Tag Archives: food

It’s the Ham That Never Ends

I think there is a perception out that that buying a ham, a whole chicken or a roast is an expensive item.  Which to be honest in some cases I think it is, but given the number of meals I typically get out of a ham I was curious to find out how cheap per serving a ham could end up being.  So during the last few months we bought and then ate a ham to test this theory.

I spent $24.02 on a boneless ham, which by the way was not a sale price (I wanted to keep things reasonable).  The results after several months were: 44 servings over seven meals or on average $0.55 per serving.  Since you might want an idea of how this works here are the meals we ate.

The main event for this ham was a dinner with friends where we served the classic ham, mash potatoes and peas supper for six adults and two kids.  Next up was leftovers for lunch during the following weekend.   At this point we got smart and froze a large part of the ham for future use.

In the mean time we made a chickpea and ham salad, which we love.  Then forgot about ham for a week or two.  The secret to using up any large amount of meat from a ham, turkey, roast is to space it out.  Eating the same thing for weeks on end is boring as hell so take advantage of your freezer to shift it a month or so down the road.  For example, I have some Christmas turkey in my freezer right now which I will likely defrost in February.

Once we defrosted the frozen ham we got cooking again with a few more meals.  One supper was a simple one of pasta, spice and veggies to make a meal.  Then we made a homemade ham and pineapple pizza….mmm.  Then for some other company we made some ham, white bean, sweet potato soup.  To use up the last of the leftover ham we diced it up to make a ham and cheese quiche.

So overall, yes the initial cost of something can be expensive for a large amount of meat, but when you space out the leftovers it is entirely possible to drive down your average cost to something reasonable.  At $0.55/serving for a family of four means that we would spend on average $2.20 per meal just for my family to eat that meat (plus obviously the cost of other ingredients). Also recall that wasn’t even a sale price you could drive that number much lower.  Overall I think that is fairly affordable, but entirely dependent on your ability to use ALL of your leftovers. Wasting that meat is really the expensive part of of buying a big piece of meat.

Do you every buy big chunks of meat at once?  If so, what meats do you find cost effective to buy? If not, why don’t you?

It Starts Innocently Enough…

This is a guest post from Sheryl in Ontario, who is 40 years old with a grown daughter, and is trying to rebuild her retirement dream just 20 years too late for early retirement.

To put it bluntly, I have had a week from hell.

In my full time job, there is a person who will be leaving soon, so I have had to find and begin training a new person (which I’m finding that the older I get, the less patience I have for it), also there was an issue with another employee I had to be involved with that was very stressful. My part time gig is par for the course, but still requires a time commitment, and also my father (he’s 82 and hasn’t been doing well for the last 6 months) has been in and out and back into hospital, and being the only child local, my parents rely on me to help in these situations. Needless to say, I leave my house at 7:30 am and don’t get home to start making dinner or anything else until after 9:00 pm. I’m not whining or complaining, it is what it is and it will get better.

Something I have noticed,  is that while life is crazy for a short time, I don’t feel bad about buying a few take out meals or convenience foods to take a little pressure off the maintenance of my own life. I’ve been buying store bought yogurt instead of making my own, grabbing a slice of pizza when I’m hungry instead of having something already prepared at home that I can take with me, buying ready to eat salads instead of chopping the lettuce and veggies myself, etc. I know these are small things and I’ve been thankful they are available when my time gets consumed by other events.

Where does it stop though? Where is my reminder when the crisis is over to go back to my usual ways?  Previously, I think I would resume when I’d notice I was running out of money, which may have taken a month or so. This time, is almost seems like I’ve separated the money from the activity. It bugs me that I’m using store bought items. I could get used to doing it easily enough, but I don’t want to. Right now it is still uncomfortable to be doing things differently, and I’m thinking I should use that discomfort as the catalyst to get back to what is normal for me.

What causes lifestyle creep in your life?  How or when do you notice it?

The Money Still has to be Spent

This is a guest post from Sheryl in Ontario, who is 40 years old with a grown daughter, and is trying to rebuild her retirement dream just 20 years too late for early retirement.

May has been flying by. I’ve been back at my part time gig for a about six weeks now, and this year I’m enjoying it a lot more than I did last year.

When I started last year, I was already exhausted from the stress of having too much month left after the money was gone. This year my head and my spirit are in a better place, and although I have purchased a few more convenience foods in the past few weeks, I am still able to keep most of the extra cash I’m earning.

This month, it has certainly come in handy. Although my social circle is quite small, it seems everything is happening at once. All in the month of May, there has been a baby shower (gift expense), a bridal shower (not for the same person), my boyfriends birthday, Mothers Day, and my parents 60th wedding anniversary. I have economized where I could, the birthday was going out for dinner where the birthday meal is free, Mothers Day is more labor than cash (my daughter and I are doing the flower planting etc for my mother’s garden), the anniversary party was at my sisters home, so there were additional food costs. The showers (and the wedding present to come) are more of the socially expected offerings.

Yes, I knew they were coming when I did my “April spend nothing” month. That is what made me realize that although it is fun(?) to make challenges for myself to clear out my pantry or not spend, there are just some things I can’t get out of spending on, and does it matter when I make that expenditure?

Don’t get me wrong, the pantry reduction, and the lean April were valuable lessons for me (that’s for another post), but I have come to accept that delaying inevitable purchases doesn’t serve any real purpose.  If anything, I think it could increase stress by leaving too many things to the last minute.    I’m still very much in favor using up what I have before replacing it, and trying to accomplish things in the most frugal way I can find (or tolerate), but I’m also starting to feel that maybe I should accept that some money just has to be spent, and the most control I have over it is where and for what.