Throw Back Review: Centsible Meals

May 7, 2015

Thursdays I try to feature a “throw back” review from my old blog.  I have so many books that I posted and loved on my old reading spot. I’m throwing back to join them all together.


Centsible Meals
Lorae Bowden
96 pages
hard copy edition

From the Publisher:
In today s economy, who wouldn’t want to save money? In Centsible Meals: How to Feed Your Family for Less, learn how to effectively plan and simplify your food shopping and dinner preparation to save money, time, and your sanity. Feeding a large family doesn’t have to be a drain on your budget. By following the straightforward and encouraging advice in this book, you can only succeed in making your kitchen the heart of your home and bringing your family closer together around the dinner table with less money and stress!

Throw Back Review, first posted March 10, 2010:
If you read my family blog then you know that recently I’ve been trying to find new ways to cut down on our grocery budget. I think there is always room for improvement when I found this book and read it I was really inspired to do better.

Lorae is amazing, coming from a larger family herself, she learned well from her mother and now feeds her family of 9 for under $200 a month, and trust me, it’s not junk – the trick is that she makes everything homemade! This BYU graduate is amazing, she does doesn’t use coupons, but instead her meal plan by fillers – potato, pasta, bread, beans, etc. She does use meat, but might cut the meat in half, for example I noticed in her book that on her lasagna night she still put hamburger meat in the meal, but only half and used the pasta to fill everyone up. They eat fresh fruit for every meal, sliced on a plate. They make their own breakfast instead of using box cereal. They don’t eat snacks (I don’t think I could get away with this, but I do think I can make wiser choices (I have tried to cut out fruit snacks in the past 3 moths and it really makes a difference, they are so expensive and never fill the kids up!)

The only negative thing about this book is that I would have loved to have more recipes!

The book was short, easy to read, it only took maybe an hour, but was such a powerful resource. I’ve been recommending it to almost everyone I meet!

Updated Review:
I re-read this book again during my read-a-thon weekend. It is short and easy to read. One of my goals this year is to work on finding ways to save money. I still think Lorae has some great ideas. Our family could always use new ideas on how to save money in our grocery budget. But since my first review, my ideas have changed.  In March 2010 when I first read this book I had 3 very small children. Now I have 5 and they are older and bigger and LOVE to eat.  I’m pretty sure they only stop long enough to sleep.

I’m pretty sure our family could never get by with a $200 budget for food.  Milk alone gets us pretty close to that total, and we don’t really drink milk at other meals other than breakfast.  We couldn’t come close.  I know some people say that they do it, and I think that Lorae does it, but the more I look at this book and hear what others say, is that they use their food storage too.  That is great, but you have to pay for that food storage too, right?  At some point in time you did. Gardening is great, but it is expensive too when you start and canning and preserving food isn’t as cheap as it used to be.  (even though I do actually think canning is kinda fun and those jars are just so pretty lined up on my shelves).  My husband hunts and that saves a lot on meat, but he also spends a lot on hunting gear and gas and camping with his family, etc.  

I kinda have to wonder if in the end if it all balances out.

Plus, the older I’ve got and the more I’ve talked to people about grocery budgets and what families eat, I just have decided the best thing to do is to do what works best for YOUR family and not try to tell anyone else how to do it.  Comparing what we spend to someone else just won’t work.  Even with the same number of people in the family, it is just not the same, it ever can be.  Every family has different circumstances, different likes and dislikes.  

I think there are some useful recipes at the end of this book.  I think making homemade can save you a ton of money, but not every family and every mom has the time or resources to make all meals homemade.  I believe in meal planning.  It works best for our family.  But I know a lot of moms use coupons too.  

If you are looking for some good ideas to save on your grocery budget this might be a good book for you.  It’s a great place to start and has good ideas.  But don’t get discouraged if it doesn’t work for you either.  Do your best with what you have.  Eat dinner together as a family at the table as much as you can. Let your kids help in the kitchen.  Help them learn how to cook and understand how things are made and where our food comes from.  I think that is what is most important.

I will step down from my soap box now.

Final updated review score:

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