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How to Stretch Your Food Budget With Rice

Updated on July 12, 2011
Rice curry photo: House of Sims @flickr
Rice curry photo: House of Sims @flickr

Food Budget and Escalating Food Prices

Learn several ways how to stretch your grocery budget with rice. Most of us need all the help we can get with our budget nowadays it seems. Grocery prices to me seem to have skyrocketed in the past 6 or 7 years. For example, I used to be able to buy ribeye steaks on sale at $4.99 a pound. Now they never drop below $8.99.

Another example is canned tuna. I could buy it for 20 years at .49 a can. Now the lowest price is .69 a can. That doesn't seem like much, but percentage wise it's a 40% markup! Multiply that times your total grocery bill, and it really adds up to a lot of extra money.

Marketers have gotten sneakier with their pricing tactics, too. They are starting to use odd sizes, so it's difficult to gauge if the product is more expensive. And they are keeping prices the same, but reducing the sizes a bit.

The consumer thinks prices haven't changed, when in reality they are paying the same for less food. Check out cereal and yogurt to see what I mean. I opened a single serving size bag of potato chips recently. I was shocked to see that I had bought an almost empty bag! If there was a handful of chips in it, I would be surprised.

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Rice grains photo: *luana* @flickr
Rice grains photo: *luana* @flickr

Stretch the Food Budget with Rice

Rice is more expensive now, too, but it remains one of the cheapest foods you can buy. You can still get a bag of rice for less than a dollar. Rice is so versatile and keeps very long in proper storage, so it is a good food investment.

Okay, so here are just a few ways to stretch your grocery budget with rice. There are many, many more ways to use rice and save money on groceries, but this should get your brain flowing with more creative ideas.

Stretch Your Food Budget with Versatile Rice Side Dishes

The first and most obvious way to use rice is as a side dish. Now if you're like me, and were raised to think that rice is white stuff that your pour mounds of sugar on to eat, you're dead wrong.

Rice can be made so many different ways as a side dish. It can be adapted to fit virtually any cuisine. You can add vegetables to rice. Add different spices and create completely different side dishes. Rice can be stir fried, it can be cooked the traditional way on the stove or in a rice cooker, and it can even be baked.

So Many Rice Types

Plus, there are so many varieties of rice. Each one has a different texture, aroma, and taste. Experiment and see what I mean. Some rice varieties to try include basmati rice, arborio, wild rice, jasmine rice, brown rice, and black rice. Learn more

Stretch Your Food Budget by Eating Rice for Breakfast

Okay, so we've covered rice side dishes. But how about rice for breakfast? Oh, it's delicous. My husband came up with this rice recipe for breakfast. (Actually, this is a classic rice dish known as fried rice. But I never would have thought to eat it for breakfast!)

If you need to stretch your eggs between a few people, or just have a long wait until your next paycheck, this recipe is a lifesaver. Plus it's a great way to use up leftover rice. It's very easy to make and it's fast. Basically, here's how:

Make some rice and chill it. (However much you need for the people you are serving- about a cup of cooked rice per person.) Take the eggs and scramble them with butter. Remove from the pan. Cut up some onions, garlic, and mushrooms. Add them to the same pan and stir fry for about 5 minutes with as much butter as needed. Add the cooked rice and a splash or two of soy sauce, to taste. Heat up the rice, continuing to stir fry. Now add your eggs. Fluff it up a bit. Breakfast is served!

Just because it's cheap, doesn't mean it can't be appealing photo: chotda @flickr
Just because it's cheap, doesn't mean it can't be appealing photo: chotda @flickr

More Ways to Use Rice to Save Money on Groceries

Rice is a lifesaver for the grocery budget in so many ways. It can stretch food until you're sick of it. Use rice as filler in hamburger patties, meatloaf, soups, casseroles, and enchiladas to make meat dishes or any type of entree feed more people.

Rice main dish to stretch the budget photo: HeatherW @flickr
Rice main dish to stretch the budget photo: HeatherW @flickr

Rice and Leftovers - Natural Ways to Stretch Your Grocery Budget

Rice and leftovers were meant for one another. Clean out your refrigerator. Use the vegetables and/or leftover meat with rice to make: soup, enchiladas, quesadillas, or stir fries. Leftover beans and rice is a classic!  You really can't go wrong with soup made out of leftover meats and vegetables mixed with rice. How about chicken rice soup, vegetable rice soup, beef vegetable soup with rice added, the list just goes on and on. Even take leftover soup and add rice to it to make it more filling and stretch it a bit!

Cook Rice Once, Use Twice

Speaking of leftovers, rice is an excellent leftover itself. It warms up beautifully. It will keep in the refrigerator for about a week. That is how refried rice was invented, I'm sure. And it's easy to freeze rice, too.

Make some extra rice intentionally and keep it in the refrigerator for later in the week. Just reheat it or make plain rice to be added to other dishes or create new ones.

Rice for Dessert

Rice can even be used for dessert! Rice pudding is easy to make. It is cheap, it's fast, and you can use leftover plain rice!

I hope you have found some new ways to stretch your grocery budget with rice. Look up rice recipes on the internet, and you'll see how truly versatile rice can be for cooking.

Rice for dessert can save grocery money! photo: gwen @flickr
Rice for dessert can save grocery money! photo: gwen @flickr

How to Make Red Beans and Rice - Talk About a Way to Stretch the Food Budget!

How to Stretch Your Food Budget With Rice Comments - Any Added Tips?

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    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 7 years ago from London, UK

      I only buy Basmatie Rice. It is a good quality rice and comes always perfect.