This week’s START To Downsize Book Review – “Eating Well For Only $2 A Day!” by Chris and Trisha Tecmire, is a perfect example of learning to live well with less, which is the basic tenet of START to downsize.
Chris and Trisha Tecmire are a young couple who live in the small town of West Branch in Northern Michigan. Chris is a credit analyst at a community bank and Trisha is a photographer.
I read a post Chris had written about their desire to eat delicious and filling meals on just $2 a day (per person) without using coupons or shopping sales. They wrote this book to share their knowledge with others.
Chris explains that “according to an October 2010 report from the United States Department of Labor, the average person spent $212 a month (or $2544 a year) for food in 2009.”
He and Trisha developed their book as a way to save money on their food budget. He poses this question: “What is your motivation to save money?”
Whether you NEED to save money or you’d like to re-prioritize your income to save for something specific, this book will show you the way to accomplish your goal and have a tasty time doing it.
If you feel $2 a day for food seems too little, read the book before you decide. If you’re still on the fence, Chris includes lots of ideas for $3 or even $4 a day for food. Considering the average person spends $7 a day eating, you can see where even a reduction to $3 or $4 a day is going to save you an appreciable amount of dough.
The book’s subtitle is “Price Per Serving” Guide To Eating Well For Only $2 A Day. Every one of the more than 150 recipes in the book has been broken into a price per serving, making it easy to put together a yummy menu each week.
Chris and Trisha used prices from non-sale items at their local Super Walmart during the spring of 2011 to provide accurate price per serving estimates. If you follow their directions, shop the sales and use coupons, you’ll be even more money ahead!
What’s included in the “price per serving”? Everything, except water, salt, pepper and cooking spray. They used the manufacturer’s serving information listed on the package to calculate the price per serving.
How were serving sizes determined? According to Chris, “the servings will always be at least as large as the USDA recommends. For example, when considering boneless, skinless chicken breast, the USDA states that a serving size is 4 ounces. We most often used 5 or 6 ounces as a serving, simply because 4 ounces seemed a bit small in most cases.”
How many meals did Chris and Trisha figure when they said you could eat for $2 a day? They always include 3 meals, 2 snacks, and a dessert in each example.
In order to achieve your $2 a day goal, Chris maintains that planning is the crux of the whole issue:
“Planning shows you which ingredients you will need in order to make these meals, allowing you to compile a grocery list that is both thorough – so that you don’t have to go back because you forgot the eggs – and yet sparse – because you don’t have all of the extra items listed that you thought you would need.”
“Planning allows you to stop wasting food.”
There’s a detailed example of a weekly plan that costs $13.55 per person, less than $2 a day, including Cajun Chicken Soup, Sausage & Spinach Frittata, Black Bean Quesadilla, Grandmama’s Molasses Cookies and Banana Bread, to name a few.
Speaking of food, the recipes are broken down by category:
- Main Dishes ($0.99 per serving or less)
- Snacks & Sides ($0.40 per serving or less)
- Desserts ($0.25 per serving or less)
There’s an appendix for cooking beans, as well as an appendix for making homemade stock. There’s also an ingredient index which lists slightly perishable ingredients, making menu planning a snap. There’s also an especially-cheap-recipes index to consult when needed. Some of my favorites from this last index are 3 Cent Tortilla Chips (yep, a serving of eight chips really costs just 3 cents!) and Split Pea & Barley Soup ($0.29 per 1 cup serving).
“Eating Well For Only $2 A Day!” by Chris and Trisha Tecmire is a comprehensive guide designed to help you save money and enjoy doing it. I call it a delicious way to START to downsize!
This book can be purchased on their website, www.only2dollarsaday.com.
Flip me a note in Comments with your favorite recipe(s) from “Eating Well For Only $2 A Day!” Let’s get cooking!