A few days ago, we focused mostly on how to shop. Today, let’s discuss what to shop for.
As stated in the last article, you must make a list and stick to it! Now, go through your list and try to see what you can change or maybe buy differently to save some money. For example, instead of buying individual snack packs of crackers or chips, try buying a box of generic brand wheat crackers, saltines, or butter crackers (like Ritz) and separating them into servings. If you separate them into plastic sandwich bags or small reusable snack containers as soon as you get home, they will be ready for school or snack time. This also helps with portion control and will stretch your supply. If the rule at snack time is that the kids can have one pre-determined portion, those crackers are going to go much further than if you handed them the box.
You can also do the same with things like gelatin and pudding. Buy a box that serves 4 or 8 half-cup servings for between $0.39 and $1.50 (depending on sales and brand) and split it into snack containers once prepared. This will prove much less expensive than purchasing individual packs of pudding for school lunches. Just be sure to pack an ice pack in the kid’s lunch to keep it cool. Try buying applesauce in a large jar and doing the same.
Another idea is to prepare your meals and freeze them. By doing this, you can buy in bulk and not have to worry about wasting unused food. Believe it or not, you can save a lot of money by duplicating your meals, eating one and freezing the other. This will also save you a lot of meal preparation time (as well as shopping time). Remember, the less trips you make to the grocery store, the less impulse buying you will make.
You can also save by making a recipe with half of the meat and double the vegetables. For example, you may make a sweet and sour chicken recipe that calls for 4 chicken breasts and 1/2 cup of frozen veggies. Try using only two chicken breasts and one cup of veggies. In casserole dishes, the meat probably won’t even be noticed. Meat is where people tend to spend a lot of their money at the store.
Along with the previous suggestion, use more pork and poultry and less red meat. Hamburger meat can vary in cost, depending on how lean the meat is. However, a pound of ground pork is around $2.25 at Winco (last checked) and ground turkey is around $1.75 per pound at Walmart. As you can see, it can be quite a savings (and healthier, too). Vegetarian meals can also save an incredible amount of money.
Last (for now), but not least, is to make your meals from scratch. Spaghetti sauce in a jar averages around $2.00 per meal. Making it from scratch costs around $0.50 (and tastes better too). Ever thought of making your own sweet & sour sauce? You’d be suprised at what you can come up with. You can even do fun snacks from scratch, and probably save money on that box of cookies or crackers. Why not make cupcakes or cookies instead of buying Little Debbie cakes?
There are a million ideas on ways to save. Good luck on your next grocery shopping trip!
If you have any suggestions (or would just like to tell me how your shopping experience was) please feel free to leave comments, or send me email.
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