taken from a flylady email received today:
Dear Friends,We're talking about saving some real money in the grocery store thisweek. About 13 years ago when my daughter was a kindergartener, I hadabsolutely no money for my food budget. Well, let's just say I had aridiculously under budget food budget. 100 bucks a month is all I hadto feed a family of 4. True, the kids were little, but there were also2 adults that needed to be fed and I was bound and determined to keepmy budget so we could pay off some big time debt and meet our currentfinancial obligations. The following is excerpted from an article I wrote about 5 years ago.I put together my best tips for saving major money at the grocerystore out of necessity and they still work today. Here you go:
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. That's fine; buy those things, but watch for theend cap displays in the store. They're usually NOT the loss leaders!Just regular old merchandise. Don't be duped into buying it thinkingit too, is on sale. Most of the time it is not.
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 or the health food store. You canget them in bulk jar for pennies and the quality is outstanding.
6. Take Stock. Be careful about stocking up your pantry. 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! eeewww! Stocking up is smart; hoarding is not.
7. Go Bananas. If your bananas get a little too ripe, peel them andfreeze. Use them for banana bread, smoothies or just let the kids eatthem as 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 FREE dinner recipes complete with agrocery list.
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?). The recipes are all on my site,absolutely free.
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-extensive to make? Make TWO or even three nexttime, cook one off for dinner and freeze the others in their raw state(again--freezer worthy bags only).
And here's another nifty tip, use aSharpie pen (the only pen that will hold up in the freezer withoutrunning) to mark the date and contents (you must do this--you WILLforget) on the freezer bag. To avoid losing your Sharpie, keep ittucked into the freezer bag box and don't tell a soul it's there oryou will lose it for life.
And while this is not on the list, I'd be negligent not to mention theever-present fast food draw. You simply must drop the drive-thrumentality. Yeah, it is easier just to grab something to go and youmight not want to cook. But it's costing you your family's financialfreedom, not to mention health. It's the little things that add up androb you blind. And don't fall for the .99 menu either--it's all fat,cholesterol and those 99 pennies could be going toward a bill thatneeds paying off. You deserve better than that.
I have learned that being faithful with the small things has given methe privilege of handling the bigger things. As you keep diligentlyplodding along, you will get you where you want to be. I used to be inhuge debt, had next to nothing income-wise and an IRS problem thatalmost made me wish I had the mafia after me instead! But taking theslow road (it took me over ten years) gave me room to chip away at thefinancial problems; one small step at a time, using the brain God gaveme. Today, I am debt-free.
Love, Leanne************ ******
Kelly here: Leanne is absolutely correct, you must have a plan!!! The cost of the stress, the money and the cost on your body for eatingdrive thru, carry out, delivery and convenience foods is exorbitant!You can change this vicious cycle by having a menu plan. If you donot know how or need some help go and check out all of the menu plansthat Leanne has available. There are plans for every dietary need,there are plans for the freezer, babies and even your dogs!! You canwhittle down your waistline, your timeline and your bottom line with amenu plan! Here is the link for more info:http://www.savingdi nner.com/ about/about_ products. htmlHere is the link to the rubber chicken recipe: http://www.savingdi nner.com/ archives/ recipes/rubber_ chicken.html