Food Can Make You Financially Fat
As some of you know, blogging is not my primary job (although sometimes it feels as though it consumes as much space as my “regular” job). My primary job is working as a financial planner for Millennials and Gen X’ers, helping them achieve their short and long term financial goals. As such, I see many common hurdles preventing people from achieving financial success, and a big hurdle for most people is the cost of food. According to the USDA, the average cost of food for a family of four in November of 2013, was $800 a month!! This does not even account for the cost of eating out.
So, I have decided to create a weekly post called FB (aka Financially Blonde) Foodie Fridays where I will share yummy and healthy meals for 4 people that in total will cost $15 or less. And this $15 is a “true” number. I hate when people say meals cost $5, but they only attribute the cost of a teaspoon of cumin to your total. However, if you don’t have cumin to begin with, then this will add $5 to your shopping bill.
Well-Stocked Kitchens Save Money
The first step in achieving these meals, though, is a well-stocked kitchen. There are just some things that everyone should have on hand at all times. So the following is a guest post from my hubby who is the head chef in our house. He has given tips on how to stock a kitchen inexpensively so that you can save money over time by cooking more at home.
Guest Blog from FB Hubby
Over the years, I often find recipes, make a few changes, and make them my own. Shannon (my Financially Blonde wife) decided to give me an FB Challenge, create some meals that cost up to $10 to make. So I set off for the grocery store. Now I know there are all these cooking shows that claim you can do these great meals at low cost. I cry foul on those meals unless it is a salad or pasta with butter as the sauce. You can’t get a pound of chicken, meat (even ground beef), pork, etc. without hitting the $7 mark. Add one onion and a pepper and you are pretty much at $10. I am sure you might be able to do something with that, but don’t forget you may want it to have taste, so that means spices, maybe some butter or olive oil. Of course, if you live in New York like us, things tend to be even more expensive. So I got her to raise my limit to $15. I think I can do that and will post some of these results in later blogs.
However, before you can make a meal, you need to stock your kitchen with some basics. Now nothing drives me crazier than finding what looks like a great recipe only to read the ingredients and see that I need 1 cup of Tibetan Yak’s milk, 5 oz of Bermudan arrowroot, and a pinch of Afghan asafetida (I had to Google it) to make it work. Not only are things like this impossible to find, but when you do, they are expensive and you never use them again until you rediscover the same recipe (only to find the curdled Yak’s milk way in the back of the fridge). So I promise not to post any recipes with crazy ingredients. However, there are some basics that you should keep on hand. This list, called the “Essentials“, will run about $50, but are things that will last for many uses and can be used in a variety of recipes. (For many of the spices, if you have a Sam’s Club or CostCo membership, get them there and it greatly reduces the cost over the long haul).
The Essentials: You should always have these on hand at any given time
Course ground black pepper
Red pepper flakes
Italian Bread Crumbs (go for the largest size)
Dry pasta (wait for these to go on sale and buy them then)
Cream of chicken soup
Cream of mushroom soup
That should get you going. Look out for future recipes as we embark on the FB $15 dinner challenges. Eat well and stay financially fit!