Thursday, February 8, 2018

Beans And Rice Or Rice And Beans?

My husband Daniel has traveled to many different countries over the last decade doing various kinds of mission work. Of all his travels one of his favorites was visiting Nicaragua. After a confusing conversation with a waiter at a local restaurant, he finally learned that the waiter wasn't teasing when he asked, "Do you want rice and beans or beans and rice!?" Turns out, beans & rice are served mixed together and rice & beans are served separately. Not confusing at all, right? 😂

That timeless duo are two of the main foods people joke about when you bring up eating frugally. While I personally could eat them everyday there are many other $$$ saving meals that you can choose from.

There is an endless supply of bloggers and recipes out there to help inspire you with meal planning on a budget so I will only be sharing one "recipe" today.  I often hear that you can't eat healthy and still be frugal. It can be hard but it is definitely doable! 
Also, I grew up cooking and baking for a large family so I often prefer simplicity over complicated meal planning! Less time in the kitchen is a huge plus for busy mamas! 

Below are some tips that we've learned a long the way that help you stay on track with your grocery budget.....

1.) Use C A S H to grocery shop! You are more likely to put back items that are impractical if you are handing over your hard-earned cash. Set a reasonable amount for your budget and stick to it!

2.) When you prepare a meal, fix a serving and immediately pack away the extras for the next meal. You won't be tempted to over-eat and you will be getting a jumpstart on future meals. 

3.) Restaurants need to be a treat and a rare occurrence when you are working towards financial goals. Daniel and I saved eating out for special occasions and if we had to eat out we often shared meals.  Example, we love Chipotle bowls so we get one and add all of the toppings so that it makes it enough food to share! It is a healthy, delicious and frugal date night option!

4.) Use what you have in your freezer and pantry! This a first world prob but we often are guilty of buying items that we let go bad or just sit on the shelf. It may not be a Pinterest worthy spread but you will be proud as you cut down on waste and use your creativity to throw a meal together. 

5.) Cut back on the meat. You don't have to have it every day.  Yep, this is a tough one for a lot of people but it is true. Not only will it cut your budget big time but there are also a lot of health benefits to cutting back on meat. 
However, learn to cook with meat in a frugal fashion. You will be surprised how far 1 chicken breast can go...Get creative! When I cook a pound of ground beef, turkey or buffalo I always divide it and put the extras up for future meals. 

6.) Make your treats and favorite drinks at home. Not only will you have fun learning something new but you will save countless $$$$. I heard a young adult say that she had never actually made her own coffee because she liked for someone else to do it for her. That attitude is what is keeping us from getting ahead in our finances!

7.) Shop where your money goes the furthest. Aldi is my number one place to shop. Find where you can stretch your cash and learn to build your meal planning around what they sell. 

8.) Meal plan. Don't wander aimlessly through the grocery store. Make a quick list of the items you want to have on hand and only buy those items. If there are certain food items you like to stock up on, watch for sales but try to avoid impulse buying! 

Clean Out Yo Pantry Chili 
Black Beans
Pinto Beans
Diced Tomatoes
Taco Seasoning 
Ground Beef (optional!) 
Tomato Sauce
Serve over rice
There are no amounts listed on purpose. You can't really mess this up! 

This is a fun meal to do if you are having company. 
Have friends bring a topping (sour cream, shredded cheese and/or tortilla chips.) You can still be social while budgeting! Simple gatherings in your home are just as much fun (if not more fun) than going out! 
A good rule of thumb with hospitality is that you are trying to bless NOT impress! 

Get creative and have fun! 
My husband and I both enjoy working in the kitchen and we have had a blast coming up with simple and cheap ways to feed our little crew. 


-mckenzie gentry

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