Keep The Pantry Full
The easiest way to slash your weekly food bill is not to shop weekly. Families who shop daily or weekly for the basics tend to spend much more than those who stock up. That is not to say that you should not shop weekly, but that if you see non perishable food items on sale…plan ahead by stocking up!
Canned goods have a long shelf life, are often much cheaper when purchased in bulk, and are easy to store. Stocking up when canned goods are available at a reduced cost means never having to pay full price for them.
For example, if your family eats two cans of tuna each week at a cost of $ 0.79 each, but you see them on sale for $0.49 that’s only a savings of $0.60 per week , but it adds up to $31.20 a year.
Canned Pantry Staples
Assorted beans, condiments, pasta sauce, canned vegetables, canned fish, canned soup, peanut butter and jams, vinegars, juices, canned vegetables, cartons of broth, dressings, evaporated milk and oils (olive, canola, vegetable)
Dry Pantry Staples
regular and sea salt, pepper, dried beans/lentils, white and brown rice, flour, brown and white sugar, corn meal, corn starch, powdered milk, bread crumbs, pastas
Dried herbs: chili flakes, basil, bay , onion powder, chili powder, cinnamon, dill, nutmeg, oregano, paprika, crushed red pepper, coriander, rosemary, garlic powder, sage, tarragon, thyme.
Avoid Convenience Foods
Convenience foods may be easy, but for the most part you can make your own for a fraction of the cost and with much better taste and nutritional value. For example, for about $8 where I shop, you can buy frozen containers of Slow Cooker Meals that serve four. You just dump them in the crock pot add water and voila, you have dinner; kind of. What you actually have is an expensive snack, because the portions outlined on the package are tiny and not very tasty.
But for about $5 and ten minutes work, you can feed your family large portions of a slow cooker stew. Here’s how: While browning the meat for your stew, peel and chop a few potatoes and an onion and open a bag of peeled and washed baby carrots. Toss everything into the crock pot add water salt, pepper and spices and turn it on. Add a handful of frozen peas or corn just before serving. Now that is what I call convenience food.
Other Foods To Avoid
It is a good practice to avoid paying sky high prices for packaged items to save a few seconds here and there. Foods like Shredded cheeses, pre-cut lettuce, pre-chopped vegetables like celery, onions or peppers, pre-cut fruit, T.V. dinners, juice boxes or anything with “Instant” “On The Go” or “On The Run” in the name.
Stretching Your Food
* If you make a chicken for Dinner on Monday, turn the leftovers into Chicken Stew later in the week. If there is leftover stew, freeze it and save it for Pot Pie filling. One chicken…three meals.
* Do not pay elevated prices for boneless chicken breast. Wen you buy breasts still on the bone, you save $1- $1.50 per pound.
* Take chicken breast off the bone before cooking so that the bones can be used for a soup, gravy or stock.
* If your grocery store has a section for marked down produce, buy it up. Just wash, chop and freeze it for later use in soups, stews, sauces and stocks.
* When you cook a ham, remember that the cooking liquid left over makes excellent stock for pea soup.
* To make potatoes go farther add a teaspoon of Baking Powder when you mash or whip them. The Baking Powder makes them expand and makes them light and fluffy.
Watch For Bargains
* It is a good idea to watch newspapers for grocery ads and to take advantage of any coupons that might be available.
* Substitute store brands whenever possible.
* Always know your unit prices. This way if you see a multi-pack of something on sale, you won’t be fooled.
In Your Own Backyard
Grow as much of your own food as possible. You don’t need a big yard in order to grow fresh, healthy fruits and vegetables. Plants will grow in almost any pot, bucket or planter you have provided it has decent soil and adequate drainage. Try growing these foods in containers right on your balcony, porch or even in your sun-room or kitchen window.
* Tomatoes in window boxes, hanging baskets or trellised containers.
* Peppers in pots.
* Potatoes in bushel baskets or plastic bags.
* Radish and scallions in rectangular totes (don’t forget drainage holes)
* Herbs in clay pots in the kitchen.
* Cucumber, eggplant and zucchini in large pots.
* Strawberries in pots.