Now we’re all aware that I am no cook. I don’t even play one on television (although I do play the television wife of many, many antiheroes), so I won’t pretend that I’m any expert on grocery budgets. But I am learning about taking care of my grocery budget so I don’t wind up (as I’ve done this month) with no cash leftover to pay for groceries. It’s a process, not an event. This is what I’m learning about getting more from your groceries.
1) Getting More From Your Groceries: Google It – I’m a huge fan of Google. It allows me to self-diagnose things like testicular cancer as well as scoring some rad coupons, which make me happy in the pants. But if you’re sitting there at 8PM, trying to figure out what the nuts to do with an item or two from your pantry, plug it into Google with the word “recipe” after it and see what comes up. You’ll figure out something to do with those random lemons sitting in your (read: my) fridge.
2) Getting More From Your Groceries: Beat Freezer Burn. I don’t know HOW many packs of meat I’ve gone through over the years, shoving it in the freezer when I realized I had to cook or freeze the stuff. Problem is, every time I managed to pull it out again, it was so covered in freezer burn that no one in their right mind will ever eat it. The solution? Buy smaller quantities and only buy what you will eat that week. If you go in bulk for something like meat, carefully divide it up into single servings and freeze those, planning to use them in the following weeks.
3) Getting More From Your Groceries: Carefully Buy In Bulk. While it sounds like a great idea (sorta like the time I made coffee with Redbull – not such a great idea, by the by) at the time, a deal is a deal ONLY if you’re going to use it. So don’t overbuy stuff unless you and your family truly will eat it – not because it’s on a super-sale that you simply cannot pass up.
4) Getting More From Your Groceries: Get Creative. Most of us have animals of some type – I have a cat, no dogs – and some of the stuff that we end up tossing out because there’s not enough to save or it wasn’t particularly tasty can be fed to our animals. Or, for example, my parents dogs, who are always pleased to see me coming with a bag of food for them.
5) Getting More From Your Groceries: Plan Meals Out. I’m actually not a half-bad planner, but as previously stated, I suck at cooking. I wish I were joking. But planning out meals is one easy way to make sure that you buy only the food you’re going to be eating for the week while avoiding the temptation to just “order a pizza” or impulse shopping.
6) Getting More From Your Groceries: Shop The Sales. Most of the major grocery chains offer online circulars to avoid cutting down trees – and to reach people like me, who don’t get newspapers delivered – which means that if you can combine your meal plans WHILE seeing what’s on sale, throwing in a coupon here or there, you can totally cut down the cost of groceries.
7) Getting More From Your Groceries: Ignore Convenience Foods. While it’s great to look at those bags of pasta and sauce in the store, they’re not usually a whole lot better than the stuff you could make for yourself. And they’re more expensive per serving than anything you’d make. Like spaghetti and meat sauce? Google it and you’ll find a recipe that works for you.
(would really like a vacation right about now, Pranksters)
(Hey, a girl can dream)
Since this IS a deals site, here’s a deal!