Monday, March 9, 2009

Food & Frugality

My nutrition teacher asked us to write 2 ways that we currently save money on food. Okay, okay... so I came up with more than 2.  = )
I thought I'd share these ideas with all of our readers.
The following list contains things that I currently do to save on food money, but without sacrificing nutrition.
o  Shop at Sams:  We get their boneless, skinless chicken breast in bulk for 1.97/lb from the refrigerated section.  I cook it and/or freeze it. We occasionally purchase their salmon, beef, cheese, and fruits/veggies (especially celery). We also buy our ketchup and peanut butter in bulk there because you get much more for the same amount of money as the little containers at the local grocery store. They also have great prices on frozen fruit, frozen veggies, milk, eggs, bread, and tortillas. 
  Shop at Aldi:  Cheap (off-brand) cereal, pancake/waffle mix, crackers, canned veggies, canned fruit, butter, milk, eggs, bread, pickles, olives, salad dressing, tortilla chips (99cents), fresh fruit and veggies. Just remember to take your own shopping bags and a quarter for a cart. 
v   Farmers Market:  We love fresh produce!  I pay close attention to the prices and know what’s a good deal. Waiting for sales helps us eat a nice variety too. We enjoy asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, zucchini, squash, tomatoes, blueberries, strawberries, bananas, oranges, plums, peaches, pears, apples, etc.  I do not buy overpriced produce!  I make do with what’s on sale.
v   Dry beans:  They are even cheaper than canned beans. They just require a little planning ahead.  I keep different types of dry beans on hand at all times.  I often add them to soup instead of pasta or rice.
v   Cans, Cans, Cans:  I insist on keeping lots of canned goods around.  They’re great for soups, salsa, or throwing in with some meat in the Crockpot.  They have a very long shelf life too.
v   Skip the meat!  We transform a lot of our recipes to be vegetarian.  We love chili, but often replace the meat with lentils.  It’s tasty!
v   Leftovers?  Don’t trash- FREEZE!  It can often be difficult to cook for 2.  We tend to have a lot of leftovers.  I freeze prepared meals and it becomes an instant meal on a busy day.  It keeps us from eating out and making poor nutrition choices.  
     Brand Matters?  Not to me (generally speaking)!  I’m comfortable purchasing the cheaper brand of canned goods.  I still pay attention to the nutrition label and additives.  There are times that I’ll pay a little more to have something that doesn’t have trans fats or something that doesn’t have MSG (MSG gives me headaches).
v   Make it yourself!  Bagged Salad costs more because you’re paying for convenience.  Purchase everything yourself, then clean and cut as soon as you get home.  It’s ready the next time you open the fridge.  Also, we love hummus, but it’s so expensive when it’s premade.  It’s easy and super cheap to make at home.

v   SPLURGES!  There are some things in life that we can’t sacrifice- COFFEE.  We love Starbucks coffee beans.  This is one item we’re not willing to throw out for a more affordable version.


Holly said...

I love to do a lot of the same things that you do to save money.

I have never bought the chicken in the refridgerator section at Sam's but, i am going to have to start. I always bought it in the freezer, but it sound like that is cheaper!

I also LOVE ALDI. With samll kids, it is much cheaper to buy fruit there (since they are smaller serving - still an actual/real serving size, but small than the grocery store).

I also LOVE to double coupons at Homeland!

We have been so blessed the last couple of months and have only spent $120 on groceries. I mix-and-matched all we had in the freezer and pantry and then our neighbor (the same one who did our laundry) cleaned out her pantry and gave us at least 15 meals of stuff! Huge blessing!

Roach Momma said...

Good ideas! I do a lot of those as well. I so wish we had ALDI here :(

Dave and Kathryn Dodds said...

I totally agree with everything you've said! It's definitely important to keep the nutrition up even when the funds are tight! I'm going to need you to tell me how to make hummus.

The Gray Roach said...

I do everything from your list, except Farmers Market. We did go last season, but we thought it was all way too expensive. I do almost ALL of my shopping at Aldi and if they don't have it, then I feel so bummed about having to go to Dillons or something......

Angelavon said...

Yay, I think I passed the Jenn Test!!! ...except I still haven't been to the Soulard Market:(

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