Tough People, Smart Money

Cost: About $90 a week for two; includes bag lunches.

Tip from Bonnie:

Buy what’s on sale, stock up. What we eat each week depends on the deals. When boneless chicken or roasts go on sale, I’ll buy two (maybe three) and throw the extras in the freezer for another week. We eat produce in season. Unless it’s a special occasion, there’s no strawberries or peaches in the winter. We eat a lot of frozen vegetables. I shop at Hannaford’s or Shaw’s. I like Hannaford’s “Guiding Star” nutrition star labels. But there’s a Shaw’s close to our home. I’ll alternate “expensive” meals (salmon or chicken breast) with cheaper meals, grilled cheese and soup.

Quick & healthy breakfast: Oatmeal


canister of quick-oats



brown sugar



In a pot boil 1 cup of water and ½ of cup of oats per serving. Sprinkle in raisins or anything else you like (just about any fruit is good.) When it boils, immediately turn down the heat, stir, and let sit a minute. Pour into bowl and add brown sugar and/or cinnamon.

True, this is not exactly a recipe. But I want to show how cheap oatmeal from scratch is, and it’s nutritious. A large canister of store-brand quick oats cost $3 and makes a whopping 30 servings. Before adding milk and other ingredients, that’s 10 cents per bowl! Compare that price to boxed cereal, even instant oatmeal in individual packages.

Hannaford’s Guiding Stars nutrition labels gives uncooked oatmeal three stars, their highest nutrition status, a higher rating than boxed cereals.

You are left with a messy pot. (Clean right a way or it will be hard to clean.) Considering the price, and how oatmeal can bring down your blood pressure and cholesterol, it may be worth the work.

My favorite snack: popcorn, cooked old-school, on the stove in canola oil.

Popcorn is cheap and healthy. My dog loves it too; we eat it together. Jolly-Time popcorn seeds (Shaw’s) for $2 seems to pop well. The package says it makes 27, 5-cup servings, but not all my seeds cook. Even so, one bag makes a lot.

Hannaford gives popcorn seeds three stars, Hannaford’s highest nutrition rating. I splinkle with salt; no butter.

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