Yesterday we went shopping. The total for the month was just over 60.00. Yet, I have still growing stock.
Both SAFEWAYS and ALBERTSOMS had good buys. But, I had a ten dollar coupon for SAFEWAYS so it was the deal cincher . I saved 61 percent, a personal high and I didn't buy 90 bottles of hot sauce. LOL. It took me an hour to prep for the trip, most of that was finding the coupons for the pasta that SAFEWAYS computer didn't like anyway. I got pasta for .50 and some of the packages were packages with additional product. Pasta is an easy way to stretch a buck and still feed hungry mouths, it's probably why so many of our mothers served it for extended family dinners.
It's a crowd pleaser and with French bread and a salad, it is a well rounded meal.
Last night we had family over and we had pizza, salad and cake and ice cream-- another good family meal.
By carefully sticking to your list, adjusting for unforseen circumstances, and planning wisely, you can stretch your food dollar. I like 1/2 price. I really like 61 percent. When you buy one or two things that aren't on sale, it lowers your percent off. However, it is not realistic to shop like the television extrememcouponers. Some of the things they do are not allowed by the stores . Plans change when the register won't accept your coupons and they get their large numbers by purchasing large quantities of things that they will never use to clutter up their food storage. Making logical decisions is the key.
Pasta has a 8 YEAR shelf life. Fresh fruits and veggies don't. Canned goods are usually good for
three- four years, except meat and fish. Expiration dates are not etched in concrete. So,e things are perfectly good a bit past the pull date. We throw away , so the article I just read says, about 40 percent of our food. That's terribly wasteful. That being said, I would not feed my family anything I had a doubt about. Better safe than sorry.
The meats I bought were fridge stable. They have expiration dates. The coupon companies restrict you to printing two coupons. For a regular family, that's probably all you need. Most of the time, ready mades are more expensive than ready made. Most of the time is key here. With drought prices, some meat entrees are cheaper than scratch. Ready mades still have preservatives and such in them and buying four items that will spread over a month is good judgement. It is limiting your exposure while you eat scratch the other six days. If I have to work the late shift and the till doesn't balance, having a five minute meal in my back pocket is a good thing. if you know ahead of time, the slow cooker is a boon too. I get brown and serve baguettes at Costco or the bakery outlet. They also make bread sticks. Fifteen minutes and you have a hearty stew or soup and bread.
Again that word I always come back to. MODERATION? !
Groceries on the cheap is based on five dollar dinners for the average family. That being two adults and two school age children. We have, basically three adults and a child. My daughter purchases some alternative foods for their semi- vegetarian diet and buys her lunch. I am estimating that we are providing three meals. That might be a little stretch, but I am also doing it on 1/2 of the USDA stats for a thrifty budget.
Every few months, the USDA posts a chart with the food at home costs for meals in four different price budgets and breaks down the age and gender of family members. SNAP adjusts the thrifty stats with the cost of living index in your area. That's why buying a bunch of junk food and ready mades will burn your budget. Scratch cooking doesn't have to take all day of non-passive time. Oven meals and slow cooker meals are a great help. Slow cookers are at yard sales, estate sales, and the goodwill often. New ones are really inexpensive. I really recommend them to the busy person with a family that wants to eat on the cheap. A lot of slow cooker recipes lately call for a can of this or that. Most of the time you can substitute with an ingredient that doesn't cost an arm and a leg.
A good cheap substitute for cream based soup is the recipe starter at themdollarmstore, it's .50. You will have to adjust the amount to compensate for the condensed soup. You can make a cream soup base with a recipe on a older blog. Again, reduce the amount of liquid the recipe calls for by part of the amount the recipe calls for. You are trying to make the same consistency of the original product.
At .50 a can for the basil or garlic sauces, it is cheaper than white sauce from scratch.
With a pasta cooker from big lots, you can cook pasta in the microwave with passive time. No stirring, or watching. You measure the pasta, fill the oval pan to the correct mark, and set the time on the microwave. When you done, you use the strainer lid instead of a colander and have less dishes. They are five bucks at the big lots. Another version at my store that sells tv things, it is one tv gadget that makes a lot of sense.
Not watching the pasta pot allows you to heat your sauce, add meat, and make a salad while the pasta is cooking with a whole lot less stress.
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