Sunday, July 13, 2014

Suddenly Sunday- the basics continued.

We have talked about looking for the best buys and taking advantage of sales.   The old adage of my mothers is still true---never pay top dollar for anything.   Today it's random bits of information.   If I was my normal logical self, this would be a bit more cohesive, but given my drugged body, all bets are off! LOL ( I'm in rehab for a hip replacement! )

First, the USDA publishes stats for different income levels and for different sized families.   An older couple , thrifty , is about 82.00 a  week.   Mind you,there are 4.2 weeknight in a month.   If you are getting less, they are  figuring that some of your other income  is going to supplement.

It helps to divide your grocery money into the food groups, in proportion to the food pyramid.   We work on 5 dollar dinners for a typical family of four, based on 300. A month.   That would be probably  closer to two bucks for a couple.

Don't forget coupons.  Many times they are for expensive things you don't need, but you can still get good food cheap.  I like free.   It happens sometimes.   Coupons come out in the Sunday paper in the form of inserts.  I have a friend  that brings me hers,   And I get one from the dollar store weekly.
Coupons come out once a month on the computer.  You snooze you loose for the expensive ones.   You can pick and choose the ones you will print.  You can print  two per item.   There are a lot of web sites, but most take you back to coupons,com and they don't ask you for your first born sons name? LOL.

Don't overlook other stores.   Buy the best of two chain stores and keep your eye open at the other stores.  I use Costco for a few things.   We have over stocked stores . Sometimes they have really good food that is a bit out of the ordinary and never took off in the regular market.  We have Big  Lots  and Grocery Outlet. .  We are getting a Winco near us soon I hear.   Bakery outlet stores are good for bread products.   If I was really short on budget,  I would make my own,  there are recipes
that make it easy.
The dollar store is cheaper on some things, but it really pays to know your prices.   I can't emphasize that enough.  If you can't remember, use a spread sheet or a notebook to keep track.

Last night, in the rehab, we had a baby pizza and spinach for dinner.   Pepperoni is .50 a package with a coupon at the dollar store.   The crust looked suspiciously like bisquick.  I could have done without the spinach and had a little green salad.  There was bits of bacon, pepperoni and sausage on the pizza.
I have been getting cheese for as little as two bucks a pound.   A little more for a Mexican blend at business Costco.

Portion control is  a real key player when you have a less than USDA stat budget.    Identifying protein cheap and finding the cheapest cost is paramount.  We eat far more protein than we need to.
You can stretch a lot using portion control.  It's real easy, especially after being used to cooking for a large family, to overlook.  Remember, you can split recipes and use them for more than one meal.  Use up bits and pieces for soup, pizza, enchiladas etc.

Popcorn is a good snack.   Air popped is real healthy.   Something as simple as an enchilada sauce can jack up up your total meal cost.  Make your own sauces.  The sauce can cost more than the meat.
I was surprised how easy it is to make.  If a recipe sounds too complicated, keep looking, the Internet is full of information.   I have been getting recipe starter for .50 and less.   Recipe starter was introduced a year or so ago.  It didn't fly.  It is a good product, made by a good company, but the cost was more than the meat  you put in it.   It hit the secondary market.   The dollar store had it for 2/1.  I had fifty cent coupons.   The dollar store is out now, And so are the coupons.  But, Big Lots  has them for .50 and they have cheese.  Add real cheese and frozen veggies ( often cheaper at the dollar store( watch weights) to coupon purchased pasta and  you have a dinner for often times a buck.   Or use garlic or basil with tuna.

Your meals can be filling, good, tasty and inexpensive.   They don't have to shout economy.

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