Dinner Diva | Frugal grocery tips
When you hear the government is buying “toxic assets” from banks, it really makes you wonder what’s next? To me, the words toxic and assets don’t belong in the same sentence together—how does an asset become toxic or the other way, how do you assign toxic to an asset? I don’t get it and honestly, I don’t want to. Between economic stimulation packages, bailouts and big fat bonuses, I just want to scream, “Enough already!”
Our own home economies may be taking a hit and you know what my answer to that is! Take it out on your grocery budget! This is the ONE place that you can hit hard and make a huge difference. Here’s another list of 6 things you can do now to make a difference on this week’s food budget:
1. Shop EARLY. How early? Well, get there about an hour after the store is open and before the crowds get there. Why? This is when you get your choice of markdowns. I bought a package of 4 plump chicken thighs on sale for about $1 a package—they had a $2 off sticker. I bought all 6 packages and am using them in place of boneless skinless chicken breasts till they’re gone. Marked down produce is equally abundant early in the morning. It’s worth going early!
Make your own spaghetti sauce off of marked down tomatoes or BOGO canned tomatoes. Make your own everything—it doesn’t take much and it will save you significantly. It’s not hard to make chicken broth out of the roasted leftover chicken you had Sunday night and that will give you another meal in the form of soup!
2. Make your own baby food. Check out the savings on this one: 1 bag of carrots is about .89 at my grocery store. A jar of strained carrots is about the same price. You can get about 12 servings out of that bag of carrots! Do the math—huge savings! And we have a baby food menu to help you do this on savingdinner.com!
3. Start a garden. It’s not too late to get it started! It doesn’t take much—find a spot in your backyard somewhere or in containers on the patio or windowsill even. There are books about every type of gardening imaginable at the library for free! You don’t need a gigantic field!
4. Try the dollar store. You know those stores where everything costs $1? Lots of stuff you won’t want, but I’ve seen spices there for next to nothing (2 for $1) and dairy and what-have-you just marked WAY down. Watch it though—some stuff is actually more than the regular grocery store—especially the canned stuff.
5. Really strapped? Have you checked out Angel Food Ministries? Unbelievable deal on a basket of food each week–$65 worth of food for $30. No choices, but your family will be well fed, check it out, www.angelfoodministries.com.
That’s all I’ve got for now, but listen…you cannot eat cheap if you don’t have a plan. And even if you do have a plan, you need to be flexible too! See my point #1 about chicken to see what I mean.
Have fun shopping this week!
For more help putting dinner on your table, check out Leanne’s website, www.SavingDinner.com, or her Saving Dinner book series (Ballantine) and her New York Times bestselling book Body Clutter (Fireside). Copyright 2008 Leanne Ely. Used by permission in this publication.