I've had the lowest price on food part of the matrix nailed for some years. I have always cooked some scratch, but I started branching out to things that I haven't tackled before. Bread? Bread is one thing that you can make better than the store with almost no effort and up to ninety percent less than store bought, Soups are another thing that you can cut the cost of by ninety percent and not slave in the kitchen. LOL.
There is something about a bowl of steaming homemade soup and hot crusty bread out of the oven that is satisfying,
Basics. Groceries on the cheap takes a different abroad to buying your food. It's nothing new, our great grandmothers put food up for the winter on the farm. They didn't have the freezers that we have today, so thy canned and I suspect dried food.
The concept is the same. Instead of buying what you need for a week, trying to remember
everything you need to cook the meals on your plan, you buy a core group of foods at the lowest price you can find and buy enough to last you until the food goes on sale again. This takes knowing the BEST prices on the core foods you use, Everyone has a set group of foods that they cook dinners with. The average house rotates the same 7-10 entrees . Identify the ingredients you use to make your meals and find the best place to buy those foods. Make a list. Years ago they called that a price list. It tracked the cost of a certain group of foods and soon you found a pattern of when it was the cheapest. That's when you stock, This isn't hoarding, you set a specific amount you are going timhike and when your stock is depleatimg , you start looking for a good sale. In our house that would be :
- Diced tomatoes, - I can still find them for.50
- Canned beans .50
- Pasta sauce : .88 .for canned and 1.00 in jars.
- Dry beans - 1.5 pounds of pinto beans are a dollar at dollar tree. I want less than a dollar a pound, You can get them cheaper in bulk, but beans do get old and we don't use enough.
- Flour - it varies between six and seven dollars at Costco for 25 pounds,
- Sugar - two dollars for four pounds,
- Canned green beans and corn .50
- Frozen veggies are 100 a pound - cheapest in five pound bags at Costco or sometimes better at Winco,
- Frozen potatoes are cheapest at Winco. I get two pounds for a bit more than a dollar. They are not always perfectly shaped or like tater tots equivalent are round, but not as high.
- Cheese target price is two to two fifty a pound
- A few cake mixes, I want less than a dollar, Usually at Winco.
- Green diced mild chilies are .58 Winco. Saves up to a dollar a can,
Don't get discouraged. My mother had them in her head. I used to call her and ask what the lowest price was. Now they are in my head and I get calls from people all the time! LOL.
Meat is bought bulk on a rotation basis. Every week, someone has a meat on a good price. Decide meats that fall into a average of two dollars a pound and buy on a rotation basis enough for the amount of meals you will eat in a month, When you get home from the store, cook the meats that are appropriate to cook ( ground meats and de-fat) and portion control the rest . And freeze. We buy :
Pork loin : roast, chops, stew (150 at Costco wholesale was the last I got )
Split chicken breast: chicken breast can be 8.00 a pound. Split chicken breast is between 100 and 1.50 a pound. It only takes a few minutes to cut off the ribs and cook them with water and veggies for stock and the added bonus is the meat from the bones can make another meal,
Hamburger -7 percent fat, Cook, de-fat and portion control for dinners, A pound serves four to five. You can bake off meatballs or make meat loaf and taco meat if your family is large enough to buy ten pound quantities. I make meatballs, use a portion scoop and bake them the size of ping pong balls on a rack with a sheet pan underneath, The meatballs don't sit on their fat and it's more healthy and easier to cook in bulk,
Sausage is usually cheaper at Costco on a three pound chub. (800) sometimes I can get it cheaper with coupons, Cook de-fat and freeze.
Finding the RBP or target price ( nothing to do with the store with the red balls ) is the biggest part of cutting your food bill. You want to get to the point where you can pay 1/2 price. Protein is a big part of your grocery bill. Start there.
Portion control. Portion control, Portion control.
Have set prices for things, if they are too much, don't buy them unless it's something you just have to have. You don't HAVE TO HAVE steak or ice cream! LOL.
You want GOOD food cheap : not CHEAP food.