Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Food For Thought:11 Kitchen Money Saving Tips

Food For Thought:11 Kitchen Money Saving Tips by Leanne Ely (from

Getting yourself out of financial hot water requires that the spendingbe curbed. One of the best places to really get your budget in line iswith food. With the exception of the mortgage, it's probably yourbiggest expense. And unlike your mortgage, you have control over thefood money going out every month. Having a good financial mindset (tobe money-conscience; not a tightwad) gives you the freedom to put yourmoney toward your debt and obtain freedom from financial bondage. Here are 11 Kitchen Money Saving Tips that will help you with tha tgoal. These are all tried and true money slashing ideas used by mepersonally and I promise, these tips were instrumental in helping meget to the place of being debt-free.

1. Be a Bounty Hunter. If your grocery store has a sale on ground beef(for example) and it's a great big package, buy it any way, and cut itup into sizes you'll use. Use the freezer quality zipper top, plasticbags. You're going to go to all this trouble; you might as well havesomething quality to eat when it's time to thaw!

2. Bigger isn't Better. Not necessarily anyway. Don't automaticallyreach for the biggest package at the grocery store thinking you'regetting the better deal. Compare prices and watch for the price perounce or unit, on the price tag.

3. Make Mine a Markdown. Check the back of the store for a markdownshelf. Not all stores have these, but some do. My market deepdiscounts dented cereal boxes and I save a small fortune that way.Watch the dented cans though--I'd pay retail just to avoid any problems.

4. Count your losses. Loss leaders (the cheap stuff they advertise onthe front of the flyers they send out every week) are designed to getyou into the door, but watch for the end cap displays in the store.They may not the loss leaders! Just regular merchandise. Don't beduped into buying it.

5. Grocery store smarts. Give yourself this quick test before leavingthe house. Do I have my list? Is this a bad time to shop? (avoid rushhour and prime time at the grocery store) Can someone watch the kids?(no explanation necessary) Am I hungry? (you know what happens whenyou're hungry and you're shopping for food!). If you've passed thetest, go to the bathroom, tuck your list into your pocketbook and GO!

5. Spice it up. I use a LOT of spices when I cook--if you ever usedany of my recipes you know that. But I DON'T buy them at the regulargrocery store or I'd go broke. Instead, I get them at a discountstore, like Wal-Mart for $1.00 each.

6. Take Stock. You'll read about stocking your Perpetual Pantry later,but you must watch it when you're in that "stocking up" mood. Will youreally use it or will it go bad? I bought spaghetti on sale once atBig Lots for 10 cents a package and by about the 20th package, therewere little bugs in them! eeeewww! Stock up, but don't hoard.

7. Go Bananas. If your bananas get a little too ripe, freeze them withthe skins on. Later, peel them with a knife and throw them in ablender with a little milk, some other fruit and some protein powderand you have a quick, power breakfast. Or just let the kids eat themas is for a delicious snack -- especially in the summer.

8. Menus aren't just for restaurants. You MUST plan your meals. Noplan spells disaster--you know that. If you need some help, go to mywebsite for a week's worth of dinner recipes complete with a grocerylist http://www.SavingDi

9. Rubber Chicken. This is the mother of all dollar-stretchingrecipes. You take one measly, little chicken and turn it into threegreat meals (get it? rubber chicken?). It's on FlyLady's site,http://www.flylady. net Click on Food for Thought and you'll find allkinds of good recipes. There are other recipes that stretch like that,too. I will share some others later.

10. My Freezer, My Friend. In this day and age, the freezer is anextension of the pantry. Use it wisely! Get rid of the freezer burnedgarbage and feed it regularly with stuff you'll use. For example, doesyour family love your world famous meatloaf but you don't make itoften because it's time-intensive to make? Make TWO or even three nexttime, cook them off and freeze them (again--freezer worthy bags only).And here's another nifty tip, use a Sharpie pen (the only pen thatwill hold up in the freezer without running) to mark the date andcontents (you must do this--you WILL forget) on the freezer bag. Toavoid losing your Sharpie, keep it tucked into the freezer bag box anddon't tell a soul it's there or you will lose it for life.

11. Drop the Drive-Thru Mentality. Yeah, it is easier just to grabsomething to go and you might not want to cook. But it's costing youyour family's financial freedom, not to mention health. It's thelittle things that add up and rob you blind. And don't fall for the.99 menu either--it's all fat, cholesterol and those 99 pennies couldbe going toward a bill that needs paying off. You deserve better thanthat.

To FLY means you have to let go. This is the stuff that holds us down,that keeps us from being airborne. I used to be in huge debt, had nextto nothing income-wise and an IRS problem that almost made me wish Ihad the mafia after me instead! But getting my house in order (thiswas CRITICAL) gave me room to chip away at the financial problems, onebaby step at a time, using the brain God gave me. Today, I am debt-free. So go for it! You can do this!!

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