Pizza Night on the cheap!

I am really fascinated with finding the cost of every meal because I think people are just wrong with how much it cost to eat real food. Tonight me did tortilla pizzas. Its a pretty simple thing. Tortillas on a cookie sheet with all your fixing, baked in the oven at 350 for about 8 minutes (my oven runs cold, so you might not need so long).

Now lets look at how much this cost (again, I will round some numbers up).

1 pack of 10 tortillas I got at the bread outlet for $1.10

1 bottle of organic pizza sauce that I paid $1.00 for and I used less then a third of the bottle. I will say the cost for this meal is 34 cents.

1 bell pepper I bought in the discount produce section for 33 cents

1/2 an onion  for 19 cents

Six of the pizzas had cheese. I bought the cheese on sale for $3.99 for 2 pounds, that makes the cost for this recipe about 50 cents.

The ones with cheese also had smoked sausage. I got the package for $1.00 and used a third of it, making it 34 cents for this recipe.

Three had no cheese and I used hummus. I bought a 2 pound container for 4.99. I used 1/4 of a cup for all 3 pizzas. That is a cost of 33 cents.

I used Field Roast Sausage on those. A package of 12 cost $12.00. I used only 1, costing $1.00 for this meal.

The total for this meal for my family of 5 is $4.13. That is actually a lot better than I thought. It is interesting to see how cheap you can make a healthy meal. What is your best and healthiest “budget” meal?

Easy Veggie Alphabet Soup

One argument for eating healthy is that it is too expensive. For example, you can buy a box of mac and cheese for under a dollar, than with butter and milk it cost closer to $2.

I can do better and have done better. This meal is an example of that. I am new to writing recipes but am very familiar with the math, so if a miss something in writing it out please let me know. I am going to round up the prices to give you a “worst case scenario” for this recipe.

1 quart of broth – free (I make my own with veggies scarps)

1 can of diced tomatoes (59 cents at Fred Meyer or 78 cents at Costco for the organic)

1/2 an onion (onions are 39 cents a pound at Costco, so if an onion is a pound the cost for this recipe is about 20 cents)

2 minced cloves of garlic (I head of garlic is 33 cents a piece at Fred Meyer, if there is a dozen in a head The cost for this recipe is about 6 cents)

1/2 a bag or 1 cup of frozen veggies (These were 79 cents a bag at Fred Meyer the other day, for this recipe is 40 cents)

1 can or 2 cups cooked of beans (I used black beans today, which is 83 cents a pound but this could be made cheaper with a cheaper bean, i.e. lentils are 53 cents a pound. For this recipe, I paid about 40 cents.)

1/3 cup of alphabet pasta (I got mine in the Hispanic section at the grocery store for 33 cents a 7 ounce bag. The cost for this recipe is about 11 cents. This could be made even cheaper using rice. Rice is only 19 cents a pound, which would make the cost for this recipe would be 6 cents.)

For the last few ingredients I am going to roughly estimate 50 cents. These are harder to calculate.

1 tbls olive oil

1 tbls cumin

healthy pinch of salt and pepper.

Warm oil in a pot and sweat onions and garlic. Add Add everything except pasta and bring to a boil. Add pasta, bring to a boil and turn down to a simmer and cover. Simmer for about 15 min or until pasta is tender. Now your ready to eat.

The total cost for this is $2.45. My kids think it is ok and my hubby had seconds. Plus, I have leftovers. When was the last time you had left overs with mac and cheese. If you use lentils, rice and the cheaper tomatoes your cost is $2.02. Eating right on a mac and chees budget!

My first canning adventure

One task I have always wanted to tackle is canning. I am afraid it is a skill that maybe dieing. It helps us be more self reliant people, when we grow and preserve our own food.
A few years ago my sister gave me this book.

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I never got around to using it. It has been just sitting on my shelf.
This past weekend, I wanted to work on my tater tot casserole so I packed up the kids and walked to the store. We checked out the discount bin and found tons of apples. This is what we got.

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All this was under $18. The most expensive things were the tater tots and the hot dogs, my back up plan if dinner went south.
There are more than 13 pounds of apples in that picture, totaling $8.
The whole process of canning applesauce was easier than I thought.

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Aren’t they beautiful? All jars sealed. Yay! My total for this project was, about, $2 a jar. Not the cheapest but nothing in the jar but apples and lemon juice.

Cloth diaper math, on the fly!

I was doing laundry and thought I would count the diapers in the load and do the math quickly. I am doing the math for the first time in the post, so if I am not clear, go ahead and comment. Then I can fix it or explain it better.

This load had 28 diapers and 8 “wipes” (I use wash cloths and don’t buy into the idea of needing special cloth wipes, but that is for a different post).

I figure for my toddler, disposable diapers cost, about, 30 cents a piece (some brands more, some a little less but for this post I am saying 30 cents). With that, because of water costs in the wash, it is about a quarter (25 cents) back in my pocket for each cloth diaper used.

In the case of this load, that is $7.00 back in my pocket (I am surprised it worked out that perfect, I didn’t plan that).

Wipes cost a penny or 2 a piece, depending on brand (I like Honest company and theirs are little more). At most that is 16 cent back in my pocket.

I make my own detergent and the cost per load is actually less than a penny, so we will round-up to the penny. The vinegar is probably a couple of cents a load (I have never figured out how much I use per load, it may be time to do that, a gallon of white vinegar only costs $1.50 at our local Costco), so we will say 3 cents for the math for now. A 30 ml bottle of lemon oil (that is about 500 drops) is 10 bucks through Plant Therapy and I use 2 drops a load. It is 2 cents a drop, that is 4 cents a load.

I need to subtract 8 cents for laundry cost.

Math: $7.00 + $.16 – $.08= $7.08

The total I save for this load with 28 diapers and 8 wipes is $7.08. Now I can go on the figure out per week savings compared to disposable but on the fly that feels like a lot. I will say I do at least 2 loads a week of diapers, some weeks 3 loads. It will depend on where the loads fall in the week (and if the little one has had an icky week 😛 ).

What do you think of my math? For us, $7.08 is about 2 dinners. It makes a huge dent. What about in your life? What would 7 dollars back into your pocket every couple of days do for you?

 

What are affiliates?

If you have become a regular reader of the blog, you will notice that I have added “buttons” to the side of the blog.

At the top right, are “affiliates.” Affiliates are, more or less, advertisers. I get a commission off of any purchase or sign up through those links. While, that is not the point of this blog, it does allow me to keep going and to help pay for things  that can improve the blog.

Now some of the companies I already love, and some I chose because they align with my personal beliefs. The companies I haven’t used yet, I plan to.

The top of the list of the ones that I currently use is the Honest Company. I love their cleaning supplies, especially dishwasher detergent. In an effort to save money and be more “green,” I have tried to make my own dishwasher detergent, and have never found anything the works the way I want. I think the Honest Company’s is a fair price and gives me peace of mind. Plus, it does a good job. I, also, use their training pants. I was a cloth diaper mama and still love cloth diapers, They are much harder to use on a very active toddler. I find the Honest Company’s training pant to be a great compromise. I will let you know, though, that they run big. At one time I had to cancel my order because of that (my kids have no butts). When I called and told them that, we had a good laugh about it and then they gave me 10% off my next order. I love their customer service.

The other companies I use regularly are Ebates and Inbox. Ebates give you a percentage back whenever you make a purchase through them. If you have something you want to buy from a particular company, go to Ebates website, find that company and use their link to make your purchase. After you make your purchase you will get money back into your Ebates account and they will send you a check. I don’t remember how often they send you a check, sorry.

Inbox is an easy way to make a little money. I mostly do their paid emails. They send you an email and all you do is click on “confirm email”. Sometimes I do get offers I am really interested in. There is a lot of ways to get paid through Inbox. If you have time, you should really explore all your options. There are surveys, paid videos, games, a search engine, all kinds of stuff. You should check it out and explore. You will never get rich with them, but every little bit helps.

Now, I hope that explains what is going on, on the side of the blog. If you have any question or any thoughts on the companies I have picked, please comment and let me know what you think. I would love to hear from you.

 

Eggs!!!!

Today the kids and I went over to my old neighbors and picked up some eggs. Only one of my chickens is laying so I still have to buy eggs. We go through about 3 dozen eggs a week when we have them. He sells his eggs at $3 a dozen, for pastured eggs that is a great price. I have seen them as high as $8.

I love being able to give my money to a neighbor other then the grocery store. Grocery store eggs are cheaper but there are wider implications that go beyond money for me.

First, there is the whole mistreatment of chickens. They are not meant to be kept in little boxes with their beaks and claws cut off, only being aloud to eat and lay. Even “free range” doesn’t mean much. Usually the chickens are kept in a small barn, at a huge density, with only a window for fresh air. While that may be better, it isn’t ideal.

Next, is how that money is divided up. My price point for a dozen eggs from the grocery store is one dollar a dozen. Now that dollar is divided up between the grocery store upkeep, the employees, the managers, the CEOs, and lastly the farmer (who then has to divide that up for his farm).

When I give my neighbor three dollars, he gets most of it. Yes, a little is used for chicken feed and flock upkeep but most of it is used on things he was going to spend money on anyways.

Now, who would you rather have your money, CEOs and broken into tiny pieces for employees and no name farmer (who is only getting pennies off the dollar anyway), or a neighbor you know? I pick my neighbor.

What do you think? What would you do? How do you feel about what I said?

Giveaways

I thought, since I had a minute while the baby is sleeping, I would put together a blog post of my favorite blog giveaways. So here you go.

A Hundred Dollars a Month – Seed giveaway

Mama Natural – Water bottle giveaway

The Prairie Homestead – Pressure cooker giveaway

Common Sense Homestead – Cutting board giveaway

I will try to update this as the day goes on, but here you go. Who doesn’t love free stuff?