Eating on a Braid-String Budget

Old-fashioned oatmeal with fresh fruit is a good breakfast on a budget
Old-fashioned oatmeal with fresh fruit is a good breakfast on a budget

It’s no secret that horseback riding is an expensive hobby. For evidence, see this, this and this. So, I recently put together a new budget plan for myself, so that I can save for things like horse shows and a new computer (since I live in a state of low-level anxiety that my current 8-year-old laptop is about to die). Part of that means way less eating out and more meal planning.

I’ve been doing my research on budget cooking blogs to try and find recipes that are simple, healthy, filling and cheap. I’d rather not eat ramen noodles from now until eternity. So, my goal is to feed myself for $200 per month. That’s about $6-7 per day. I think it’s do-able, since I’ve found that there are families that are feeding four people for a grand total of $5 per day. So far I’ve found some great recipes from sites like $5 Dinners.

My first week’s meal plan includes:

  • Chicken Pineapple Stir Fry with Coconut Rice
  • Slow Cooker Mango Chicken – my first ever solo foray into the world of crock pots
  • Quinoa Taco Salad
  • Black Beans with Mango, Cilantro and Brown Rice
  • Hard-boiled eggs and fruit for breakfast

I see a lot of beans and rice in my future. Particularly experiments with buying dried beans instead of canned, and exploring the bulk grains section of the grocery store.

I am calling this experiment the “Braid-String Budget,” because I like some good alliteration and the play off of the better-known term, the shoe-string budget. If you have any other cute ideas for naming this austerity plan budget, leave them in the comments below. Expect recipes and reports on how it’s going, since I expect many of my fellow amateurs will appreciate some money-saving yet still tasty food choices.

What are your strategies for saving money?

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4 thoughts on “Eating on a Braid-String Budget

  1. Buy dried beans instead of canned. Breads and pastries are generally discounted at the end of the day. Eating seasonally (this applies to meat as much as to fresh produce). Cheese and yogurt are still good for a while after their use-by dates. Proper storage extends shelf life of everything. Cook in batches and re-purpose your leftovers to create new and exciting meals. $200 a month is doable, you will be healthier and more creative in the kitchen as a result. All the best!

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  2. I already have a batch of dried beans soaking! 🙂 There will be plenty to use in the short term, and some to freeze in single serving sizes. I also went with all off-brand products – the difference for taco seasoning was more than a dollar! (And of course eventually I hope to be able to whip up things like taco seasonings with spices already in my cupboard. I’ve got salad dressings down already!)

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