Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Getting started-- a repeat post.

It's the start of a  of new month.  I can't believe it is October  already.  The first of each month, I usually go over the basics of groceries on the cheap.  Each time I write off the top of my head, so each one is a little different.

Groceries on the cheap takes a entirely different  approach to buying your food.  Instead of going to the store and buying all your food for a week, you go to two stores and replenish your food supply.  Because you only buy what is at a rock bottom price, you save money.  Or, if you have a male mentality, you spend less money.    I Spend about half of what the normal person does for our family and have done it for years.  

It takes a little planning at the beginning, but once you get yourself set up, you will probably spend less time than before.  Some of these things you probably already do automatically.  It's a matter of jotting them down on paper.  

Let's get started.  

1) write down the inexpensive sources of protein your  family will eat.  Do try new foods and expand your variety if foods.  My mother never cooked pork.  I first cooked it after I was married.  In our house that would be some beef, pork, chicken, eggs, cheese, beans and rice.  

2) write down  7-14 meals your family ears that use these protein sources.  

3) write down the key non perishable ingredients that you use to cook these meals.  Most families will have a list of ten or so items.  These are your stock items.  

4) track your stock items.  You can use a small notebook from the dollar store, or a spread sheet n the computer.  You want to identify the name of the item, the size of the package , the date, store, and amount  you paid for the item.  Odd you use a coupon!?   

5) when you find the rock bottom price ( I call it my target price) , buy 
A) as many as you can afford
B) as many as the store will let you buy ( limit) 
Or C) as many as you need to fill in your stock.  

Stores operate on a eight to twelve week cycle for sales.  If I use something once a week, I keep 24 max.  If I use it once a month, I keep 6.  For things like catsup, mayo and mustard, I keep one on hand.  When I open my back up, in start looking for a sale.  I found catsup for .80 this week, so I bought two.  

You never want to get stuck having to pay full price.  

When the ads come out.  I start  with a piece of computer paper, preferably  out of the recycle bin.  
I mark it off in quarters.  

Now, I write down the things on sale that are on my stock list and are rock bottom prices.  
Ditto the produce that is on season and the cheapest prices that I can use to fill out my meals.  
Dairy is next .  And a protein source that is at a rock  bottom price that I can batch cook.  

Cross off anything you don't need to stock, anything that is cheaper at a different store.  Now pick the top two stores.  Picking two stores gives you the best chance to effectively buy the best produce and take advantage of the sales.  Plan your trip with other errands to make the best use of your gas.  If your stores are far apart, split the shopping to piggy back the trip on your way home from other errands.  

If you buy a protein at a rock bottom price and buy bulk, batch cook it and portion it on meal sized containers, you will have less waste and cook more efficiently with less clean up.  Stores rotate their meat bargains.  Buy the bargain, and buy enough for a meal a week for the month.  By working on a four week cycle, you can have variety and spend less doing it.  This week, SAFEWAYS has chicken for a buck.  Next week I might find hamburger or pork loin or sausage.  

When you get home from the store, make out your meal plans for the week.  I just write down the main dish.  The rest of it takes care of itself.  I usually try for an easy dish the days I have the late shift.  You don't have to be rigid and follow the plan to a t.  Just have a plan.  Without a plan, it is too 
easy for the order pizza gremlins to rear they ugly head!   

Next time : the shopping trip

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