Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Tips on Being Resourceful and Saving $$ on Groceries

If you've noticed, I save old plastic containers (see Mint Buttercream Frosting post) that were used for cupcakes transportation.  Other notable reusable items are glass jars after consuming the jams and sauces and bottles.  Of course, I don't save EVERY container that comes my way or else I would have a huge cabinet of them!!  I'm going to give you some of my top tips and ideas for reuse.  The possibilities are endless...

1) Plastic containers that produce comes in.  When you are washing your veggies/fruit, rinse the container as well especially when it is the size that fits cupcakes, cookies, etc.
2) Glass jars are highly useful for when you make your own viniagrettes/salad dressings.  You do not need to go to the store to buy a whole bunch for $2-10.
3) Glass bottles.  Repurposing drink bottles and wine bottles to use as vases adds the vintage look to your tables.  Paint them or tie simple bows.
4) Egg cartons.  While learning how to make pretty flowers for cake design with gum paste and fondant, I discovered that egg cartons were the perfect container for the flower creations.  Letting them dry while not touching each other was important.  Use them for art projects also.


Grocery Shopping Tips:
1) Look at the mailer ads.  When you want to be frugal, you will start to get a feel of the prices of meat, vegetables, cheeses, milk, etc.  Price vary from week to week.
2) Rain checks.  When an item is out of stock for the day, you can have the grocery store write you a rain check!  Most supermarkets give you 30 days to use them.  Von's rain checks are good for 90 days. Just imagine -- you can buy at that weekly steal price for three months.
3) Fish.  Usually fresh fish costs the most.  Go to the frozen section.  Some of the fresh fish that I have bought say, "Previously frozen" on them.  *I know I haven't had a fish recipe yet but it is what I consume weekly.*
4) Dried versus Canned (Beans).  Canned goods are fairly cheap but did you know that dried ones are even cheaper?
5) Buy in season.  Fresh produce in season is much cheaper than importing fruits from other countries.
6) Be aware of which items have the same everyday price.  We do not always have time to price compare.  Personally when I don't have time to be aware of the cheapest ad for each item, I go to the places that have a regular price that is reasonable.
7) Vegetables are usually cheaper at Chinese and Korean Supermarkets.
8) My personal fave: Trader Joe's.  I've shopped TJ's for over 20 years.  Not many people can say that since most people only discovered TJ's in the past 10.  Top3 picks for regular price?  Milk, eggs, and bananas.

WARNING: Buying in Bulk.
Buying in bulk is a good tip too; however, be aware of the price per can/bottle.  Take into account that if you don't end up using all of the product, that is money down the drain too.  Contrary to popular belief, Costco/Sam's Club is not cheaper than Asian Supermarkets and regular weekly mailers.  Paying for membership means that you have to save X amount of money first for you to get the real deal.  I've watched people spend more than they wanted and not been able to use it all.  If you have to toss it, that is like throwing away $$.

Definitely enough tips to get you thinking..  =)

Happy Shopping!!!

*Note: I have no idea how people shop when they don't know how to calculate things in their head.  When I shop, I am constantly dividing, multiplying, and adding.  These days some grocery stores have the price per ounce posted which is nice.  I suppose people get ripped off and leave happy?  Ignorance is bliss?  =p

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