Share on ThriftyFunThis guide contains the following solutions. Have something to add? Please share your solution!
We all know it's hard to make the necessary cut backs when, come Friday night, you still want to order Pizza Hut. We have done a good job of talking ourselves out of it and, in the end, are happier for it.
Tonight I said "Let's just order Pizza Hut for once." My husband said, "Hmm, I like those little frozen pizzas from Save-A-Lot!", LOL. So, we decided on making our own Pizza Hut night! We made those little frozen pizzas (one each) and cooked spaghetti and opened a can of Heinz spaghetti sauce and had bread sticks! ALL from Save-A-Lot! Our supper cost us $5.50 instead of $22! And it tasted better!
When my kids were growing up and they had a craving for pizza I'd always make sure we always had some canned spaghetti sauce in the fridge. This way they could take any type of bread (stale bread works even better) from a bagel to a piece of toast to an English muffin and add a tablespoon of the spaghetti sauce and a bit of cheese and a dash of Parmesan and a sprinkle of Italian Seasoning, then pop it in the microwave (or the oven) and "PRESTO" their pizza craving is no more! YUM! YUM!
On the RARE occasions where we can afford to treat ourselves to pizza these days, I've found I can save quite a bit (sometimes half) by driving in to Dominos instead of having our pizza delivered! Just ask "What are your "U-pick-up" specials. Also, if you enjoy a single topping pizza (or can add your own second or third topping at home), you can buy a large pizza with a single topping for much less than a medium pizza with 4 toppings (at Dominos at least). ALWAYS ASK "WHAT ARE YOUR SPECIALS", no matter WHO you call or drive in to.
As far as low cost/high quality pizzas, the very best are the "Take and Bake" like Papa Murphy's or other places like that. If you are on food stamps, you can sometimes use food stamps because this is food that you are cooking at home. This way, you can afford a special treat once in a while, say, for a child's birthday meal for example.
Before you order your pizza, look in the cupboard and see if you may have a can of olives or pineapple or even onions or tomatoes in the fridge, this way you can save money on toppings by adding these after the pizza gets to your home!
About Tipping: And NEVER save money by not tipping your pizza delivery driver. I've had many people that survive on tips these days say that a family or a couple will go out to a fancy restaurant at night, but when it comes to the tip, even thought the service was great, they either won't tip or they will not tip the 15 - 20% that's expected for great service (remember these servers are only getting minimum wage and even less in many states. And they have to "tip-out" in other words they have to share their tips with the busboys and other employees!
So please remember that the tip is NOT where you save money, find a coupon instead!
There is also a popular locally owned pizza restaurant in town that sells their pies frozen at local grocery stores. They are half the price as what we would pay if we went to the pizza place for dinner and taste just as good. I don't know whether other places do this but it might be worth checking out.
We always, ALWAYS look for coupon deals on the internet or in the Yellow Pages on the rare occasions we order pizza. You can save quite a bit this way.
These turn out really well, I was impressed. And this way everyone can have it their way.
Nowadays, we rarely order out for pizza. lately I've been making my own by using a type of bread called Arabic bread which resembles personal pan pizza crust and 6 comes in a pack, and they are pretty cheap in my neck of the woods. I prepare them the same way as I would do for a loaf of bread with the sauce on each and a sprinkle of mozzarella cheese, restack in the bread bag and freeze for an anytime treat.
If you don't have a bread machine, dissolve the yeast in slightly warm water, then stir in the remaining ingredients, which will probably require getting your hands into the dough before they're all incorporated. Knead, adding flour if the dough is too sticky, adding water if it doesn't all ball together. Knead by mashing it down with the heel of your hands, then fold and mash again. Simply repeat this until the dough starts to get nice and smooth. Pinch the outer edges into the middle to make a smooth ball, then lay it on a piece of waxed paper you have either sprayed with non-stick spray, dusted with flour, or greased slightly. Turn your mixing bowl over and cover the dough. Let it rise for 30 minutes to an hour--it should be substantially bigger than when you first put it there. Don't stress about "doubling" and all that. "Punch it down", that is, squash it a few times so it loses most of the new volume, and let it rest for ten minutes or so. (This will make it less likely to spring out of shape when you roll it out to make the crust.) Don't be afraid to try it if you've never made bread before--it really is easy.
After the ten minutes, either pat/roll it into one big crust or pinch the dough into pieces to make smaller crusts. Make sure to grease or spray your pan. You can sprinkle it with cornmeal, if you like that crunch.
Place the rolled crust on the pan, top, and bake in a 350 degree F oven until the cheeses are all melted, and just starting to bubble and brown. (Usually around 20 minutes for us.)
This summer, I discovered that if I roll smaller crusts fairly thin (about 1/4 inch), I can "bake" them in a non-stick skillet. I put them in a skillet over med. heat and turn them when they have bubbled and the one side has started to brown where the bubbles are. Cook the second side until it is beginning to brown, as well. Then you can top and put in the toaster oven, or even in the microwave.
I prefer using tomato paste instead of sauce. You can buy preseasoned, or simply sprinkle on the seasonings you like before you add the rest of the toppings.
Pizza is a great way to use up leftovers, and sneak in some veggies!
It saves a lot of money. You can also put leftover meatballs or vegetables on it for a nice variation.
Experiment and use up what you have on hand. Around the holidays I buy some extra staples when they're on super sales and store them properly so i have extra whole grain flours, etc. Buy cheeses when they are on sale and freeze them.
You don't always have to use mozzarella. You may like to mix and match. Use tomatoes if you have extra fresh from the garden instead of buying "pizza sauce". Toppings can always be the extra veggies or meats you have on hand. That small bit of chicken makes a great garlic chicken pizza. A little spinach on pizza with the right cheese can make your kids enjoy it.
Don't forget to experiment with herbs too. Most people have tons of jars on the shelf and use very few of them. Pizza anything night can be the most fun, creative and economical meals you make all week long.
Don't forget it freezes beautifully and makes great lunches for work or school.
Another thing I do is buy bulk flour from Sprouts. I have a simple pizza/flatbread dough I use and the whole thing ends up costing less that 10 bucks per head.
Toppings: whatever you have in your fridge - roast leftover veggies and use them to top it, caramelize some onions, throw on some deli- sliced cheese, it's pretty healthy too.
Or, I buy a Little Caesar's $5 pizza, ask for it under-baked and take it home, add my toppings and then finish baking it in my oven. Costco also has a really big pizza, ready to eat or inside the store ($1 cheaper than ready to eat) for about $10, too.
I sometimes splurge on the prebaked crusts, (on sale, with a coupon) but most of the time, when I buy a loaf of the fresh French bread our local store offers, I cut it in half longways, then halve it again. 2 quarters are buttered with garlic butter, wrapped and frozen for a side with future meals. the other half is for pizza bread. I freeze even the scantest 1/4 cup of leftover spaghetti sauce for just this purpose.
Leftover roast, chicken, polish sausage, ham, as well as a couple mushrooms, the last slice of bell pepper, and sliced olives (always in our frig) or other veggies (summer, home grown zucchini shredded) become toppings. Cheese - whatever is there - Jack and Cheddar are among our staples. Pizza is a given at least every other week in our house, and a great way to make a quick easy meal. I also use refrigerator biscuits as a crust. Several rolled together into a personal pizza works good.
A recipe I got from a Pampered Chef party took one tube of refrigerated biscuits, pulled apart and quartered, then tossed in a bowl with spaghetti sauce. Throw in a a half cup of whatever meat you want (cooked), a handful each of whatever veggies you wanted, some grated cheese, and pour out into a 9 x 13 pan. top with some more cheese. bake at whatever the biscuit tube said to bake and check. maybe a couple minutes more. it turns out like pizza monkey bread and is great for a quick dinner or even an appetizer!
I like to make waffle pizzas. Get out that waffle iron, make a simple batter, I use whole wheat flour, a little olive oil, pinch of salt, a little water, and make a few waffles.
When they're done (couple minutes), put them on a plate, and do them up like the English muffins above, tomato paste and toppings, and put them in the microwave a couple minutes.
While it's resting, clean out the fridge with anything that sounds good. For the pizza sauce I use an 8 oz. can of tomato sauce (.38). For extra flavor, sprinkle on a teaspoon of dried basil or Italian seasonings. Top it with whatever works. I have used bacon or sausage, sauteed onions, leftover bits of bell pepper, pineapple, canned lunch meats, broccoli, sliced tomatoes, chives, olives, etc. While we usually don't have mozzarella on hand, cheddar is quite tasty and we usually have it because it goes on sale so frequently.
There is nothing second-rate about this pizza! Our daughters and their spouses make six figure incomes, and now they copy this when time permits. Their wealthy friends think it's some new fad from a famous chef. Why should we tell them?
I use half white and half whole wheat flour in my dough, to make it healthier, and it also lends a pleasant earthy chewiness. If you find yourself making lots of dough at home, invest in a large container of yeast instead of the wee packets. I can buy a one pound packet of quality yeast for $3.25, versus over a dollar for just three individual packets (the one pound pack comes from a Mennonite-run country store that carries baking supplies). I keep a small jar of yeast in the fridge to work from and the rest of the yeast in the freezer to maintain freshness.
One extra tip I have; don't limit yourself to mozzarella cheese! Provolone cheese is very tasty on pizza, and where I buy it (at the aforementioned country store, which has a deli counter), it costs about $1 a pound less than mozzarella. Keep in mind that some deli counters will take off X number of cents per pound if you buy a "chunk" of cheese, because they don't have to slice it.
Feel free to post your pizza tips below.
If you have a basic ready made margherita (cheese and tomato) pizza from a supermarket, consider making it a bit special by adding sun-dried tomato, which really intensifies the tomato taste.
My local grocer sells some of their hot/dinner foods for less after a certain time of the evening. Mine sells pizzas for $5 each and sometimes they offer two for whatever they choose.
Take a frozen pizza and let your imagination run wild as you "rebuild" your pizza to your liking. We just took a three cheese pizza, used thin sliced ham and chunk pineapple left from a salad, added Feta cheese for a distinct flavor and baked it for the first pizza, my personal fave.