Thursday, March 2, 2017

Thursday, saving money on groceries

    I was really busy in the shop yesterday.  I hope this continues.  It has been so slow lately to the point that it is scary.  I know the weather had a great deal to do with this. I felt much better today but I took off at a fast clip across a large parking lot and almost went down from weakness.  So obviously I am still not up to snuff.  Mom's birthday is tomorrow so we are taking her out to dinner tonight.  On Friday which is her birthday and also our grandson Will's 1st birthday, we will drive to Spokane to celebrate with daughter and family.  Then Saturday morning we girls, will take off for the 6 hour drive to Seattle to surprise a cousin on her 60th birthday.  Hubs will drive home as he has to work at the school.  We had bean casserole for dinner along with salad and French bread.  The bread was free from Albertsons on their Monopoly game.

     There will be many pick ups today and I have bills to pay before I leave town.  Yuck.

     Don't forget to put in for the apron give away, (see previous post for details) 😀😀😄

 Long post:
   One of the easiest ways to control your flexible spending is through your grocery budget.  I have found over the years that one of the only ways I could reduce my outgo was my grocery budget. Sometimes our debt load would be higher than our income.  This happened  for many years.  There was virtually nothing left for groceries.  Of course we had to eat so I played the game of robbing Peter to pay Paul to squeak out a small amount of money.  I have learned to cook from scratch and keep a well stocked pantry of loss leaders and basic supplies to feed my family.

  When one does not know how to grocery shop for meals to cook you really can waste money.  I think to start out this process if you have no idea how to budget for groceries, you need to have a list of menus or meals your family will eat.

Breakfasts can be pretty basic.
cereals, oatmeal, eggs, toast, pancakes, waffles, muffins.  You can add protein with eggs, meats, peanut butter.  My kids ate a lot of
1.Whole grain toast with butter/jam, or peanut butter.
2.cold cereal purchased on sale.
3. oatmeal ( they loved this and so do I.)
4. waffles ( I would make a triple batch and freeze the extras on a cookie sheet and then bagged them.)
5. Home made muffins ( make a double batch and freeze)
6. pancakes ( I don't like reheated frozen chicken killers, I mean pancakes)
7. home made egg Mc muffins  butter and grill split English muffins, cook eggs in a round cutter, melt cheese on the muffin while it is grilling and slap together.  You can also add Canadian bacon or a sausage Pattie if you can find a good buy.
8.  breakfast burritos were made up and frozen to be heated in the microwave.
9. fruit

1. leftovers from dinner the night before. Learn how to bulk cook.
2. sandwiches
3. soups
4.salads, with boiled eggs and sliced cheese and lunch meat
5. nacho chips with cheese
6.cheese and crackers
7. cut up veggies
8. fruit

Dinners  Pick out 30 different meals your family likes and see that you have the ability in a pantry to cook these.
1. spaghetti                                           8. Taco Salad                               15. Hamburgers  
2. lasagna                                             9. BLT sandwiches                       16. Pasta with white sauce

3. stuffed shells                                     10. Club Sandwiches                    17. corn chowder
4. ground beef casserole                       11. Chicken and rice casserole      18. split pea soup
5. tacos                                                12. Bratwurst                                19. bean soup

6. chicken enchiladas                            13. pork chops/potatoes or rice     20. Casseroles with rice
7.beef enchiladas                                  14. homemade chicken strips         21. chili

22.stir fry                      Sides will include, potatoes, rice, noodles,veggies, salads, bread or rolls
23.chicken baked
24. meat loaf
25. meat balls
26.pork roast
27. potato soup
28. corn chowder
29. beef roast
30. Sheppard pie

I could make any of these right now without going to a store.  You will notice that there is no category for hot dogs or macaroni and cheese.

These are basic recipes.  By purchasing items to cook these meals when they are at marked down prices and using coupons you can eat well.

For instance, Pasta sauce can make 4 of the meals in this list.  Make up a large batch of Pasta sauce and freeze. You can buy pasta sauce on really good sales and add tomato sauce and spices to thin it our.  I keep canned sauce on hand for emergencies but prefer to make my own.

Pasta and rice can be purchased in bulk and on good sales.  I just stoked up on pasta for .69 a box.  Rice can be purchased at the dollar store.

canned veggies are not the best, but certain times of the year can be purchased for 3/$1

Ground beef, can be made into taco meat and frozen,  it can also be cooked with onions, for casseroles, enchiladas, chili.  Or make up a batch of meat loaves and freeze.  I have a meat ball recipe that makes 12 dozen meat balls. Learn to shop meat sales and check the mark down bins for 50% off meat.  I do this all the time.

Chicken breasts bought on sale can be pounded, sliced dredged in bread crumbs and fried,  Legs and thighs can often be bought for very little per lb.  A roast chicken can be served and the leftovers or carcass boiled down for soup. Whole chickens purchased on sale can be boiled down and shredded, for chicken salad, stir fries, and casseroles.

Beef roast, when purchased on sale or mark down make sure you sear it well to prevent shrinkage and then use left overs for french dip sandwiches, shredded for stir fry, or chopped for a vegetable soup or stew.

Pork chops, or pork roast,  I purchased a family pack of chops tonight marked down to .49 per pound that will make 3 meals for us.  Pork is cheap.  It can be shredded for stir fry.

Ham,  if you can get a good buy on one can feed a family for about 10 meals.  Cook, eat, slice, make scallop potatoes, bean or pea soups, ham and cheese sandwiches, breakfasts, sandwiches, fried rice.  Freeze in bagged portions.

Beans, the cheapest place to buy beans if not on sale is the dollar store.  .99 a bag, add an onion chopped, a carrot diced per person, a celery stock per person, home made or canned broth.  If you don't have any ham for flavor add bacon, or a ham bone purchased from the butcher.

Learn to make, corn bread, biscuits,and rolls.  Practice even your failures are edible.

Carrots, onions,potatoes, celery, garlic should be your main sources for cooking soups and stocks.  These are cheap but I still watch for sales.  One store has onions 4/1 and I stocked up.

Start a pantry.  Start small.  If you see tomato sauce on a good sale buy 4 extra cans.  Any time you have a little extra add to your pantry. A couple of cans, here and there, a cake mix or two, ketchup, mustard, mixes when they are 4/1.  Every store has mark down bins always check them.

Most communities have a mark down bread store,  use it.

Don't be afraid to glean food when you can.  Offer to pick fruit in season from trees you see that are not being picked.  Swallow your pride and knock on the door.  Most people are happy to get rid of the mess.

These are just some of the the things I have done to save money and eat well.

My meals were basic and filling.  No one complained.

 Learn to bake.  Cakes mixes are cheap.  They go on sale all the time.  Frosting is a couple of table spoons of butter or margarine, a little milk, and powder sugar.  Stock up on sugars at Christmas when there are sales.  If you want chocolate add coco powder,  Lemon add lemon juice and extract, strawberry crush berries in season, and squeeze out juices, add food color.   You can put together a cake in 10 minutes.  A bunt cake is nothing to make, does not have to be frosted and can be sliced with a glass of milk for an after school snack.

Make cookies and bars in bulk.   Freeze.  I just picked up 4 large packages of  M& M's, buy one get one free.  These will be saved for cookies. Sour cream makes great cookies, a gallon of molasses is a few dollars, learn to use it. Chocolate chips go on sale at Christmas, stock up and freeze. (Then stay out of them)
I made cookies at least once a week.  The neighbor kids loved me.

If times get really tough don't be afraid to hit up the food bank especially if you have children.  I always had the church to fall back on but would have accepted food from a bank.

These are just ideas that worked for me.  I still live by them.  Now I can and do cook more exotic meals but these ideas are tried and true.

Do you have any other things that you do to save money on groceries?

Have a great and productive day!



  1. Great advice Kim! I had $83 left in my food budget in Feb. I was so happy about that. I often remind my daughter to call me if she's not coming home for dinner so I don't waste food - I'll eat leftovers or an omelet or a grilled cheese if she's not coming home. SAVES me $$$!

    1. I know I will eat cold cereal if hub's is gone.

  2. Kim, wonderful list . thank you for sharing..
    I have the same type of pantry supplies.. But there was a time, I had no idea how to do it.. And things were very lean.. I wish some one would have taught me this.
    Happy birthday to your mom and grandbaby.. Hope you and family have a wonderful and safe trip..

    1. Thank you. I knew how to cook but I had to learn not to use convenience foods. I would want a pie, but to buy one was out of the question. I could make a crust for pennies and pick the apples free, or the peaches or the blackberries. It was years of learning.

  3. It's obvious that you know your way around a kitchen and pantry! Good list.

  4. This is a great informative post. You should send this out to every person 30 and under!

    1. I know this needs to be taught in life skills, drives me crazy to see how kids cook or don't cook.

  5. You mean to say that people should actually (gasp) know/learn how to cook? Amazing just how many meals can be easily prepared by putting forth a little effort! Excellent post and list!

    1. Yeah I know, how about cheeseburgers out of a cellophane wrapper that are then put in boxes and sold to be microwaved. I mean YUCK!

  6. My friend's grandmother called her and proudly told my friend that she had cooked from scratch for the first time. My friend was overjoyed and pleased her gdaughter was so proud of herself, so she asked the g-daughter what she made..."I bought a pizza at the store and put pepperoni on it."

    1. This is the generation feeding our children. But a cute story.

  7. I have a half gallon of milk that has soured, so I will put chocolate in it and drink it. Or, I could use for cooking or freeze it by the cup to cook with later.