Obviously, it’s always best to cook things yourself. You get fewer preservatives and usually less sodium. But some people just won’t/can’t cook. It’s somewhat taboo in the frugal culture, but it exists.
I have chronic fatigue and am bipolar. My ability to function comes in waves, and my energy is limited a lot of the time. I consider carefully how to use my rations of energy/capability. Cooking takes a back seat to managing the finances, making sure I don’t run out of medication and making/getting to all the various appointments we end up having.
So I’ve had to accept that cooking is just not a priority at present. That said, we’ve had too many fast food bills in the past — and my blood pressure was suspect. So I decided that I’d have to find a compromise.
Over the past few months, I’ve mainly subsisted off of small snacks and frozen meals. A usual day will be a mix of Fiber One or Nature Valley bars, maybe a meal substitution shake (when we’re not out) and then a Healthy Choice frozen meal.
I buy the shakes, Fiber One bars and Nature Valley bars at Costco. They work out to about 60 cents, 30 cents and 20 cents respectively. I stock up on the Healthy Choice meals when they’re $2 at Fry’s.
In other words, an average day sees me eat about $4-5 in convenience food. Of course, this doesn’t count for any candy or fruit I buy. That’s probably an average of $10 a week.
More importantly, it doesn’t count the days when I don’t feel like the frozen meal is enough. In other words, when Tim is getting some fast food that’s just too tempting to pass up. Not including this past week, though, I’ve been pretty good about that.
I think my current situation is, if not frugal, than a pretty frugal form of convenience food. Everything is relative, after all. Yes, I could save if I cooked — well, other than the spaghetti or occasional corn on the cob I bother with now. But I think this is a pretty fair compromise between health (fiscal and physical) and convenience.
Unfortunately, this handy dandy balance I’ve found may all be moot. Tim’s stomach is giving him problems. The doctor wants him to take antacids and cut down on three of his major food groups: fast food, caffeine and sugar.
This means that we’ll probably have to dust off the slow cooker — I mean that literally — and start finding recipes. So maybe in the end we’ll find a way to do more cooking. Or maybe we’ll just find him some healthier convenience foods, too.
Do you use convenience foods? If so, how do you keep it affordable?
And don’t forget to enter for a $25 Swagbucks gift card! I edited the options, so now Swagbucks members get four entries.
a Rafflecopter giveaway