Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Save Money- Eat Leftovers!

I decided to cook a turkey breast today.  Now, turkey is one of those items that I often find myself thinking "Gah, that is so expensive!"  I paid around $11 for a 4lb turkey breast.

That makes me cringe a little, not going to lie.  Then I sat myself down and said wait a minute- let's take a look at these numbers.

Tonight we will have Turkey, potatoes and homemade bread.

Day 1:

Turkey- $11
Potatoes- approx. $0.50 (I paid $2 for a five pound bag and suspect we will not cook more than a pound of potatoes tonight)
Homemade Bread- I'm going to randomly say $1 here for easy math- the cost of the ingredients for each loaf of bread is negligible.

The total of our meal tonight will be $12.50. 

But wait.  We always have leftover turkey, and on the menu tomorrow night is Shredded turkey in salad!

Day 2:

Turkey- $5.50
Romaine Lettuce- $1.49
Cheese- $2.00
Cucumber- $0.69
Tomato- $0.22
Croutons- $1.00
Onion- $.25 (one onion out of a bag we purchased)

The meal tonight will cost $10.52

But wait!  We won't use that whole package of cheese, we will only use half.  We will only use half the head of romaine.  We will use a small fraction of the cucumber and half the tomato.  There will be perhaps a fifth of the bag of croutons used- so our real meal cost looks like this:

Turkey- $5.50
Romaine Lettuce- $0.75
Cheese- $1.00
Cucumber- $0.15
Tomato- $0.11
Croutons- $0.20
Onion- $.25 (one onion out of a bag we purchased)

So our real meal cost is $7.96

We still have turkey leftover.  Sandwiches time!

Day 3:
Turkey: $3.66
Romaine- $0.38
Cheese- $.50
Homemade Bread- $0.50
Tomato- $0.11
Chips- $1.25 (half a bag)

Our meal cost is $6.40

We will still have turkey leftover.  So do you see how the cost of your ingredients goes down each meal when you do a little planning ahead?  By using the turkey for three meals, instead of that original meal costing us $12.50, it will end up costing $5.16.  Day 2, instead of costing $7.96 drops to $6.12.  Day 3 is $6.40.  If I can stretch leftovers until Day 4 (which with only two people, I definitely can), all those meals drop again!

So for $23.90 (before tax) I end up with:

4lb Turkey
Loaf of Homemade Bread
Bag of Potatoes
Bag of Onions
Head of Romaine Lettuce
Bag of cheese
Bag of Potato Chips
Roma Tomato

None of these numbers include coupon prices!

At the end of THREE meals, I still have most of the bag of potatoes, most of the bag of onions, a small amount of lettuce, a small amount of cheese, half a bag of chips, half a cucumber, half a loaf of bread and some leftoever turkey- We can easily get 4+ meals off this one turkey breast- Day Four could be a few chunks of turkey with some macaroni and cheese- which costs less than $1.00 a box.  I have some beans that I canned from a package of dry beans that will be a quick warm up side dish as well. 

Or I can go out and spend that same amount of money for a single meal.

When you plan something like cooking a turkey, ham, pot of soup, etc.  Try to consider ways you can use the leftovers that will make them fresh and new- and different.  The worst is to throw out your leftovers after one meal- instead of paying $3.66 a meal for the turkey, I would end up paying $11 for it.  While it is still a better value than going out to eat, the real value comes in the leftovers.


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