For many people, making the decision to switch from two incomes to one can be a scary experience. They know they're spending too much, but don't know where to begin to cut back.

Most people don't think they can live the frugal life and still be comfortable. I feed my family of 5 on $175 month. In 5 years my husband earned an average of $22,000 per year. In those 5 years we paid off $20,000 debt. There are countless ways you can cut, but if you are a frugal beginner, try these simple suggestions from Not Just Beans for saving on your food bill first.

Before you shop, take a tour through your pantry and your refrigerator. Be organized!

Don't buy what's already hiding in your kitchen.

If you a fan of coupons, remember this: It's not what you save, it's what you spend. If you save 30 cents on something you wouldn't ordinarily buy anyway, you haven't really saved anything.

A typical fruit item is significantly larger than one serving. Most people would be just as

happy eating a small apple as eating a large one -- so buy smaller fruits!

This month, try two meatless meals a week (or one, if you're a diehard meat fan). Use meat as an ingredient instead of a main dish. A good recipe for this is Green Chile. It uses only 1/2-1 pound of pork.

Cut back on the juice and milk. Use the money you've saved from eating less meat and drinking less juice and buy something that's on sale. Those sale items will help you cut back even further next month.

In staying at home, it's the little things that add up so start small!


Green Chile


1/2-1 lb. pork roast, or chops cubed into small pieces
10 1/2 oz. chicken broth
1 onion, finely chopped
1/4 - 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 can (7 oz.) green chiles, diced
1/4 jalapeno, finely chopped
1 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. flour, dissolved in water
white flour tortillas

Toppings

cheddar cheese, grated
lettuce, shredded
tomato
sour cream

Simmer pork in broth on low for 10 minutes. Add all other ingredients except flour and simmer 45 minutes. Thicken with flour so it is like a thick soup. Spoon about 1/4 cup into the center of a flour tortilla. Roll up tortilla and top with more green chile. Sprinkle with cheese, lettuce and tomato. Top with sour cream if desired. This green chile freezes really well.

Steak and Mushroom Gravy

1 Tbsp. margarine
1/2 onion, chopped
5 Tbsp. flour
salt and pepper (to taste)
5 Tbsp. dry milk
2 cups water
1-2 cups leftover beef
1 small can mushroom pieces
1 tsp. beef bouillon powder

Melt margarine in a large skillet and sauté onion. Mix flour, salt and pepper and dry milk in a jar. Add water and shake. Stir into onions until simmering and thickened. Add beef, bouillon powder and drained mushrooms. Reduce the heat. Simmer, stirring constantly, until heated through. Serve over noodles, rice or mashed potatoes or toast. Serves 4.

Tawra Kellam is the author of the frugal cookbook Not Just Beans: 50 Years of Frugal Family Favorites. Not Just Beans is a frugal cookbook which has over 540 recipes and 400 tips. For more free tips and recipes visit her web site at http://www.LivingOnADime.com/. In 5 years, Tawra and her husband paid off $20,000 personal debt on an average income of $22,000 per year.