RE: Help, Clean, Going Vegan, and a Budget?
Posted Thursday, March 28, 2013 at 1:16 PM
that's where menu planning helps, just as it does with any budgeting. If you're buying for one, a pound of dry beans is probably the cheapest protein source around. For the cost of a lb of the cheapest ground beef, which will get you one pot of chili or maybe 4 burgers, you can get enough cooked beans to feed 4 people for several days (we do it!) My lunch today was leftovers - brown rice, red lentils, fresh spinach, seasonings (I forget which) and a splash of baslsamic vinegar to balance the rich creaminess.
We work out two week menu plans (we don't do the kickstart per se any longer, I've been hanging around here since 2011) so we can plan purchases. Some things we buy in quantity (lentils, beans, rice, quinoa, etc) which means that we only buy them once every month or so (depending on the item). That frees up budget space in between for the fruit and veggies, which are the bulk of the grocery list. Buying in-season produce helps - I'll look over the grocery store circulars to see what is in-season right now and we look for ways to build around those things - when cabbage on special, make cabbage rolls stuffed with quinoa; when root veggies drop in price, we do root veggie hash with some sort of beans mixed in; canned tomatoes (crushed and diced) are often on special - those are the basis for pasta sauce/pizza sauce, chili, soup, so we stock up when they're cheapest. We rotate around with greens - sometimes chard, sometimes kale, sometimes spinach. When the prices on fresh are really crazy (like midwinter here in New England), we'll use frozen and make things that don't need the crispness (since the texture changes once frozen) - things like throwing spinach into pasta with a creamy sauce (a white sauce, like a roue plus a bit of plant milk, almost like an alfredo sauce) to make it "pasta Florentine".