About every first of the month, I go over the basics for any new people, or to refresh memories.
This blog is about grocery shopping on the cheap. It takes a three pronged approach at putting inexpensive, tasty meals on the table. It is not about eating cheap hot dogs, top ramen, or .28 a pound chicken or dumpster diving??!! LOL. There are many reasons why one would want to economize on food. Some people read this blog to see new recipes or get an idea how to get out of the kitchen fast. The idea is "If you spend more time on the front end of the 'get the food on the table train' and less time on the back end you will be better off. You essentially get paid for shopping, not for cooking.
If you can cut your food bill in half, and save 75 dollars a week on food, you save almost 4 thousand dollars a year. What can YOU buy or save for that much money. If you are like I was in my early years, I didnt have it to save. I just had to make what I had stretch.
The basics take a three pronged approach.1) Planning and organizing,2) shopping and 3) cooking from scratch
1) Planning and Organizing
Everything successful starts with a plan. First, gather main dish recipes that use inexpensive sources of protein that your family will eat. Start with seven, and go from there. Fourteen is better for variety.
Now, make a list of the staples you use frequently. In our house it would be beans, refried beans, cheese, diced tomatoes, pasta sauce, pasta, some tuna, and some salmon and instant mashed potatoes.
make a spread sheet or a small spiral notebook to track the prices. Record the item, the size, the amount you paid, when and where. Pretty soon you will discover the rock bottom price of the article. Plan your menus when you get home from the store keeping in mind what is leftover in the fridge before you went to the store. Nothing fancy, just jot down seven main dishes. Do this after you shop something that is on sale might not be as good a quality as you want, or not available.
When you find the rock bottom price, buy a) as many as the store will allow you to buy, b) as many as you can afford to buy,or c)as many as you need to replenish stock. If I use something once a week, I keep 24. If I use it once a month, I keep 6. This isn't about hoarding.
When the grocery ads come out, take a piece of computer paper , divide it in fourths. Put the name of a store at the top of each section. Go through the ads and mark down any meat and veggie buys that are a good price and any stock items that are a good price. Skip the ready made items and snack food.
When you are done,cross off any thing that is a higher price and anything you don't need. Record lowest prices of your target foods. Pick the two stores that have the lowest prices on things you need. plan your trip to save gas.
Take the ads, and your list. Get in and get out. The More time you spend in a store, the more money you will spend.
Store your fruits and veggies properly. There are storage solutions on the market that make fruits and veggies last longer.
3) Cooking from scratch
There is no room in a good food cheap budget for snacks and ready made foods. That being said, there are a few things that are cheaper to buy ready made than to make from scratch, and a few things that are best bought ready made. Refried beans, canned beans and tortillas and mayo come to mind. Sometimes instant mashed potatoes are cheaper than scratch. There are ways to make dinner as fast as you can by using a box. I did a post on a hamburger dinner box. It is a real eye opener. it is about the most expensive item in the store pound for pound. Booze excluded.
I'm out of time, hope I covered everything.
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