Saturday, September 21, 2013

The basics, part two

To recap, we have talked about identifying dinners that your family will eat that use inexpensive sources of protein.  We have identified the shelf ready items that you will use to cook your meals.  And, we have set up a system to track prices so that you can fond the rock bottom price of these goods.

We talked about how to make meal plans and set yourself a matrix to use as a guide.

Now, grocery shopping.

No one store has the lowest prices on everything.
A lot of stores, besides the chain stores, sell groceries.  Many have a limited selection, but along with that comes cheap prices.
Because of that, and because produce quality varies from store to store, you need to pick two stores a week to go to.  Try to pick stores that are close together, or that are on the way home from something.

When the ads come in the mail, sit down and mark off a piece of computer paper in quarters.  Mark each quarter with the name of a store.

Now, start writing the items that are on your stock list that are at or near  rock bottom prices.  Write down the meat items that are low priced; as well as produce and dairy.  Be sure to note if you need an in ad coupon.

Cross off anything you don't need and anything that is cheaper elsewhere.  Now pick the best two stores.  Take your list, the ads, the coupons.  Get on the store, get your list and get out.  The more time you spend in the stores the more money you will spend.   Don't pick up anything you don't intend to buy!  If you can help or, don't take your children with you.

Now check the coupon matching site in your area.  In the Seattle area, it is
They will tell you of there is a coupon that matches the store ad.  There are printable coupons and coupons that come in the newspaper.  Our dollar store has the Sunday paper all week.
I wouldn't worry about coupons until the rest of the process is under your belt.

Pretty much, any dinner on a box or bag is out of  bounds of you are trying to eat healthy and cheap.
As is a lot of snack foods.  Stop and do the math on chips.  The dollars per pound is remarkable.
To keep on a thrifty budget, you need to make dinners five dollars average.

Buying food wisely will afford you good food on a limited budget.  The USDA stats are on the Internet.  It is based on size of family, age of family members, and has three or four income levels.  SNAP is based on these figures and the col index for your Area.

There are a few things that are stupid to buy at any price with any budget.
Soda pop and bread crumbs come to mind.  It is really stupid to pay big money for someone else's garbage bread.

My daughter and I dissected a hamburger meal box.  It is on an older post.  It was a real eye opener.
I ll say it again, I never met a cheese I didn't like; and I never met a cheese that had zero cholesterol.

There are a couple of posts on what your retailer doesn't want you to know.  Not falling into traps can save you a lot of momey.

Developing a stock is no different than our grandmothers canning the harvest to get them through the winter.  It's no different than playing the stock market, except you have really good data to make your judgements.  You are going to buy low, and eat when the prices are high.

Don't buy bulk of anything you haven't tried already and liked.

Next time, cooking from scratch.

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