Friday, January 31, 2014

Freaky Friday, the basics.

It's finally Friday.  Last night I oven roasted potatoes, carrots and radishes and cooked sausage.  We had cheese pizza the night before.  We eat more simple on work days.

Its  that time of the month when I go over the basics of groceries on the cheap.

I started this blog when it came to my attention that some people were running out of money before they ran out of month on SNAP( food stamps). It wasn't hard to tell why when I heard what what they were eating for dinner.  The sad truth is that if you spend ten dollars for dinner and there are 30 days in the month, your three hundred dollar food allowance is spent and you don't have breakfast or lunch.  Aw, the ugliness of reality. LOL

I learned groceries of the cheap over the past 47 years. In the early 70s I found myself a single mother.  It was a time of double-digit inflation and wage and price freezes. The wage freezes held steady , but the price freezing didn't.  The reality was half of my income went for rent the other half went for daycare .  There  was very little left over. I started reading everything I could find how to eat on the cheap. I wasn't alone most of the middle class was in the same boat.  What all that was over, it became a habit to eat on the cheap. Over the years I found the new ways and new tricks. I took the best of what I found and tailored them to fit our needs.  The result is groceries on the cheap.  I feed us on less than the USDA stats for thrifty cooking.  That is the basis for snap.  They add COL adjustments.  That's why you get more in NYC than you do in some other places.

Groceries on the cheap takes a three disciplined approach to feeding the family.

  • Planning and organizing 
  • Strategic shopping 
  • Cooking from scratch 
I'm going to try something different.  Over the next month, I will break this down and deal with one concept a day.  Every basic blog I write comes off the top of my head, please feel free to read past blogs to get different ideas, or the same ones written in a different way.  

Let's start with planning and organizing.  This is not rocket science, it's  actually pretty simple. If your not an organizational person. It is not as hard as you think. Some of it you are probably doing.  

  • First, list the sources of inexpensive  protein your family will eat.  
  • Now, list 7-14 meals that you can make from these sources.  Remember, this is scratch cooking.  
  • Make a list of the things that you use to make these meals.  We are talking basic shelf and freezer ready items that you use on a regular basis. There is probably a list of ten or so things. In our house that would be diced tomatoes, beans, refried beans, black olives, pasta sauce, pasta, instant mashed potatoes, tuna, and some green beans and corn.  
  • Start a spread sheet or small notebook and list these items, the size of the package on the top of the page.  Then create a line that has the date, store, price paid, coupon? And net price. Ie: pasta sauce, Hunts .  First  line: 1/3/14. Bartells. .79. No coupon .   The object is to find the cheapest price available for this product and how often it goes on sale.  
The main mantra here is NEVER PAY FULL PRICE FOR ANYTHING.  we are buying quantity of our staple items so that they will last until they go on sale again.  This is not hoarding. You want a three to six  months supply, depending on your situation.     If I use the item once a week, I keep 24.  If I use it once a month, I keep six.  Watch your pull dates.  Canned goods , I have been hearing
are good for some time after their pull date, pasta has an eight year shelf life.  I don't  expect the cans to last that long.  Rotate stock.  If your children are old enough, that's a good job for them.  Don't buy anything that has a pull date close to the real date unless you are going  to eat it that day.  
You are looking for half price or more.  If you can add a coupon with it, all the more sweet the deal.  

That's enough to digest for one day.  
Tomorrow: how to read a grocery ad!  

Thanks for stopping by 
PLEASE share 


  1. JoAnn K. from PennsylvaniaJanuary 31, 2014 at 1:41 PM

    Jane - I am a recent follower to your blog (following about three months now), and I absolutely love it! Your ideas and suggestions are very helpful - easy to understand & follow no matter what locale a reader resides. I especially think today's posting important. So many people want to make a positive difference in their family's food budget/menu yet aren't sure where to start... you created a map of how they can get there... fabulous! Thanks for such a great site!!