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Kicking off the SlowMoneyFarm 8 Week Challenge

July 9, 2012

Make your own beef jerky for much less than many prepared jerky treats.

We’re kicking off the first week with saving money.If there was a crisis could you get by on $25? $30? $50? I hear some people with $300 per week grocery bills and can’t imagine spending that for a month!

Here are six tips for saving money – things we do almost without thinking, that we think everyone does.Don’t worry we’re not eliminating half the food in your cupboards…the idea is to think about it!

1.Plan for leftovers. If you cook up a package of burger, pull half of it out to add to a meal tomorrow night. You might have chili cheese fries one night and tacos the next or spaghetti one night and nachos the next. Use your imagination!

2. Check the discount meat section. If your store has a discount counter check it out. I’ve found lunch meat for 50cents, as well as a variety of beef cuts for $2-3 per package. Stew meat can be used with rice and veggies or in casseroles as well as stews. Ground meats, even lean steak can be cut in strips.Don’t overlook ‘salvage’ or ‘bent & dent’ stores. Do insure cans and jars hold a proper seal, but this can save substantially! Shop for seasonal produce purchased direct from farmers, or at farmers markets.

3. Remember serving sizes. Here Scoutman can eat and not gain weight because he works hard. Connor can eat any 2 people under the table if left to his own devices – but as a growing teen is not overweight. I on the other hand eat 1/4 of what they do and get along fine! A cup you can estimate as a fistful – a serving of meat the size of a deck of cards. You don’t *need* that 16 ounce steak for one person!

Onion flakes, onion powder can both be preserved easily from stocking up when onions are on sale.

4. Compare larger bulk bags with others. A 20 pound bag of potatoes at just under $6 is a better deal than 8 pounds for $3.50. Remember to plan to reduce waste. Saving money is only part of it – not wasting food is another!

5. Plan meals and make lists. You don’t have to be extremely detailed but plan for breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as snacks and desserts. Deprivation isn’t a goal! This doesn’t mean eating a bag of chocolate chip cookies in one sitting – watch your serving sizes.

6. If serving sizes are an issue, make your own snack packs. Scoutman likes cookies in his lunch – a package of cookies for $2 split into servings and bagged in zipper close bags beats vending machines. Snacks – from chips to nuts – can be done the same way. Make your own snack mixes, granola, dried fruit and other snacks.

Look at what you’re buying. Compare prices, put some effort into finding where you can save a little. Perhaps store brand items on some things, or finding ways to break down that 5 pound chub of burger (one meal per week it could last a month!). Look at recipes from other countries and cultures. It doesn’t have to be boring! Consider what you might be able to grow where you are.

Think and plan…where can you trim your grocery budget? How can you do more with less?

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