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Saving Money in the Kitchen

Crystal Miller


Over the past few months I have watched the prices in the

grocery store climb higher.  This has made me have to stop

and reevaluate our current eating and spending habits and

see where I can trim the budget.  I thought I would share a

few of the tips that I have been incorporating

into our budget.  


First off years ago I started keeping a price book.  I

checked the prices at the different stores I shop to see who

had the better price on napkins, pasta, hamburger, milk,

eggs, etc..  Soon I had this price list memorized pretty

well.  I knew what store had the best price on which items. 

The only thing to remember is to recheck this list

periodically.  One of the first things I did was to re-check

these prices to make sure they were still a good deal and

not take them for granted.  


Another thing I have been doing is to stop buying or buy

less of very expensive items.  When I saw mozzarella cheese

rise higher and higher, we took a break from pizza and

lasagna.  This was the same with the cheddar cheese although

I did not see it jump as high as the mozzarella cheese.  So

with the cheddar I looked at how much we had been using and

determined to use half this amount.  I simply did not make

as many meals with cheddar cheese in them as I had and I

cautiously used the cheese on other meals.   I watched

butter climb to over $2.50 per pound at Costco and this was

the least expensive price I could find.  We donít eat

margarine so instead I limited our butter use to a certain

amount per week and we stopped baking foods that called for

butter.  We also used things like cream cheese on our toast

or pancakes instead of butter.  Olive oil was also about

half the price (per pound) as butter.  So when I did bake I

would choose things like cakes and quick breads that used

oil, or muffins that did not require any fat in them.  


As meat prices have climbed I have been serving more soups,

breads, beans and whole grains.  I usually will serve a

couple of bean based meals a week and this has increased to

more.  My meals are basic and simple and the ingredients

inexpensive.  I think of the meat in the meal as flavoring,

not the main component of the meal.  I can make a pot of

chili bean soup with 1 pound of hamburger in it and that

will feed my family dinner one night and the leftovers will

be lunch the next day.  I stretch my meals by using my meat

in sauces and gravies that are served over brown rice or

whole wheat pasta.  This also stretches the meat, adds great

flavor and served with the whole grains makes a satisfying



I also have tried to determine how much I want to spend per

day to feed my family.  I have then worked to find out how

much each meal is costing us. For instance the chili bean

soup served with a pan of cornbread will cost me about $5. 

Not bad for feeding a family of my size.  I also have

breakfast meals and lunch meals to consider for my daily

cost.  In the end I have some meals that are under budget

and I have meals that sometimes are over budget.  It becomes

a matter of working towards an average cost.   But I know

the more low cost meals I serve in a month the better the

average costs will be.  


Finally remember to be conscious and be aware. Donít just

throw items into the shopping cart.  Buy your foods with a

plan.  Know what you are spending each week, know what items

are costing you and be prepared to make changes in the way

you cook and the foods you buy.  


Here are a couple of my low cost recipes that help out the

monthly food budget at our house!  



Crystalís Chili Bean Soup

Crystal Miller


Heat 2 T. oil in large soup pot.


Chop up and add:

1 onion

1/2 a green pepper, optional


Cook until the onion is soft. 

Then add:

3 cups small red beans

12 cups water

1 Tablespoon salt


Bring to boil, cover and simmer for 2 1/2 to 3 hours.  Stir

occasionally. After beans are soft add:

1 Tablespoon chili powder (more if you like it spicy.. less

if you donít!)

1 can Rotel tomatoes with green chilies (this brand of

tomatoes is usually found with the other tomatoes at your

local grocery store)



Crystal Miller


1 ľ cups whole wheat pastry flour

ĺ cup finely ground cornmeal or corn flour (I grind my own

to a coarse corn flour)

2 T fructose or Sucanat or sugar

2 t baking powder

Ĺ t salt

1 cup milk or buttermilk

ľ cup olive oil

1 egg


Heat oven to 400.  Grease or spray an 8 or 9 inch pan.  Mix

milk, oil and egg until well blended.  In separate bowl mix

dry ingredients and add to liquid and stir until moistened. 

Pour batter into pan and bake 20 to 25 minutes or until

golden brown.  I double this recipe and bake in a 9x13 pan

for 25 minutes (need to check, it could 30minutes).



Copyright: Crystal Miller, 2005


About the Author:

Crystal Miller ( ) is

a mother of 8 children and enjoys her God given role as

wife, homemaker and mother!  She has a homemaking and

country living web site called The Family Homestead 

http://www.thefamilyhomestead. <> com and has a free monthly

newsletter  called  Homestead Happenings.  You will find

sign up information on her website.  



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