Frugal Food Ideas For 2009

by Scott on December 29, 2008

Sundae Treat
photo credit: skye820
Last year a large percentage of our household budget went towards food and groceries. I jotted down a list of frugal food ideas that can help our family control food expenses in 2009. If you have an idea that has worked for your family, please let me know and leave a comment.

1. Stop throwing out food and wasting money. In 2008, I seemed to throw a lot of food away that had spoiled or the kids just didn’t like to eat. I would try a new yogurt or cracker and if the kids didn’t like them, it would just sit in the cupboard until it got tossed. I threw out a lot of pasta as well. I would make a lot of pasta for lunch and try and reheat for dinner or lunch the next day. The kids hate reheated pasta and it never worked to try and get them to eat it for leftovers. At least pasta is cheap.

2. Homemade pizza. We make a great homemade pizza using dough purchased from Trader Joe’s for under $2.00 and use fresh vegetables or pepperoni and cheese for a few extra dollars. It sure tastes better than a Dominoes pizza or Round Table Pizza and is a lot less greasy.

3. Crockpot chili. I’m not a fan of the crockpot and have only enjoyed one recipe which is homemade chili. I love it spicy, or sweet, or mild. Any kind of chili with cornbread is heaven. Chili is not a favorite of our kids, but a pot will last my wife and I for a week.

4. Brew your own coffee. In 2008, I would guess I spent less than $25 on Starbucks for the entire year. It beats my previous year by over $2,000. Making coffee at home is a frugal food idea that can really help your family budget. I would love to get an espresso machine in 2009, but our counter space is filling up.

5. Homemade Ice Cream. My wife bought me an ice cream machine for my birthday and I was a bit skeptical about the quality of homemade ice cream. I remember eating it as a kid and it didn’t taste as good as Dreyers or Baskin Robbins ice cream. Well, it could have been the ingredients, but my wife made a coffee ice cream that could put Dreyers out of business. It uses cream, milk, sugar, Ghirardelli chocolate powder, and decaf Folgers crystals. Yep, Folgers crystals taste great in ice cream. Ice cream tastes great all year long and can be a wonderful frugal food treat.

What were your favorite frugal food ideas in 2008? Do you have any money saving food ideas for 2009?

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1 Mark Framness December 30, 2008 at 7:43 am


I haven’t made pizza in a while but when I do I find it very very very good:

I very rarely drink coffee outside of home or the office (typically only when it is free) so homebrewing is a well established routine for us. I usually get MJB and occasionally I’ll buy a pound of whole bean coffee.

We have an ice cream make and need to try using it. I too had homemade ice cream years & years ago, boy it was real good.

I don’t make chili in a crockpot, but in a big pot (dutch oven), again, it is fairly inexpensive & simple to make one’s own.

I make our own bread regularly too. It tastes better and surprisingly enough keeps better. From time to time I also make my own pasta but its been sometime since we have done that.

2 Small Steps to Health December 30, 2008 at 9:12 am

I am starting to find that homemade treats beat some of the store brought stuff. Though I would never buy an ice cream maker myself (too much of a temptation for me), I find that baking cookies and bread usually taste so much better and have higher nutritional value because I make sure to add in cranberries, whole wheat flour (50/50 with white flour), and sometimes protein powder. I can buy a bag of cookies for $2. But it usually cost me a little more to bake cookies, but you can’t put get too cheap when it comes to your health right?


3 Andy @ Retire at 40 January 2, 2009 at 3:21 am

I always make my own yoghurt. No, it’s not even hard either (it’s kind of a half way house). It’s those yoghurts that you mix with water and let it develop over 12 hours inside a specialised container. And voila, you get a nice 1l worth of yoghurt. It’s just so easy and a fair bit cheaper than the normal 1l yoghurts (and way cheaper than the 6 packs).

4 Blake January 5, 2009 at 9:05 am

“you can’t put get too cheap when it comes to your health right?” – Asithi

Spot on… As a college student, Ramen Noodles definitely come to mind, although I my frugality would have to become even more extreme for me to put that over-processed crap into my body. At less than $.10 a pack though, it’s easy to see why they are so popular.

Water is a frugal, healthy way to save some money. Cut back on soda and sugary juices and give your body what it really craves. It’s also an easy way to save money every time you do eat out.

5 Scott January 11, 2009 at 11:55 pm


My mom used to make homemade bread when I was younger, and it was wonderful. We should look into making bread again.


I do prefer my wife’s homemade cookies to those purchased at the store. Although we have a bakery that has a vanilla cookie dipped in chocolate that is fantastic. I have a weakness for cookies and I eat way to many of them:)


I’d like to try making yogurt at home. My kids love it and we generally spend about $5 a week on yogurt. I guess you could flavor the homemade yogurt with vanilla or strawberry, as you would ice cream.


I know what you mean. In college, my roommate and I would devour ramen noodles each night. He would even add extra flavoring packages to it. Yikes! So much salt in those.

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