Thursday, October 18, 2012

The basic of 1/2 price shopping.

This blog is all about lowering your food bill to about 1/2 of the USDA stats for your grocery bill.

I promise no dumpster diving, no .28 chicken parts and no cheap hotdogs and four meal - three pound chickens. LOL

I take a sensible approach to the get a meal on the table cheap dilemma. If you spend more time on the front end of the meal train and less on the back end, you will be better off. You are basically getting "paid " for shopping wisely, but you don't get paid for cooking or doing dishes.LOL

Groceries on the cheap takes a three- pronged approach, planning and organizing, shopping wisely, and scratch cooking.

1) start making your own stack of main dish recipes that use low cost protein that your family will eat. Try to gather at least 7, but 14 is better off. If you have variety, your family won't get burned out of a particular dish.

2) After you get home from grocery shopping, jot down seven main dishes you plan on cooking in the week ahead. Use your purchases and your stock in the freezer or fridge to make your decisions. Before you shop, go through the fridge and bread bin and dump everything dead and make a note of what you need and what needs to be used soon.

3)The basic rule is never pay full price for anything. Make a list of all the staples that you use on a regular basis. At our house it would be canned diced tomatoes, beans, pasta sauce, pasta, cheese, some canned veggies, tuna and salmon.
List them in a small spiral notebook or on a computer spread sheet. List the item, the size of the package,where you got it and the date and price.
Pretty soon you will see a pattern of the lowest price in your area.
When one of your items goes on sale fir the lowest price, buy as many as you can , as many as the store will let you, or as many as you need to restock your supply-- which ever comes first. If I use something once a week, I want to stock 24. If I use it once a month I stock 6 or 7.
Pasta I keep a bin full. Pasta has a 8 year shelf life.

4) when the grocery ads come out, take a sheet of paper, divide it into quarters. Put the name of the store on the top of each quarter. Now write down everything that is on your stock list that's a low price, and the meat and fresh food that is cheaper. When you are done, cross off the items that are more expensive elsewhere, and the things that you don't need. Now pick the TWO stores that have the best buys. Go to the store with your list, get in and get out. The more time you spend in a store, the more you spend. Plan your trip to use the least amount of gas.

5) Cook from scratch. One of the easiest ways to derail your budget is to buy ready made and junk food. Think, good nutritious food. There are ways to cook from scratch and not live in the kitchen. Use the crockpot, use oven meals that you can throw in a pan and put in the oven and walk away to do other chores. Precook. By spending an hour or so cooking a batch of meat, you cut down on dishes and time, and spend far less time at mealtime. Roast off a chicken or pork or beef roast. Buy or make ground meat in bulk and portion it on meal-sized packages. Make meatballs, taco meat, meat loaf, meat crumbles -- whatever makes sense to your family. Defat the ground meat. Directions are on earlier blogs.

This actually sounds like a lot of work, but after you get the hang of it, it is less time consuming. Especially if you tend to run to the store to get what you are out of durimg dinner, or are accustomed to going to the store every two or three days.

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