More ways to cut your grocery budget.

A friend of mine comment to me about my blog yesterday.  She said replace store bought bread for home made.  We purchase 3 loaves every 2 weeks at $1.75 a loaf.  That is $5.25 every 2 two weeks and $136.50 each year! She figures her cost at .35 cents a loaf.  That would be $1.05 every 2 weeks.  A savings of $4.20!  You would spend $27.30 a year on bread and save $109.20! We buy cheap bread, just think what the savings would be if you bought the more expensive types.  

In my post about baking bread I said that this is a great option instead of buying bread with duck feathers and/or human hair in it to make it a certain consistency. I didn’t realize how much cheaper it is than store bought.  I also recognize that not everyone has the time to bake their own bread, but a good bread machine would help you start.  You can also set aside one day a month or week and bake bread. Freeze the extra and you should be okay.  

There are many ways to calm your grocery bill.  One is a garden.  Our veggies are getting burned out by the heat and the poor soil so we will need to wait until August to start our next garden.  But the tomatoes are still coming and they have saved me at least $30 since the harvest has started.  We go through a lot of tomatoes!

Take an inventory of what you buy weekly. Look at your list and see if there are things you can cut or find alternatives to. Frozen waffles are a great example.  Double or triple a batch on Saturday or Sunday morning and freeze them individually.  The kids won’t mind and you can put them in the toaster, toaster oven or the microwave.  Pancakes can be done the same way.

Chocolate syrup can be made at home and is fairly easy.  It does not have the shelf life of store bought, but I am going to make some and see if I can freeze it.  The stuff I make tastes a lot like Hershey’s.  My 2 very picky Granddaughter’s keep asking for it for chocolate milk.

Brown sugar is something you don’t have to purchase.  I mix 1 tablespoon of molasses with 1 cup of white sugar in my food processor.  Scrape the sides once, and empty into a bowl.  If there is any clumps of molasses then take a fork and mix in. This makes a light brown sugar.  2 tablespoons of molasses added to 1 cup of white sugar is the dark brown sugar. Mine has lasted since Christmas.  You can make a huge bunch up and just take from it as needed. Just store it in an air tight container.  If it gets dry add a slice of bread and it will be as good as new.

Years ago I made it a priority to purchase the majority of my groceries from the walls of the grocery department.  I rarely go down any isle other than the baking isle.  If you look inside my pantry you will see very little processed foods. One thing I do have is lots of pasta.  So the new thing I want is a pasta maker.  Until then I search the sales.  We went to the Dollar Tree and found 1 pound bags of egg noodles for $1.  I can’t even find a 1 pound bag.  The majority that I find are 12 ounces for $.99.  That is $.08 an ounce.  The one pound is only $.06 and ounce.  Not a lot of difference, but when you are pinching pennies it helps.  Besides when I use a 1 pound bag, I have extra left over to put in soups or even combine with other left over uncooked noodles and make an extra bag for cooking.

Make your own spice blends!  I have been for the past year and I love it.  Just keep the main spices on hand and you are ready to go.  Right now I have Pumpkin pie spice, herbes de provence, and Italian seasoning on hand.  I even have an Emril’s seasoning made up for my cajun dishes.  I don’t even look at the mixes in the store..  I prefer my spices to have no salt so this makes it easy to control.  Mixing them yourself lets you buy the spices individually at a better price and lets you have some fresher seasoning.  Mine are a little stronger than the blends at the store because they haven’t been setting on a shelf for however long.

Watch the ads, but like couponing it doesn’t really help me.  The stuff usually on sale I already get cheaper somewhere else or I don’t really buy.  Of course meat and produce prices can be a guide.  For example what I do is write chicken breast on my list and next to it the initial of the store that has it on sale at and the sale price.  Then as I walk and shop I compare the price of what I am looking at to what they have it on sale at. If the price is basically the same and it means I don’t have to make another stop, I just buy it where ever I am.  If the price is more than I go to the store with the sale.

If you buy a lot of something look around for sales, ways to make it, places to get it cheaper, and try the generics.  Some stuff is just as good or not as the brand names.  If you have picky kids who think that Lucky Charms and only Lucky Charms will do, try the generic.  Empty the box into a clear cereal storage container and throw the box away.  No one will know the difference.  Except you of course.  

Speaking of generics, basics can nearly always be bought as generics.  Flour sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and so many other things work great as generics.  I have found that things like Cream of Mushroom soup and things that have a distinctive taste don’t do so well as a generic.

It is all a matter of creative living!  Just try and you will see!


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