Review: Miserly Moms

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Every other Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal finance book.

Miserly Moms by Jonni McCoyMiserly Moms by Jonni McCoy wears its target audience right on its cover – stay-at-home moms (or at least moms who devote a significant amount of time to domestic management) that are trying to maximize every penny. It’s a good read with lots of specific, applicable tips for domestic spending, particularly in terms of food and household supplies. The book hones in on these issues like a laser beam – though the cover of the book clearly aims for the stay-at-home mom, the contents of the book really apply to anyone – we all shop for groceries and we all need to eat, after all.

In other words, if you’re looking to maximize every penny on household expenses – particularly if you have a large household – this book is packed with advice. If you want stock investing material… you might want to go somewhere else.

Since the book is actually divided into thirty two short chapters, I’ve just pulled out ten of the points and principles that I thought were really thought-provoking.

Don’t Confuse Frugality With Depriving Yourself
Many people hear frugality and they have visions of eating a steady diet of ramen noodles and wearing fifteen year old clothes and never leaving the house while living in a hovel and driving a rusted-out 1978 AMC Gremlin. The truth is that frugality merely means being mindful of finding the best value in your own life and not just settling for the easy, thoughtless solution. As Jonni says on page 33:

If any money-saving activity makes you feel cheap or tight, you will eventually abandon your efforts. This is not the price we need to pay to reach our goals. I don’t need to feel tight and cheap in order to stay home with my kids. There are ways to save money and keep my dignity.

Well said, indeed. If you’re unhappy with a spending cut in your life, then don’t make it. The big trick with frugality is that many people never even think about it. They never ask themselves if they really are getting value out of that expense, or if a less-expensive option will do for them. Quite often, you can make a more frugal choice and never notice the difference (except for the gradually heavier wallet – don’t go frugal if you don’t want extra cash in your pocket).

Don’t Buy Everything at the Same Store
Jonni advocates finding the stores that have the cheapest prices on the various items that you buy, and I fully agree with that strategy. However, I think it’s possible to take that advice too far. I essentially use two stores for almost all of my grocery and household supply shopping – Fareway and Sam’s Club – with occasional stops at Walgreen’s if there are a number of exceptional bargains there.

The trick is simply being objective and finding the store or two that really does have the lowest prices on the items you buy regularly. Don’t obsess over grocery store flyers from every different store, because you eventually reach a point of real diminishing returns, where you dig through flyers for an hour to save $3.

Instead, just stick to the basics. Find a grocery store with low prices. Plan your meals carefully (and use the flyer as a tool). Make a grocery list from that meal plan. Then, go shopping and stick to that list. If you’re not doing these things already, switch to them and your food bill will drop dramatically – I wouldn’t be surprised to see a 50% drop.

Buy in Bulk Whenever Reasonable
Sure, buying whichever version of the item has the lowest cost-per-ounce is usually the best deal. But not always.

For one, if you don’t have adequate storage space, such excess items can easily get in the way. For another, if you’re not going to use the entire amount before it expires, then you’re wasting money buying the bulk version.

Another key point: storage containers. If you’re not reusing the containers you use to store items, you’re likely throwing money away. In other words, you’re better off over the long run putting sandwiches in small reusable containers than in Ziploc bags – even buying them in bulk doesn’t add up. This is a principle I remember my parents using when I was a kid – my father’s lunch was always packed with resealable small containers instead of with baggies.

Cut Back on Prepackaged “Convenience” Foods
The argument in favor of convenience foods is pretty clear – you’re paying a little extra to save time. However, that “little extra” is substantially more than you think at first glance.

Why? It’s a health thing. Prepackaged convenience foods are often loaded with preservatives and unhealthy ingredients like corn syrup and artificial sweeteners. Over the long haul, these things add up to additional weight, a lower quality of living, and additional health care costs. Instead of subscribing to a pattern of unhealthy convenience foods that cost more and contribute to poor health just to shave a few minutes, learn how to prepare your own healthy simple foods instead. For example, I can make an egg-white omelet sandwich with whole wheat toast in about four minutes for less than $1 (and put all dishes straight in the dishwasher) or I can buy an unhealthy breakfast to go for about the same time cost, a lot less health, and likely a higher cost, too.

Why do this? Cut back on the prepackaged foods!

Don’t Assume Something Saves Money
Jonni tells an interesting anecdote about her freezer on page 241:

The first thing I did to conserve energy in my kitchen was to get rid of the extra freezer I had. It wasn’t actually in my kitchen (it was in the garage), but I considered it an extension of my kitchen, as it held all my extra food. When the energy audit revealed that it was responsible for 15 to 20 percent of my utility bill, I questioned its cost effectiveness. I figured it was costing twenty dollars a month to run. At that time, that was 20 percent of our utility bill. I was buying in bulk and storing food in there, but the savings on bulk foods was being spent on the appliance to store them in.

It’s worth noting that many modern freezers are more energy efficient than this. We actually ran similar calculations on our own freezer and found that it was cost-effective for us, but it was closer than we expected. We also found that we were better off filling it to the brim, so we started filling up the extra space with ice – empty gallon milk jugs, rinsed and filled with water, then frozen.

Cut Back on Meats
I’ll admit it – I am currently thisclose to switching to being an ovo-lacto vegetarian. For example, today so far I’ve had a bean and salsa omelet for breakfast and a bowl of leftover vegetable soup for lunch, and I anticipate a vegetarian dinner.

Why am I doing this? As I try cooking with these restrictions, I’m finding more and more recipes that are quite tasty – and I’m finding more and more that meat is the most expensive part of the diet.

Take beans, for example. They’re very healthy, they provide lots of protein, and they’re incredibly cheap. You can take a lot of meat recipes – especially those with ground beef – and just substitute beans, and the resulting recipe is quite tasty.

I never would have believed that I would find myself cutting back on meat so much, but there are lots of great, tasty, filling recipes out there that don’t use meat – and they’re almost always much cheaper than similar dishes that contain meat.

Have a Regular Soup-and-Bread Night
Pencil in one dinner a week for just soup and bread, nothing else. A big bowl of vegetable soup is incredibly easy to make (just boil up whatever leftover vegetables you have with a bunch of spices) and a bit of bread to soak up some of the juices and make the meal more filling is a great side.

Not only that, you pretty much can’t get a cheaper meal. Just take the vegetables you cook during the week and save the leftovers in a closed container in the freezer. If you’re like us, a nearly free and quite healthy meal once a week – especially one that can really be jazzed up with spices and peppers – is a spectacular deal.

Cook Several Meals at Once
A while back, I wrote an article providing an example of preparing several meals at once. The central principle is absolutely true – preparing several meals at once and freezing the extras saves both money and time. The money savings comes in because you can buy ingredients in bulk – the time savings comes in because you have to do very little prep work for each meal once the extras are frozen, since you just pull them out and cook them.

Jonni offers a ton of examples on how to do this. My favorite is one that we’ve started using – just cook tons of chicken breasts at once. We cook several pounds of chicken breasts in the crock pot at one time. Then, we put two chicken breasts into a freezable container, pop several such containers in the freezer, then just pull them out when we need cooked chicken as an ingredient – salads, soups, and the like. Easy as pie.

Warehouse Club Wariness
This is one area of the book where my perspective differs from Jonni’s a bit. With regards to warehouse clubs (Costco, Sam’s Club, and the like), Jonni is extremely wary, arguing that on many items, the prices aren’t better than what you can find in other stores. I agree with her in this regard – as with any store, you have to have a good grasp on what you’re buying. In my own experience, however, I’ve found that many items are substantially cheaper there.

From there, though, Jonni makes several claims about warehouse clubs that oppose my own experience. She argues that they sell only store brand items and usually only sell one type of many items (dishwashing detergent, etc.). In my experience, there are usually several brands available for these types of items. Similarly, her shopping list of items that are good deals at warehouse clubs are a little confusing as well, since I’ve found that different warehouse chains tend to have different items with exceptionally low prices.

Your best bet? Figure out what’s really worthwhile at your local warehouse store. If it’s worthwhile for you, join up – it probably will be. Remember, the key is to get the items you want at the best possible value for you – and you may find that a warehouse club does that very, very well.

Make Your Own Gift Baskets
When it comes to gift-giving occasions, many people sweat it out and end up spending way too much on gifts. Jonni offers a different avenue: a themed gift basket pointed at an interest or life event of the recipient. This requires some planning, but since the basket is made up of little items (many of which are consumable)

This is a great encouragement to make batches of homemade items for weekend projects. We make homemade beer, homemade soap, homemade pasta, and homemade wine. Later this summer, we intend to make a few giant batches of salsa. All of these items will be used in part to make gift baskets – we’ll just package these items nicely, collect them together, and given them as gifts to family and friends, with different assortments depending on the person.

Is Miserly Moms Worth Reading?
If you feel a need to cut domestic spending in your life, Miserly Moms is undoubtedly a worthwhile read. Aside from The Tightwad Gazette, this is probably the best collection of tips I’ve ever read on trimming domestic spending – and it’s certainly quite concise and focused.

If most of the advice above seemed very old hat to you, though, you may not get too much out of the book. Having said that, though, for most people, the advice above is not old hat.

For me, I pulled out a few useful tips, but this book was not a world-changer for me. However, I can certainly see it being very valuable for some people I know, and I’ve already passed along my copy to a friend that’s also a stay-at-home mom. For her, Miserly Moms could very well be an invaluable read.

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35 thoughts on “Review: Miserly Moms

  1. Trent, I have t ask about this idea that a vegetarian dirt is “cheaper.” Earlier you comment about avoided convenience due to the added cost of declining health but later talk about avoiding meat to save money. First off and grain based food is processed and not part of a human’s native diet. The blood sugar/insulin swings will drive you to eat more calories and therefor spend more money on food.
    Second, protein meals fill you up faster than vegetable or grain meals and keep you satisfied longer, therefor eating fewer meals and spending less money. Why would you eat an egg white omelet that has zero nutritional value and therefor a waste of that food money? Real science has told us that the egg is perfectly healthful and ca be eaten with no worries (I eat at least 3 a day). Living on a grain based diet is a sure way to spend lots more money on food and on declining health quickly. Do a little research on this, check out fellow blogger and film maker Tom Naughton’s website http://www.fathead-movie.com.

  2. cutting back on meat *is* a great way to save money. It is also a great way to eat healthier. It is also a great way to a live more lightly ‘off the land.’

    There are many many diseases that are closely tied to eating too much meat, but (in the USA) it is taboo to suggest that perhaps people eat too much meat.

    I am not saying that everyone should be a vegan/vegetarian. But I am saying that most people in America could probably cut their meat intake down quite a bit and not miss it at all. I know that my wife and I have done this. Five years ago, we would have been eating a pound a meat a day, each. Now, we eat about a pound of meat a week — for the both of us. Meat has become something that we eat for the flavor, not as a main source of calories or protein. Calories and protein can both be had through cheaper and healthier alternatives (like a grain/beans combination).

  3. I disagree with going to more than two stores and looking at flyers. I shop at several different stores – Super Walmart is cheaper on some things and very close to home but the meats are awful, Giant Eagle is cheaper on some things and has better meats but has horrible prices on produce, Aldi’s is also close to home but I pretty much only get eggs, bread, cheese, milk and produce there, Walgreen’s has BOGO price on diapers which we stock up on when they have that sale otherwise we don’t shop there at all. Finally, there is one store that has great meats and at times run sales on bulk meats (like a 40 pound box of boneless chicken breast for .99 cents per pound), it’s further away and other items are way more expensive – but we only need to go there a few times a year to fill up our freezer on exceptional buys, when we do go there we cut out our produce from Aldi’s and buy it there as it’s more local and seasonal (the meat is also all from our state).

    Do I spend 3 hours per week looking at flyers? Nope, I know where to buy what. I usually do two trips per week to the store. In the summer, I can often cut that to once weekly because of farmer’s stands and produce from our garden. The only flyer I look for is online and that’s when we are getting low on our freezer supply of meat. :)

  4. “I’m finding more and more that meat is the most expensive part of the diet.”

    You are realising this only *now*? That’s pretty much obvious. :) I’d look at many of the recipes you have posted and find them to be pretty meat-heavy, and not as much frugal (or “healthy”) as they could be.

    It’s better to have more meatless recipes (you don’t need to go totally vegetarian) than to do things like unnecessarily cut corners on that chickpeas recipe you posted recently… I found that your changes there didn’t make much sense, as the original recipe wasn’t that involved… and why sacrifice flavour “just to shave a few minutes”? IMHO, of course.

  5. Another plug for the veggie lifestyle – by not buying meat, my family is able to afford better quality produce and other goods (like fair trade organic coffee, free range eggs, organic milk). That’s frugal – spending our grocery money where it mattes to us, not necessarily anybody else.

  6. Do you add a can of drained kidney beans or white beans to your vegetable soup? And speaking of cooked vegetables that you save in your plastic container: I was watching a cook show where Ina (Barefoot Contessa) pulled out her container of left-over vegs. and made an instant creamy soup using them. All she did was first pour some chicken stock in her blender, then added all the left-over cooked vegetables and blended to a creamy consistency. Then she put it in a pan on the stove and heated it up. I decided to give it a try, and it was delicious! — Worth hauling out the blender for. (If your veg. are frozen, you would probably want to thaw them in the microwave first).

  7. I agree with Jenny (#2) – I shop at 3-4 stores regularly, one of which is Trader Joes, which doesn’t have sales, so I know what their prices are pretty consistently. The other two grocery stores have weekly fliers online, so they’re easy to peruse, and the fourth is a 2x/ year Costco stop, where one visit was able to give me an idea about cross-comparisons to regular stores. Plus there’s always occasional trips to more specialty stores. If you can remember/ keep a list of prices for the items you buy regularly, then its pretty easy to do several stores.

  8. My biggest contention with this line of thinking is that it doesn’t account for what a great documentary refers to as “the high cost for low cost food.” I believe that every dollar we spend is politically motivated and whenever we purchase items at Sam’s Club (or comparable places), we are saying it is ok to give farmers and food producers horrible wages. That it’s ok to buy food that is grown in an unsustainable fashion. Or that we don’t mind that tons of plastic and waste go into making the ‘perfect’ box or container for the food that will make our children obese and sick. Not to mention, how nice it is to pad the Walton family with even more ill-gotten gains. In short, you might save yourself a couple of bucks buying bulk at Sam’s or Costco, but the cost of doing so is much greater than you think..

  9. I probably would not pick it up if I saw it in a books-store since it’s about moms but basing on your review I can see that I can learn a lot from it. Thanks!

  10. When I first got caught by the frugal living bug many years ago, I stumbled across this book. We were DINKS at the time (Double Income, No Kids), but I found the money saving ideas inspirational. I love how well McCoy illustrates how POSSIBLE it is to be a stay-at-home mom. Now that I am a Stay-at-home mom, I’m glad that I had a chance to read this book. I learned a lot from her!

  11. Hi Trent!
    I loved the sound of this book. Thanks for the review.
    By the way, you seem to have an unfinished thought posted: ” This requires some planning, but since the basket is made up of little items (many of which are consumable) ” Was there more to this sentance?
    Thanks for your blog. It’s the only one on the web I choose to read regularly.

  12. All of these tips are great, and the comparison with the Tightwad Gazette is a true selling point.

    The multiple-stores thing – i actually rotated between 4 stores when i was being super frugal with the shopping – tried to hit one each week. I go to our coop for bulk items, Aldi for some dry goods & frozen fish, Costco for just a few things (nuts, some cheeses, giant cans of chickpeas, diapers), and the big box grocery for brand items we really cared about.

    Sales flyers don’t really help because they’re mostly for things I don’t buy – the real key was a price comparison book. I used it all the time for a few months and then settled into a routine and just did some spot checks to see if different items had changed somehwere.

    It sounds kind of obsessive but, except for Costco I bike for shopping, so there’s no cost to that, and combining the multi-store cheap shopping with an effort to only shop once a week just meant careful menu planning, which is a good frugality tool on its own.

  13. Egg whites on wheat toast? Oh, be still my heart! I mean, I know it’s healthy, but where’s the TASTE?

    What’s the difference between an ovo-lactarian vegetarian and a plain old vegetarian? Sounds like the opening line to a joke, but I thought people who avoid all animal products (including eggs and milk) were called vegans. Or is it Vulcans? Just kidding. I know people who eat less meat will probably Live Long and Prosper, but I can’t seem to shake my Klingonesque carnivorous cravings.

    Trent, you could do the world a big favor by authoring a cookbook with cheap, easy, healthy AND delicious entrees. Most of the ones I see focus on two or three of those attributes but never all four. If Americans are going to be coaxed back into the kitchen (and away from cheap buffets), somebody needs to present cooking as a win-win-win-win option. Oh, and try to make them one-pan, crock pot or microwave meals with a minimum of simple ingredients, low prep-time and easy cleanup. Anything else? Yeah, price it under $5 and include a searchable CD-Rom with web links. Now I’m off to see the Wizard…

  14. I am with you on the “thisclose” to meatless idea. In addition to the cost savings, I recently read a book (I can share with you if interested) that laid out in good detail the potential health benefits and savings of a meatless diet.

  15. Be careful of grocery store flyers. Many of the items touted there aren’t sale prices at all because the space is “for sale” by food companies wishing to plug their products. Keep a price book!

    Shopping farmer’s markets for in-season produce has saved me a bundle. At first the bottom line looked like I was spending more, but the food is more nutritious and denser so we actually eat less of it. Once I adjusted for the smaller portions, I find I’m not really spending more at all. Example: I bought grassfed and finished rib eye steaks for dinner one night. Three steaks cost me almost $30 (it was a special occasion) but fed six people with leftovers. The meat was the best I’d ever eaten, too.

    Jonni’s companion volume “Miserly Meals” is very good, if you keep an eye on the processed foods she uses occasionally.

  16. To add to the chorus: not only is eating a vegetarian diet cheaper and healthier for almost everyone, but it’s also better for the environment and (unless you’re exclusively eating free range meat) reduces a lot of suffering that results from factory farming.

  17. There is no way I’d shop at multiple stores per week. I have been frugal for a long time and have known people on frugal boards I visit who do this. It seems crazy to me; frankly, my time is worth more than that. I think with some planning, this type of shopping isn’t necessary and it may be counterproductive by putting you in more stores more often.

    Basically, I know a good price when I see it and I stock up. Eventually everything I need will be on sale at my regular store. When it is, I buy enough to last a while. Maybe my grocery bills are higher, but at least I’m not going to the store 2-3 times a week. That is not what I want to spend my time doing. I suppose that if I was a SAHM I’d feel differently, but as a working mom, time is too precious.

  18. I have owned Miserly Moms for several years now. I think the books value is it gets you thinking about ways to save if you’ve never really been a frugally minded person to start with. If you already are frugal, I don’t think the book is worth the money. Also…it’s pretty outdated. Like you pointed out, appliances are much more efficient, etc.

  19. If you coupon and shop at multiple stores, the internet is a great resource. For most large cities, you can now find local deal blogs that do the work for you. They match up the coupons with the sales at local grocery stores. These are invaluable resources and mean that you don’t have to spend tons of time on the sales fliers each week.

    You can also go to Hot Coupon World and look under forums for grocery stores in your area. This idea that couponing takes loads of time is just not true. Also, in many suburbs now, all the grocery stores are within a short distance of each other, so it doesn’t take that much time to go from one to the other getting the best deals.

  20. “I suppose that if I was a SAHM I’d feel differently, but as a working mom, time is too precious.”

    As a mostly SAHM, I would agree with this. My time without my child is precious (since there is so little of it!), but grocery shopping is something that I can do with the baby in tow. And during the day, we have so much time to burn, and going to multiple grocery stores actually gets us out of the house. My son loves to sit in the cart and stare at things. If I worked full time, I doubt I would spend this much time chasing deals. And I wouldn’t need to, since we would have two incomes.

  21. “Hones”?? It’s “homes in on”. And there’s a book you really should read from long ago, called “You Must Eat Meat”. It’s about the terrible things that can happen if you don’t. The best way to save money on food is not to eat as much. It can be done by paying attention to one’s hunger signals, and by eating only the very best food that you really want. So no tofu. Also, how many of these “super-savers” spend $15 on the “recyclable” bags when the store gives away bags for free? Talk about a rip-off. And it costs money – and energy, not that I care – to wash the things. You do wash them, no?

  22. @ Jane,

    That is exactly what I was thinking. If I was a SAHM chasing deals would be a great excuse to get out of the house. My little one loves to go grocery shopping too.

  23. I can also testify to the awesomeness of lacto-ovo veg. I haven’t eaten meat in 10+ years and I would never go back. (I tried veganism, but it made me sick and lightheaded.)

    If you are switching from meat to veg, make sure you consciously add way more protein to meals than you initially would think that you’d need. It will help ease the transition and once you have been at it for a while you will have a good idea of what you need.

    Also, although a veg diet can be way cheaper than a meat diet (not I said “can be” not “always is), I find it helpful to occasionally splurge on soy fake meat products. The fake meat isn’t necessarily cheaper than deals on chicken or ground beef, but it has less fat and is better for your health.

    Using the soy meat was a helpful crutch for transitioning my boyfriend into a veg diet. Now that I have been cooking veg for him for 4+ years, he has learned that he likes a lot of veg foods that he initially had a false preconceived notion about. We hardly ever go back to the fake meats now, but it was indispensable for the transition period.

  24. Great review, Trent. I’m with Joe L. above, though – I’m not a mom either, and I would not have picked up this book. Wonder why it’s targeted towards moms? Seems like they are missing out on a huge potential readership.

    I, too, am “thisclose” to the lacto-ovo veggie thing.

    Tip: I’ve been baking potatoes in my crock pot this summer to avoid heating up the kitchen/house by baking. And potatoes are way cheap. Sometimes I eat them plain; sometimes I put chili over them.

  25. The book Miserly Moms is several years old. It was the first frugal book that I read as a stay at home homeschooler, spending extra money for extra classes we wanted our homeschooler to enjoy. (Art, Pottery, Latin, etc.) At the time we thought homeschool was more expensive (first grade). When we put our child in public school in seventh grade; we found out what a bargain all the homeschool extras were. Public school= special clothes, special paper and other materials, etc. etc. Putting one child in school this last year cost around $200.00 plus $40.00 a month on lunches. Previously we had spent that money on enrichment classes. Miserly Moms was a lifesaver, and that led to Tightwad Gazette. Both great books. I have also learned a lot from your blog and other blogs that you have recommended. Your blog is the only blog that I read regularly. It is the first thing that I look for when I turn on the computer. Thank You.

  26. I agree with Jenny on Comment #2. I don’t take 3 hours to look through flyers. It takes me about 3 minutes to loook through 3 flyers and get all I need from all of them. Using the price notebook from The Tightwad Gazette, I know what each store’s price is in an instant in my head, from doing this so many years, that I can make up my list in less than 5 minutes with the 3 stores. If I am looking for an unusual ingredient or one I don’t buy very often, it may take me a little longer to look it up in my price book. I think the Tightwad Gazette is the most complete book I’ve read on the subject of home fruglality and I think everyone who came after her, whose book is similar, “copied” hers and tweaked it just enough to call it their own! That’s just my opinion.

  27. Trent,

    When you “just cook tons of chicken breasts at once. We cook several pounds of chicken breasts in the crock pot at one time” do you put anything else with them? Or just throw them in there? How long do they take? I have lots of recipes I love that ask for cooked chicken breast, but I avoid making them very often because it’s a pain to have to cook just to create the ingredient for the recipe. Any advice would be much appreciated!

  28. We have saved a lot of money by just eating what we have already purchased . Every week I evaluate what food we have on hand and what needs to be used. I then plan a menu and check the grocery ads and coupons for weekly staples and items to complete my menu.
    Our deep freeze died a few months ago (full of food) , and we have not replaced it, so I am more selective about what I buy and freeze.
    One benefit of eating this way is how creative I have become with our menu .
    For example:
    Leftover fresh spinach, tomato, green onion ,feta( from a salad )
    becomes a crustless quiche ( I had a lot of eggs on hand. )
    One package of chicken tenders will make chicken mango and panko breaded chicken cutlets for three.
    Previously, I would have purchased a package of chicken for each meal.
    Now one package is used for two meals and we eat more vegetables and rice at each meal.

  29. Trent, I need advice about freezing chicken, too. In addition to the questions asked in #22, what kind of thing do you freeze it in? I would really like to do this as I use chicken all the time. It would be a big help.

    thanks!

  30. I more or less became a vegetarian by default when I got my braces on–my orthodontic adventures left me mechanically incapable of chewing for several months, and meat is one thing I refuse to put in the blender. Since then I have returned to my omnivorous ways, but I eat far less meat than I used to (generally I only eat it when I’m dining out, which is rare). The economic benefits are significant and welcome, since my income has dropped considerably this year. Plus, it has forced me to get a little more creative in my cooking.

  31. i obviously swim against the stream among commenters here — as far as i’m concerned, meat is good for you unless eaten to the exclusion of everything else. however i’ve found that by including beans, oats & whole barley in most meals that my meat consumption has gone down, simply because there’s less room in the bowl. definitely spares the wallet in the long run.

  32. I continue to tout perimeter shopping as this really works for me and boyfriend. I don’t shop for the menu, but allow the menu to unfold via the shopping! I know this wouldn’t work for everyone but for couples or single folks it might be a way to shop frugal and fresh!

  33. @ comment #1

    Egg while omelet on whole wheat bread does have nutritional value, though you might not like it… Egg whites are pure protein; whole wheat bread gives you complex starches that take a while to be processed so they keep you full for quite a bit. It also has big variety of B vitamins that help your nervous system work (and do lots of other things for you); gives you nice amount of fiber so your intestines work fine. Now, add some roasted or fresh veggies on this, to give you the other vitamins you need, and you have a full meal there!

    Having the yolk in this won’t be bad idea too, ‘cause even on most rigorous diets, you still have to take in essential fat acids so your body functions properly. Some can be found in vegetables, some in animal products (animal products, not necessarily meat).

    You can find lots of useful proteins in vegetable food, whole grains, potatoes and beans. The key is eating big variety of food, not getting stuck on only one type of veggie, so your body gets all it needs.

    Also, you get blood sugar/insulin swings when you eat large amount of simple sugars found in cakes, cookies, ice creams, commercially prepared juices AND lots of precooked items or fast food you buy (it’s used as conservative and taste improver). If you know anyone that got insulin swing from eating whole grains, I’d sure love to hear the story.

    Talking about “human native diet”, there are many scientific researches that claim that the human race lived on fruits, vegetables and roots they found long before they learned to hunt or raise animals for food themselves.

    My point is, people CAN live on vegetarian diet and have normal live and good health. They can live even on vegan diet, but that requires much more attention on proper meal planning.

    Just to make it clear, not that it has any reference to the stated above, I am not strict vegetarian. My fiancée likes meat so we have it on regular basis. It’s all a question of choice. You eat what you like. But don’t try to justify it with false facts.

    If you want to have cheaper and healthier meals, try this… Start cooking at home. Get a deep freezer, buy bulk meats instead of a pound each few days (buy a whole cow if you think you’ll eat it in few months, chop it to pieces and freeze it, you’ll save a whole bunch of money), buy seasonal vegetables when they’re cheap and freeze them. Guy a big bag of potatoes instead of buying few pounds a week. Now, this will make you spend a lot less money than buying 4 tomatoes, carrot and a can of beans each day, trying to avoid spending money on meats. There are other ways to save money, aside from giving up things.

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