Lazy Budget Chef: March 2020

Sunday, March 29, 2020

16 Ways to Save Money That Don’t Cost Any Money at All

I find that the cheapest way to save money is with new habits because habits are FREE!

I like free.

Free is good. 

Free habits are also the easiest way to unintentionally spend more money if you break them. Or in my case, I tell myself the ol’ Oh not doing that frugal thing this one time won’t hurt – which sometimes gets me out of my good habit until I double check a utility bill. Oops!

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This is a list of ideas, not money saving absolutes. Some you might already do. Others may not apply to you. You might do something that is even better than what I have here and if you do, please share it with us in the comments below!

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Quick and Easy Instant Mashed Potato Pancake Recipe

When my husband and I eat fresh potatoes (which is always), we cook them in a Microwave Potato Bag similar to this one for four minutes and then pop them in the toaster oven to crisp the skin while the rest of dinner cooks on the stove because we generally don’t have the time to bake potatoes old school in the oven.  Mashed potatoes are pretty much off the table due to my severe dairy intolerance because let’s face it loads of butter and cream is what makes mashed potatoes taste like heaven. (Disclosure: I am including affiliate links in this post for your convenience)

Which is why my husband was baffled first time he found a box of instant mashed potatoes in the kitchen. Why do we have this when we have real potatoes?

waffle maker instant mashed potato pancakes a comfort food recipe
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Monday, March 16, 2020

How Much Emergency Food Storage to Buy and How Make It Last

When I was trying to get the hang of paying attention to seasonal sale cycles to help my family save money on groceries, I typically bought the household staples we used all of the time, for example like toothpaste, every time I saw it on sale. That way I’d have a sale priced backup on hand when we run out. In theory that should work just fine. In practice I seemed to always have too many of one thing on hand (like  toothpaste) and not any of another when I need it most like my DIY laundry detergent. This grocery buying strategy didn’t help me one bit when it came to having an extra two weeks of food in my pantry for emergencies because I had weird amounts of stuff that didn’t always go together to make a meal.

Reading advice from food storage moms about how many extra pantry items to have on hand in case of emergency (we have storm related blackouts here) didn’t help much either because the amounts they suggest are for families much larger than mine or for food we don’t typically eat, like Jell-O and desserts. The first thing preparedness folks tell you is to store the type of food you typically eat.

That’s great advice but the food some of them suggest are not the things we typically or are interested in eating. For example keeping giant sacks of wheat berries and grinding my own flour is not practical during a blackout when I have an all electric kitchen but having enough oatmeal on hand to keep making our morning oatmeal for hopefully less than a week using the overnight oats method (soaking the oats overnight in milk or water) instead of a the stove is much more practical for us. (As always your mileage and desires my vary.)

how much food do I need to buy in an emergency
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Determine the what to keep on hand is easier than the how much. How do you determine when you have too much of something and it spoils vs not having enough?