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How to save $2,997 a year on food without even noticing

By Jessie Price, September 23, 2010 - 1:05pm

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Jessie asks: What are your most innovative ways to save money on food?


My family has started eating oatmeal for breakfast instead of cold cereals. For about $2 you can get a huge canister of instant oatmeal. I just toss in raisins, a bit of sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg for my daughter or half of a mashed banana with a bit of vanilla and walnuts for myself. Not only is it way cheaper than the Kashi cereal I used to buy, but it is just as healthy (if not healthier). Plus it sticks with you longer so you end up eating less throughout the day (which in turn saves more $$).


09/29/2010 - 4:18pm

On a whiteboard in the kitchen, I have three lists: 1)a menu for the week, 2) a list of what's in the big freezer, and 3) a list of the meals that I have prepared and frozen in our small freezer. I always know what's in the house foodwise and so there is no waste of either food or money.


09/28/2010 - 5:44pm

I grow almost all of my vegetables. And some of my fruits (not everybody is into gardening or knows how, but you can go to the local farmers market, buy cheaper & fresher produce saving money). I grow my own organic as I am concerned with the amounts of chemicals put in foods as well. We buy meat in bulk to save money. We also buy sugar, flour and such in bulk to save money. We save our money and go 4 times a year to Sam's club and buy a lot of the foods in bulk, by the case, etc. I have made large meals for only $10.00 a meal (including drinks) for a family of 4 (with 2 of them being boys). That is with working full time. You just have to plan your meals out over the weekend and make some of them then. Takes up a lot of weekend time, but if you don't have any money you aren't doing that much going out on the weekend. And if you have to choose between paying a doctors bill and eating you get creative. Now I have retired & I grow most of the foods we eat. Do to living in the north (I used to live in the south), I have to grow in only 1 season what I used to grow in 3. But there is a little bit better growing conditions here so I like it better. Right now we have a stash of potatoes, onions, winter squash, etc. We eat so many onions that it won't be enough, but the rest will last the winter. Our great grand parents used to do this & made it last all year. But people today don't want to put the effort into doing this kind of stuff any more.


09/27/2010 - 10:45am

When I make broth from chicken, turkey, etc., I freeze it in ice cube trays, then transfer
into freezer bags by flavor. This way you can make small or large soups or use a bit
of broth in recipes like rice or potatoes.


09/27/2010 - 10:20am

Was just reading a book about labor unions being busted down, and they were discussing ways to make government cheese edible.
How many ways to use Velvetta style cheese health wise.

With 1 in 7 US families below the poverty line, it would make an interesting article, and help draw attention to the many people on assistance.


09/26/2010 - 5:53pm

My best way to save $$$ on food for my family of 4? PLAN AHEAD. Don't wait until a half hour before mealtime to try to figure out what's for dinner! I buy meats in bulk on sale, then prepare and separate into freezer bags and store them for later use. For example - I buy a 5 lb pack of hamburger and brown it. Then, I put 2 cups into each freezer bag, label them and freeze (2 cups is about 1 lb before browning). I use them in dishes like chili, spaghetti sauce and casseroles that can be made in an hour or less when mealtime rolls around. Likewise with chicken breasts - I cut them into pieces that will be used for stir-fries or grilling when I'm short on time. Throw some crusty bread on the table and a salad or veggie and you're all set without having to hit the drive-thru again!!

Another favorite is Scrap Soup. I save leftovers in a freezer bag kept in the freezer. I put in spaghetti sauce, veggies and cut up bits of leftover meat and add to it until it's full. Then put it into a pot with a can of beef or chicken stock and add some onion and carrot. Simmer for at least a half hour, add some herbs/seasonings. Make up a pot of rice to serve it over. Voila - a meal plus leftovers for work the next day made from stuff you would have had to throw away if it had sat in the fridge for a week.


09/24/2010 - 10:04am

We rediscovered cooking with a Swiss Raclette/Grill. When we cook on it, there is lot of flavor in the food, which in turn, you will eat less!


09/23/2010 - 11:56pm

I shop for meat early in the morning and get the 25% off packages of steaks, chops, pork loin and ground sirloin. When I get them home I divide them into smaller portions and freeze them. I haven't paid full price for meat in years! I also planted greenbeans by my deck lattice and herbs, sweet potatoes, squash and chard in pots on my patio. I love taking a bowl out and picking my daily servings of fresh vegetables! I also learned to can some of my produce and I freeze some for winter.


09/23/2010 - 4:00pm

I try to use everything up. I save my vegetable scraps to make my own stoke. Freezing bread heels and stale bred to make brad crumbs. Try to find recipes to use up that whole head of broccoli etc......


09/23/2010 - 2:56pm

Why buy boneless skinless chicken breast at all? One whole fryer is cheaper and you have all that leftover meat to make soup, chicken and dumplings, chicken salad.........


09/23/2010 - 2:39pm

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