Thursday, March 6, 2008

Saving Money on groceries

Sherry asked us to comment on some grocery store savings ideas. Here is my comment from her blog. I thought is might be a good one to put on my own blog.
I have a few grocery stretchers.

First, I have a basic menu plan every week.

  • Sunday: Chicken
  • Monday: Tacos ($1.94)
  • Tuesday: Pizza ($1.04)
  • Wednesday: Quesadilla (with or without chicken, depending on the budget)
  • Thursday: Spaghetti FREE (stocked up till eternity)
  • Friday: Chicken
  • Saturday: Leftovers FREE

Exceptional deals always trump the menu. Like the Sara Lee deal which
left me with 15 packs of Hamburger Buns and 72 packages of lunch meat, among
other things (FOR FREE!!!) So we had hot ham and cheese, sloppy joes, and pizza
burgers for several dinners.

Things like tacos and sloppy joes, I add 1/2 cup of oatmeal to 1/2 lb of
ground beef. This is really great to stretch it. It changes the texture a
little, but if I don't say anything, it usually is never even noticed.

I also am always certain to add lots of fillers to our meal, so that dinner
doesn't require so much meat. Bread rolls, salad, rice, mashed potatoes, steamed
veggies are all really great fillers, and are usually pretty cheap. Costco sells
a bag of 36 rolls for like $3.

Another tip more on the side of best nutritional value is Fruit
Leather. I get these at Costco. Each leather is equal to a fruit serving, and
cost 22 cents each. These have no added sugar and are delicious. You can also
get them at Trader Joe's, and I think I have seen them at Albertson's. I can't
match that price on fruit, unless we eat bananas, which get boring after a
while,(and don't store nearly as long) The only drawback is that I wish it had
more fiber like true fruit. But it is better than nothing at all.

Lastly, I often let my little one "make" dinner from stuff that we have
in the pantry. We make a game of it. She has to come up with the best dinner she
can, out of what we have. She loves it, and because she "made" it, I don't hear
complaints about it. I also love that it is a lesson into becoming a "maker at
home" It's a win !

Good luck! I hope this is helpful.

There a few more that I wanted to add. I found out that IHOP uses a
little bit of mixed pancake batter to "fluff up" their scrambled eggs. It
taste exactly the same, and saves on eggs too! 1 egg with batter makes the
same amount as 2 eggs without. I also use this trick when making quiche!.

Also, my favorite cookbooks Dream Dinners and Don't Panic!-Dinners in the Freezer. This method is not OAMC, but rather prep ahead. You put every thing together that you need uncooked in a ziploc, then just pop it in the oven when you are ready. This works perfectly for families like mine. Warehouse stores don't make much sense for a small family, but by using this cooking method, you could split those bulk purchases into dinner packs, and keep in the freezer for up to 3 months.

I have been wanting to start up a prep ahead dinner cooking club too with some of my friends. The idea is that one person make the chicken dinners, one make the beef, one the pasta etc. That way the food can still be bought in bulk, but then would be traded, for variety. It also saves time. Each person would make 2-3 different meals in multiples, trade them, and go home with 12 different dinners.

I really have to get on that.....

I have been eye-balling this book...does anyone have any feedback on it?


Anonymous said...

Hey thanks!

I will definitely be using that oatmeal trick! DH is a big meat eater and I do whatever I can to cut back in this area. How do you prepare it? Do you put the oatmeal directly in with the meat? Cook the meat first?

I have also started doing the bread trick sometimes, but need to do that more. I got a bunch of Pillsbury breads for close to free w/ coupons and sales and have been adding it to his meals.

We are all big eaters in my household, and keeping the groceries down is a huge job! These tips are helpful, thanks!

I don't have Costco close by (it's about an hour's drive) but I do have Sam's Club and a GFS (?) -- I will have to look at the long term and see what would help us most in bulk and then price it out.

Thanks again for your help! It's much appreciated,


Crystal DuBois said...

GFS is good, and no membership needed. Some of their prices are a tad bit more than the clubs, but when I calculate it, the difference usually comes out to the price of the membership. I have found that if you buy off name brand meats, it is almost always less expensive. My 10lb bag of chicken is from a company called Perdue. The pieces are butterflied, so even though the price per pound is on the high side, the portions are more accurate to what we should really consume. And because they are butterflied instead of just cut in half, it gives the illusion that it is a large piece of chicken. (does that make sense)

I would, however reccommend the membership to Sam's if you do any shopping other than photos or gift baskets (warehouses are a great place to get gift in bulk. I buy christmas gift for teachers and coworker there) Clothes, furniture (which are the lowest price in the end of Jan.), and linens.

Anonymous said...

If you have DreamDinners, etc., you don't need SS. I own every book on OAMC and Bulk-cooking, and my current fave is the Everything OAMC Book by Linda Larsen. Also, check out the free recipes on