Through the years, I've read at least one hundred different articles with tips and tricks on how to cut your grocery bill. With a large family, I've followed most of the advice at one time or another. I've cut coupons, browsed through sales flyers, etc. One piece of advice that doesn't work for me is to planning a week's worth of meals and shop only once a week.
ALSO ADDING A FEW TABLESPOONS OF VINEGAR WAS SOFTEN EVEN THE TOUGHEST MEAT AND YOU WILL NOT TASTE THE VINEGAR
Invest in a crock pot, and it will never let you down! I make my own marinades (Caribean) and use canned tomatoes to "break down" the meat. We also go half or split three ways part of a cow, and it lasts in our freezer for at least 6 months. Comes out to less than a dollar a pound and it is WONDERFUL meat! My family eats more chicken, turkey and pork, so that helps the money load.
I like to run to the store as little as possible to reduce impulse buying and to save my time. However, I often stop when I drive by just to check out the marked down meats. On a good day, I find several packages of roasts, steaks, chicken, ground beef, etc., and fill my freezer. I agree that it's one of the best ways to save money. If you live close enough, have the time, and are disciplined enough to pass other items and go directly to the marked-down meat section, this can be a gold mine.
I couldn't make it without the reduced to clear (marked down) meat and the day old bakery. I refuse to pay $3.00 and up for a loaf of good whole wheat or rye bread when I can get it at the day old bakery for $1.79. I just read something about shopping at the dollar stores but I've seen food in there higher priced than WalMart or the grocery store.
Tough piece of meat, change up the menu and use tomatoes, etc to tenderize it. I have never found a tough piece yet.
My son in a manager at a local grocery store and tells me to check those end cap freezers, containers. They put the specials or over stocks in them. Ordered twice as much of something (frozen) and they need freezer space for the next week's big sale. They end cap certain things to move, often it is the ice cream which is short dated for the freezer anyway.
Unadvertised specials can change daily. Shopping once a week you miss out on the best deals.
Cheerios end capped: 2-$5 but there was an attached $1 coupon to each box. So $1.50 each 18 oz box, no limit. Peaches or any other fruit coming again in big stock the next week (they got the special price) and they need to move the current stock out faster, 50% cut in prices.
I also know when the 3 day sales will have something I use often and stock up. 3 lb chicken breast frozen $2. Of course! Or the frozen 4 oz servings of fish at .89, enough fish for 2 adult servings. Make with side dish, salad and you got a meal.
I ask each department manager when things are on 'special' that I use often. Portobella mushroom every 3 weeks and I make soup, etc then. Red/Yellow/Orange peppers 3 weeks, not same as mushrooms. ETC. Follow the schedule and stock up. Each ad has a rotation time frame. My son said except for meat, it is fairly consistent. Exception is the summer fresh produce and a lot of it is brought in fresh from local farmers daily.
The heat we have makes a difference on the meals cooked. Mostly on grill outdoor in heat and humidity. Space for meat, veggies, potatoes, etc. Even done pie, cake on the grill. My granddaughters have been eating new veggies cause they get tossed with olive oil and kosher salt or spices.
I can slow cook roasts on the grill as well, making sure you add plenty of water for broth, cook on low.
The soon to expire meats are a bonus daily. This is the pull date from the shelves not an eating expiration date.
I have been fortunate enough to be there when too much kielbasa was ordered during sale, got a case of 30 for $1 each. Also yogurt at expiration date got free and had to bring back containers. They were fine, my dog also loves frozen yogurt in the summer for a treat. Outdated cottage cheese makes the best bread and I get that free too. The store owner tells my son to call me to see what I want that he has to offer.
Another thing. Son is frozen food manager. So he knows how long things are in freezer, knows what is not moving. So when he pulls it out, he has a list of people who get it in their freezers, well meaning elderly, low income, etc. It is a store write off to toss it, someone still gets the food.
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