Friday, November 29, 2013

The basics, part one.

Groceries on the cheap takes a three pronged approach at putting food on the table at 1/2 price of retail.

I started this blog when it was brought to my attention that people on snap were running out of money before they ran out of month.  Now, snap has been  cut five percent.  Add the fact that meat pretty much has gone up 30 percent, it is harder to make both ends meet.   I actually found that many people not on snap read my blog.  Some people either want or need to economize on food, some like a way to get out of the kitchen faster, or be more efficient, and some just like trying new recipes.

Groceries on the cheap takes a three pronged approach at cheap grocery shopping.

  • Planning and organizing
  • Savy shopping 
  • Cooking from scratch

Like about anything we do, it's always less stressful of we have a plan.  If you hate to grocery shop, it's  probably because you are short on money, you are bringing two toddlers with you, or you are a indecisive personality.  Break down the problems,and  life will be less stressful.  

  • Planning your trip and maximizing your snap money will make you have food left over at the end of the month.  
  • Leaving the kids at home is a good move.  Of you don't have anyone at home to take care of them,  try to leave them with family, or trade babysitting with a friend.  
  • Having a list, and having guidelines of what to buy, takes the decision making part out of the grocery store, and into the home where you are comfortable and the "rules" make the process easy.  
Everything starts with a plan.  This is only time consuming at first,  some of it is  done once and then you are set.  Some of ot you probably have already done unconsciously.  
  • List the inexpensive sources of protein that your family will eat.  
  • List the main dishes that use these ingredients. 
  • List the food items that you use on a weekly basis to cook these foods.  no boxes or bags of stuff here.  Just scratch food.  ( your stock list) 
For example:  our family likes chicken, pork, some beef, cheese, rice, beans and refried beans and some fish and shellfish.  

We have tacos and burritos often.  Chicken dishes , Mac and cheese, pork roast, sloppy joes, soups .....

Our stock list is beans, refried beans, diced tomatoes, tuna, pasta sauce, pasta, green beans and corn, cheese, some chili and cream of mushroom soup.  

After you have assessed the shelf ready items that you use on a regular basis, you need to track these items for a while and fond the rock bottom price for them on your area.  A rock bottom price is the lowest price you can find.  Stores operate on a 8-12 week cycle.  Maybe beans will be less than .69 once every three months.  Maybe once every four or five months , they will be .50.  You want to assess how often you use them, and how many you need to last you until they go on sale again.  The object is to never pay that nasty f word.  ( full price) .  If we use something once a week, I keep 24.  If I use it once a month, I keep 6.  Things like catsup, mustard, mayo etc, I keep one ahead.  When I open my back up, I start looking for a sale.  Thos is a out buying low and eating when the price is high.  It's stocking, not hoarding.  It's more about being prepared and being self sufficient.  If you have a stock of food and are sick, you don't have to go to the store.  

Not paying full price on your key purchases is the trick to stretching your food dollar.  
Having a personal cookbook of dishes you cook for dinner is good,  7 is nice, 14 is better.  
Planning a weeks worth of meals ahead is a good tool to stay out of the drive  through or off the phone ordering pizza.   You don't have to get real specific, the main dish is fine.  You can deviate from the plan, just have a plan.  

Next time| : Savy shopping

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