Monday, March 05, 2007

Ways to Save

My life feels full of bills lately. I really don’t like that feeling at all. However, I’m not going to make things worse by dwelling upon them. I will instead focus on something positive that I am doing.

This weekend was a busy one. On Saturday, I helped my neighbor with her yard sale which was held a t another family member’s home. . I did not make any money myself but I did get a few things for free from the sale. Funny thing was the best stuff we got came out of the family member’s trash can. He threw out stuff that was GOOD! We got a tent and several cans of bug repellant and first aid spray. We also took a lot of toys out of there that we sold at the yard sale.

On Sunday I spent the day cooking for our upcoming trip. We are going on a weeklong SCA event. A lot of the people there will either purchase meals at high prices in the merchant area. Others will join a food plan and pay $35 per person or so for their weeks worth of meals. Another popular idea is to join a food plan where you cook for a group one night and other people cook on the other nights. We have found that none of these options are right for us. Eating at the “food court” area means spending $10 or more per meal. Spending $70 to join a food plan where the food is not always served on time or even served at all isn’t good for us either. We tried option #3 a few years back and then had to join another food plan that week because people were not cooking their assigned meals. Of course, we could just cook there on site but cleaning up and prep work would take up a large portion of our time.

A few years ago, we hit upon a plan that works for us. We cook our dinners in advance and use our sealer to vacuum seal the meals into 2 portion sized meals. This allows us to have a good variety of meals made at home with cheap ingredients. We are able to stock pile up our meats through the preceding months so we don’t have a large expense right before our vacation. We put these meals into the freezer until the night before we leave. Then they are put into a cooler with dry ice. They stay frozen all week long. At dinner time, we simply pull out our chosen meal and toss it into a pot of boiling water. If it is cold and rainy, we still have a nice hot dinner.

Yesterday, my husband pulled all of the meat we will be using out of our deep freezer. I cooked up ground beef/ground turkey for spaghetti sauce, beef stroganoff, and chili. I grilled chicken breasts on the George Forman grill. I made a large crockpot of beef stew and a huge pot of potato soup.

By cooking this way, I am able to feed my family and any stragglers who need a good hot meal. We are not eating fancy meals but they are wholesome and good.

We bring lunch items like sandwich spreads and peanut butter with us. The only hot meal cooked on site is breakfast. Hubby makes French toast and pancakes a few mornings. Other than that, I eat pop tarts or oatmeal. This is one time of year when I allow myself to buy pop tarts so I really enjoy them.

Our total food bill for the week for approximately 4 adults per meal is about $75.

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