Save Money On Groceries – Use the Food You Buy



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Save Money On Groceries – Use the Food You Buy

One of the best and most overlooked ways of saving money on groceries is actually using the food you buy. You might think this is a silly statement for me to make since it’s something that everyone knows. It’s true that most people do know this but only a fraction of those actually do it. Study after study has shown that the average person throws away up to 50% of their food.

Here are just a couple of tips from our Groceries On A Dime e-books. The title is a little deceiving because Groceries On A Dime not only includes lots of tips for saving money at the grocery store, but also shares things like where to get the best buys, how to change your and your family’s mindset, how to plan menus and information about coupons, warehouse shopping and organizing your kitchen and pantry.



 

  • Store your leftovers in clear containers when you can, especially those you want eaten quickly. For some reason, families tend to eat what they see more than what they can’t see. That is why people suggest that, if you want your family to eat more fruit, you should set a bowl of it on the table so they can see it.

    Most husbands and kids are a little lazy when it comes to food. They don’t like to have to forage for it, which is probably why, for centuries, it has been the women who went out to gather. Your family will eat leftover food faster if they don’t have to hunt for it.

  • Keep a plastic basket or container in your refrigerator to store the condiments that you use most often (things like ketchup, mustard and mayonnaise). Then, when you need these condiments, you just slide out the basket and take everything at one time to put on the table or counter. You could do this with pickles, olives, relish, salad dressings or even sandwich fixings– anything you usually use together.
  • Keep a container in your refrigerator in which to place extra condiments you get from fast food places. Then they are always handy to toss in for lunches or picnics.
  • Use square containers instead of round ones in your refrigerator and freezer to save more room. Also, if you use plastic bags, flatten them as much as possible so that they lay in your freezer to give you more space.
  • Store a marker and tape or labels by your freezer to use to mark things as you place them in the freezer. This is also a good place to keep a list of what you have in the freezer and notes about what you need to use.

This is just a small sample of the kind of tips you can find in the Groceries On A Dime e-books. We have tried to cover every question our readers have asked on the subject along with some others that many of you may have not thought about. If you need to figure out more ways to save money on groceries, take a look at Groceries On A Dime.

      -Jill



 

photo by: ed_welker

Comments

  1. says

    Eating what you buy is a HUGE tip! I keep a magnetic hook on the side of my freezer and hang a mini permanent marker on it. The mini sharpies come with a little ring to hang them. I love that it is easy and convenient for labeling things so that I actually do it. Have a good day!

  2. says

    For meats I use a zip lock a zip lock bag and put 2 people servings in each. I add the spices or marinade then pop it in the freezer.
    I can pull a package out in the morning to thaw during the day or toss it in the slow cooker frozen.
    One thing to remember is that the spices get stronger when frozen so use sparingly.
    I have a large chest freezer and getting stuff out when near the bottom is awkward sometimes. Especially hams and chicken or turkeys. I put these in the freezer in the plastic shopping bags so there is a handle to grab hold of.
    Keeping the freezer full saves energy costs but that is not always easy. So if you find you have lots of extra room in the freezer fill jugs with water and keep them on the bottom. You have water on car trips or for the backyard drinks children seem to need it melts as it sits outside and is always cold.
    I have a box for bread so it doesn’t come out looking like an elephant has sat on it.

  3. Bea says

    Jill, I think there are a lot of people that DON’T use the food they buy. Most people have plenty of food already in their cupboards, but go out to buy more anyway. Then they end up throwing food out when it becomes too old. What never fails to amaze me is every winter when I see how the grocery stores get packed with shoppers when the tinist mention of a snow flake is mentioned on the weather part of the news. People flood the stores like they will be snowed in until Jesus comes again, when they already have plenty of food in their homes that could be used during those times. They act like the story in the Little House on the Prairie books of the “Long Winter.” The most time people will be snowed in is usually only a couple of days. Most of us don’t live in the wilderness but the people act like the world is coming to an end when it snows, and there will be no food left. Eat what you already have.

    • Shannon says

      This is especially common in the South. Living in South Carolina, I find it hilarious that my neighbors go out for their bread and milk at the hint of snowfall. Most of the time it never actually snows and, when it DOES snow, it’s never more than an inch or two. It NEVER sticks for more than a few days.

      I guess I can understand the purchase of bread… But MILK? Which has to be refrigerated? (Given that, in the south, snowfall=ice=power outage… at least in my area) I never got that. Oh well.

  4. says

    Bea I just have to laugh at your snow story.
    Now living in Northern Ontario, we don’t even look out the window to see if there are clouds if they say we will have 3″ of snow but watching the news from the states you would think you were preparing for a blizzard when the weather man says snow flurries.
    I guess we are used to it.
    One year not long ago we did have a snow storm that cut off our town and many others along the Trans Canada Hwy. for a week. The town roads were cleared but it took a week to get the Hwy cleared due to continuous snow falling for the week.
    Well when the Hwy opened people headed for the grocery store and were quite upset that the stores had no milk or bread or fresh produce.
    One lady actually shouted at the manager that they should have it since nothing was open for a week and she was out of bread. The store should have planned for this.
    Now she hadn’t planned for it but the store was responsible for the weather I guess. If the trucks don’t make it into town what can the poor man do.
    I had gone to the store just to get out of the house that had my husband and 2 sons in it for a week. I needed the break.
    With what I keep on hand I could feed the family for about 3 weeks. Might be heavy on the bread products and meat and they might be hodgepodge meals but they would be fairly healthy.
    In the winter I keep flour, rice, spaghetti, potatoes cabbage, as staples and they are always there. Meat is in the freezer and it is all sorts. Popcorn is a must have just for the novelty.
    We also keep our camping stuff available in case of power outages. I would not like to be around me if I couldn’t have coffee or something hot to drink when I get up.
    But yes use what you buy. I am bad with fresh produce and I have finally decided to not keep it in the crispers. It just sits there and dies if I can’t see it. The same with meat drawers. I forget it is there and that is a waste of time and money.

    • says

      It is funny how people react and how weather is different in different areas. I remember when we moved from Kansas to Idaho Tawra , Mike and I were cracking up because the first winter we were there they had a “blizzard” with the wind blowing 30 mph. To us in from Kansas that was just our daily breeze.

      I remember the first time I saw snow in Idaho. I have seen snow most of my life but it took me a bit to try and figure out what was so different about their snow – it fell straight down in this lovely light fluff. I am use to seeing the snow always blowing side ways. It was so cool.

    • Birdie says

      Dear Grandma Ontario, you made me smile. I just finished Craig Kielburger’s Free the Children. Check your local library. I wish you could of shared it with the grocery “lady”. So few of us know poverty as these children and adults know. In North America there are still many generous people but overseas you are on your own.

  5. Bea says

    Grandma, See that lady that yelled at the store manager actually survived after being snowed in for a week. And she had the strength to yell. Obviously she didn’t starve and wasn’t weakened. People are so spoiled. She had to eat the food that was already in her house. Poor thing.

  6. says

    Jill SHHHHHH snow is a 4 letter word that we don’t mention in polite company until it happens which is usually late Oct or early Nov and it lasts until April.
    I am just glad I know how to make bread, tea biscuits and scones and pizza dough. It has kept me from either going out in a bad storm or sending one of the males in the family.
    I think that is why so many people stock up with things if they think the weather will be bad. They don’t know how to cook from scratch.
    got a call from my son in china today and he said he made swedish meatballs for dinner. He said well I think that is what they were but they were good anyway and his wife liked them.
    beef is way to expensive there so they use pork as a main meat and he is experimenting with things. I said I could send him a recipe and he said no thanks his Dan meatballs were liked by his wife and even her parents so he didn’t want to push his luck.
    Over there they shop 2 or 3 times a week since the fridges are about the size we find in hotel rooms.

    • says

      You’re in Canada aren’t you Grandma. I always laugh and tell Tawra I can tell when a TV show has been filmed in Canada because it seems like it is always snowing in the show :) so I understand why you say I shouldn’t mention it. HA!HA!

  7. barb~ says

    Hi Grandma and Bea,

    I LOVE hearing your stories and advice!! You both have great wisdom.

    Every so often I will decide to not buy groceries until I have used all that is on hand..in the freezer, pantry and refrigerator. It can be pretty fun and challenging to see how long I can go without buying anything. I will google certain combos of ingredients I may have and I always get many recipe ideas for ways to use them.

    Grandma, question-where do you store potatoes and cabbage in the winter? What about onions, green peppers, etc? Do they keep as long?

    Bea-I lived in Tulsa, OK for 2 yrs. One morning it snowed and the whole city came to a halt. Schools were called off, etc. It snowed less than 1/4 inch, and by 9 am.it had all melted. The kids had a great day off, however! My son scraped up all the snow in the front yard and made one snowball. I took pics and we laugh about it still today!

    Blessings,

    Barb~

  8. says

    Barb since we got married until 12 years ago we always lived in apartments so storing things over the winter was not really in the picture. Then with only 3 of us at home it just wasn’t practical and did not save us much.
    So for me I store them at the store.

    When I was a child my parents would store carrots, beets, potatoes in boxes full of sand. They were kept in the cold basement and we dug them out for meals.
    I only buy vidalia and wala wala onions because they are the sweet ones and by the time they get here they do not last longer than a week or two and that is in the fridge. Wish we could grow sweet onions here but the closest we get is the big spanish onions.
    Cooking onions like my mother used were stored in a dry cool area in the basement away from potatoes. They lasted longer can’t remember why but you don’t store them together.
    back to snow. my mother goes to Florida every Nov and one day I had walked to the mail and was reading a letter from her. She said the ladies at church were wearing minks because it was chilly 70 F as I was reading this I could not see the road because of the snow drifts from clearing the snow during the night.
    We laugh at the way other countries deal with what we call a few flakes because they seem so shocked and terrified of the snow. But we also laugh at the city of Toronto who’s mayor one year called in the army to help get rid of their record snow fall. It is always more fun to laugh when we deal with it so many months of the year.
    The year before my youngest son left to attend university we had snow so we were shoveling almost everyday. He left and my husband bought a snow blower. He used it twice the entire winter as we had hardly any snow. He said it was money well spent since mother nature was laughing at him for spending the money and didn’t let him use it. No snow to speak of but it sure was cold. minus 30 but then we added in the wind chill and nobody wanted to go out.

    • Birdie says

      You don’t store potato and onion together because potatoes let off gas that affects onions. I store potatoes in a plastic bin on the floor and hang bags of onion high on the cold room wall oposite of the potatoes.

  9. Marie says

    I’m trying to save leftovers, and save on grocery bills. I rake all the leftovers in a container in fridge and at the end of the week I am going to try and make a soup out of all of them. Wish me luck I hope its going to be good. If anyone else does this and has had a tasty dish from this let me know.

    Trying to be frugal! ;)

    • says

      Marie, lots of our readers do this all the time. What helps is to separate the the meat, veggies, starches (rice, potatoes etc) then you can do many different things with them besides a soup. You could even turn them into a casserole by mixing them with cream soup, some spices and a little cheese or crushed potato chips, Ritz crackers or something like that sprinkled on top.

      I have not done this myself but our some of our readers have besides making a soup out of regular leftovers they have saved salad leftovers, run them through the food processor and added it to their veggie soup.

      Don’t for get to keep a container in the freezer and as you have let’s say leftover veggies just keep adding to it until you have enough. I do this with hamburger to. I add a couple of tablespoons to a container I keep in the freezer every time I fry some up or have leftovers. Usually at the end of a couple of weeks I have almost a lb. of cooked hamburger ready to use for a meal. I call it my free pound of hamburger.

  10. Bea says

    Barb, Thanks for the nice compliment. Also, snow stories make me laugh. All winter I have to listen to people whine about a few inches of snow. Whenever there is even a hint of snow people start complaining. If they read books like the Little House ones, they would get a reality check. We don’t have to travel the unpaved wilderness in coverered wagons, or go out to hunt for food when it snows. Jill, I like it when snows falls straight down, instead of on a curve, because of wind. It’s more peaceful when there’s no wind and the snow just falls straight. I see that sometimes where I live. It is beautiful.

  11. Bea says

    Marie, There is a Nun that I know in a Convent that can make soup out of just about any kind of leftovers. She saves leftover mashed potatoes, rice, vegetables, pasta, beef, steak, chicken or any meats. Her soups are wonderful. One of the best soups I had, that she made, contained leftover mashed potatoes, pieces of steak, tomato juice, various vegetables, broth and pasta. The mashed potatoes gave body to the soup and made it thicker. It was so good. She grew up on a farm and wasted nothing.

    • says

      Bea that reminded me when you said she used everything in a soup you can use leftover gravy too. It is really good to make a soup creamier or thicker.

  12. says

    how come does thinking about food seem to bring out stories of the weather.
    Christmas at my grandparents farm was full of food and snow and people. 14 adults 20 kids and a 100 acre farm to play in.
    There was a 6′ cedar hedge along one side of the yard and one year the snow was up that high and 20 kids were outside the entire day after breakfast until lunch and then again until supper playing tag on top of the snow and the hedge. Grandma said the snow forts were there until spring. It was the nice packing snow which is the fun stuff. She said she would get up in the morning look out the window and see the 10 snowmen standing out in the cold.
    She used a wood stove for cooking and baking so meals were always on the stove simmering away.
    But with so many to eat I don’t really remember leftovers other than the usual at christmas. All I know is they sure tasted better there than the almost exact same meal at my other grandparents house. They had an electric stove with all the modern day conveniences and it was more formal and not so much fun. Almost the same amount of people though.

  13. lorin says

    My husband goes on a buying frenzy once in a while and buys too much at once and then wants to bring takeout home most evenings. He love to cook and shop and eat out, the trouble is that we have alot of food spoilage. How do I fix this situation without crushing his spirit. He has an Aldi in the town he works in so it is easier for him to stop in.

    • says

      Lorin this is always a hard answer because without knowing your husband you and the whole situation it is hard to come up with a pat answer. First try to talk to your husband. Don’t tell him to stop but ask him what he thinks about the situation and what he thinks would be something you guys could do to use the leftovers or to take care of the waste problem. Maybe suggest to use the savings for a family vacation, new TV or something special or a goal he wouldn’t mind working towards. “Help” him to come up with a plan.

      If that doesn’t work ask him to start cleaning out the fridge with you. Sometimes we think our husbands can see what is an obvious problem to us but they can be blind as a bat and may not even know it is a problem so by helping to clean out the fridge with you you could maybe gently point out the problem.

      If that doesn’t work. Then think about the times he goes shopping. Is it after work when he is starving? Maybe a nice hardy afternoon snack sent to work with him might help him not want to buy up the whole store.

      Last, even though it is easier for him to stop you may have to figure out away for you to go instead of him every couple of weeks. Though I love Aldis and use it,this might be one case where you would save more by you just going to a regular store yourself.

      This isn’t an unusual problem. There are only a few guys who know how to shop proper (no offense guys). They are of the mentality that they want to give all and the best to their families no matter what the cost which is sweet but can be impractical and expensive.

      I don’t know if these couple of examples will help but maybe they will give you some ideas.

  14. Rachel says

    Lorin, since your husband is bringing home all that food, then you are not eating it before it goes bad, why don’t you go through it once or twice a month and take some things to a food pantry. There are so many people who are desperate for food right now, it would really be a big help to many. Living in hurricane country myself, I always see on the news people scrambling for supplies. Then if the storm is expected to be really bad, we are told to evacuate anyway. I guess you can take all the water, tuna fish, beenie weenies and batteries with you. The only time I evacuated and did not have something we needed was when my then 2 year old was whining for apple juice in the car and I had not brought any.

  15. lorin says

    Thanks for the help! I usually clean out the fridge myself the night before trash day and I don’t think he has a clue about how much is thrown out. My teenage son takes the trash to the curb so my husband never knows how heavy the bag is! What an eye-opener this will be. Lol. Thanks again and love this site.

  16. lorin says

    I was rereading my post and thought we donate our clothes, books, and recycle as much as we can, why did’nt I donate the extra food as well? Thanks Rachel, I never even thought about it. It takes other peoples ideas to open your eyes. Jill, I had my husband look through the kitchen before he went to the store today. It’s working!

  17. barb~ says

    Grandma,
    I think the cold weather reminds us of when turning on the stove or oven to bake and heat up the kitchen is a really GOOD thing! Most of us have great memories of things happening in the kitchen, too. We all tend to stay indoors more-there is nothing more wonderful than to bake up on a cold morning and smell fresh baked cinnamon rolls,or bacon and, of course, the fresh coffee! Cooking in the winter warms more than just our bodies. It also warms our hearts and souls. There is always laughter and fun in a kitchen with mom or grandma trying to shoo everyone out of the way during the holidays. But, even when I’m alone I enjoy baking and cooking. It’s therapy for me! When I bake cookies I always take small plates to all the neighbors. It’s a small thing, but I feel like I’m doing something positive to brighten the day of another.

    Grandma and Bea-Keep the stories coming! I love them!!

    Jill-when will you tell us about your orange rind candy?

    Blessings to All,

    Barb~

    • says

      Barb, I am not a baker of fancy stuff but I love to cook. With just 2 of here now cooking became a job not a fun time. I think that is why when I started canning it became a fun time again. I can cook up a storm and can the results for making new interesting meals from the pantry shelf.
      The only time the freezer is full now is for about a week after I find sales on meat and produce and toss the meat into the freezer until I get the produce dehydrated or canned and have time to do the meat. I usually can or dehydrate stuff 5 days a week. It is nice to look at the shelves full of different things for meals but the real sense of accomplishment comes when I do dishes after supper or in the morning and think great I have 3 more jars to fill now. Using it really is the sense of having done it right. Even if I do have to wash them by hand.

  18. Lisa says

    A lot of this kind of behavior does center around the weather, doesn’t it? As a child in Miami, Florida we used to have to prepare for hurricanes. Several hit Miami dead-on while I lived there. My mother, who had a keen sense of the absurd, said happily as we went to the store, “Come on, let’s go stock up before the hoarders get there!”.

  19. says

    I’ve been doing some these as well.. But some, I haven’t tried before. Maybe it’s time that I should right? With everything so expensive right now, we want to save as much as we can, right? especially with groceries, gas and clothing.

  20. Shannon says

    The most important thing I’ve learned about saving money on groceries is acknowledging whether or not I am likely to eat a certain food. I’m 24, working full time, in school and very busy.

    I’ve learned that I will not be making a homemade lasagna anytime soon. Once upon a time, I would tell myself I’ll buy these ingredients to make such and such dish and I can then use that for 3-4 meals… Only, with my schedule, it never happened. The food got wasted.

    So, I have come to terms with the fact that cooking much beyond scrambled eggs is more than I’m willing to do. Now I keep my fridge stocked with individual serving fruit cups, frozen chicken nuggets and tater tots, canned veggies and fresh fruits. Occasionally I’ll spring for salad fixings. I keep yogurt, cereal and popcorn around all the time. Now that I’m in tune with how I eat food, I waste MUCH less food.

    For those of you who may say something about cooking once a week to eat later… I’ve tried talking myself into that. Doesn’t work. Can’t ever seem to find the time. With what little free time I have, cooking always takes a backseat and will continue to do so. It’s just a low priority.

    • says

      Since my kids have left home I find myself doing the same thing Shannon. So I am like you, I have finally excepted the fact I won’t be cooking that much even when I have the best intentions so I keep staples on hand like popcorn, yogurt, a hand full of things in the freezer or easy canned goods.

      I think that is where the problem many singles or empty nesters get in to. They are still trying to cook the same amount and same things as when they had a family at home and it just won’t work quite the same. You have to radically change your way of thinking towards cooking.

  21. Malvina Seward says

    My family used to hunt and camp a lot and at the end of the trip I put all of the left over meats, like ham, smoked sausage, hot dogs, bologna, etc into a pan, add BBQ sauce and onion and even a can of ranch style beans and we had it for our last meal before leaving. The kids began looking forward to “BBQ stuff” and we even had it at home . Another good party idea for kids and adults alike is a “hobo” party. Everyone dresses like a hobo and brings a can of seasoned beans (ranch style, chili) and all of the cans are opened and put into a big pot. Add cut up hot dogs and onion and some garlic, or any other seasoning and cook for about 20-30 minutes. Everyone eats from the can they brought (sizes will vary and make it more fun) and then the cans are re-cycled and NO DISHES for later. Great for Halloween alternative party.

  22. Grandma says

    I hate apple trees.
    Actually I like apple trees except when they produce more apples than is humanly possible to use in a timely fashion.
    I have 4 of those baskets in grocery stores, 3 large cloth shopping bags full of small apples.
    I gave away 3 large bags to neighbours already.
    We still have more on the tree but they are so high we have to wait until tomorrow after the wind storm to pick them off the ground.
    My question is.
    Can I blanch them in slices with the skin on and then freeze them instead of canning them in jars?
    They are a bit bigger than crab apples but not by much.
    If you say I can then I just might not kill my husband for not leaving them on the tree for the birds.

    • says

      I totally agree with you grandma it can be so overwhelming to try and get all of those apples taken care of. I’m not sure which is worse the years I try to kill myself and do something with the good ones or the years I have nothing but bad apples all over the ground rotting and smelling like a brewery.

      Anyway I don’t know if it is proper or not but when I have had more then I could handle I have just tossed them straight into a plastic bag and put them in the freezer. Then when I go to use them I wash them under warm water and the peel usually slides right off. I use these ones for apple butter because they do turn brown but with cinnamon and spices in the apple butter no one knows any difference. I didn’t blanch or anything.

      I have started dehydrating most of my apples now. If I have time I peel and slice tossing the slices in a bowl with a little salt water then on the dehydrator rack. If I am in a hurry or tired I just core, slice and toss in the salt water then on to the rack.

      Maybe someone else have some other ideas for you too.

    • Birdie says

      Dear Grandma, can I cry on your shoulder? I worked six years on raising “Sun Apple” from five twigs and two years ago thumper stripped them down!! Last year they became deceased. I have a very special lady that shares her three trees with us on her empty yard site. She is such a blessing. I wish I could come and help you => You are blessing others as well. Don’t be to discouraged. Whatever falls to the ground becomes fertilizer.

  23. Grandma says

    Thanks Jill. I kind of like having Don around so this makes that possible.
    It is a small apple tree at least the branches are small so no ladder can rest on them. It was windy so as we picked one 3 fell and hit us on the head or landed on the ground.
    They are also such small apples you can’t even peel them.
    I found the freezing recipes and that will be the way to go. If I can find room in the freezer. Long story about a full freezer.
    I decided to try gluten free except I was bullied into it by a friend a day after I bought 6 frozen pizza’s 7 pasta dishes, french bread lots of kyser rolls since everything was on sale. Sort of filled my already full freezer.
    Ever had one of those weeks?
    Thanks for the help and my husbands life. I will get even with him though. I might see if pear trees grow this far north.

    • says

      I finally gave up picking mine. The wind would blow and each day I would just pick them up off of the ground which was easier. I is surprising how much those things can hurt when they hit you on the head. The only thing my apples where so big and there was so many of that that it literally split 2 of the 3 main trunks and we had to cut almost 2/3 of the tree down. I was just sick because for the first time in 5 years I get some beautiful apples and then it almost destroyed the tree. Oh well I did get some really good apples any way.

      And yes I have had one of those weeks- more often then I would like to admit. : ) : ) Good luck on your gluten free diet. Tawra went on it and I think it really helped her a lot.

  24. Grandma says

    This is totally rediculous.
    Just called the food bank and asked if they would like 2 bushels of apples.
    They said they don’t like to take them because they can’t give them to the clients to be used because they don’t know what to do with them.
    What is to know. cut them up add some brown sugar and cinnamon and cook until mushy.
    So they turn down good food because people who want help are lazy.
    Makes me feel like not donating stuff any more.

    • says

      I know what you mean grandma. I still give anyway but it sure can be frustrating. What makes me even more upset is I think of all the times when I had so little to receive apples like that would have been heaven sent. Even if I didn’t know what to do with something I would figure it out real fast.
      Have to laugh too, many shelters won’t except used clothing only new and the thing is I can’t afford new stuff for myself. We live in a topsy turvy world.

      I do understand the reasoning behind where this started (some people would donate really bad stuff to bad to use) but it has now been once again carried to the other extreme.

  25. Grandma says

    A few years ago the food banks and homeless shelter stopped taking hunters donations of parts of moose, deer and bear. They said it was demeaning to clients to have to eat that type of meat.
    How is meat demeaning.
    The MNR has a call list if someone hits a moose. The person doesn’t want it so they call people on their list and the people go out and get the animal to butcher. Lots of people get a great supply of meat this way and the animal wasn’t killed for nothing.
    Fishermen who get caught over their limit the fish are confiscated and used to be given out the same way but the government said it could be contaminated with something.
    Now if I went to the bother to gas up my boat and sit out there fishing I don’t think I am going to contaminate it for my family’s pleasure.
    Who makes these suggestions anyway?
    Fresh fish is one of the best tasting meals anyone could want. and healthy and easy and quick.

  26. Donna B. says

    Hi Jill:
    read an interesting tip in the sunday paper about apples. mix your favorite apple pie recipe and place on saran wrap in your favorite pie plate. put in the freezer til frozen solid, then take saran wrapped pie and put in a zip lock.

    then you have your pie all ready for whenever you want, and you just make the crust when needed. thaw your pie before putting back in the pie plate.

    I kind of liked this one. might take a little work out of thanksgiving prep!

    hope all is well with you and Tawra and family!

    • Jaime says

      I think this is a great idea, especially if you cook in large batches all at once. I was just wondering, have you ever tried cutting the frozen pie mixture into individual slices (while still frozen)? That way you could bake an individual slice of pie just by covering it with a small amount of crust. Has anyone ever tried this?

  27. Bea says

    I had a friend that lived down the street from a food pantry and kitchen where people could go for a cooked meal and/or get bags of groceries to take home. My friend said she saw many people throw away such things as frozen turkeys, other meats, bags of flour, etc., because the person receiving them obviously didn’t want to cook or didn’t know how to cook. My friend would find foods littering her sidewalk and street. It was such a shame that perfectly good, and sometimes expensive foods, would be disgarded because of the ignorance of the person receiving it. NOT all people would do such a thing. There are many very grateful people, but unfortunately there are people who came from dysfunctional homes that were never taught basic survival skills, and can’t function in those homemaking areas. I’ve had friends in social work who said even parenting skills are lacking in many families that grew up with much dysfunction. It is truly sad. Jill and Tawra you both provide info that is much needed in this sad world.

  28. Grandma says

    here is my sort of solution for using up left overs.
    There is never enough to make a 2nd meal so years ago I would save them in the fridge and then one night during the week I would announce our scrappy meal.
    Took out all the bowls, bags, and sauces heat them up and let everyone take what they wanted to eat.
    I usually do up fish or chicken balls to stretch the left overs.
    Anything that was left after the scrappy meal went to the neighbours dog. No chicken bones or stuff like that.
    Cleaned out the fridge, people ate healthy stuff and there was no waste.
    What I like best is I don’t have to diquise anything.
    Even Don likes those meals and he hates left overs and vegetables.
    sort of a win win win situation.
    easy to serve and clean up after as well.

    • says

      Yes these leftover nights are great and I usually would try to do it a night or two before I went to the grocery store because then I could tell more what I need to get and the fridge would be empty for me to put the new stuff in.

  29. Susan Meyer says

    What is this world comming to? I belong to a gleaners group and are very thankful for the “leftovers” and we share with the local food bank. As for used clothing, that is how we dressed our kids and ourselves, water and soap and a needle and thread go a long way. I wonder if too much giving has made people greedy and not waanting to work for what they get makes them not appreciate what they have. Just a thought!

    • Grandma says

      Susan a lot of it might be the way people are raised and how they look at poorer people.
      I was raised in a very bigoted home. People with much less than us were ridiculed in private all the time. My native friends were put down and stomped on regularly at meal time when my father was on a rant.
      I was told that only scum went to the church for help with clothing and food. (small town no thrift stores or food banks)
      Anyway I didn’t care how much money or food someone had I just liked the kids because they were fun.
      We finally moved after we got married to a small town and they have a thrift store and a food bank. But I never went to the thrift store until maybe a year ago with an older friend who loves shopping there.
      She doesn’t call it thrifty she says she is recycling. Well we would go every Sat. after we hit the yard sales. She would buy clothes mostly long pants which she would take home and shorten. She said she had to shorten pants if she paid $200. new or .25 used so why spend the big bucks. I would go in and look but mostly not buy and definetly no clothes. Just couldn’t get the mind set that they were hand me downs and fine.
      Well one day I saw some really cute baby hats and my son was asking me to find some for his new daughter. Picked up 10 for $1. and shipped them to him in China. He loved them and so did all his inlaws.
      I am slowly coming to enjoy the thrift shop but never for clothes for me. Still that same old mind set.
      I don’t think anything less of people who do need them I donate to them all the time I just can’t get over some of my father’s degrading remarks.
      He was always telling me that my husband was a bum who couldn’t possibly support his family and in my head I knew I had to prove that Don was a great provider and we never had to rely on others to help us out, and using the thrift store would prove my dad right.
      Each year we get a voucher for 2 grocery stores to spend on what we want. But one year we got a turkey (which we don’t use) but had to go and stand in line down at the legion to pick up. I found it degrading to stand in line for food as if we were in great need of this stupid turkey. I got so upset by the time we got to the front of the line I said thanks the food bank will love this donation. Took it over to the food drive at the mall and gave them the turkey, along with the other groceries and toys we were donating.
      There again it is the attitude of my father taking over my life.
      Now when we get the $30. voucher I buy things for the food bank because we do not need this gift, and I know others really need even that small amount.
      I guess if I was ever in a situation where I depended on the help of strangers I would learn to accept it but until then I find help for me is not welcomed and I can’t accept any help from others. I love helping just can’t accept it.
      I am not sure if this is just my rambling or if it sort of answers your question.

  30. Veronica says

    I have recently found “Freecycle”(TM) and have found that anything posted there is picked up very quickly.
    I don’t have fruit trees now regretfully because we have an over abundance of deer and there is no hunting on our developement

  31. says

    I see alot of you hear almost complaining of too much food I think it is funny seems how it is under the title how to save on groceries.

    Why not put food by? canning, dehydrating ect If you have an overabundace of apples why not preserve apple sauce, dehydrate apples to throw in breads or oatmeal. Keep enough to last you the year then you will not need to buy apple products this year :) For our family of 11 this is about 10 hampers full per year.

    If your husband is bringing home too much food preserve it the same way. Or like the other said donate. there are millions of Americans starving we volunteer at the food pantry they are now seeing alot of middle class people needed help after lay offs.

    Just some thought to ponder.

    • says

      Momyto9 what happens is there is no way we can cover everything there is on saving on food in one article. We have thousands of articles on our web site and we do cover all the things you mentioned like canning, dehydrating, donating and so very much more. Sometimes people who are new to our site only have time to read a few things but we do cover it all. Storing food, having food store for emergencies etc. If you need info on anything just type in your subject on search or wander from post to post.

  32. Sandi says

    I think one of the most useful things I’ve found here has been a different mindset. I’m looking at things I’ve taken for granted with new eyes. I grew up wearing hand me downs, and my parents fed us many times with donated groceries and supplies, but we were still raised to refuse help unless we were really desperate. Welfare was for loosers, and anyone could make it if they just worked hard. I’m sorry, but that’s just not true in every case, and I wonder now if it ever was. Make use of what you have, and be prudent in what you look to gain. Even free stuff has a cost, you have to look at what you get for the cost, no matter how low or high it may seem.

  33. says

    Living in Northern Ontario this is the time of year produce is really expensive and not a good quality.
    Well I had a dr. appt. in the city so we went a day early due to bad weather and not wanting to miss the appt. because another one would be months down the road.
    To fill in the afternoon we went out shopping and the big dept. store was closing out everything was up to 60% off. I bought some clothes I needed and then my husband was wandering around and called me on the cell phone to meet him in the housewares dept. we bought a set of dishes 3 small food processors for $6. each silver ware for $5. and a few other things. We don’t need the dishes silverware or 2 of the processors but my son and his wife will when they move back here from China. Paid the bill and looked at the receipt later and it said we saved $200. We were really happy. I know my son will appreciate not having to go out immediately and buy things to eat from and they can concentrate of the furniture.
    We went to another store we like to wander and they had those gas hydraulic bar stools. We have one of the high dining room tables with 4 chairs. the stools were origianlly $80 but the sale was $20. so we bought the last 2 they had. One will be in my kitchen so I can sit at the counter and work when I can’t stand up for long. but they will both be in use in the dining room when company comes.
    Then just before we left to come home I went to the grocery store.
    roma tomatoes were 87 cents a pound and were really good quality so I bought about 8lbs. they will be dehyrated this week for use later.
    chicken breasts were reduced by 30% so bought 2 large packs. they are sitting in the garage waiting for the pat to rise to the top so in the morning I can, can them and put them in the basement for another time.
    Then I had to pick up bread today and the store had 3 chickens in a bag for 30% off went out and told Don I should get one bag. He went in with me and we got 3 bags. One chicken went into the pot with the chicken breast the rest are in the freezer for another time of canning. The bags would have been $75. total but I got them for $30.
    Tonight for Dons supper I used a jar of chicken I canned a few months ago added some dehydrated carrots some frozen peas made tea biscuit topping and he has chicken pot pie to come home to at 3am.
    Canning is saving us a lot of money but the start up costs can be a lot. Once you get it though it is a great way to save on food. And you don’t have to go running to the store to stock up when you have a storm approaching or just don’t have the money that day.
    But use what you have the best way you know how.

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