Years ago, sitting at a friends house, she was commenting on how expensive groceries had become. I think of that moment often these days. Because, I have never seen groceries so expensive in my life!
She was trying to get idea’s of what to make for her family for dinner, and I was sitting their with the store ad, rattling off things that were on sale.
“But I need dinner idea’s” She exclaimed.
“These are dinner Idea’s! Groceries are expensive, we need to be planning our menu around the sales!”
She was flabbergasted! “I never thought of that!!!”
That moment was about 25 years ago. Small kids in our homes, back at a time when meals were served on the dinning room table… Although it was getting harder to make that happen.
So fast forward to today, as groceries are skyrocketing out of control and this is what I have started to do… once again.
And I thought, what better way to share what and why I bought at the grocery store.
Planning the menu starts with a few rules we had to adopt.
- We no longer each what we are in the mood for.
- Cook or eat what expires the soonest in the fridge.
- Shop the sales.
- Portion your meals ahead of time.
- Get Creative.
These few rules have almost eliminated our food waste out on our homestead. So much so, the chickens are actually upset they only get a small bucket of scraps a week. You know, the peels and cores of produce. And ironically enough, it helps us maintain a healthy weight. We aren’t going back for seconds. We are saving the remainder for an entire future meal. Think lunch is done! Which saves me time!
This week I went to Safeway (aka Vons) and spent 55.11.
My before sale total was 101.44
Meaning I saved 46%
We bought 1 bag of tortilla chips.. and those become Nachos with a can of Black beans from another sale and that chicken from one of the girls that screamed so loud …. just kidding.. But it was chicken from one of our girls. I like to make personal nachos instead of a whole sheet pan.. then I know exactly how much I eat… and I can plan the portion by the size container I use. Sometimes I am just not that hungry. The chips were on sale. Or we wouldn’t have purchased them.
Chicken was on sale .99 a pound. This was whole chicken which I didn’t need… but it was also Drumsticks and thighs… so I grabbed a family pack of each and came home and we divided them up into 3 meals. 2 of the meals will be family BBQ events… and the other meal will be between us. Warm Oregon nights out at the BBQ are my favorite! The total for the chicken was 8.33… for 3 meals… not bad at all. Those are in the freezer waiting for a BBQ day.
Cheese was onsale, 1.97 a pack but a limit of 4.. we bought 4 of different kinds of cheeses we normally wouldn’t buy. With the intention of charchuterie boards… and special homemade crackers or using them in a few recipes we have wanted to try. This is the perfect time to do that. They are normally 2.99 a piece.
Yogurt was on sale for .17 a piece for the first 6 so we bought our old fashioned favorite flavors.. we looked for the farthest away expiration dates… and snuck em in the back of the fridge. Perfect for the time I can’t find a sale on milk to tide us over… or before they expire in April… either way… My homemade yogurt is .14 a serving.. there’s is .17..and a treat.
I also saw that milk was on sale again for .97 a half gallon so I picked up a few of those.. searching for the longest shelf life.. which was March 10th. We are golden on yogurt!
Except we came home and brainstormed and discovered we could literally make lemon yogurt by using the lemon curd I made and froze this winter. Bonus!!!! And now I need to make lime curd. Haha – It literally never ends… We are always making and trying new things.
We found, in the discount meat section, 30% Rib steak and picked them up. We came home and portioned them up into 2 meals worth of amazing looking steaks… They were 18.57 and we got them for 11.23. So just over 5.00 for a nice steak for the both of us to share.
We used rain-checks we got the week before for the Oscar Meyer Bologna and Salami. It just reminds me of being a kid… They were on-sale for 2.49 but they didn’t have any.. so one simple rain-check let me pick them up the next week when they 3.50 a piece.
We went on a Friday when the store usually has additional specials and picked up cabbage for 10 pounds for 5.00… looking ahead at the calendar I knew St. Paddy’s day was coming.. and cabbage keeps for a very long time, so I got enough to play with and enough for corned beef and cabbage dinner. The corned beef is in the freezer from an earlier sale.
We splurged on some citrus… which I wouldn’t do again if I had the chance.. It wasn’t really good quality when we got it home. But we got Clementine’s 3 pounds for 5.00. Blood Oranges for 2.99 and Cara Cara Oranges because we both never heard of them for 2.99 also. All 3 of them are not of good quality. Edible… but old.
And because we shop there periodically, we got 4 cents off cilantro and and 5.00 off our shopping total. Have I ever mentioned how I store the cilantro to make it last a long time?
But here’s the deal… your shopping will look different. I go for the sales and have been doing it for awhile that I now have a collection of sale meats in the freezer where I grab from to make a meal. So I essentially am never paying full price for a meal. And I try and keep our meals under 5-10.00 each.
If I needed them I would have picked up onions and carrots and potatoes since they were also on sale with the cabbage. Then I could have made a delicious soup or stew… or even a roast chicken one night.. which I already posted on how I can get 4 meals out of 1 bird… and a lot of broth for that upcoming soup.
I came home and made some bread for the future sandwiches with that bologna! Yummy We stuck a the other packs in the freezer, till we needed them.
We almost came home with steaks.. they were 3.99 a pound… But we bought them a few weeks ago at 2.99 a pound on another one of their sales.. and they only had one package.. .and it didn’t look to great. So… thinking back, I should have gotten a rain-check just to hold on to in-case we changed our minds. But we didn’t need it. Someone else can have it.
The biggest savings for us is simply planning meals ahead of time and being flexible with the sales that come out. That and the garden that I never planted this year. God brought us Mustard greens… So I head out and harvest a few a day for the hubby’s sandwiches. BONUS! There was so much I found out in that yard as I was cleaning it up for spring planting.
We really enjoyed those nachos!
And I actually am looking forward to next weeks specials… To see what creativity it brings out.