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Cheap Eats

January 22nd, 2020 at 09:11 pm

Do you ever sit and figure out how much your meal cost you? I don't do it by person since it is just the two of us, but I often estimate how much we spent on what we consumed as we sit down to eat.

Last night, for example, was fairly reasonable. It was the leftover pork loin roast, leftover green beans, and I had two sweet potatoes I baked, and then cottage cheese, sliced cherry tomatoes, and fruit salad. I always try to divide stuff by the meals, not taking the whole initial cost of the pork loin roast for the first meal. I think it cost us around $7, and that is counting the fact I brewed ice tea too. That is for the two of us. Not $7 each.

Of course some meals are more expensive. I fixed wings the other night and I think the package of wings was a little under $7 and that was before I made a coating for them or added other things to go with. But still, eating at home is far cheaper than eating out, at least I think it is.

I have a friend who brags about finding cheap meals and when he talks about them, he's going to fast food. I guess if you eat off the dollar menu or whatever they have, it might be cheaper, but I can't imagine it being cheaper since most of the stuff is pretty small. Not to mention, there's a reason these items are cheaper, many are made with flavorings and preservatives. He's always talking about all his health issues and as much as I would like to say perhaps a better diet would help, I don't. I guess I'm a chicken.

He made some comments about all my canning. Granted, I could probably find canned green beans cheaper than buying fresh green beans and canning them myself, but I hope to keep canning them to get away from the salt and preservatives. DH had a good tomato crop this year and I made a lot of spaghetti sauce as well as canning some of the tomatoes. I have used quite a bit of the stuff I've canned already. This friend said he couldn't believe we would use even half of it before the next summer. There's something pretty exciting to opening the cabinet and see the jars lined up, ready to be used.

Tonight we are having pork chops. Our Kroger has a little deli counter like where you can choose the meat you want. I buy one thick boneless pork chop and then slice it in half and that makes enough of a meal for both of us. I find it more reasonable than buying the package of pork chops. Plus, it is probably healthier for us to eat less meat. I think our meal tonight will run around $7 again. I don't think that is too bad. Lunch was around $10 today. I buy a special tea to make that although it has a good, sweet flavor, it doesn't have any sugar or sweetener in it. Still far cheaper than eating out and we had plenty to eat -- soup, sandwich, applesauce, and tea.

So, what do you think -- do you do the cheap eats at home or find cheap eats elsewhere?

7 Responses to “Cheap Eats”

  1. Greenleaf Says:

    I prefer to eat at home and do most of the time. As a vegetarian, the only convenient fast food besides french fries is Taco Bell, so if I'm traveling I order from their dollar menu (cheesy bean and rice burrito for the win!). I don't track the cost of meals because I tend to buy my staples in bulk, but it's pretty cheap per unit. I've tried averaging out my monthly grocery store spending from bank statements, but that's skewed because I usually buy extra stuff for a party, work event, etc there at least once a month that doesn't really count as personal groceries.

  2. Lots of Ideas Says:

    I cook most of my meals at home - I try to limit eating out to twice a week, and usually that is a lunch meal.

    I like to grocery shop, and I watch for sales and will buy meat to freeze when I like the price.

    In the fall, eye of the round roast, which is my favorite, was $2.99 per pound. I bought enough for six meals, cut them into 1.5 pound roasts and that is dinner for two of us plus a sandwich for lunch. I buy chicken breasts for 1.99 per pound, and I usually get a package of 6 for @$7.00. I make a lot of casseroles, use chicken in pasta and soup, and make chicken salad and sliced chicken sandwiches.

    Cold cuts seem to run around $8.00 per pound, so using meat I cook really lowers the cost of a nice sandwich - plus no additives.

    We have a vegetable market - not a farmer’s market, but a market with stalls that sell excess produce. Most stands are run by immigrants and it is quite lively. It is only open Friday and Saturday, but the prices are crazy low - packages of berries for $1. In fact, most things are $1 or 2 for $1. I get two big bags of produce each week for @ $17. The person I share food with has a very active life and needs 5000 calories per day to maintain his weight...and he eats very healthy, so not chips and candy! He gets two or three servings of fruit and two or three servings of veggies per day, so this is a big savings.

    I make granola and granola bars so buy a lot of oatmeal, plus cereal bars with raisins, nuts, coconut, peanut butter...I buy all those on sale. I also make egg and sausage biscuits with either fruit or veggies. I think it costs @$3 for the ingredient for six jumbo muffins, which is two or three days worth. . Stopping for a breakfast sandwich is twice that for one day!

    I bake every day - I start a lot with cookie, bar, or cake mix, but I buy those on sale for @$1-2, then add fruit,
    nuts, spices. I know this is way cheaper than buying snacks, plus I can control adding protein and vitamins via fruit and nuts.

    I often can’t think of anything I want to go out to eat that I can’t make better at home!
    We eat like royalty for a very reasonable cost!

  3. Kymberlee Fisher Says:

    I would say eating at home is usually cheaper.

    The past 2 days, I spent $20 on an 8 slice pizza w/ham & mushrooms and 16 pieces of garlic bread like "sticks" and an order of Chinese food that came with Fried Shrimp, Pork Fried Rice, an egg roll and a dinner roll. I expect to get 3 dinners and a lunch out of this. For 2 people. $5 a meal for two is not a bad thing.

  4. disneysteve Says:

    It's definitely cheaper to eat at home and almost always healthier. Even if you are making something that isn't particularly healthy, when you make it from scratch, you don't use all of the artificial stuff and preservatives that the store-bought versions contain.

  5. Lucky Robin Says:

    I don't really compute cost per meal price, which is probably easier when you only have two people. I just buy at the lowest possible price and freeze my meats and I buy my veggies on sale or frozen in bulk, but I will pay a bit more for convenience or for organic veggies (like steamer bags of organic broccoli from Costco). Like this week, we have boneless skinless chicken thighs on for $1.99 a pound and chuck roasts and steaks on for $3.49 a pound. I will probably spend about $200 just to stock up on meat on Friday. They also have Miracle Whip on for $2.49 each if you buy 5 of them and my type of ketchup on for $1.99 each if you buy 5. My pasta sauce (one free of soy) is on for $1.99 a jar (usually $2.50 to $3). I am going to stock up like crazy. Some things I just have to buy at store price like brown rice pasta or gluten free flours as they don't go on sale, but those things are more than balanced by stocking up during sales on other items.

    You should plant a packet of pole green beans this year with the tomatoes. That should be enough to can for a year for the two of you. One packet of seeds is cheaper than 50 cents a can at Winco, and beans are pretty care free, other than keeping the weeds down until they are tall enough to outgrow them.

  6. CB in the City Says:

    It's definitely cheaper to eat at home and cook from scratch! I don't really compute cost per meal, but it's pretty obvious when I compare my grocery spending to my eating out spending. I have to cook from scratch for health reasons, anyway, so am doubly invested in cooking at home.

  7. GoodLiving Says:

    We almost always eat at home because of lactose intolerance and low carb. We might have 2 meals out a week or so. I know there are ways we can lower our costs but I haven't prioritized it yet. I don't do as much of the cooking so I keep my mouth closed. When I do make meals, I think it keeps our costs down because I often make soups and etc. Like Lucky Robin we go to Costco for our organic broccoli but also go to Aldi for other staples.

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