Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Meat the Savings

One of the most expensive items that you will purchase for your family is that of the protein variety. However, here is a sure fire way to save on the most needed staple!

1. Check the front and back pages of most supermarket circulars, that is where most chain stores advertise their weekly meat savings. Do you use a lot of chicken breast and they happen to be a steal? Buy them and freeze the extra, just make sure to mark the date on the package so you know when they need to be used by. You aren't going to save much if you waste much!
2. Always talk with the butcher or meat-case manager, they may be able to make deals on bulk purchases that are not on sale. It is also wise to check the fresh meat counter vs what is already pre-packaged, you may find a better deal at the counter! You may also get alerted to upcoming sales from the sales staff...if they know you and what you typically buy, they'll be more eager to tell.
3. Look for package deals! Many stores are selling meat packs for $20 or less that include: chicken, ground round or chuck, bacon or sausage and some type of roast. Even if you don't see any in the display case, ask! The last time we purchased one, we ended up saving well over $5.
4, Stretch! Use less meat and add more veggies and grains to keep you full. Make fajitas, stir fry, pasta toss, etc. Just use your imagination!
5. Remember that meat is not the only source of protein. Nuts and beans can certainly make great additions to salads and soups to give you your needed protein and a meal without meat. For a family of four, take a head of lettuce and core and chop into 4 large wedges. Cut one granny smith apple into julienned strips and divide. Add 1 oz of pecan and drizzle with your favorite dressing. Oh so good and makes your tummy happy.

Hope that these tips help. Happy Meating :)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Gourmet Girl...on a Budget!

My big plans for 2010 include more inventive cooking, organizing and getting back to my scrap booking. While I am getting back into the swing of things, I want to be more resourceful and budget-friendly! Being married to a resourceful man that also moonlights as an awesome cook, I think that I am in luck :) I've been working on recipes that utilize fresh ingredients as well as items that I can buy/cook in bulk to use later on down the road. I think that this is also a great time to start sharing meal times with our families. It usually only costs pennies more to include one of our families in our meal, so why not? So, I have decided to talk about my journey and include gourmet budget and time saving tips! Today, I have decided to talk about my grocery store tips that will save you time and money!


1. Keep a layout or an aisle listing of your favorite or most frequented stores. This will help you write a grocery list in the order of how you travel the store. In some cases, larger stores will have maps on their website or at the customer service desk, so go ahead and check it out. If not, make a list of your own the next time you visit. It may help you from running back and forth!

2. We all need the staples from the inner aisles of the store, but fresh produce, meat and dairy are almost always around the perimeter. Try only going down the aisles that house products that you absolutely need and you are bound to save a few dollars.

3. Check the circulars for your area and see if your favorite store does a price match on items that you use frequently. It is also best to do a quick check of their price match policy. Some stores only offer price match on items that say the actual price, not buy one get one or 2 for a certain price. Some also require that you have the circular or sale bill in hand, so make sure to take it. I place post-its for each item on the front of the ad and hand them the little note. If they need the ad, I have it, but they don't have to flip around that big circular! Trust me, the cashier will be happy if you are organized.

4. Coupons and store savings clubs are also great ways to save. Most stores are now accepting online coupons, but it is best to check their policy. I check a variety of websites, such as those of my favorite stores, redplum and other coupon sites. The Sunday paper offers coupons, but most of them are becoming few and far between. Some in store savings clubs also print coupons at the register for items that you normally purchase, which can be very helpful for future trips. Get a coupon at one store but want to use it at another? Ask the store if it can be counted as a price match. If they are eager to get your business, they will more than likely oblige. If you are swapping coupons, make sure you belong to a legitimate group or know those that you are trading with...many people print out coupons or copy them and try to sell them on auction sites at a decent price. With a bit of work, you can save on your own, with no up front costs.

Just keep a few tips in mind and you are sure to save. Keep track of your grocery expenses and see how they shrink! Happy shopping!