Sunday, April 22, 2012
Must the cookie jar always be full? Do Mothers have to keep a steady supply of cake, brownies and other treats in the kitchen? Must she provide her family with gourmet dinners each night, or special meals that taste delightful?
Or is it okay to have a thrifty kitchen? This kind of kitchen produces things like oatmeal in the morning, or whole grain apple muffins. Lunches might be sandwiches or leftovers. Supper might be the main meal of the day, served around 5 or 6 in the evening. This could be pasta, meatloaf, or one of our frugal favorites, southern cornbread, home fried potatoes and baked beans.
It is not required that Mother buy soda, candy or chips. It is completely unnecessary for her to serve dessert every single day. It is also extremely expensive.
Simple, homemade foods from the kitchen help keep household expenses low.
It has been said that we must not be fashionably dressed above our means. It is also true that we must not grocery shop and cook beyond what we can afford.
One of the biggest leaks in the family budget is an abundance of food.
Here are some ideas for keeping costs down:
1. Have meals at specific times, whenever possible. This way everyone knows what to expect. It also helps Mother plan her day. (For example - Breakfast at 8 a.m. Lunch at noon. Dinner at 5 p.m.)
2. Have basic foods in the pantry - like potatoes, vegetables, fruit, flour, sugar, cornmeal, and meat. This way you can quickly come up with something to make, without worrying about rushing off to the store.
3. I know many people write up weekly menus and meal plans, but it is not always necessary if you have basic ingredients available. You should also have some basic family recipes handy that are easy, quick and frugal.
4. Make special foods, like cookies, once a week. This is something the family will look forward to and appreciate. It could be a Friday night treat. Or, plan on making a cake or nice dessert for Sunday afternoons. The less often treats are offered, the less likely money will be wasted.
5. Offer children basic beverages like juice, tea, water or milk. If the older ones want soda, or some name brand drink, have them use their own money. (Mother is not obligated to provide the children with commercially prepared, designer beverages.) This goes the same for candy bars and other processed snacks.
6. Serve whole grains and fresh foods. This is nutritious and helps keep everyone feeling full.
7. In restaurants, patrons are served ice water before their meal. This helps fill them up. Try this at home! Why? Because in this current day, people tend to eat much larger portions than they really need. If they have some water first, they will eat a more appropriate amount of food.
8. Some nutritious snacks include: crackers with peanut butter; celery with cream cheese; sliced apples; carrot sticks; or wheat crackers with cheese. (Not donuts, danishes, or cupcakes.)
I realize it takes a tremendous amount of work to have a thrifty kitchen. It is much easier to buy convenience foods. However, there is more at stake than just saving time or money. We need to save our health.
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This post is part of The Christian Home Magazine in the Financial category. To see more articles in different aspects of Home life, please visit the latest issue, hosted at Day by Day in our World.