Whew! It’s frugal Friday again, and somehow I’ve taken a blogging vacation this week. Except, instead of FEELING like a vacation, it felt like driving and more driving. To job interviews and shopping and doctor appointments and more shopping and more appointments. The good news is that both of my soon-to-be-driving sons now have summer jobs– a huge blessing since they both hope to buy cars soon! And I did have at least some success in keeping an eye on the money going out.
- Early in the week I bought some marked-down chicken thighs that were about 80 cents a pound. I bought about 10 pounds, and wished there was money in the budget to buy a few more packages.
- I also found already-cubed ham marked down. I used some in a batch of split pea soup on Tuesday. I always try to look for marked-down meat at whichever grocery store I visit.
- I combined a bunch of errands into one day when I needed to bring two kids to two different things. It meant for a long time out and about, but I really made the most of that gas money.
In other frugality-related notes, while prepping for last night’s e-class –great fun!– I went through a few of my notes about food shopping, and thought I’d share some of the most helpful ones here, for those of you who were not able to attend the class.
1. MAJOR IN ONE-INGREDIENT ITEMS
Choose items with the fewest ingredients possible: pinto beans instead of canned chili, raw chicken instead of chicken nuggets, head lettuce instead of salad mix and dressing packets. Look into your cart before you enter the check stand. The more single-ingredient items you have in that grocery cart, the more likely it is that you’re making frugal choices.
2. FOCUS ON AFFORDABLE PRODUCE
Spend your produce dollars on the most affordable fruits and veggies: apples, oranges, bananas, potatoes, cabbage, onions, carrots, and whatever’s in season in your area.
3.SCAN THE SHELVES
Check unit prices on each item, and remember to look lower and higher on the shelf. Sometimes the most affordable package is larger or smaller or a different brand, and it can vary from week to week. It pays to be non-brand-loyal.
4. ALLOW ONE SPLURGE
If you try to do everything perfectly, you’ll burn out. It’s fine to have a meal of fish sticks every couple weeks, or a particular brand of cheese you adore. But to keep your grocery spending down, limit yourself to ONE such splurge per shopping trip.
5. PREP MEAT AS SOON AS YOU GET HOME
Cook that chicken. Brown that ground beef. Then freeze in meal-size portions, and you’re 20 minutes closer to dinner, just like that. A huge psychological advantage on busy days when cooking feels like a lot of effort.
How did you do in your frugal efforts this week? I really enjoy hearing from you!