Meat Can Be A Big Expense

Raw Beef

Meat can be a frugal choice!

Meat can be a big expense if you do not raise your own livestock. We do not. I would have a large amount of pets and an empty freezer if I did! LOL Well, not exactly, since we do not have freezer, but you know what I mean. Some people can do it and some don’t want to. Yes, I know where meat comes from that is sold in the stores. How come people have such a problem with you not raising your own livestock for meat, but they don’t grow their own wheat for baking? I always say, do what you can or want to do, but please do not force YOUR views on others! If you are following a low carb food plan than meat is an even bigger expense. Fresh produce makes up half of the low carb plan, meat and dairy are about one-fourth each. It doesn’t help that our house rabbit, known as “Rabbit” eats a great deal of the fresh greens we grow, or buy from the store. We try to buy organic as much as possible, if available. Winter is tough though and especially around here.

rabbit eating wild foods

Wild Foods

Since we heat with wood and have no other type of heating, our house gets pretty cold at night when the wood stove is banked back. Starting plants has always been difficult for me. My houseplants barely survive the winter. I am experimenting with some salad greens and herbs right now since our temperatures have been unseasonably warm for New York state. This morning we spotted our first robin of the year and they are never here this early. I usually look for them around the fifteen of March, not the first. I am not complaining though. We have a pretty large population of robins living here for most of the year. I hope it is a good sign that spring will be early this year.


Livestock raised for food.

Because we do not raise livestock for food, what can we do about the meat supply? Well, you can always become a vegetarian, though that is not for me. I have tried it, but I am used to eating meat since I have had it my whole life. Also since I do so much better eating low carbs, I want to eat it. It satisfies you more than vegetables. One of the ways around the high price of meat in the stores is to purchase a supply from a local farmer. If you have a freezer to store it, you can usually get a much better price directly from the farmer who raised it. I think once you buy it that way, you will not want to go back to buying it in a store again. Another way to get an affordable amount of meat is to buy it in bulk when your stores have it on sale. I do that. Except I can it, instead of freezing it. The main reason I do not freeze it is because we do not have a freezer. Not even a small one. Our refrigerator doesn’t have one. But even if I had a freezer, most of my meat and foods I store, I would can. Freezers can break. Canned meats taste much better and will last years as long as it is properly canned with a pressure canner. My husband calls it fast food. Canned jars of meats or chili and stews are super fast to cook and serve. We love them.

Canned Beef

Canned Beef

I normally purchase our meat from a local restaurant supply store. I can get good deals on meat there, as well as produce. Their food is top quality and I have never been unhappy with anything I bought there. Canning a supply of meat and broth can make preparing meals, not only frugal, but easier. The meat is already cooked so you just have to put the recipe together and heat it. Jars of broth make gravy and soup preparing a snap. After I have finished canning the meat, I add more hot water to it, season it and now have number of jars of broth to can. These are like gold! They add such flavor and store bought bouillon or broths don’t even come close to the flavor.


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Copyright © 2017 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2017 Kathleen G. Lupole


Stretching The Food Budget

Grocery Shopping

Grocery Shopping

Stretching the food budget is an essential skill today. People now have to pay for obamacare, when they couldn’t afford health insurance to begin with. Readers contact me all the time, asking what can they do? Where do they find that money, plus all the other bills that have gone up? Making cuts to the household budget when there is nothing left to cut, is a common dilemma today. What do most people cut? Their food budget, of course!  Groceries is always the first thing that is cut. Yet eating nutritional foods would improve their families’ health, so they wouldn’t get sick and/or run down to begin with. Build up your health in bad times, so you don’t have to spend money at the doctor’s office. 

Wendy's in Binghamton, NY

Fast food is quick & easy!

If you tend to grab food on the run, or go out to eat because it is less trouble, that is a very costly mistake. Not only money wise, but time wise too. I know the tendency to say, “what the heck, I can buy it already made for less.” That is not true though. It means that you get only one meal for that money. No leftovers unless you bring home a doggie bag unless you are buying Chinese food (I always get three meals out of my order. My husband only gets one, and he doesn’t like what I order). One package of meat can give you two or more different meals. One large package of hamburger can be chili, meatballs in gravy and hamburger patties.One chicken can be roast chicken, chicken salad and chicken soup. Making my food dollars go farther is always on my mind, even though there are only two of us here. Those fast food meals will always affect your food budget.

Squash Casserole

Squash Casserole

To make meals healthy, good and keeping to your food budget, these are some if the things I do:

1. Keep your meals simple.

2. Plan your menus before you shop. ALWAYS shop with a list!

3. Organize your kitchen so it is easy to cook in.

4. Plan what you are going to cook the day before.

5. If you need to thaw something out, do it the evening before.

6. While you are cleaning up the kitchen from supper, prepare some of the ingredients for the next day’s meal. Or at least, do it the next morning if you have more time. If you work, you might have to do it the evening before.

Crock Pot

Crock Pot

7. If you have a crock pot…….USE IT! Especially if you work or are busy during the day. With a crock pot, you can prepare the food and have it already in the crock and just take it out of the refrigerator and plug it in the next morning. They are great!

8. Clean the kitchen as you prepare and cook. Keep it as uncluttered as possible. Clear counters make cooking easier.

9. Collect recipes for making your salad dressings, condiments and soups (especially cream soups which are used as an ingredient in so many recipes.). Just those few items can save you a bundle!

10. Stock your pantry with items you use on regular basis. Make a stock up list and buy something on that list every single time you go to the store. Even if it is only 1 of something. Keep adding to it little by little.

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Copyright © 2014 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2014 Kathleen G. Lupole

I write this blog based on my experience living an off-the-grid life as a modern homesteader. Some of the links you may click or products I recommend may or may not compensate me for including them in my post. Be sure to read my disclosure page if you are concerned about that.