I am a firm believer in eating well and saving money. These are not mutually exclusive. I buy vegetables at the near-expired section in the produce department and cook them the same day in vegetable soup. Carrots, broccoli, kale, cauliflower, and red peppers all taste delicious in soups. I use an immersive blender with a potato for thickness. This serves as my lunch almost every day. A great way to add vegetables to my diet and save money, too.
Good tip. I almost always check out the marked down meat to see if there are any good deals. I take home whatever I buy and freeze it or use it that night for dinner.
I love the idea of using a potato to thicken it. Thank you @rosemary.mckinley
That is such a great idea, in so many ways! I love how you are saving money and eating healthier foods.
I do that as well, @jeremym. I used to do this a lot at Kroger, but don’t shop there as much now. Your note was a reminder to go back to doing this. The freezer is your friend. I’m considering buying a small freezer for my garage by the summer.
Thanks all. Always like to share any cooking tips I have learned over the years.
Oh yes, buying markdowns in meat and produce is a staple in our family. Kudos to you that do just that!
My husband is diabetic and loves mince pie, I make him this out of reduced produce from a local store, a truly great savings. The house smells so good with the whole process of canning the mince for later.
I mystery shop at grocery stores to recoup some of what I spend. The Field Agent app typically has Kroger and Wal-Mart shops, and sometimes even has delivery as an option. I’ve found that the Kroger store brand is very good–love their soy and oat milk! I also like how the Kroger delivery site has the option to clip coupons as you shop.
How did you get to be a mystery shopper at these stores, it sounds like a very lucrative idea. Do they pay well and how much time do you actually contribute?
If you google mystery shoppers there are several sites available. But I am going to add a cautionary note here, it depends on your location and the number of available shoppers in that location. I also did mystery shopping for a while but stopped when I figured out why certain times weren’t available because of the other shoppers signed on almost pre-booking their favorite times to shop and leaving all the others for someone else. I even figured out who it was and figured out her schedule and she never was available during key holiday times. But if you don’t have many people in your area to compete with you can earn a nice sum. The other shopper in my area hogged all the big pay shops. Most shops, earn you the cost of the shop plus a small fee. It also helps to have your own transportation.
As for saving while grocery shopping, you first need to have a basic pantry set up in your residence of items that can be used and set a buy by limit ( last box) and have a running list set out for you to post your grocery needs. This way you don’t have an oversupply of items, but you do have the product in the home. Toilet Paper and Paper Towels should always be brought in the large package, you save more and you can find ways to store it. By posting on your shopping list, the items you need, you will lesson impulse buys. Also always shop with a shopping list and only buy what is on the list. You can vary the brand name of the product needed if you find a special sale but only if you have it on the list. This list also helps even if you are not a meal menu planner. You know what you need to make meals so if you don’t have it at home then you need to buy it. If you are a person who cooks every meal and uses fresh/bruised vegetables or fruit in your daily cooking go for the bruised items only if you intend to use them that day. I have added many times reduced vegetables to my dishes even if I wasn’t planning too at first. I am not a baker so I am a little fussier with my fruits so I limit my purchases to what I can eat within their shelf life, which is why I love shopping for summer fruits I can’t get year-round, Also with perishable produce, buy by the season, don’t look for watermelon year-round, the same thing with strawberries and grapes. Buy pit fruits in season only. I highly recommend keeping frozen vegetables kept stocked in the freezer, as the quality is as good as buying fresh in season. If you aren’t a big bean maker, even though buying dry beans is cheaper, buy and keep beans in cans in your pantry in a nice variety (black, red, white, chickpeas, etc.) They don’t have to be seasoned either because you can always add your favorite seasonings. This way next time there’s an emergency situation, you have food in the house. Plus eat your leftovers.
All of these are great ideas. Loved being a mystery shopper; they paid good and my organization wasn’t a scam either. It was a good opportunity to earn money and eat some good food.
we buy reduced fruits and vegs. every time we shop. we make pancakes with pureed bruised bananas, pineapple, peaches, you name it add syrup and you have the best breakfast or dinner ever. we also check the buy 5 pkgs. of meat for $25.00 bin in the meat counter. many pkgs. are fairly large and make more than 1 meal. we recently had our 4th meal of bar b que ribs we bought for $5.00 and there’s still enough for 1 more meal. that is only $1.00 for the 2 of us to eat all the meat we want for a meal.
I tried a mystery shopper site once and was almost taken advantage of. The person sent me a money order for over $800.00 and told me to take it to my bank, cash it, keep $150.00 for myself and take the balance and go to Walmart and buy a money order from them and send that to a different person and address than the original mo came from. Long and short of it - the money order they sent was a fake! It said it was a postal mo, but when I checked at the local PO, they said it looked real, but actually was not. Also, I kept getting emails that I should do this immediately!! That is one of the reasons that I was very suspicious. I reported it to the Attorney General’s office. Ever since then, I am leery of mystery shopper offers. I’m glad that BeckAstila didn’t have any problems.
Hi savings mama, you were so lucky!!! I have heard of a similar thing happening to the car wrap people. Sounds like you were almost the victim pf a pyramid scheme. So glad you were vigilant.
Shelia, kudos to you. You have saved a lot more by going the extra mile!
The “Generic” Brand vs the “Name” brand. In my former jobs I called on some food manufacturing plants. I observed that both “Generic” & “Name” come from the same place. No company builds a separate plant for the “Generic” version. They engineer a line change processing the “Generic” or the “Name” on different schedules.
Buying generic is usually cheaper except if there is a coupon for the name brand. But you have to be careful about that, too because often you have to buy 2 or more to be able to use the coupon. Some coupons can be doubled so that is good. I have found that most generics are the same as name brands, or sometimes better. I like Shoprite brand frozen veggies better than Birds Eye! One thing that we never buy generic (we have tried many brands) is Oreo cookies! The generic brands just don’t taste as good! Lol However, we never pay full price for them, EVER! When they go on sale, we stock up.
Have to agree with you about the Oreo’s, the off brands just do not level up. Another item we have tried many different brands of over the years is Q-Tips, the others just don’t cut it. Usually we shop for these using a coupon and just before school starts in the fall, best deals.
One thing we swear by is the unit price, that is the base line in some decisions and calculating which is the better, although the stores do not make it easy at times. Even with the coupon you can recalculate which is to your advantage.You have to do the math.
I buy the loss leaders at the grocery store and plan my meals around them. That said, the best bang for the buck in protein has been threefold:
Buying from a meat packing plant. I get a quarter cow, which averages out to just over $2.00/pound.
Getting seafood canned: Tuna fillets can get expensive, as can salmon. Buying canned versions of the same item enables us to get our protein at a price we can afford.
Buy a bigger piece of meat and make several meals from it: a whole chicken can yield three different meals (whole chicken the first night, leftover meat makes tacos, leftover pickings combined with veggies and beans makes soup for the third meal, bones get saved in the freezer until I have enough of them and veggie ends/scraps to make broth. We never buy broth.)
Same thing with a ham: cut it up and you have ham slices for sandwiches, potatoes au gratin with ham, the bone makes ham and bean soup.
You can do this for just about any kind of protein.
Kudos to anyone who can do toilet paper math, that is, if they can FIND toilet paper.
Stay safe and well, my friends!
All of your suggestions are worthwhile. I have used most of them except for the canned seafood(salmon). Any way to eat healthy meals and save $$ is certainly a good idea. Many people just don’t have the time in our busy world. I would make many extra meals on the weekend between my kids’ games. I now have the time as I am retired! Thanks for tour input.