Let’s talk about food choices. If you are on a strict food budget like so many of us our in this country eating healthy is very challenging especially if you are making a conscious effort to lose weight. I’ve read articles and countless YouTuber’s channels on how this can be done but, obviously they had a bigger food budget than I did to make that work for them.
Staple food items for those on the tightest budget are always going to be high carb options and let’s be real one of the cheapest meals you can make are rice & beans, beans & cornbread, or spaghetti. In my house growing up there were all things hamburger…..from spaghetti, to goulash, and that lovely companion hamburger helper…to which in my adult life I have never eaten hamburger helper again.
Growing up we had a 60% diet based on vegetables or pasta of some type. We only had meat on special occasions, or on Sundays unless it was found on some huge sale. I think my mom may have been Queen of the hotdogs when she realized how cheap she could get them from the meat market in these huge boxes and we had hotdogs every way possible to make them. Followed by macaroni and cheese when we would get those big boxes of commodity cheese. Not to mention the endless pasta casseroles.
So when I lost my job in the beginning of the year because my mom needed me in every capacity possible when she was diagnosed with terminal cancer. I had to think very differently on how to survive going from a 2 income family to a 1 income family. First everything was cut that was not essential and the #1 thing that went was the cable bill. Now we have grown accustomed to Netflix, and Amazon video for 99% of our tv watching. Then I had to take a close look at what I could do to cut our utility bills to the bare min. I had all our leaky pipes/faucets fixed and the water bill went from $80-$90 per month to $40. My other biggest beast was the electric bill and I started doing tons of research and reading articles and I ran across one called “Phanton Power” even if you have your electronics turned off they are still generating phantom power that you are being billed for every single month.
I went to wal-mart and bought power strips for $3.48 each and put everything on those that I could control while not in use. I still left the Frig, chest freezer, and washer & dryer plugged in but everything else if it was not being used it got unplugged or powerstrip turned off. I had been paying over $150 a month for my electric for more years than I care to recall. Then one day I got the email that my bill was available online and I logged in…..it was $49.98 I was astonished those simple changes made that big of an impact. An impact so great that I tell everyone about what I did to lower my electric bill. So with a few items I changed Cable/Water/Electric savings $$$ which were monthly $290 that $290 would become my monthly grocery budget.
I do not coupon simply because I mostly shop at discount stores and I cannot be brand loyal using coupons when very seldomly a mediocre coupon may be available. Kudo’s to those extreme couponers for making it work for them but, there are no store brand coupons for where I shop. I mostly shop at 4 stores in my area which are Save A Lot, Aldi, Wal-Mart, and Sam’s Club. I only buy meat at Sam’s Club it took me several months to work out my own system with it to where my chest freezer is full on a regular basis.
So we come to the heart of trying to feed a family of 3 on under $300 a month it’s all about planning, and strategy. But with this you cannot eat healthy all the time your diet consists of pasta, rice, bread, beans, meat, vegetables in the summer time fresh garden variety and canned or frozen veggies. I have also helped some of my family members with my own strategies and meals. I’ve searched endlessly on Pinterest for recipes and for this point in time it’s probably the reason I am not as successful as I was prior to being reduced to a 1 income family in my weight loss efforts. But I am trying to do things more in moderation with high carb options. It’s unfortunate that everything that’s cheap to cook has a million carbs in it.