Thursday, September 10, 2009

Virtual Classrom: Grocery Shopping 105

part 5 in a series. Grocery Shopping 101, Grocery Shopping 102, Grocery Shopping 103, Grocery Shopping 104. Phew, are you sick of these yet?

Ok, Today in our very last installment of Grocery Shopping (Dani style) we will be talking about our last two steps in our campaign to save money at the grocery store
  • (stockpile)
  • plan meals according to what's on sale
I decided to write about these two together because it is very difficult to build a delicious, nutritious, satisfying meal strictly around the sale items of the week, you've really got to have a few things in the pantry and freezer to make it work--to squeeze every penny you can out of your grocery budget.

So I bet you're wondering "why the parenthesis around stockpile?" It is because it is kinda sorta optional. I know, I just got through telling you that the stockpiling and meal planning work so well together and are the best way to wage war on your grocery budget and while this is all true many many people choose not to do it. Perhaps you don't have a pantry or an extra freezer. Perhaps you don't like to have so much extra stuff around, maybe you're just lazy (oops, sorry, that was kinda rude of me but maybe it's true.) The truth of the matter is that you can save a lot of money at the store using the other three steps (1. know your prices 2. combine sale prices with coupons 4. plan meals according to what's on sale) without stockpiling. But let me tell you stockpiling is the power punch that will knock your budget down to the ground!!

Stockpiling in a nutshell is this: when stuff goes on sale, especially when it is super low, or heaven be thanked--free, you get as much as you can afford/fit in your car. When you bring it home you make sure that you store it properly in the pantry, basement, garage, freezer, mom's freezer, under the beds, in the garden shed . . .wherever you can find. Then for the next 1-3 months or more whenever you need that product you have plenty of it at your disposal. It's like shopping at your own house! When I need tomatoes I look in the kitchen pantry. When I need meat I look in the freezer. When I need noodles I look on the top shelf of the front hall closet. When I need juice I look under the girls bed. When I need onions I pull them out of the garage. When I need . . .well you get the idea. I've got what I need when I need it because I bought it already and it was on sale.

This brings us to the very last step: planning your meals around sale items. When you are planning your meals make use of the stuff you've got. Make sure that your perishables like fruits and veggies don't go to waste (would you throw quarters in the garbage can?). Use up the sale priced meats and cheeses. Sour cream is on sale? Make creamy enchiladas or Greek Chicken for dinner. Potatoes are an irresistibly low price? Make potato boats and potato salad and homemade french fries.

Basically you've gotta use it or lose it and must I say it again? Would you throw quarters in the garbage? No. But the average American throws away nearly $600 worth of food a year due to spoilage. $600 bucks because they forgot about it! Plan to use your food and your leftovers.

LEFTOVERS! I hate leftovers. I call them "Planned-overs", a little more appetizing. Planned-overs are of course a whole new class. And that I will save for another day.

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If you liked this post you may also like Meal Math

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