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Motivation Time Tuesday: Stretch Your Grocery Budget by Watching Food Shows

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I watch a lot of TV.

Yes, I just admitted that.

It’s all informative and happens to be entertaining so if I’m guilty of putting in my screen time, I’m not apologizing.

If you’re not familiar with the shows like Grocery Games with Guy Fieri, long story short, Guy hosts a show where contestants take on challenges to show their cooking skills through creativity and supermarket resourcefulness.

This all takes place at the grocery store.

The challenges on the show are some of the same challenges ALL home cooks (or meal preppers) face.

That’s why¬† I discuss¬† how to apply 3 tips from shows like this to your own household.

I’ll give you the tips but first . . .

Here’s Why Using All of Your Food is Very Important

Before we dive into the details, you’ll need to ask yourself:

What is the purpose of this?

According to the USDA, Americans are throwing out about 1/3 of the food they buy. You are literally throwing away thousands of dollars by wasting food. Also, it puts methane gas into the atmosphere. Sad.

So in an effort to get you excited to save on food and do some good environmentally, I’m passing along 3 tips that I learned from food television shows.

1. Expand your knowledge base.

When I was younger, I never had an interest in cooking. As a teenager, I probably learned how to make pasta, a grilled cheese sandwich, and maybe a hamburger. Don’t laugh. That was the extent of cooking knowledge I had until I got married. I guess I was what you might call culinary challenged. Yes, tuna fish sandwiches were a regular meal in our newlywed days. So if someone with such pitiful cooking skills and overall meal making adversity could learn to cook, anyone can. Start with simple, inexpensive recipes. I just pinned healthy dinner recipes for under $3 on this board.

2. Learn how to get creative with ingredients.

In each episode, four chefs compete against each other to come up with their best dishes they can make based on a basket of mystery ingredients they are given. Their creative juices need to be flowing in order to compete. Having limited random ingredients may seem extreme, but many regular cooks face the same issue from week to week when they are trying to use up ingredients and stretch their grocery budget. Look up recipes with a particular ingredient you have left over that may expire soon. This is where having well-stocked staples comes in handy.

3. Beat the clock.

Use ingredients before expiration dates scream nasty food alert your way. The chefs on the show must cook four platings in a certain amount of time on Chopped. Challenge yourself in your own home. Feed the people in your home before time runs out. For us it could be before items go bad or before our stomachs starts growling. Gather up recipe ideas for items you think tend to go bad like fresh herbs and get the most out of them with a few go-to recipes that you can use in a hurry.

Here are boards I made on Pinterest to show ways to save and keep recipes I want to try handy or if my week is erratic:

Enthusiastic Slow Cooker Recipes

Go-to Smoothie Ideas

Chicken Recipes

I devoted a whole board to one herb I love


All of this will keep you on your toes, thinking on the spot, growing as a cook and stretching your dollars in the process.

“I love how you’re always scheming for new ways to make your stuff INTERESTING. That post with the guy in the wilderness video? Hotness! Keep that creativity flowing so we can all continue being entertained while learning in the process. You help those of us with A.D.D. to come back.”

J.Money, Budgets are Sexy and Rockstar Finance