Stretching your food dollars

Brownwood Bulletin
Wendy Hamilton

A common misconception among people living on a tight budget is that it isn’t really possible to purchase nutritious food products. The reality is that everyone can make good food choices and reduce their spending by adopting some simple strategies.

One of the most important things we can do when starting an important job is to plan. Grocery shopping is no different. Having a plan before going shopping can yield savings through allowing time for viewing sales ads and sensibly using coupons. A plan can also prevent you from making impulse buys, which often lead to wasted money.

Comparing unit pricing labels at the grocery store is another way to stretch food dollars.

Buying in bulk can be a money saver as well, but be sure to check that you have enough freezer space before buying bulk items. Choose bulk items that won’t expire before you use them.

Other money savers include buying fruits and vegetables that are in season, cooking several meals for the week on days off and freezing some for later use (this can take the place of less economical store- bought frozen meals), and avoid regular dining out.

These simple steps can contribute to healthier eating and a healthier pocketbook, even for families living on a tight budget.

Creativity Counts

Food thrown out is the same as money wasted. Many people aren’t fond of leftovers, but with a little creativity in the kitchen, leftovers can provide a great meal while saving money at the same time.

Take an inventory of the leftovers in your refrigerator. You will likely find that you have the necessary ingredients to make a great meal. Leftover chicken, for example, can be used to make a tasty chili, stew, or a stir-fry. Leftovers can also be used to make sandwiches for lunch or snacks.

Recipe: Chicken Stew

Makes: 8 servings


8 chicken pieces (breasts or legs)

1 cup water

2 cloves garlic (small, minced)

1 onion (small, chopped)

1½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon pepper

3 tomatoes (medium, chopped)

1 teaspoon parsley (chopped)

¼ cup celery (finely chopped)

2 potatoes (medium, peeled and chopped)

2 carrots (small, chopped)

2 bay leaves


Remove skin from the chicken and any extra fat. In a large skillet, combine chicken, water, garlic, onion, salt, pepper, tomatoes, and parsley. Tightly cover and cook over low heat for 25 minutes.

Add celery, potatoes, carrots, and bay leaves and continue to cook for 15 minutes or until chicken and vegetables are tender. Remove bay leaves before serving.

For more information on SNAP-Ed, contact Wendy Hamilton at Brown County Extension office. 325-646-0386

Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and Better Living for Texans programs are available to all without discrimination.

Educational programs of the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service are open to all people without regard to race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age, disability, genetic information, or veteran status. The Texas A&M University System, U.S