Saving on Groceries – Make Do with What You Have



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saving on groceries - use what you have

Saving on Groceries – Make do with what you have

Often, the first question I am asked by reporters and readers is, “How do I save at the grocery store?” They are usually expecting the common answers like “use coupons” or “try warehouse shopping” and are very surprised when I say my biggest savings come not at the store but before I leave for the store, after I get home from the store and as in the case below when I don’t even go to the store.

This is just one brief excerpt from our Groceries On A Dime ebooks. I hope it gives you some ideas to work with.

 

Make do with the food you have.

Control your trips to the store. Not only does it save on time and gas, but money too. You know you always buy more than the one item you needed.

Every once in a while, you might even try to skip a week and not go to the store. You will find that by doing this you are using up a lot of food that would have spoiled or gotten old.

Even if you run out of something like bread, see what you can use in its place. Maybe the kids will have to take soup and crackers in their lunches instead of sandwiches. They might find that is a nice change. I have been without milk and bread at the same time before and I was shocked at all I was able to create without either one of those. For example:

  • For breakfast – we had oatmeal, cream of wheat or scrambled eggs instead of cereal.
  • For lunch – instead of sandwiches we would have soup and crackers, a bowl of chili or cottage cheese and fruit.
  • For dinner – instead of mashed potatoes (We had no milk to mash them), we would have boiled or baked potatoes although in a real pinch I have used buttermilk or sour cream to mash my potatoes and both were yummy.

I had a scratch bread recipe that didn’t call for milk or eggs so, if I had nothing but flour and yeast, I could still make bread. (You can find this recipe in our Dining on a Dime cookbook).

If you are out of bread and can’t bake any, here are some other things to serve:

  • For breakfast – Make biscuits (from baking mix), shortbread, pancakes or waffles. If you don’t have baking mix, check out your copy of Dining on a Dime for a recipe to make it.
  • For lunch – peanut butter and crackers, cheese and crackers, stew or a chef salad instead of sandwiches.
  • For dinner – Make cornbread, muffins or biscuits.

All of these things are pretty common foods. Often, we fall into a rut. Certain things become habits and if something interrupts our routine, we don’t use problem solving skills to solve the problem. We need to learn how to change those habits and think of different ways of doing things so we’re not running to the store every time we run out of one item.

We become lazy or relaxed in our thinking about cooking. We automatically think if we change the routine and try different things it will be harder. It’s easier in our mind to run to the store and get bread than to try and figure out how to substitute something else for it.

I know that at first it may seem hard to make yourself change if you feel you can’t think of anything but the brain is an interesting organ– the more you use it, the more creative you become. Like all the other muscles in our bodies, the more you use them, the stronger and better they get. We have just allowed our brains to become weak (lazy?? : ) in certain areas so we have convinced ourselves we can’t do something. What we really need to do is exercise our brain more.

Spent 10 minutes each day giving your brain a vigorous work out and plan dinner. : ) : )

Jill

PS. People often ask what kind of things are in our books and e-books, especially the Dining on a Dime cookbook. Dining On A Dime includes lots of recipes to use to make things you may run out of like baking mix (Bisquick), sweetened condensed milk, pizza sauce, ketchup and ranch dressing. There’s also a whole chapter on substitutions, so you might want to check it out.

 

Comments

  1. Anonymous says

    I find it a fun challenge to use what I already have to make our meals. We recently had a power outage that lasted for 6 days due to heavy winds that took trees and power lines down. We fired up our Coleman camp stove and made chili, corn cakes, beans, rice & sausage etc. Most grocery stores were without power so we used what we had and ate really well. It distured me to hear the people on the news complaining about how the power company didn't make them a priority and they weren't getting hot meals etc. People need to depend on themselves instead of waiting for someone to take care of them.

    Stepping down from my soapbox!
    Kathleen Welch

    Love your site, keep up the wonderful job.

  2. Lori G. says

    I go to the store once a week or so. I use it as a day to get out of the house. Of course, the store is 60 miles round trip, as are restaurants. I am miles from the nearest neighbor, so there isn’t much socializing. Everybody says that the meals are much better when we are getting closer to store time. Because of this, I keep 2 lists on my refrigerator. One is the main shopping list. The other is for if I catch a ride to town during the day, and can go the specialty store downtown (I usually go to a Super Wal-Mart on Sunday, when the downtown is closed). You can make do with what you have. You just need imagination.

  3. Judy says

    Chicken broth is great to add to mashed potatoes too!

    I live 25 miles from town so I made do with what I have on hand, even if I forgot to buy something, like milk!

    I also keep dehydrated milk in the pantry for emergencies too.

    ~J~

  4. Margaret says

    We eat a lot of flour tortillas instead of bread, and they freeze well too. We make quesadillas, tortilla pizzas, and use up leftover meat wrapped up in a tortilla.

  5. Anonymous says

    In making do with what I have, I found there is also the element of not overbuying.

    For instance, while the unit price of larger packaging may give you a better deal, it is not the deal you want if you find you are not making use of the whole package of a perishable item before it goes bad.

    I have changed my buying habits a little, especially when it comes to produce. Instead of buying a whole bag or bunch of carrots, I buy just a few; the amount that I am likely to use within a week’s time; same with celery stalks.

    I also tend to buy lettuce from the salad bar at the grocery store, That way I can buy only the amount I need. The other day we had blt sandwiches, which only used a grand total of 30 cents worth of nice fresh iceberg lettuce.

    I also buy just a few all purpose potatoes at one time…for the same reason. This principle can apply in smaller households like mine, or in larger ones.

    Take a look at what produce or other fresh items you may be throwing out between shopping trips. It may be that you are tossing and rebuying the same things week after week.

    Chris

  6. JohannaB says

    I used to think it was fun to cook from other folks stockpiles when they were absolutely certain they had nothing to make a complete meal from. I should think more like that now and cook from my own stuff.

  7. Bea says

    I think people that have to dig in garbages to find something, (ANYTHING) edible, like in India, would find it very hard to understand it when they look in our full cupboards, refrigerators and freezers and hear us say we have nothing to eat.

  8. says

    I borrow help from allrecipes.com. It has a feature that lets you search for recipes based on ingredients you do (and don’t) have. I’ve come up with so many things to make that way when times were tight, I don’t know what I’d do without it.

  9. says

    I had an eye opener a year ago when my new daughter in law and my son came home for a few weeks from China.
    I thought I was a fairly frugal use everything type of cook and shopper. Boy was I wrong in terms of the Chinese life style.
    She was amazed at all the jars and containers I had on my open shelves (for ease of access). she thought I had the grocery store stored there. She was shocked when she saw my pantry.
    She also said I threw out too much after a meal.
    She told Danny that wasn’t it a waste of money to have all that food sitting when the store was so close. He explained that I couldn’t always get to the store since I can’t walk and carry things too often so I kept what I need in the house.
    She said we didn’t eat enough vegetables though I did try to serve them with meals in different ways. And we ate way too much meat.
    Since then I have tried to cut down on meat but when you live with a carnivore that is kind of hard but now we eat more fish and chicken and less steaks and burgers. I roast vegetables since that is one way my husband will eat them. I serve lots of salads so the produce doesn’t sit and get old and wilted.
    Try looking at your kitchen the way someone from a different culture would and you will find ways to change your cooking and eating habit. I have been trying different vegetables and cooking more authentic chinese things so she will feel more at home next summer when they come for a visit.
    Even a trip to the grocery store was fun to see her expression at the sizes of the containers.
    So yes I now shop less and buy more of what I need than lots of things I might find handy at some point during the week.

  10. Ruth Palmer says

    Several years ago I travelled to another city to stay with my daughters family while she was in the hospital with a new baby. She left for the hospital before I arrived and I had her two older children in my care plus her husband who was a University student ate breakfast in the morning and came home at dinnertime at night. It was about 3 days before she was released to come home from the hospital. My point is that when I got there and looked for food to feed the family there were a few staples and not much else. I knew they were poor college kids and didn’t want to embarass my son-in-law by asking him to buy some groceries. I had a little money of my own but no grocery stores near by and no transportation to get to one. Wow, did I ever have to get creative but somehow I fed everyone. On the day my daughter was coming home some ladies from church came bringing dinner and wanted to put it in the refrigerator. I asked them just to set it on the table because I was ashamed to have them see how bare the refrigerator was. As it turned out my daughter had planned to buy groceries before going to the hospital but didn’t have time. She asked her husband to go to the store and get some things but because there was always food on the table he assured my daughter that I was fixing wonderful meals and we were doing great. So when push comes to shove I found out that yes, with a little imagination we can make some pretty good meals with what we have on hand. But I’m not sure I could have made it through another day. Ha! PS: Those church ladies looked like angels when they brought that dinner in!

  11. Bea says

    Here is a recipe for frosting that can use up some leftover mashed potatoes. The frosting is deliciously smooth and creamy. It’s called, “Potato Fudge Frosting” and the ingredients are: 1/3 cup (2/3 stick) soft butter or margarine, 2 squares (2 ounces) unsweetened chocolate, 1/3 cup cold, smooth, mashed potatoes, 1/8 teaspoon salt, 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla, 3 cups confectioners sugar, about 2 tablespoons milk. Melt butter or margarine in a saucepan. Cook until lightly browned. Add chocolate and stir until melted. Add next 3 ingredients and mix well. Add confectioners sugar alternately with milk until frosting is of a smooth-apreading consistency. Spread over cooled cake of choice. “Spiced Potato Fudge Frosting” adds 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon and 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves to the potato mixture.

  12. barb~ says

    Last Sat. morning a good friend treated me to a pumpkin latte and scones at Starbucks. I was stunned when the total for two drinks and two scones was $15.00!!!!
    I have thought about the pumkin latte and would like to make my own version, only budget friendly. Does anyone have a recipe? It was a yummy hot treat on a cool Fall day and I would like to make them for the holidays.

    Thanks!

    Barb~

    • says

      Barb one thing you might watch for was last year at this time they came out with a bunch of pumpkin flavored creamers and flavored coffees which you can find at Wal Mart and other places. Also we have a bulk spice store and sometimes in season you can buy pumpkin flavored coffees which are pretty reasonably priced. You could mix any of these up with your regular coffee too to make it stronger or weaker as you like.

  13. barb~ says

    Jill and Rhonda, Thanks so much for the ideas! It will be so worth it to find a copycat version of this pumpkin latte. It is wonderful!!! It will be even better to do it on a dime!!!!:)

  14. susan says

    Jill

    I have gotten to the point that I am now only going to the grocery store once a month! I have found that using canned milk for cooking and keeping frozen bread in the freezer has saved me a lot of time and energy! I make my list to last one month. and I find I am still not spending that much more money. Its all in the planning and finding those sells items! God bless you all for doing such a good job!

    Susan

  15. Tracy says

    I can agree with your article
    When i was younger and my son was younger we run to the park spend money with my gas card and pick up a few snacks etc After a month of our daily runs to our park
    My gas card had a big bill to pay
    So we instead packed a cooler and save my money that way
    But now having a teenager I have followed your grocery e
    -book for a while i shop once a week
    I used cash and preplan a week of our weekly meals ,have a price log of items i buy from my receits
    Both my son and husband take lunch and buy lunch
    which we buy and bughet for in our monthy food bill
    and if i run out i do without or make something different
    As you had mention kids needs only a few cups of milk
    and we drink allot of water and our family drinks small size glasses of orange juice each morning
    I found a store that sells a gallon of regular orange juice under 4 dollars and milk under 4 dollars
    We liked receiving your info keep up the great work with your web site

  16. Jennifer says

    Re: Make do with what you have. We have so much.
    A couple of years ago when I re-read The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder, it made me think how good we have it now. They had to wait until almost Easter for the Christmas turkey they ordered.
    Right now I’m downsizing from having had young adults in my house to just myself, and trying not to spend food money for a month or so while I adjust. My son and his friends moved into the basement suite so I gave them the big stuff (sacks of rice, etc). It’s amazing how many meals I can make from staple ingredients. Where I run into trouble is when I run out of cat food! Kitty won’t eat beans and rice or pancakes or edible weed salad, but there are mice outside if he’s hungry enough. When I go for a walk before lunch I try to find edible greens for a salad or the last few berries and fruits for “fruit medley jelly” (rose hips, quince, apples, cherry laurel berries, blackberries, fall raspberries, a bit of elderberry here, oregon grape there…add rhubarb, etc.). I live in a city so have to be careful to take only free food, branches hanging into the alleys, weeds in parks, etc., not from the community gardens or anyone’s yard. I’ve learned which blocks have apples as street trees, where they bounce off cars or land on the grass and you can fill a basket in no time (good cooking apples if not too bruised). My own apple harvest this season was small, and although my garden improves year to year, it didn’t produce much. I love your advice and economizing, hoping I can eventually get out of debt too.

  17. rose says

    barb .. looking at the date of the $15 starbucks snack .. it is almost exactly one yr ago today you posted that .. i am curious if the prices had gone up for 2 coffee’s and scones much in the one yr? ..
    yesterday i went to chic fil a for 1 lg bowl (actually, for us its one small bowl) of soup, 1 small salad, 1 large lemonade and 1 chicken breast patty(no bread, no salads stuff no mayo .. just the patty) and 1 small coleslaw…
    it came to $14! .. i almost died .. and the only reason why i went there is bc i didnt make any soup for hubby and he wanted some .. and the chic fil a was close to there and son wanted the lemonade and daughter wanted the patty and coleslaw .. i thought “well no more than $10 should do it” .. huh! .. i was wrong .. i was in a hurry and ran out of the chicken noodle soup (cans) i normally have stocked for him (it settles his stomach)… never again! .. never ever again … i was so upset (mainly at myself) and well .. i know things are high but come on! ..
    and just to let u know, i was told the soup they serve is homemade so i thought that would be good for him (normally i give him the cans of soup or i make it myself)..
    its a lesson learned ..
    just like another thing happened .. my son and daughter went to denny’s .. they know their dad loves the chicken noodle soup there .. so they are eating dinner and ask for 2 cups of soup to take home for their dad .. normally for the price denny’s charges for takeout soup is rather high compared to the container BUT .. and i mean BUT .. not only did the price stay the same but the soup was served in a container half the size smaller than before .. same soup, same price but much smaller container .. sad .. but true .. and i inquired about that too .. those huge bags of soup they get (where u just add like 10 cups of water or so ..might be less than that) is only $15/their cost .. i told my kids never again .. if they want to buy their father soup .. go to walmart and buy the cans of soup . if u want to buy soup already made (as a treat) . go to bob evans .. $6.99 for a quart of beef vegi soup .. homemade! .. or the bean/ham or chili or potatoe ..
    never again .. another lesson learned ..
    sorry to be rambling .. i know things are high .. and prices arent going down …
    sorry ..now off of my soap box ..

  18. rose says

    on the bright side tho .. i havent turned on my oven yet (well only for 1 full hr since march 1st.. and that wasnt at one time, it was for a time here and there .. but it equaled to one full hr.. :D ) .. and i do love chicken and buy the rotisserie chicken but for the price i pay, $7.39, i normally get 3-4 meals out of it .. mainly 3 meals.. so for roughly $2.50/meal i am doing well … and if i get a chicken at walmart then its much cheaper ($4.99/chicken) so the savings is much better ..
    and i didnt use my electricity to cook the chicken in .. :D ..
    just wanted to share .. and yes .. i am making homemade soup today ..its in the crockpot .. :D .. hubby wanted me to tell u .. after yesterday’s fiasco/meltdown of the $14/meal .. :D

  19. Grandma says

    Jennifer, your lifestyle may well suit you BUT letting your cat out to catch its own dinner is not a good idea.
    Mice eat poison not enough to kill them just make them sick until they come back for more.
    This can also make your pet sick or kill it.
    Also cats running free do not make good neighbours.
    I had to garbage all my leaf lettuce because cats would use it as a litter box. Didn’t realize it until I brought some into the house and my kitchen reeked of cat pee.
    My neighbours cat almost killed me last winter. It was the day after an ice storm, I went outside to feed the birds and the cat ran under my feet. I went down cracked my head and was out cold, for about 5 min. I couldn’t get up even after that and if my other neighbour hadn’t come home unexpectedly and helped me into the house I would probably have developed hypothermia.
    Now that is going to sound like I hate cats which is so far from the truth.
    I have now 2 indoor cats who are 17 and 21 years of age. They are not allowed out of the house unless they are on leashes and I am out in the yard with them.
    They love my husband and I unconditionally so we return the love by caring for them to the best of our ability.

  20. Grandma says

    I don’t think a regular stove and oven would not work from no use.
    But it is possible if you have one the ones with computer technology may need to be cleaned properly if the circuit board gets dust or grease on it and is left over time.

  21. Jaime says

    Jill or Tawra,
    Please post a list of “staples” that you think everyone should have in their kitchens or pantries. This would be a good starting point for people who were never taught to cook or are just starting out on their own in their own house or apartment. This would also be great for college students living in dorms.

  22. Jaime says

    Thanks Tawra. This is exactly what I was talking about. This is a great starting point for those people who have no clue what to keep in stock in their pantries. College students should take note of this since school has just started up again.

  23. rose says

    grandma .. you said it right to jennifer .. my mom lost her beloved cat, midnight, due to mice they had in the one house her and husband (at the time) lived in.. it was in nj .. and b4 she realized there was mice in the attic (she lived on the 2nd floor of the house), she couldnt understand why midnight wasnt eating any of the cat food she would set out (she even bought all different kinds of cat food bc she thought the cat was getting picky) .. and then when she found midnite with the mouse, she immediately took the cat to the vet .. (midnight started regurgitating very badly) .. the vet ran some tests and well .. she ended up putting the cat down bc the owner never told them they were putting that poison out and trying to get rid of the mice..
    my mom’s cat was such a sweetie, too .. we get mice in our neighborhood esp in the wintertime .. and well .. i know pets like them (some to snack on) .. but i would protect my cats/dogs at all costs .. rats/mice carry disease, rabies … and well bc the whole neighborhood does put the poison out all the time .. and well all that poison does get in their systems and can get into the cat’s/dog’s systems .. i am not a sciece expert .. but this is how i feel ..
    jennifer .. you can go to the dollar store and get a bag of cat food for $1-$2 .. and if u have a place that helps people in need of food, sometimes if u ask, they might even have pet food/litter .. i know they do here where i live .. its not a big assortment but it does help .. or if u have a harvest time in your location they do have pet food/litter for very cheap ..
    and the stove .. well i did clean it b4 i “shut it down” for the summer .. but since its fall season (not cold enuff tho yet) to use, i will be giving it a really good cleaning again …
    thanks jill and grandma .. :D ..

  24. rose says

    just called the library .. and they are taking in food/cans/pet food/litter/female items for the local food banks in our area ..
    they normally do esp this time of year with the holidays coming ..
    so, if anyone is interested, by all means, call your local library and see if they have something like this in ur area ..
    also, my brother used to be a postman and he said, the last few years the postal people have taken in food for the local food banks in the area’s he worked in .. just call your local post office and inquire ..
    i know several churches offer this too .. (and some are even the local food bank of the area) ..
    just some info sharing .. :D ..

  25. Anne Davis says

    I have enjoyed reading these comments. I am used to spending around $400 plus a month on groceries for my husband and myself and sometimes guests. Then I had to stop work because I became disabled and our finances were greatly cut. My husband is trying to pay off all debt as quickly as he can so we have cut the grocery budget to about $200. Some months I don’t go at all except for milk and bread, although I do also make homemade bread. I have been surprised how long I can actually go between trips. We do live in the country about 10 miles from the store and I have always canned and frozen food. We have 2 freezers and 3 pantries!! so I should always have something to cook. I have been trying to stockpile because prices are going up and I believe we are headed for a great depression! BTW My mother’s father left them when she was 8 years old and it was during the great Depression and they ate pears 3 times a day because there was a tree in their yard! Hope for the best and prepare for the worst!

  26. Cat says

    This article could not have come out at a better time.
    The company I worked for let all the temps go, so I’m once again job hunting. Things were tight, now it’s going to be a real challenge. The first thing I did was declare no grocery store until all the cans, boxes, and little forgotten bags of food in the freezer have been consumed.
    The hubby was sure we would starve to death (lol!) because he didn’t see anything in the pantry. He’s been really impressed at how well we have been eating this week, plus all the cookies, breads, and dessert I was too exhausted to make before. I got my news on Monday and I broke down today and bought sugar (that last bag we had like a year) to put in his iced tea. I’m now trying to wean him off pop. I know it’s a hard addiction to overcome, but I did it myself a few years ago. I learned over the years that coupons and bulk buy stores only cost more money in the long run. Stocking up also wastes money if you don’t use what you bought. The only things I will stock up on is beans, rice, and baking supplies because they last for a real long time on the shelf. I also didn’t tell the hubby some of the boxes were expired by a few years. hee hee. They cooked up just fine. I’m glad this happened because I think we are finally on the same page when it comes our grocery spending. It’s hard when one person is miser-erm frugal and the other not so much. He had taken over the cooking since I started working nights. We had pizza quite a bit when there was ‘nothing to eat’ I just feel grateful and thankful for all I do have. God really does provide and this time around I’m putting my trust in Him. Thanks again for this website and to all the regular commentors. I ‘ve learned a lot and have gotten many great ideas!

    • says

      Way to go Cat and thanks for mentioning that you used some things that had expired. Years ago you didn’t have expiration dates on the them so you would use your food unless it had a dent in the can years after we would say it was expired now. Most canned goods and things don’t really go bad they just start losing their flavor and that sometimes doesn’t happen until a couple of years or more after their expiration date. I know I will get a lot of flack for saying this but it is true none the less.

      Even the poorest of us now have enough money to be what I call “fussy” about our food but if ever you have really had to do without and not sure where you next meal is coming from you find you eat what you can get or afford.

    • says

      Cat to help with the weaning off pop, try making flavoured teas.
      My husband likes pomegranite and rose hip.
      I enjoy the hibiscus flower and rose hips.
      both turn a lovely colour and are good hot or cold.
      Sometimes the colour is enough to curb some of the craving something like pop.
      I used to drink a case of 12 cans a week and my husband drank 2. now 12 lasts me 4 weeks and and we are spending a lot less.
      Oh yes loose leaf has a better flavour and costs a lot less than the bags.

        • says

          We have been traveling to the city which is 3 hours away to a store called the Bulk Barn.
          But we may change and order it from a new store that has opened 20 hours away.
          My brother and his wife have just opened a tea shop in their city and since I love my brother and have no connection with the bulk barn I think if they have or can get the teas we like we will switch.
          Simple to email him an order and then they ship it up in the mail. Nobody has to travel far.
          We like the bulk barn as it is reasonably priced and fresh. 2 other places in the city have tea that looks like it has sat there for a year after being in the back room for 2.
          They also know that we buy in bulk because it is a day long trip there and back so they vacume pack it for us.
          We go to places that make you feel like your business means something.

        • says

          They sale loose leaves at many grocery stories now just check in with the teas. It sometimes comes in cans. We also have what they call Spice Merchant where they sell spices and teas in bulk. Loose teas are so popular they are getting much easier to find although you can order them online too.

    • says

      One thing about weaning off of pop or anything is to remember that your body craves the thing you have been giving it the most of. For example I drink water all the time and crave it too. I sit down to a meal and even if I am going to have tea or coffee with it (which I normally don’t have) I will have to have a glass of water too. If someone drinks 10 pops a day maybe substitute 2 cans with water, tea or what you are changing to for a week or so then the next week make it 7 pops and 3 waters. You should eventually get to the point of actually enjoying or wanting water, tea etc.

  27. Rachel says

    I saw on the news this morning that groceries are up 10%. Anyone who has been to the grocery store lately knows this! I am using less meat, a half pound of hamburger in spaghetti, chili, etc… And having breakfast one night a week, eggs and grits and toast, maybe some bacon if we have it, if not, okay. tuna fish is a good staple. We do not care for tuna casserole, but many do. We make tuna fish sandwiches, and sometimes I make tuna patties that are similar to salmom patties. Yes, I do believe that food costs will only go up. I have been married 32 years and raised three children, and this is the first time I’ve had to leave items like cookies in the store because we could not afford them.

    • says

      Yes prices are going up but to help people put things in perspective that even though we are maybe having to tighten our belts we still aren’t in as bad of shape as generations past. Let me give you an example. Taking the price of eggs and the average income in 1910 a person would have to work 2 1/2 -3 hours to pay for 1 dozen eggs. Fast forward to now we have to work about 30 seconds to pay for eggs.

      Food was scarce and very expensive and until pesticides came along they were at the mercy of mother nature. After pesticides and a few other things came they were able to produce more food thus making it so much cheaper.

  28. Marie says

    August looked like it was going to be a budget buster month.
    We never eat out unless we are out of town which is about every three months, but we had three family affairs and two doctor appointments to go to. Each trip cost a $50 refill of gas and one or two meals to eat at about $18. Fast food places are getting too pricey. The best place is a two for twenty and drink water. Next trip,we are going to take a doggy bag and bring planned leftovers home for another meal. At drive ins we super size a meal and share it. Two weeks I did not go to the store, but we ate up all the old stuff with frozen milk and salad makings from the garden.

  29. Cat says

    Thanks, Grandma for the flavored tea idea. I bought some peach flavored tea from Aldi’s. I’m still having trouble getting ‘Mikey’ to try it though. LOL! He has switched to Aldi’s pop. On a happy note I start a new job this morning. I’m still sticking to my guns on the cleaning out the pantry/freezer though. Besides the sugar & pop, I spent about $20 at Aldi’s to buy milk, flavored tea, butter, eggs, evap milk, mayo, ketchup,several loaves of bread for the freezer,fishsticks and a couple bags of chips. I’m not going back to the store until the freezer is empty.
    I also bought some of that ‘kool-aid’ type drink mix in a packet of 10. Back in the day we had all sorts of pop for guests if they didn’t want coffee, tea, or water. I thought that might be a suitable and chea-erm frugal alternative.

    • says

      Cat I remember when I was young you didn’t keep tons of pop on hand but you would just have a pitcher of tea, lemonade or kool aid to serve. Now everyone thinks they need to serve pop. I keep a pitcher of powdered lemonade or kool aid in my fridge and the grandkids love it because it is something different. One thing I haven’t gotten use to is they come to visit and carry in their own pop or large convenience store cup they brought with them. I guess things change.

      Also when you do the flavored tea I don’t know what recipe you are using but to save even more and people seem to like the flavor even better is when I make flavored tea I use 1 flavored tea bag to 2 regular ones for 2 quarts. The flavored tea can be more expensive so this saves money but also the flavor is more subtle for those who don’t like a strong flavored tea.

  30. Cat says

    That is a good idea on the tea. This time I just bought some of the Adli ‘Fit & Active’ powder. 1 packet eqauls 2 quarts. It’s not bad, but I love real tea much better.
    When I was a kid, pop was only a special treat or for the occassional times you went out for a hamburger. When I struck out on my own, I lived on Diet Coke. My Grandma used to tell me that it was not healthy to drink it with meals, not to mention so much of it. I figured it was all right because it had no calories. I realised later she was right. I do feel much better now that I drink more water and not so much chemicals and artificial sweetners.

  31. Barb~ says

    I have given up pop this year, too. Now I drink mostly water. If I want something a little sweet, I use slices of lemon, or lime, and sugar-basically it’s lemonade/limeade over ice. You can even use the bottle lemon and lime juices instead of the fresh. It’s very refreshing and costs SO much less than pop!

    In tea I add cinnamon or other spices. It’s good either hot or cold. Sugar is optional.

    The grocery prices are killing me right now! I am going to begin stocking up on canned items, including canned things that are a full meal. I’m not crazy about canned food, but I think with the economy and the unrest around the world, we all need to take precautions.

    • says

      I love lemonade too like that Barb. I especially love it in the winter because I drink it hot. It is a nice change from coffee, tea, cocoa (all of which I love and drink) for something different and it is good for you. I happened to see a doctor the other day on TV say that you need to drink lemon in some warm water because it is good for cleaning out your system. They keep coming up with these “new” ideas but I remember my grandma having hot lemonade every morning and telling me to drink it when I had a cold or was sick.

  32. Marie says

    Barb, you are right to stock up on non-perishable food. You never know what calamity might happen. I use about to expire food on my no spend week and replace them when those items are on sale.

  33. Shannon says

    I found this idea about 3 years ago, and started using it. I was using a missing component of my normal “meal” as an excuse to get take out. So things like spaghetti, I can used plan tomato sauce and season it myself, or crescent rolls in place of sour dough bread, I now have a great easy pizza crust recipe I use for bread sticks in a pinch. Orange juice in place of pineapple juice in my favorite sweet and sour sauce recipe, I tried homemade tortilla’s and while they where okay, it was a lot of work, and did not taste at all good reheated! I managed to cook dinner almost every night now, eating out is reserved for the rare away from home dinner.

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