I am one of the most frugal people on the planet...not out of desire, but out of necessity. To this day, I remain debt free, and I plan to keep it that way - despite a menacingly low salary. There are two benefits to our year of unprocessed living that we were not thinking of when we conceived of the idea.
The first is calories saved due to taking the time to think about what you are eating. Do I need it? Can I eat it? Do I want to waste my processed meal on this? Just pausing to reflect on the make-up of a dish has already saved me countless calories. The second is saving money. Now, I am most certainly not a proponent of the Suze Orman clones out there shouting from their pulpits that we should all refrain from eating outside of the home. After all, I would be even more broke -- and consequently frugal -- if my husband and I were out of a job. Nonetheless, preparing meals in home does save money. (Do us a favor and only swap out a few of your favorite eat out nights, ok? Or, as the article below suggests, simply order a bit less when you do dine out.) Purchasing pre-made items like vinaigrettes, cookies, and other types of ready-to-eat food typically costs more than the raw (read: healthy) ingredients.
For more information on financial cutbacks, check out this article. I have included an excerpt:
More people are cooking at home, and they're doing it with fewer premade sauces, marinades, dressings, and other ingredients. "Moms are back to basic cooking," says Chance Parker, a market researcher at J.D. Power & Associates. "They want to use fresh herbs and spices. It saves money, and it's more healthy." Patricia Tremblay of Dayton, Ohio, has given up her microwave as she's cut back over the last two years. She now cooks instead of zapping a premade entrée. "I've traded convenience for choice and done well, with the added bonus of weight loss and a sense of accomplishment," she says. "It's a great beginning that seems likely to stick."