Friday, January 23, 2009

Frugal Living Friday: Making it Last

Welcome to Frugal Living Friday! Each week I will feature a tip that can help us stretch our budget and live more frugally! If you have a tip that you want shared on Frugal Living Friday, let me know and you could become a guest blogger for a day.

So now that I have such a large stockpile of cereal, oatmeal, granola bars, etc. many of you have emailed me asking how I keep my kids out of it all! It is exciting for the kids to go out to the garage (unfortunately, I don't have a pantry) and go "shopping" when we are out of something in the house. But if I let them have free reign my good deals will be gone in no time.

I have set up a few rules for making our food last. I explained to my kids that although the food was super cheap (and often free!) that doesn't mean we can go crazy with it. I only stock up like this when the deals are really good and I won't replenish at full price. After I explained this I told them how things would work:

  1. Only one granola bar per day. For the school kids this means most likely one in their lunch, but after school snacks include fresh fruit, toast, or something like that.

  2. Even though our family are self-proclaimed "cereal freaks" (according to my husband) we don't have cold cereal everyday. We would go through it way too quickly! I set up a breakfast schedule for us that I will explain below.

  3. You need to ask permission if you want to get anything.

Now I know these rules will probably be broken at some point, but I like having them in place. Here is a loose breakfast schedule I have in place so the kids know they will still have something to eat in place of cold cereal. I don't have specific days for each type of food, because my food desires or schedule may change. Like I said, it's a loose schedule! And we mix up all the options to form all sorts of combinations to fit our tastes for the day.

BREAKFAST OPTIONS (besides cold cereal)

Oatmeal & fruit/yogurt
Pancakes or Waffles
Muffins & breakfast smoothies
Biscuits & poached eggs
Omelets/Eggs and toast
Breakfast Burritos (tortillas w/scrambled eggs & spices, hashbrowns, ham, etc)
Homemade "Egg McMuffins" (my hubby loves these)

So I am at least trying to make my food last as long as possible! So far the kids have been really good about sticking to the rules. They know I won't go out and just buy lots more.

How do you make your stockpile last?



Jackie said...

Amazing. Do you have the recipe for egg mcmuffins?

Marne said...

I don't really follow a recipe Jackie. What I do is toast the english muffin, spread it with ranch (we love ranch) then put on a cooked egg with spices, ham and cheese. Sometimes we make it different, just depends on what our tastes are that day. :)

Jane Doe said...

What a great resource you have started. The word frugal always makes me smirk. In these times, we all have to be! Now, I'm off to save on some Splenda with fiber.

The Keel Gang said...

We incorporated this idea a while ago & it has worked splendidly. We use tickets, just because it makes it more fun for the kids. We use the ticket system for more than just snacks, but it works great for the snacks. I made small tickets with a picture to represent the item (computer use, video game time, movie watching, snacks, time with Mom) & then I laminated them because with kids NOTHING lasts if it's not laminated. (By the way I got a fabulous laminator at Costco for $24.99 & it included 80 different pouches to use. It fits 8 1/2 x 11 too! Back to the tickets....they get a set that they keep in a special envelope & when they want to do something they give me the ticket & they don't get it back until the next day, so when their snack ticket has been used, it's gone. We get two snacks a day though because kids get hungry & I understand that. Your ideas for snacks & breakfast are great. We are a cereal eating family for sure, but I don't mind because we buy the cheap stuff & they like it just as much, plus I don't have the time with 5 kids (one set of twins) to make special stuff. But, there are some great ideas! I look forward to hearing more ladies' ideas!

Marne said...

Great ideas ladies!

Jane: I know what you mean about the word "frugal". Nowdays people do it out of necessity, but I would like everyone to see if you always live that way, no matter the shape of the economy, you will always be ahead financially!

The Keel Gang: I like the ticket idea! Thanks for sharing!

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