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My mom was the Queen of Thrift.  I did not inherit the thrifty gene but I did manage to learn a few lessons by osmosis which have stood the test of time on the farm and raising a family.

Mom was raised on a Saskatchewan farm in a Mennonite home where nothing went to waste. Life was simple, but the hospitality and good food were always abundant.

Growing up, my siblings and I thought we were “hard done by” because we had to weed our enormous family garden, pick chokecherries, strawberries, peas, beans, and every other vegetable so Mom could can, freeze, pickle and jam all of it. It’s what we ate all winter.

For a few years, we also raised chickens for eggs and meat --- and the kids got to “help” with that too! [Based on that experience, I never, ever thought I’d raise and butcher chickens for a living!]

“There are no other kids on the planet who have to do this tortuous work.”, we whined. “Why can’t we just get our food from the grocery store and eat Oreos like everyone else?”

Looking back now, life was simply awesome.

We lived this way partly out of economic necessity as a family living on my Dad’s income while mom worked at home, and because Mom and Dad believed it was a good way to live and raise a family.

You’ve probably heard that food prices are driving inflation and wondering how this will affect your quality of life and discretionary income.

I’m here to tell you that there are still ways to live and eat well without compromise --- and no, you don’t have to butcher your own chickens!

Some simple meal planning strategies are all you need to eat and live well. Here’s what my mom would do.

Purchase Minimally Processed Food

Shop the perimeter of the grocery store and buy unprocessed, unadulterated food. It’s cheaper and better for you in terms of calories and nutrition. Yes, it does mean you’ll spend a little more time doing food prep, but you’re basically paying yourself with your savings at the grocery checkout.

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

Buying minimally processed meat is your best value. For example, purchasing a whole chicken costs 60% less per kilogram than buying boneless skinless breast.

Here’s my secret. Roast a $30 chicken on the weekend, use the leftovers for weekday lunches and make soup from the bones in your Instant Pot. You just created 12 meal portions from one bird at $2.50 per portion!

Buy Budget Beef Cuts

Ground beef provides the best value for beef. It’s versatile and Pine View Farms ground beef is made from whole muscle cuts of dry aged beef so you get maximum taste, nutrition, and no shrink. 100% of the meat you buy is 100% of the meat you get.

Braising cuts like stew beef cubes, beef shank, round steak and roast are rich and in the slow cooker, Instant Pot or oven. Time is your friend with these cuts and the payoffs are huge.

Pork Out

Pork is underrated. It's not as sexy as beef, but I think it’s a hidden gem. A pork chop is 50% cheaper per kilogram than a steak and delivers an excellent eating experience. That’s why you’re seeing more pork on the best restaurant menus these days.

Cook Potatoes

My mom served boiled, mashed, roasted or buttered potatoes with nearly ever dinner. Potatoes are plentiful in Saskatchewan, they’re relatively inexpensive, provide excellent nutrition and make the entire meal go further.

Find Frozen Vegetables

Frozen vegetables are usually processed very shortly after harvesting and close to the source of production. Thus, you get maximum freshness and quality for less money. Plus, frozen veggies don’t rot in the freezer if you forget about them for a while, unlike my fresh veggie drawer in the fridge!

I always keep a bag of broccoli in the freezer for broccoli cheddar soup. Frozen peas, corn and mixed vegetables can be added to stews, casseroles, and soups. Plus, they’re washed, chopped and ready to go!

Extend the Table

Meat is the center of the plate for most eaters and is one of the higher ticket grocery items. Stretch the by incorporating it in recipes like casseroles, soups, stir fries and curries. You’ll enjoy all the flavour and get the protein you need all while feeding more people!

And, if you’re reducing your meat consumption, when you choose to eat meat, eat really good meat!

Buy Well

My mom was thrifty but she was not cheap. There’s a difference. She believed in buying well. For example, she bought fewer but better quality clothes that were timeless in style and lasted for years.

When it came to food, she didn’t buy bananas from a certain fruit company because they treated their workers terribly and were destroying rain forests in Central America. She would rather buy something with a healthy provenance and spend her dollars where they make a difference.

Waste Not

63% of food that Canadians throw away each year could have been consumed. For the average family, that’s 140 kg of food or about $1,100 worth of groceries!

Simply reducing your food waste will make all the difference in your household budget PLUS it’s good for the planet! Here’s how:

Shop with a list. Stick to the list and buy only what you need. Cook it. Love the leftovers. Throw less away.

If you’re wondering where to find fast, easy and delicious recipes, get inspired by our website recipes .

At Pine View Farms, we give people a connection to their food – so you know where your food comes from and how it was produced. We can also help you select the right meat cuts for the right cooking methods and your budget. We know meat and we’re here for you.

We’re always interested to know what’s making your life easeful and delicious. Drop us a line any time!


  • Love your “mom”story!Really reminds me of my mom!And me!I to this day have a difficult time wasting anything or even throwing out a scrap that the chickens or friends dogs or kittens would enjoy! I’m not from a throw away generation!
    Always enjoy your special messages!
    Have a good night!

    Marlene postnikoff
  • thanks Melanie. I try to do most of what you wrote. I do stretch by making more “leftover” meals which thankfully Ray is willing to try my “different uses”. I still pickle, jelly, and freeze as much as I can and I buy “on sale” so I can shop from my pantry. Still buy local as much as possible. Not purchasing as much from you because we are eating smaller portions but just about all of our freezer meat is yours. Still love chicken schnitzel best.

    Darlene M. Aikman
  • Great advice, Melanie. I hear my own prairie mom in every paragraph.

    dee hs
  • Great trip down memory lane, Melanie. Thanks for taking us along😀

    Robert Lucas

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