Fitness Minutes: (76,750)
15,253 3/18/12 5:07 A
I look on my stores website before I go to see what fresh fruit/veg are on offer, what meats are on offer frozen or fresh and make a list based on the price reductions, buy1get1free offers etc.
This also means I eat a wide variety of stuff because the offers keep changing!
Got some delicious sugar snap peas, celeraic and sweet potato this week thanks to offers!
Fitness Minutes: (4,837)
3/17/12 11:11 P
We do research each year for what freezes/cans well, & then we put it in our garden. Since we live in town without a yard, we only have a 10'X3' area to plant, but we expand that by buying gardening tubs & planting in them, too. You can get colorful ones at Walmart, they're plastic, so you'd have to bring them in in the fall, but you can drill holes in the bottom for water drainage, & there you go! I've also bought garden tubs on rummage sales for 50 cents, & you can always check your local 2nd hand store.
I have an aunt that does wonders with the hanging tomatoes. We plant what we can in our garden, & then sometimes we get a little space in my mom's garden for extras. We can tomatoes every year. During the summer, the produce plant in the next town over sells ears of corn a dozen for $3, & the good stuff, not the tasteless hybrids. We blanch & freeze that. Same can be done with lots of garden goods. Now is a good time to start planning, the weather is so nice, but it's not growing season yet so you aren't starting late.
As for the stores & produce stands...in our area we've been so behind in snow & rain that drought will be an issue & will drive the produce prices up. We're already planning our garden, but until then, I've been buying veggies when they're on sale, both canned and frozen.
We do them different ways, on the grill, the stove, soups, crock pot meals, & we try different seasonings...light butter, sprinkled Parmesan cheese, seasoning salt, etc.
You can freeze Zucchini, so if you like Zucchini bread, do up a bunch & freeze it to make bread with all year long.
If you're not a picky eater, eat what's on sale. I buy whatever fruit/veg is on sale for the week. If you don't like anything that's on sale get broccoli it's usually under $1 a pound. Sometimes we eat it 7 nights a week. Do the same for fruit. Right now I've been getting oranges for around 50 cents a pound. If you don't like the fruit that's currently on sale bananas are always cheap. For myself and my husband I usually spend $5-$10 a week on fruits and veggies.
Fitness Minutes: (5,604)
66 3/12/12 11:13 P
One way to really save it to have a meal plan. This has REALLY helped the budget for me. I go through my cookbooks and make a menu of 5 meals for the week. Then when I grocery shop for the week buy what I need for the meals. It keeps me from buying a bunch of "extras". Having a meal plan also takes the guess work out of cooking and if you have a meal you have ingredients for and you are planning in cooking, you are less likely to order a pizza or go out to eat. Thus saving on calories and expense!
I keep my freezer stocked with a variety of frozen veggies. If there aren't at least five half-full bags, I'm missing a staple. I also make sure to have several cans of tomatoes. I keep at least one can of coconut milk handy, and that requires looking in 2-3 isles to compare brands.
For fresh things, I skim over the produce section and just buy what is cheapest. (Mostly ignoring stuff that I don't know about, or passing over things that aren't quality.) Over the course of the year, it's easy to tell when things hit their lowest price. Potatoes, tomatoes, and onions are vegetables I will usually buy unless the price is really bad.
I also have thresholds for meat. Since I won't go over a dollar per pound for chicken, I'm usually cutting up whole birds and rendering the skin and bones into stock and fat. Mammal meat has a higher threshold, and sometimes I will shell out for a chunk of the toughest parts, which the crock pot takes care of.
I bake my own bread, using the bird fat instead of butter. Bulk rice and dry beans are also a staple. Pasta has just jumped in price, but still an okay deal.
Anything that can be frozen or pantried should be bought in 6-week quantities whenever you hit a good sale. (Some items only go on sale once or twice a year, so get as much as you can afford then.) Basically, do what you can to avoid buying at full price.
Spices and condiments are worth splurging on. Get the cheapest versions of the most versatile flavors first, and only buy one or two per trip. (Or just realize that it's going to cost a lot if you get carried away.)
Shop at normal grocery stores or huge one-stop places. Hippie crunchy granola places are fun, but most people can get by without trendy grains and specialized flours. When you hit a farmer's market, decide if the grocery store has better deals.
Milk, eggs, cheese, and peanut butter are things that you either pony up for or do without.
Frozen vegetables are typically just as healthy as fresh and they can be quite inexpensive. I also have a discount grocery store here (actually a couple) and they tend to have vegetables for great prices. I also make my own stocks by tossing vegetable scraps and chicken bones and scraps into a big ziplock bag in the freezer. When my bag is full I put them all into my stock pot with a lot of water, some salt, peppercorns, and maybe some dried thyme or rosemary, and let them cook for several hours. Then I strain out the scraps and bones, skim off the fat and freeze in old wonton soup containers...I can get 8 quarts of stock for the cost of some carrot ends, onion skins, celery bottoms, chicken bones and skin... so basically for free!
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