Unfortunately in my country food is very expensive. Our food costs us 40% of our income. I try to eat less meat and more cheap things like fruit and veg. We buy seasonal fruits and veg becasue its also cheaper.
Recently we started buying large quantities of vegetables at Costo. We then find recipes to make around that ingredient all week (or 2) and have come up with some really creative recipes from what we already have on hand. It has been fun, healthy, and cost effective. In the past we bought all separate ingredients for multiple recipes and ended up throwing a lot of food away. This way saves on waste, and guarantees you get your veggies in.
7/26/2008 10:41:59 PM
I amlost forgot! I also only shop for food on the outter ilses of the store! Stores are set up, usually, so that dairy, eggs and meet are at the back, vegetables are when you walk in the door and breads are on one of the outter walls as well, on the end shevles of the isles are usually junk food making you want to go down the isles where there is usually only more junk food. AVOID INSIDE ISLES!
7/26/2008 10:39:35 PM
I shop at places that price match (Walmart Superstore for example). Before I grocery shop I make a list of what I need, then I check my coupons and flyers and see what store has it the cheepest. I'll write down the prices of the sale foods and arrange my list by the flyer, only picking up what I need, unless its on a good sale and I use it often. I pick up everything I need at the store and at cash out I'll have my flyer items price matched. This way I'm saving gas, if its a good sale, and money on the items. I only spend 30-60 dollars a week on my average grocery bill for the week (I eat for one!)
Find a CSA (community supported agriculture). It can cost a bit up front, but you will get high quality fruits and veggies for less than at the regular grocery store. It will also force you to get creative with different fruits and veggies. You can find a CSA in your area here: www.localharvest.org
Beware: Sales are good, but sometimes mask a higher price. I always am sure to check the number of CENTS per OZ that's listed in small print on the shelf price tag. You can find some surprising results! A package of lunch meat isn't the same size - and even though the one on sale seems like a steal, you get a better value by spending 20cents more!
I don't have a whole lot of freezer space, so I keep my canning supplies handy. When I make a big batch of baked beans, chile, or the like, I leave the pot simmering while we have our meail. Then I can the leftovers (which are still at a safe temperature for canning) in pint jars while clean up the kitchen from the meal.
Since it's only DH and me at home in our empty nest, this allows me to cook in larger quantities without our having to eat the same meal all week long or letting food go to waste. The bonus is that once it's canned, all I have to do on a hectic day is open a jar and heat it up. The shelf life of canned foods is a lot longer than just storing the leftovers in the fridge.
I use grocerygame.com or couponmom.com to match coupons with sale items to get the lowest price possible. I use these lists for grocery and pharmacy and get so much stuff FREE it is unbelievable. We are able to keep plenty for ourselves and donate too.
I save money by making things myself if possible. For example, it is easy to make your own plain yogurt using powdered milk, a small container of yogurt as starter culture, and an oven with a bulb in it. I also make my own bread daily, salad dressings, taco seasonings, etc. If I make it myself from scratch, not only is it cheaper, but I know EXACTLY what goes into it. It gives you extra control in monitoring added sugar/salt/fat too.
Beans freeze well. To reduce meal prep time, cook beans and freeze either in small portions or freeze flat on a parchment or foil-lined cookie sheet. Once frozen, place in a large container, label and freeze.
A method to reduce the gas problem with beans is to soak the beans with 1 teaspoon of baking soda per quart of water for at least 4 hours. Drain and rinse beans. Add suggested amount of water for cooking and proceed per package directions.
I found the baking soda tip in American Dietetic Association, Cooking Healthy Across America Cookbook and have used it now many times.
When I find items on sale, I buys a number of them. Last trip to the store I found Corn Flakes for $2.25/large box, plus 75 cent off coupon. They were marked with a one year shelf life, so they will keep.
It's completely backwards to think that healthy food costs more. If you eat whole foods and basics, it's way cheaper!
Grain, flours and sugars, granola, pulses, beans, cereals, oatmeal, spices: Buy bulk and use reusable jars instead of the baggies at the store. Get dried beans instead of canned. If you can't find bulk spices, try an international grocery store.
Produce: Join a CSA (even split a share with neighbors), volunteer at a farm in exchange for produce, grow your own veggies, buy the slightly overripe stuff in the discount bin, buy what's in season, don't buy pre-cut, get frozen stuff during the winter months.
Meat: Don't eat it! Simple as that. It's not necessary in any way.
Look on company's websites--they often have printable coupons or will mail you coupons for free.
Don't buy processed food or junk food!
Use reusable water bottles instead of bottled water (even if you have bad tap water, filters are an inexpensive one-time investment with low maintenance cost).
For refreshment that's a little more fun than plain water, float orange slices, lemon slices, mint, or cucumber in a big water jug and chill it for a day before drinking it.
Instead of buying the gourmet sodas and spritzers, just get a container of fruit juice and mix it with club soda.
I second bringing your own bags! :-)
7/17/2008 2:32:33 PM
When buying fresh fruits and veggies before, I was always throwing a lot of it away because I had a tendency not to use them all. I've found for my situation, that canned and frozen have come out cheaper for me and less wasteful. Contrary to popular belief, frozen and canned are no less nutricious than fresh. However, it's a good idea to read the labels for added sugar, salt, or anything else that is added that could add unwanted calories, sodium and fat like frozen skillet meals. I still buy fresh produce for certain items but if I can get them canned or frozen, I usually go that route.
If you have the time, learn to make things from scratch. It's fun, cheaper, and you control what goes into your food
Another money saver is making your own stock/soup with any veggies and herbs that are about to go bad. Don't throw away any parts that you cut off of peppers and onions. Throw them into a pot with chicken or beef, carrots and add herbs and garlic and you have stock that you can put away in batches in the freezer. Or you could opt for boullion cubes whenever a recipe calls for stock.
7/17/2008 6:27:33 AM
I joined a CSA. This means you buy a share in a farm and get gorgeous, fresh-picked organic produce each week (of course, you have to be flexible about what you get!). With the price of fuel soaring, it actually works out to be cheaper than the grocer,and better for the environment because it's all organic and local.
If I have a small amount of rice,pasta, vegetables, sauces, gravy etc. I freeze it in a small bag or ice cube trays. If I am in a rush I go to the freezer and can ofter make a meal for the two of us with these left over bits which once would have been thrown away. Rice with vegetables and a beaten egg makes a great egg rice in a pan with a spray of low cal oil. Couscous in peppers with some herbs and a little goats cheese and stock in the microwave for a few minutes makes a great meal. We are vegetarians and it really is a cheaper way to eat. Not suggesting everyone goes veggie but maybe a couple of times a week. Also batch make everything you can - I started making my own pizza bases in bulk when I realized what went into the bought ones. Now it is matter of course and I do it once every three months or so and freeze them. Also I do not add all the oil and salt as in the bought ones so they are low in calories, far healthier if you use wholemeal flour, you can add loads of tomato paste and only a little low fat cheese and loads of veggies so they are a lowcal and healthy meal and they taste great.
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