How old is too old to eat cereal for dinner?

So here’s the deal. My husband has challenged me to cut back on our grocery budget. He actually asked how I used to save money while I worked my very first job in NYC. Here’s how that conversation went:

Kase: When you worked at the Council, how did you budget for groceries?

Kate: (looking confused) I didn’t eat.

Kase: Be serious.

Kate: I am! I weighed 105 pounds (ed note: Those were the days!) I made $1,800 a month and my rent was half that. In order to enter my room, I already had to walk sideways since the door couldn’t open all the way without hitting my bed.  I literally couldn’t afford to eat. Groceries were expensive. Sushi was actually cheaper, though I couldn’t afford that either. What I would do was, I would steal leftovers at lunch and then eat cereal for dinner. On the weekends, I either worked events where the caterers would feed me or I accepted dinner dates with Turkish oil heirs. When my parents were in the city for an opera, I would invite myself to have dinner with them before hand. I mean, because I love them. And enjoy their company. That’s how I budgeted for groceries. In a roundabout way.

Turns out, this conversation was not helpful in sorting out ways to cut our grocery budget. Not only because my parents don’t live nearby, but also because they don’t attend the opera in Boston. Also, due to the fact that I am married, I can no longer accept dates with other men.  And also, because I am, apparently,  an adult, with a family, I need to somehow sort out how to control my grocery budget and yet still feed them. Vultures.

Kase thinks such a challenge appeals to my competitive nature. He is wrong. I just want to eat what I want to eat when I want to eat it. You will most likely see me on the Biggest Loser in the next 10 years. I have willpower issues.

I turned to my blogger buddies and notice they keep menu plans. I suppose this helps them plan their grocery budget as well. How novel. I pretty much hit up the store daily, depending on what my tummy feels like consuming that day. I almost always leave with something from the ice cream aisle. Apparently, this leads to sloppy budgets. And guts.

How do you save when it comes to your food budget? Do you eat cereal for dinner? Accept dates at Olive Garden, where you shove breadsticks into your purse for later? Not saying I did that…..Just that I did that. Olive Garden is the bomb.

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7 thoughts on “How old is too old to eat cereal for dinner?

  1. First, you are never too old for cereal for dinner. We do it all the time, and we don’t have a toddler. Second- attempting to figure out how to use coupons, can be quite fun! Especially when you are 1. lazy and 2. brand loyal and 3. trying not to consume a 100% packaged food diet which would up your sodium intake by 1000%. It is quite a challenge.

  2. In my single days I always had cereal for breakfast. Mostly b/c I hated grocery shopping and never had anything else in the house except pasta and jarred sauce. And when dinner came along I was way too hungry to wait and make the pasta. If I needed a real meal I would visit the parents. But actually I still love cereal for breakfast and enjoy it when the husband is not home for dinner. He thinks dinner MUST have meat but I am slowly reforming him. Occasionally we have pancakes or eggs for dinner.

    I too used to just buy whatever I was in the mood for but now with a family I find that if I have a plan it makes things so much easier b/c I can prep dinner during nap time instead of rushing to the grocery store when naptime is over and then starting dnner. I still don’t really enjoy menu planning b/c how am I going to know what I want to eat 4 days from now. My mood for food sometimes depends on the weather. Is that weird?

    Seriously though, my husband and I also kind of challenge ourselves when it comes to our cost per meals. Must be b/c we are both accountants. My best money savers is trying to look through the flyers to stock up on meats when they are on sale and freeze them. We invested in a small freezer that is in our garage and it has definitely paid for itself. I buy produce based on what is on sale & in season. In the winter I try to make soup at least twice a month. It is cheap (usually healthy) and lasts a few meals, great for lunches too and most can freeze well. And my favorite is buying the largest chicken I can find. 1 night it is roasted chicken, then I can usually get 2 more meals from the leftovers such as chicken tacos/enchiladas & a pot pie or soup. I never used to eat leftovers but they are now my friend if I can make something new with it so it doesn’t taste like leftovers. And lastly I am now trying to make a lot of stuff from scratch like salad dressings, pasta sauces, soups. Most are really easy and taste so much better than prepared stuff.
    The best part with all our savings we buy good beer! Only partially kidding.

  3. Leslie, Do you have a pot pie recipe you can swear by? And that’s easy? Cuz I’m not into hard recipes. I love roast chicken, too, and so does Kase. And during winter, I love me some roast chicken with stuffing and something green (sometimes). True story: after Colin was born, I had my dad make me his roast chicken. And he was appalled that I had yet to ever roast a chicken in my life. So I learned and it’s a staple. Afterwards, I diligently pick at that carcass for every last remaining shred of meat. Which I then stick into glad ware. Which I then throw out, because you can get sick from weeks old chicken sitting in the back of your fridge and has congealed and who wants chicken salad? Not this girl.

    • this is the recipe I have been using
      http://www.marthastewart.com/317035/lighter-chicken-potpie

      If I find a recipe too difficult it usually never gets made again and this one I have made quite a few imes. I try to make dinner prep easier by doing whatever I can during nap time and this is one of those where you can have it all prepped and then you can just pop in the oven (or even the freezer if you double and make two) when you need it. I also don’t always follow the veggies in the recipe. You can make it easier by using a bag of frozen mixed veggies instead of cutting up the carrots. I also tend to add extra thyme.
      I also have individual ramekin bowls that I typically make these but have used a pie pan too. Phyllo can be expensive and I never know what to do with the leftovers so I use the premade crescent rolls from the tube with luck. My tops never look really good but the family loves this.
      .

  4. You know my deal already. I have a $300 budget for the month. Which I usually blow by about 50 bucks during my random trips to TJ’s throughout the month. People seem to think that having a meal plan means you can’t change your mind. I do it all the time. The thing is that all I have to do is look at my plan and decide what I am in the mood for and I know I have the food for it. Or we order cheesesteaks.

    chicken on the bone skeeves me beyond belief.

    • Sounds like you had a wonderful time. I still hope to have that Turkey Christmas dennir, it always sounds and looks so amazing. Our traditions doesn’t have this but maybe I will travel to the US someday and experience it for myself. Hope you had an awesome time!

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