Tuesday, March 9, 2010
Tell-a-Tip-Tuesday Got Food?
(Don't forget to enter my HUGE blog follower Love Giveaway, it's around here somewhere. New stuff added daily to the box.)
WOW, Have you been to the supermarket lately? Of course you have. Does it seem that although you buy basically the same stuff each week, you are not paying the same total at the cash register each week? Of course you're not.
And frankly, that sucks. Items are not going up a penny here, three cents there. They are going up 20-30 cents between grocery store visits.
What's a regular person who needs to eat and perhaps have to feed a family, to do?
Actually there are a number of things that may help put that food on the table, and they are all pretty easy to do.
Larry and I have an income that fluctuates. Part of it is fixed, as in Social Security Retirement for him. But mine is up and down.
We really try to live on my income and save his. It does not work out that way EVERY month though.
Ahhh Internet income, you are a fickle thing.
So I have to get creative, do homework, dig in the dirt, clip coupons, and cross various body parts.
Here are a few things I do that seem to help our food bill, if you have more ideas please share.
1. Have a garden. Even a few tomato and pepper plants in a large pot on a porch can do wonders for your tummy and your psyche.
If you live in an apartment and do not have anyplace to grow, consider joining a community garden or a CSA. Maybe you have an older person in your neighborhood who has a garden and you could help in trade.
2.Buy local produce that you cannot grow yourself. Those veggies at the market are trucked in. Not very fresh and are probably covered in
stuff you do not want to feed yourself or your kids. Farmers markets are everywhere. And there are also "pick your own" farms for berries
and other items.
3. Join a food co-op. I was a member of one for 20 years. I joined in high school when it started in someones basement and it grew into a
warehouse setting. Members pay shares every month and it is used to buy in bulk. Working members may then get an additional percentage off what they buy for hours worked, while non-working members have a slight markup on what they buy. Work can consist of ordering, unloading boxes, cutting cheese and wrapping, weighing bulk items and packaging....
4. Find a store that doubles coupons and shop the sale flyers. Do not buy a bunch of stuff you do not use just because you have coupons. Leave the coupons you clipped but are not using on top of the items on the shelf for someone else. Thats what I do. It's nice to come across a coupon left by someone else.
5. Shop scratch and dent. Krogers here has a rack in a doorway in the back of the store. Everything is marked down. Some dented cans, some taped boxes. But always worth a look. We get dog food for the no kill shelter we support there.
6. See if there is a place that deals in discontinued and scratch and dent. There are actually small stores that only sell these items.
Here, it is the Amish store. They have shelves and shelves full of discounted coffee, canned items, spices, paper goods. Some from stores that go out of business, discontinued items, some scratch and dented. Larry makes his own soda with carbonated water he gets for a nickel a can there and adds grape juice to for grape soda. I get coffee there for 1.00- 3.00 a can. The BIG cans.
7. Lay off the processed foods and cook more from scratch. Get a breadmaker. From ebay, an auction or craigslist. Maybe at a yard sale.
You can make healthy bread for super cheap. Cook more rice and beans, then dress it up with chopped scallions, shredded cheese and sour cream. Make homemade pizza, throw the dough ingredients in that breadmaker.
8. More grain and veggies, less meat. Or maybe NO meat. Maybe NO meat a couple times a week.
9. Get together with other cooks you know and work out a supper club. Each cook has a specialty and makes enough for each family in the club. Everyone delivers to each other and puts the meals in their freezers. Now you only cook once a week for all the families and on all the other nights you pull something out of the freezer. (well if you have 7 cooks, if you have 4 cooks then you do not have to cook 3 days a week).
10. Cook a big pot of soup, stew or chili and freeze for families on busy schedules. This cuts down on those really expensive lunchmeats.
11. Use a crockpot. This frees up time, and you can use less tender cuts of meat that are less expensive. Plus if you work, there is NOTHING like coming home to dinner already done. Get a crock pot with the inside that you can remove, throw everything in it the night before, stick it in the fridge and in the morning put it in the pot part and turn it on low.
12. Use your library. They have issues of the "Tightwad Gazette" and cookbooks galore. Breadmaker books, crockpot recipe books.
13. Brown bag it. Get the kids a Bento Box for a birthday or Christmas and make it fun.
14. Get your kids involved. Whether its gardening, cooking, planning menus, figuring out the best deals at the grocery store it is an invaluable service to our young folk to help them help themselves.
Visit Coupon Mom to learn even more about smart couponing and to see grocery deals state by state.
Anyone else have any other tips?