a guest post from Karawynn, who writes about personal finance at Pocketmint. Karawynn is a potential Staff Writer for Get Rich Slowly. Karawynn has been blogging since before “blogging” was a word. About a mile from my house there’s a slightly shabby strip mall housing a Dollar Store, a Ross Dress for Less, and something called a ‘Grocery Outlet’. For two years I’ve driven past that sign — on my way to Costco,…

  • Buying Food: Grocery Shopping Tips from 1950 (51 comments)

    The American housewife! Who has a more important or more responsible occupation? Wife, mother, laundress, counselor, maid, chef, purchasing agent. All of these are her duties at one time or another. So begins Buying Food, a home economics film from 1950. Buying Food is fascinating not just for its shopping tips, but also for the inside look at a grocery store from 60 years ago. (Self-service grocery stores were introduced in 1916 and grew in…

  • Cut Your Food Costs With a Stand-Alone Freezer (65 comments)

    Kris and I recently bought another side of beef. Well, to be more accurate, we purchased one third of a cow. Every year, we go in with several other families to split an animal. This year, our portion of the purchase comprised: 46 pounds of lean hamburger (in 24 packs) 36-1/8 pounds of roasts (in 10 packs) 31-1/4 pounds of steak (in 20 packs) We also received 2-1/4 pounds of beef tongue that we’re giving…

  • Eating Organic on a Frugal Budget (48 comments)

    Is it possible to eat local organic food on a food-stamp budget? That’s the question Salon’s Siobhan Phillips set out to answer recently. For one month, Phillips and her husband gave themselves a budget of $248 to “eat ethically” in New Haven, Connecticut. She writes: I had wondered about the elitism of ethical eating ever since I started reading about the movement in books like The Omnivore’s Dilemma, Fast Food Nation, and Food Politics. When…

  • 3 Easy and Delicious Ways to Preserve Your Berry Harvest (20 comments)

    This is a guest post from my wife, who has her own fan club around here. “You should have a section at GRS called Kris’ corner,” one reader wrote recently. That’s unlikely to happen, but she’s happy to drop by now and then with recipes and helpful hints. Here’s what she has to say about fresh berries. Berry season is beginning in Oregon. Strawberries ripen first, and they’re followed quickly by raspberries, blueberries, currants, and…

  • Starting Seeds Indoors: Jump-Start Your Garden Today (56 comments)

    This is a guest post from my wife, who has received several requests to describe her method for starting seeds indoors. In some parts of the U.S., vegetable and flower seeds can be successfully planted directly into the garden. But in many areas, the growing season is too short to allow this. Cool spring soil temperatures and cold weather can prevent seeds from germinating or kill young seedlings. If you wait until the weather warms,…

  • Confessions of a Butcher: Eating Steak on a Hamburger Budget (39 comments)

    Every week, I receive a couple of books in the mail from authors and publishers. (This week there were six!) They’re hoping that I’ll find time to review their work at Get Rich Slowly. I do my best, but it’s impossible to read everything. When John Smith offered to send me his book, Confessions of a Butcher, I wasn’t expecting much. I’ve read a few niche books like this, and they’re usually uninspiring. As a…

  • 7 Tips for Starting Your Own Vegetable Garden (76 comments)

    Early January. Though it’s the dead of winter, many of us are dreaming about our summer vegetable gardens. The seed catalogs have begun to appear in the mailbox. Kris and I received eight of them today: Images of summer… It might seem crazy to start thinking about a vegetable garden in January. It’s cold outside! But believe it or not, now is the perfect time to begin preparing for a successful autumn harvest. Over the…

  • Finding Good Wines at Great Prices: Expert Advice for Frugal Wine Lovers (70 comments)

    I love wine but I’m not a wine snob. I don’t speak the lingo, and I don’t want to. All I know is that some wines taste better than others, and that some wines cost more than others. For me, the best bottle of wine is one that tastes great but doesn’t break the bank. With the dinner party season coming up, how can I find good wines at great prices? I turned to Gary…

  • The GRS Garden Project: November Update (30 comments)

    During 2008, my wife and I are tracking how much time and money we spend growing food. This is the report for November. This month’s garden update is small. As winter approaches, there’s less for us to do, and all that we harvest are herbs (and those only occasionally). Our major garden task this month was raking leaves. For most people, this is simply yardwork, but for us it’s a chance to work on the…

  • The GRS Garden Project: October Update (39 comments)

    During 2008, my wife and I are tracking how much time and money we spend growing food. This is the report for October. October can be something of a relief for gardeners. The bulk of the harvest is finished, and all that remains is to pick the last straggling fruits and vegetables, and to begin cleaning up. While it’s sad that the harvest is winding to a close, it’s comforting to know there’ll be a…

  • How to Make Your Own Canned Salsa (16 comments)

    This is a guest post from my wife. Several readers asked for our canned salsa recipe, so here it is. J.D. and I already have our favorite fresh salsa down to a science, but we only get to enjoy it for a few short months when real tomatoes are in season. In order to see us through the rest of the year, I went searching for a canned salsa recipe that we’d like just as…

  • Frugality in Practice: Home Canning (59 comments)

    “What do you do with all that produce?” one reader asked recently about our garden. “Do you really eat it all, or does it go to waste?” We eat it, but not at once. Though we enjoy a lot of the food fresh from the garden, we preserve most of it for later. I’m fortunate that Kris loves to can, and so we enjoy the fruits of our labor year-round. Canning was once a vital…

  • Hidden Price Increases at the Grocery Store (145 comments)

    “Look at this,” Kris said yesterday when she returned from grocery shopping. She held up two yogurt containers for me to see. “So what?” I said. “Black cherry yogurt.” “Look closer,” she said.   “That one’s smaller,” I said. “Did they change the container size?” “Yes,” she said. “But they didn’t change the price.” The incredible shrinking yogurt I’ve received several e-mails lately from readers noting the same thing. They go to buy a product…

  • How to Make Your Own Small-Batch Strawberry Jam (9 comments)

    This is a guest post from my wife. Making your own jam doesn’t have to be a big production. While it’s sometimes most efficient to do things in bulk with all the right gear, the small-scale option can be better if you’re just starting out and want to make jam without much initial investment. Also, for the home gardener it’s common to have only a few cups of berries ripe at any one time, rather…

  • Buying Cheap Spices: Unit Pricing in Action (67 comments)

    In yesterday’s discussion of how unit pricing can save you money, John made a passing comment that merits closer attention. He wrote: I use unit price all the time when shopping and it’s super convenient that the stores do it for you. I did an analysis of spices that come prepackaged versus a bulk food store here and the difference is ridiculous! John wanted to stock up on basic spices, but didn’t want to spend…

  • Oven-Roasted Asparagus: A Quick and Frugal Recipe for April (38 comments)

    This is a guest post from my wife, who has her own little fan club around here. Maybe she should start a food blog! Asparagus used to be one of those foods that I loved to eat restaurants, but rarely made at home. For some reason I thought it was difficult to prepare, or that you needed special equipment to do so. Eventually I learned the error of my ways, and I’ve been happily cooking…

  • Cinnamon Spice Muffins: An Easy, Frugal Recipe for March (31 comments)

    This is a guest post from my wife, whose January recipe for baked potato soup garnered rave reviews. March in our part of Oregon means rain, rain, rain. I’d like to be out working in the yard, but the cold and wind keep me inside where I work off my frustration by baking. This easy and frugal recipe is nice for a brunch or family breakfast. Cinnamon Spice Muffins don’t call for any exotic ingredients…

  • The GRS Garden Project: January Update (35 comments)

    During 2008, my wife and I will be tracking how much time and money we spend growing food in our garden. (Important note: Kris tells me she is not going to track her time, which may throw a monkey wrench into the works, but I’m going to do my best to coax her into providing this information anyhow.) January is always a slow month in the garden, but it’s also full of promise. It’s time…

  • Hearty Baked Potato Soup: A Quick and Frugal Recipe for January (60 comments)

    This is a guest post from my wife. You can find many versions of cream-of-potato soup on the internet, ranging from those made with instant mashed potatoes flakes and dried onions, to gourmet creations that use Yukon Golds and heavy cream. The recipe below is my favorite for those nights when a cold wind is blowing outside, I haven’t planned something specific for dinner, and I’m low on fresh produce. I almost always have the…

  • The Year-Long GRS Project: How Much Does a Garden Really Save? (108 comments)

    Kris and I are huge fans of gardening. We grow our own flowers, herbs, fruit, berries, and vegetables. We’re not able to supply all of our needs, but we do what we can. For the past two years, I’ve argued that this is an excellent way to save money if you have the time and the space. But is it really? An actual weekend harvest from August 2006. During the next year, Kris and I…

  • How to Eat at a Swanky Restaurant Without Blowing Your Monthly Food Budget (81 comments)

    Kris and I joined some friends last weekend for a 40th birthday celebration at Bluehour, a swanky Portland restaurant. While the other couples spent $150 to $250 for their meals, we escaped paying only $52, including tip. We hadn’t planned to do this, but our unintentional parsimony taught us a few ways to save the next time we dine out at a fancy restaurant: Eat a healthy snack before you go to take the edge…

  • Ask the Readers: Tips and Tricks to Save on Food? (119 comments)

    Food budgets vary widely, even for similar families living in the same city. As we’ve discussed in the past, one family of four might budget $800/month for food, while another budgets $300, and a third spends $520. Many people wonder how it’s possible to eat so inexpensively. Mallow’s recent post in the forums is typical: I have no idea how you guys are living off of $120-$150 a month for food. Either the groceries around…

  • The Grocery Game (70 comments)

    For years, Kris and I have used coupons as one tool to get lower prices when shopping for groceries. Some people are opposed to coupons, but we’ve found that they help us to save money. (Number one tip: don’t use a coupon to buy something you wouldn’t normally purchase.) In the Get Rich Slowly forums, we’ve been discussing how much the average family spends on food. MITBeta wrote: Our budget (two adults and a seven-month-old)…

  • Grocery Store vs. Farmers Market: Which Has the Cheapest Produce? (48 comments)

    Last year I asked, “How much do you spend on food?” Answers varied widely. Some commenters couldn’t comprehend that others could spend so much — or so little. I’ve always believed that buying produce at the farmers market is a good way to cut food costs. But is it really? This weekend I decided to find out. Over the past two days, I’ve surveyed produce prices at five different locations: the farmers market, a produce…

  • 16 Ways to Eat Healthy While Keeping it Cheap (193 comments)

    This is a guest post by Mehdi, author of StrongLifts.com. If you enjoy this post, check out his site. Eating healthy is important. . Eating healthy: Lowers disease risks Increases productivity Gives you more energy Makes you stronger You probably think eating healthy is expensive. I’ll be honest — it is. But there are tricks to spare your savings account and keep it low cost. Here are sixteen ways to eat more healthy while keeping…

  • An Introduction to Square-Foot Gardening (73 comments)

    I grew up in the country — gardening meant a large plot, plowed and raked, and then planted with long, widely-space rows of vegetables. It also meant weeding and hoeing, weeding and hoeing. Gardening was a chore. When Kris and I bought our first home, we both wanted a vegetable garden, but we didn’t want the drudgery that came with it. Besides, we didn’t have a big space in the country — we had an…

  • How to Eat Vegetarian on the Cheap (41 comments)

    I recently posted two articles for frugal carnivores: a guide to cheap cuts of beef and another on on how to buy a side of beef. GRS-reader Sally has produced an introduction to eating vegetarian for cheap. Though her tips are for herbivores, many are useful to omnivores, as well. About a year-and-a-half ago, for health reasons, my husband and I committed ourselves to a mostly vegetarian lifestyle. At home we eat entirely vegetarian; when…

  • Making the Most of Cheap Cuts of Beef (17 comments)

    You don’t need to buy a side of beef to get cheap, great-tasting meat. Excellent inexpensive steaks and roasts are available at every supermarket. Here’s a brief guide to common cuts. The information in this article is derived from two Cook’s Illustrated pieces: “An Illustrated Guide to Beef Roasts” (Nov/Dec 2002) and “Tasting: Inexpensive Steaks” (Sep/Oct 2005). Inexpensive Steaks These steaks were priced $6.99/pound or less when Cook’s Illustrated tested them in 2005. Best Cuts…

  • DIY Microwave Popcorn (38 comments)

    Back in the Olden Dayes, we made popcorn on the stove. If we were good, then Sunday night before The Wonderful World of Disney, mom would heat some oil in a skillet and pop the corn. It was delicious. Then, of course, came the microwave, and with it came popcorn in a bag. It’s all so very convenient. But sometimes I miss the Olden Dayes. Here’s an old AskMetafilter question (found via frykitty): “Is it…