Things that are Cheap Meals

Tuesday, August 2

Last September Chase and I decided we were going to get out of debt, and figured it would take about 9 months. Chase started driving for Uber and we reduced our food budget significantly. We cut our 'eating out' budget to $0 and for a while I cut our 'clothing' budget to give us a little more money to work with.

Before we had decided to get out of debt we already had planned on going to Disney World for me to run The Dopey Challenge. So while reducing our budget we were also in the process of saving for IVF. I know it sounds like we were doing too many things. But any money left over from our trip would help us pay for IVF.

I cut our monthly food budget to $100 a month. When I first pulled half of it out ($50) I got really scared, I was scared this wasn't going to work and we wouldn't have enough food money to get us by. After pondering why I was scared about us doing something good, I realized that my scared feelings were coming from someone who wanted to destroy my faith, my hope and dreams of becoming debt free: Satan. Once I realized where those thoughts and feelings were coming from, my mindset changed, and I had more confidence.

I figured if we could go at least a year with living super cheap and eating as "clean" as we could on that budget it would be worth it in the end. What's a year of eating poorly compared to the years to come? With a statistical standpoint it's not very significant. 

I started budgeting roughly for every 2 weeks (give or take) based on when we got paid. That helped keep us on track since I pull money out and put it in envelopes.

These are some of our meals that we've had:

Breakfast:
-Oatmeal, PB and Brown Sugar (every day), it's also what we used to eat when trying to lose weight last year and its super cheap.
-Egg white French Toast (on the weekends)
-Egg white omelet with salsa or sriracha sauce

Lunch:
-Leftovers
-Sandwiches (I prefer PB and Honey)
-Cottage cheese and carrots
-Chase goes home for lunch so it's whatever he can find or make

Dinner:
-Top Ramen - with added mixed frozen veggies and black beans for protein - sounds disgusting, but it's not too bad.
-Tunafish sandwiches with apples, celery and pickles. I've also added mashed chickpeas for even more protein. Which you could probably do if you are vegan or vegetarian.
-Macaroni and Cheese and then I started adding chili, and this last time I added diced tomatoes.
-Bean and Cheese Burritos (using dried beans).
-Pasta, spaghetti sauce and one time I mashed up lentils for in the sauce. Probably should have blended them, but I wanted some protein in with the carbs we were eating. I also used frozen broccoli to go on top.
-Rice, beans and hot dogs or kielbasa with some butter, garlic, and salt.
-Brussel sprouts (Or broccoli) with hot dogs or kielbasa. We like to use this balsamic glaze from Trader Joes on it.

I like to switch it up every few weeks and rotate through my Pinterest feed to find new cheap recipes and add my own frugality to it.  Whether that be using rice (we always use brown rice) instead of quinoa (which is expensive), or using beans in place of meat.

It has helped a lot to only cook 3-4 meals in a 2 week period and just repeat them. For example:
Monday: Ramen with veggies
Tuesday: Tuna fish sandwiches
Wednesday: Mac N Cheese
Thursday: Ramen with veggies
Friday: Tuna fish sandwiches
Saturday: Burgers and veggies on the grill
Sunday: Beans and Rice

I try and buy veggies and fruit when I can, but I also try and keep it as cheap as possible. Before this we used to spend $200+ on food for just the two of us. Now it's roughly $100-$120.

We are determined to get out of debt, and we were determined to save up all $12-14,000 for IVF. We have accomplished our savings goal for paying cash for IVF and are now back on track to pay off our other debt.

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