Monday, September 26, 2011

Cheap eats

I noticed recently that an entry I did about Angelfood Ministries was getting a lot of hits; today I went to check their website just for the heck of it, and I found out they have ceased operation.  
We tried Angelfood Ministries one single time.  I believe we paid $32, and got a small box with not many groceries in it.  A lot of what was in the box was overly processed.  I recall there were some steaks, a cheaper cut, that I used in stir-fries and for beef tips.  And there was a frozen pumpkin pie ready to be put in the oven.  
This was before we butchered Bonnie's first calf, so we had a use for the beef.  However, I didn't need a frozen pumpkin pie.  It was the year we had so many butternut squashes from the garden, and I could have used them if I wanted a "pumpkin" pie.  I've never been one to buy baked (or ready-to-be-baked) goods, unless I see an angel food cake marked down because it's been around awhile.  Of course I buy the occasional cake mix, simply because the mix is cheaper than a cake made from scratch.
Looking at the contents of the box of food we got that day, it seemed to me as though a person could have bought similar items for the same price (or less) at the grocery store, especially if she took advantage of weekly specials.  Still, there are people who buy lots of processed food, so the Angelfood thing might have worked well for them.    
When we bought my Jersey cow, Bonnie, I felt we had paid a ridiculous price.  But I wanted a healthy purebred Jersey cow in the worst way; not because we needed milk, but because I love Jerseys.  As I recall, the people were asking $1,500 for her.  I think they let us have her for $1,300.  I had my lovely, gentle, beautiful Jersey cow, so I was happy.  
Her first calf was a boy.  He nursed her until he was a year old, then we took him to be butchered.  We were amazed at how much meat he made!  The only actual money we ever spent on him was the fee to have him butchered, which was over $200.  We never bought grain for him at any time.  Meanwhile, we were getting from one to two gallons of milk a week from Bonnie, more if I wanted it.  
I'm fairly sure that if we were to figure how much Bonnie has given us in the way of food, she has darn near paid for herself.  
With Bonnie's help, we eat cheaply.  We've been eating taco soup and split pea soup for the last five or six days.  Of course, we ate lasagna twice at Rena's house; the ground beef she used in it (and what I used in our taco soup) was courtesy of Bonnie-the-Jersey-cow's first son.  
For breakfast we alternate between oatmeal and farina (Cream of Wheat).  We have an occasional bowl of Mini-spooners, usually when Cliff sleeps so late that I'm starving, so I go ahead and eat.  
Even in this year of lousy gardening, I don't have to spend a lot of bucks on food.  For that, I am thankful.  And guess what?  I could still trim the budget even more if I had to.  I wish I could say the same about gasoline.

9 comments:

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

I did notice that gas was down almost 20 cents this week from the last time I got it. I don't use much but even that made a difference in my budget. Now maybe I can afford a few more trips to the camper! You do have a lot to be thankful for with your food budget. I am finding that that is the hardest hit place in mine. I'm going to be eating more frugally over the winter and soups and stews are good for you and have a way of stretching the dollar for sure. Hope your Monday is a great one!

TARYTERRE said...

You are fortunate to own a cow. It has benefited you well. Sounds like you've done everything right to cut your costs. The only good thing about my husband being laid off is that we save $25-$30 a day in gasoline that was being spent when he commuted. And that has helped the budget.

Leilani Lee said...

We looked at Angel Food but concluded there was too much processed food. I tend to make everything from scratch. What you need now are a couple of pigs to feed the extra milk!!.

Lindie said...

Gas is one of my main expenses but some days I drive over 100 miles. I use a lot of soup recipes in the winter or make up my own. I have already made chili, chicken vegetable soup and beef stew. I don't mind having it often. And think I will do bean or lentil soup next.

patsy said...

food is costly but if people would cook it would be cheaper. I know people who work all day don't want to come home to cook but you can safe money that way. My children go and buy a pizza for 10 bucks. how can you expect to get by spending 10 dollars for pizza? a loaf of bread is 2 dollar or more so you had better learn how to make bread before it goes to 5 dollars a loaf.

Calfkeeper said...

You are so great at budgeting. I am really trying hard to do more of that. But we don't eat beef but maybe once or twice a year. Sometimes more, sometimes less. I dearly wish I could get hubby to cut out his white bread habit (cheap white bread...maybe .89 per loaf but still...) and his dessert habit; that's where quite a few dollars go. And for fruit. I spend a lot on fresh fruit, since we have none available for free here.

darev2005 said...

Maybe Cliff could convert a vehicle to run on alcohol and you could make a still and use your food compost. Probably a bad idea, but might be worth a try, eh?

madcobug said...

I checked out the Angel Food Ministries and noticed how high they were compared to grocery stores.I never bought any of it. Helen

Lori said...

One reason I love that Thomas and Eler Beth are such good hunters is that I always have good, healthy meat in our freezers -- and there's always more than enough to share with family and friends. I wish I could have a garden, but it isn't possible right now. But I buy veggies and fruits or have them given to me, and can and freeze them when I can, so that helps out.