Sunday, May 20, 2007

Free Food!

One way that I have survived the past few weeks was by taking advantage of all the free food I could to avoid cooking, feel a little pampered, and keep the grocery budget down. We’ve been very fortunate that things have fallen as they did; we’ve not had to buy anything from the grocery store except milk, fruit, and a few rock bottom stock up prices which has saved me time as well as money. Here’s where all the free food came from:

1. From people/work – This was our biggest source, and one which is not really available to other people. Because my husband is a grad student, we were invited to several end of the semester parties. There was a department barbecue, a graduation dinner, and a meet and greet party, all of which had dinner. The even better part of this is that his advisor sent us home with trays of food, which we managed to make last us through 2.5 more dinners for a grand total of 5.5 free dinners from the college.

At my job, I get free lunch in the cafeteria if I eat with the kids. I’m sure to take advantage of this every day and will probably feel the hurt of it when summer starts.

2. From restaurants – We did break down at one point and order pizza. They messed up our order, though, and gave us pepperoni instead of sausage. We were pretty good natured about it and said we’d just take it, so they gave it to us for the employee price and we got two large pizzas for $6. That, along with salad from the graduation party, fed two of us dinner for three nights (it probably should have been more - we’re big eaters).

Also, a coffee shop in our area mailed out coupons for its grand opening: each was good for either a large blended mocha or a 12 ounce coffee and bagel with cream cheese. I had saved my coupon for weeks, knowing I would “need” it, so I was able to get what seemed to me a luxurious breakfast on my way to job #2 one Sunday.

3. In the mail – Here’s what I got in the mail as far as food: one hamburger helper single (GROSS by the way, but I ate it for dinner one night), a lipton plus vegetables side dish, a South Beach diet protein bar (weekday breakfast for me), a single serving box of Kashi (another breakfast), and three cans of diet soda.

4. With coupons – I got three avocados completely for free (actually, with overage) using a coupon I found in the store and was able to make some quick and indulgent guacamole. (Which I served with quesadillas made on 25 cent a pack tortillas, but that’s not free, so we’ll talk about that another day.) I got a free pouch of Betty Crocker potatoes. There might have been more, but I haven’t kept careful track.

5. With rebates – I bought a box of Rice-a-Roni’s new natural line with a try me free rebate and a coupon – so I actually made a few cents off it (or at least covered the cost of the stamp).

I try to cook from scratch for health and financial reasons, but when it’s this easy to get this much food for free or cheap, especially when I’m this busy, I’ll take it.


~Dawn said...

Free food (even almost free) makes my week. Good for you!