Plan your meals – and “Cook Once, Eat Twice”:
Combine the meat/dairy/produce that is on sale this week with what you have at home. Buy extra of the weekly specials to last you at least another week’s meal. Cook large portions of meat, planning to either use later in the week or freeze for a simpler meal later. Avoid waste by freezing small remnants of meat or vegetables to add to soups, stews, and casseroles.
Compare the Prices of Fresh and Frozen Vegetables:
We use a lot of bell peppers. For convenience and cost-savings, I buy bags of sliced frozen peppers (with coupons). These can be easily added to stir-fry – and it saves me what usually becomes a more costly “quick” trip to the store for fresh peppers. Frozen vegetables, especially generic, will usually cost less per pound than fresh vegetables. Storage-life is longer with frozen vegetables as well.
Buy “Ripe” and “Local” Produce:
Look for produce markdowns. Bananas are a commonly reduced produce item. Freeze “brown” bananas for breads and smoothies. LocalHarvest.org can point you to farmers and markets in area for farm-fresh produce. Buy “In-Season”, freezing or canning when possible to enjoy later.
Find Healthy, Affordable Alternatives:
Legumes are a healthy, frugal replacement for meat in your meals. Make the change to a meatless meal slowly by stretching your meat servings with beans. Apples are in abundance for us, so we make lots of applesauce, which is a heart-healthy substitution for oil when baking cookies and bread. The Mayo Clinic has a useful list of frugal and healthy choices to consider for common cooking ingredients. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/healthy-recipes/NU00585
Coupons for Organic Foods:
Mambo Sprouts.com publishes natural and organic product coupons. Five times a year, they distribute coupon books in-stores and e-newsletters which contain coupons. They are also a great source for recipes and healthy living information. Join the mailing list of natural/organic retailers and manufacturers. OrganicDeals.com is a great source for saving money on a variety of stores and products. You can read lists of “coupons matched to sales” alerts and learn more about how to implement healthier choices into your “on-the-go” life.
Invest in “Convenience Cookware” and Storage Containers:
Quality rice Cookers, slow cookers, indoor grills, easy-clean cookware, sturdy leftover containers, insulated lunch boxes and beverage cups, food storage systems, etc. will encourage you to make and enjoy homemade meals. Use coupons, seasonal/holiday sales, and other opportunities to buy the best, for less. Online, you can save with discounts from ebates.com, RetailMeNot.com, Entertainment.com, and “GDA’s” (Good Deal Alerts) from your favorite money-saving website.