How To Eat For 2 on $200 A Month

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I did some research on how much the average american spends on food and the USDA states, those with incomes of $75,000 or more per year are averaging $180 per week, compared with $144 for those with incomes of $30,000 to $74,999, and $127 for the lowest income group. I almost fell out of my bed when I read this. What could Americans be possibly buying. I have found lots of way to slice this amount to $100 per person. Please understand as I do live in the midwest (oklahoma) and prices may differ(according to USDA the midwest is $60 cheaper a month compared to the east and south), but the actions I take are more on principle than on price. Now some of you will say I like my name brand I love whole foods, and what not. I understand, in my

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dreams I go grocery shopping at whole foods I don’t look a price, I buy new spices every week. If your looking to do this on a budget then you will be highly disappointed. The point of saving and building wealth is to get to those goals but first by sacrificing; so let’s dig in and see what steps you can take to lower your bill.

 

1.Leftovers

No more leftover dinners for lunch the next day. Have you notice when you go out to eat the lunch menu is cheaper. When you eat what you cooked for dinner for lunch you have just had a really pricey lunch. Opt for what I call a no meat lunch. You will be surprised by how much cheaper it is to not buy meat and how healthy it is for your diet. Below Is what I cooked my husband for a week (recipe).

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My husband loves his meatless lunches and he still has all the energy he needs if not more. Now I am breastfeeding and my pediatrician wants me to keep my weight up so I eat hot dogs, chicken salad, or chicken with mac and cheese.

 

 

2. Plan your meals by sales

I don’t get ads but I have this app (here) that shows me all the sales going on in my area and at my favorite stores. I love trying new things and with making a meal list catered to sales I can not only save money but my family gets new, and different foods all the time. Are mango’s on sale, then google meals with mangos and maybe make a mango salsa, “you get the point.”

 

3.Go in with a plan

Are you walking into the store without a list, did the list you make start out with meals first. So yes I will admit meal planning takes forever. But it will save you time during the week when you need ideas on what to cook. So first start out by writing down the meals you want to cook then all the ingredients needed to make those meals. Scratch off what you have then create a list of the things you need to get from the store. This tip is the most important as we are going to these stores with no plan, no strategy. Grocery shopping is a serious things you have to look at it as such. Plus when you make a meal list it gets the whole family involved. Here is the meal board I have in my kitchen (here), My husband loves knowing whats on the menu. Normally he will be like oh drea Thursday night can we have wings it’s a big football game on. Or hey I really like this meal lets put it on the schedule. Get the whole family involve mark certain days as daddy cook days.

HOT TIPS

No juice– We don’t need soda or juice to survive so don’t waste money purchasing it. Not feeling this, then buy yourself the packets of tea and make your own juice. Its cheaper and you can control how much sugar you put in each batch.

No water bottles– Buy a brita filter and just filter the tap water you already have. My husband loves bottle water so I allow 1 case of 24 from aldi only $2.19 and it has to last the whole month.

Frozen Meals/Pizza– I usually have a few frozen pizzas or pre-cooked meals in the freezer. At aldi they run from $3-$4.00. These are my cheat days for when I dont feel like cooking and it keeps us from going out to eat. Pair the pizza with a salad and your good to go. Also after I spend all day at the store carrying a 10 month old while putting 2 weeks of food in the cart I am way to tired to cook that. Grocery day is usually pre cooked meal day!!!

Homemade– I don’t buy ragu or pre-made pasta I make my own, that also goes for Alfredo sauce, and when I am feeling fancy I make my own salsa.

Less Is More– As American’s we already have over-sized proportions, try increase vegetables and decreasing the main dish.

Pantry– You must I mean must have a pantry, I have mine stocked with pasta, rice and black beans. Build one on the needs of your family and you will always have food.

No Name Brand– opt for the off brand, unless it makes your skin react or you physically cannot have it, buy it. My kitchen is full of the aldi brand and sprouts brands and my meals still taste great.

Slice Chicken In half– I buy chicken breast when they go on sale for $1.99 or less a pound at sprouts. I then slice them in half. They are usually super big and thick so 1 can easily fill up a grown man and breastfeeding woman on 1 chicken breast.

 

Meals & Prices for the month

Here is what we had for breakfast, Lunch and dinner. I linked a few recipes that I tried and were cost efficient.

Breakfast Meals- Waffle, Scrambled/Boiled Eggs, hash browns, Yogurt with granola, Cereal, Malt-o-meal, Oats with fruit.

Lunch Meals- Chili dogs, Quinoa and sweet potato mix, Homemade pizza rolls, Chicken salad, quinoa and sausage with bell peppers.

Dinner Meals- Chicken spaghetti, tacos with corn, beef spaghetti with Brussels sprouts, baked drumsticks, Crogrilled-bruschetta-chicken-101.jpgck-pot barbecue sauce drumsticks, skillet chicken with brown rice and veggies. Chicken tortilla Soup, Chicken with fresh cooked asparagus, Baked chicken with brown rice and veggies, Frozen pizza (3), Chicken pesto with mash potatoes and veggies. Hamburgers with homemade fries, Quesadillas with black beans,

Snacks- Chips and salsa, Chips and queso, Ice cream, Cookie mix

 

As you can see, we eat alot of chicken, I try to only have 1-2 meals with ground beef (its not healthy to eat red meat all the time). Seafood only gets on the list when its on sale at $6.99 a pound (I get only 1 pound). I dont get crazy with coupons unless I go to target. As for this month we only went to sprouts and aldi. Jeremiahs food runs around $40 a month. I puree and cook all his solids its cheaper and I know exactly whats in his food. Plus I can make combinations that Gerber may not sell.

 

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CONCLUSION

It will take some time to get to $100 a person a month but its worth the savings. Focus on meal planning and whats on sale for the week then go from there. Take baby steps and try cutting $50 off a month until you get to your destination! Comment below on how you save on food a month or how you are trying some of the hot tips from the blog post!

 

 

 

7 Tricks to save on utilities

 

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So its almost the end of October and if you live in a normal state where fall means sweaters and booties and all the cute clothes then you should be seeing a savings in your utility bill. But if you live in the Midwest like me, then you may still be running your air. Here are a few tips me and my family have taken to save money and cut our bill down.

 

 

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  1. KNOW YOUR LIMIT

So, yes you could totally turn off your a/c or heat and tough it out. But that’s not for everyone. My friends electric bill is no more than $30 a month no matter the season. However when I go over her place I am either sweating it up or freezing. So of course your home should be comfortable but know your limit. We use to have a cheaper bill until our son was born. He doesn’t sleep at night if it isn’t at least 72 degrees. I will rather pay the extra than have to deal with a crying baby.

 

 

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2.LEARN ABOUT YOUR ELECTRIC

Once you know the desire you want your home to feel, call you utility company and ask them if they have smart hours, or is there a certain time that your electric could be cheaper. When we moved, the new place didn’t have a smart hour system but when I called they said that my electric is the highest between 2pm-7pm. But on weekends its a flat rate and the cheapest. So what this means is from 2-7 I do my best to either run the fans and turn the a/c off (besides nap time lol) and wash clothes on weekends or early in the morning.

 

 

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3.UNPLUG, UNPLUG

Stop wasting money on electronics plugged in. I try to make sure at night I go through the house and unplug all my electronics. With my computer I have it on smart save mode  where it shuts down every night at midnight and reboots at 8 am.

 

 

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4.SHORTER SHOWERS

Are you letting the bathroom get steamy before you step in, do you take showers longer than 7 min, are you wasting time picking out your outfit while the water is running? If yes, then stop and save the water. Its eco-friendly and money savings.

 

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5. FALL IN LOVE WITH YOUR CROCKPOT

Running your oven is so expensive especially in the summer. Opt to use the crock-pot and or microwave its cheaper.

 

 

 

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6.REPLACE AIR FILTER & LIGHT BULBS

The dirtier the air filter the harder your a/c or heat have to work to circulate your air.Also switch all your light bulbs to the energy efficient bulbs. These can be found anywhere and will pay themselves back and more once you make the move.

 

 

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7.WASHING

Try washing your clothes in cold water, this will not only save you money, it wont shrink your clothes as well. Are you cleaning your lint trap after every load, the method behind the air filters is the same in the dry. When you keep that clean its easier for the heat to dry the clothes faster.

 

Every state and location is different. I learned this after living in a 500 sq foot apartment that was old and moved to a 1200 sq foot townhouse that was brand new. The townhouse electric and water bill was cheaper. All due to the fact it had energy saving appliances and was sealed off better. This is something to think about when buying a house and deciding on a place to stay. Newer usually means saving on utility bills. Find small ways to save water and electric, it will not only save you money but it will help the environment.