Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Save money in groceries and how to deal with what you bought

I was writing up my shopping list, going thru the ad's as I do every week, and I noticed it was a HUGE week to buy meat. (Odd, I would have figured on better sales for the holiday, but I was wrong!) So then I said to myself, well....I know what to do with all that extra meat! But it occurred to me that some of you might not be on to all my tricks and tips. So, I will share them with you.

Number one: watch the sales. This week, hamburger is on sale for 1.49 a pound, and pork chops are the same. Even roasts are 1.59. It's a great time to stock up on that stuff for summer. I'll give hints below on how to make it work.

Number two: coupons really do work. Clip those coupons on Sunday, look on-line for printable coupons, and sign up for those special store cards. They will mail you extra coupons, plus combo those coupons to some sales, and you can save over 50% in your grocery budget. Remember--even those splurge foods, comfort items (like pizza and ice cream) can be gotten at a great deal. Don't avoid them simply because it isn't part of your "good food" budget. If you KNOW you will be purchasing them in the upcoming months....like for a bbq, or instead of eating out, you may as well get a good deal on them! No, I don't like using my grocery budget money for ice cream and chips, but I also know if I don't get SOME treats, my family will mutiny or sneak behind my back and buy it anyways. The sound of the ice cream truck?? Yeah, just go to the freezer and grab a goody that you bought for a steal!

Number three: some tricks and ways to save take extra time. Sure, I can grab a bag of baby carrots for a buck fifty, or I can get TWO pounds of carrots for 99 cents. Give me 10 minutes to peel and cut them into sticks, toss 'em in the fridge, and there's a healthy snack for the kids. Also, I can feed the peelings to the dogs or ducks for a treat, dry them out to feed to the chinchilla, or compost them in the garden. Practically NO WASTE at all.

Alright, so for the meat tips. I am going to be buying in bulk this week, probably coming away with about 15 pounds of meat. What to do with it all?

First, I portion out the hamburger into meal-sized amounts (whatever is reasonable for your family). Usually, I cut it down to around 3/4 of a pound a meal for us...heaven's knows we don't NEED all the meat! I put each meal amount of burger into *sandwich* bags, squeeze all the air out, and seal, then flatten them (makes it more stack able in the freezer). Once I have several bags of this, I place them into a gallon *freezer* bag, squeeze the air out, and seal. Label with the date and what it is. (This means I can reuse the more expensive freezer bag since it hasn't been in contact with meat, plus it gives added protection against freezer burn, and is convenient to have in one place--I grab one large bag of hamburger and am good for several meals from my fridge freezer) I also make up hamburger patties at this time---form them, put them on a cookie sheet, freeze them solid, and then place them into a freezer bag, and label them.

For the pork chops, I will also individually freeze some of them. Just like the patties, place them in a single layer on a cookie sheet, freeze solid, then place into a labeled freezer bag. Then, just pull out however many you need at the time you are cooking. Another thing to do is marinate them in a freezer bag (do several in one bag, add whatever marinade your family likes) and freeze it. When ready to use, cut the bag off of the meat, and cook in a crock pot, or in the oven.

For roasts, I just place the meat, still in it's wrapper, into another freezer bag, and label the bag with the date.

The important thing is to try to get ALL the air out of the bag to reduce any freezer burn. Also, be sure to rotate your frozen stock, using the oldest stuff first. I am still using meat that I froze this way last September, and there is no sign of freezer burn on mine.

It is a huge blessing to be able to buy meat in bulk and set it aside. That way when prices go up (and you know they will in the next few months!), you can rest easy knowing that you have a good supply set aside for your family in your freezer.

Happy shopping!!

No comments:

Post a Comment