Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Can you really? Part II

See Part I of "Can you really?" here.

Stock up on dry essentials when they go on sale.  Does your household eat rice twice a week without fail?  When you see a really good sale price on rice, don't be afraid to grab enough for a month or two (or longer), rather than just enough for dinner that week. Yes, you may spend a little extra on that week's food budget (or you may not, depending on how great the sale is), but you'll save money in the long run.  Every time you are able to grab a box of rice out of the pantry, rather than paying full price for it, you save!  I do this with: mustard, spaghetti sauce, spaghetti noodles, macaroni and cheese, boxed mashed potatoes, ketchup, salad dressing, shredded cheese (in the freezer), etc.  Not to mention the health and beauty care items I stock up on for free- that doesn't really come in to this discussion.

Buy in Season: I love love love strawberries.  However, I only eat them in season. Part of that is because I find out of season strawberries disgusting.  They are either green and hard or mushy and half rotten.  Gross.  However, strawberries out of season are expensive! I prefer to buy them in season and freeze the extras.  Frozen fruit (in the case of berries especially) are just as good when unfrozen as they were fresh. I actually don't mind partially frozen strawberries as a snack.  Yum.

Pick Your Own: Since we're buying in season, check out the prices of Pick Your Own places.  It's fun, especially for kids, to pick their own food and you can save per pound on favorite treats.  Just be careful, it is so easy to go way overboard! That's where freezing your excess comes in handy.

Gleaning: Does your aunt have a pecan tree she never pays attention to?  Ask her if you can gather from the tree.  Some farmers will let you come in and glean after their crops have been commercially harvested.  Gleaning an apple orchard can produce excellent apple pies, homemade apple sauce or just snacking apples. It never hurts to ask around or even post on websites like craigslist to see if there is a benevolent farmer or family friend that would rather see you make use of the leftovers than leave them to the wild animals.  Again, this can be very fun for kids.  I remember joyfully gleaning persimmons and pecans from the yard of a family friend when I was little.  It didn't matter that I do not like persimmons.  I just enjoyed the experience.

I may have been an odd child.

Make a fruit salad:  Mix more expensive fruits in with less expensive fruits (think bananas) to great a fruit salad. That way you get your absolute favorites, but you also don't break the bank and you have a filling snack.

Portion control:  Remember that I love strawberries?  I can easily sit around and eat an entire package of strawberries.  Do I need an entire package? NO!  In fact, it's mostly mindless snacking.  Yes it's healthy, but it's still mindless. If I do that in the dead of winter, it's very expensive mindless snacking.  Setting up reasonable portion sizes can help stretch everything from fruit to cheese doodles.  It also helps you not stretch your pants size.

Keep an eye out for Part III!


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