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Saturday, June 19, 2010

Frugal Food: Eating In or Out

It is possible to cut your food budget without sacrificing taste and quality.

My favorite shopping is local produced and seasonally grown items. We have an Amish bakery and a German bakery, farm stands selling produce and home canned jams & jellies, a berry farm (blueberries, blackberries and raspberries), and an herb farm.

If you want to save on your food budget, you need to know your stores that are available to you. Familiarize yourself with what each does best. And remember quality can trump price if the cheaper alternative has more waste.

In my town the grocery fliers come out on Monday. So that would be a good evening to plan a week’s menu. Match up what is on sale with what coupons you have for better savings.

In this economy, perhaps it’s time to bring back an old form of entertaining… the potluck meal. It’s not just for church socials!

It’s fun and informal. Make is special by working with a theme. Ask your guests to make their favorite ethnic dish or highlight an ingredient or bring a different component to the entrée you prepare. If you make a nice salad, everything will tie together!

Oh… you might have everyone email you their recipe beforehand. Then you can print them out to share…because they’re going to be good!

I love to eat out. Especially in ethnic or specialty restaurants.

First tip is to go at lunch. In quite a few restaurants, lunch prices can extend all the way to 4pm. That can be an early supper. (Combine that with a movie at matinee price and you have a home run!) Many ethnic restaurants will have a lunch buffet that costs no more than the average entrée. It is a great way to try something new.

It just irritates me to pay $2 or more for a glass of tea. Seriously… it cost them .25c to make a huge vat. Order tap water. Ask for lemon or lime to flavor it up a bit if you’d like. The bonus is you'll get a truer taste of your food.

Most desserts are monster sized. Split one with your dining partner. Half the cost and half the calories!

Many restaurants offer coupons and special event notifications by email. I have these sent to the same address I set up for my coupons. In my inbox right now are 2 coupons from my favorite St. Louis restaurants - $5 off $25 at Senor Pique and $20 off of $50 at Bristol Seafood Grill.

Enjoy your meal!


  1. I envy you of having the Amish stores to shop. We do have some local veggie and fruit stands and do shop there alot. So yummy. Love your saving tips.

  2. Hey Teri, fun suggestions, all. I like going out to a late, late lunch also. But it's mainly because I hate crowds, out my but do I ever.

    I have a suggestion for you: Those grocery fliers are available online now. Just type in the grocery store name and you're halfway there. You can even download coupons to your store card, or print them out at home.

    Then you can have yourself removed from the mailing list for Advo, or whoever produces your fliers and save trees, and manufacturing ...and all sorts of things...while saving the same amount of money :-)

  3. According to some young friends, Senor Pique is the most authentic Mexican restaurant in the area. You have good taste!


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