The first question I always get is how do I start ? First, write down at least 7, but probably 10 is better , meals that use inexpensive sources of protein. Divide the ingredients into three categories: protein, shelf stable ingredients ( or freezer) , and perishables.
Decide how many times per week you will eat a particular source of protein, In our family we try for 1 fish, 2 vegetarian, 3 pork or chicken, and 1 beef. Now, you can figure how much of a particular protein you will need for that many meals . This will give you a basis for buying rotation protein. When something is at a rock bottom price, buy enough of a particular protein to take you through 4-6 weeks. In other words , if we eat beef once a week, I will buy 6 days of beef. At 1/2 pound of hamburger each day, I need 3 pounds for six weeks.
I will do the same when pork loin, split chicken breast, beans, and cheese.
You probably already know how much dairy product you normally use, Dairy goes on sale usually one week of the month, everything but milk usually has a month out pull date. Try to hit the sale week for at least part of your dairy,
The perishables are purchased as you need them. It goes without saying, buying fruits and vegetables on season will net you cheaper prices and better quality. Know your prices and pick the store with the lowest prices. Right now, we are finding sprouts cheapest. Next would be Winco.
Your shelf stable and freezer stock is also kept for a four to six week supply, you know how much you will use. Buy it when it is at its lowest price. Buy a four to six week supply. In our house that would be things like frozen veggies, pasta, pasta sauce, diced tomatoes, mild green chilies, (Winco brand is 1/2 price) . Watch for sales.
Not all this is done in one week. It happens over time, You can start with a rotation protein. Add other proteins the first week and less the second week. You are paying fractions of normal price, so building your stock is easy, It just takes some time unless you have a influx of extra money, lol
The best thing you can do is to take one step at a time. Take little steps. Some people would get overwhelmed and quit. If you tackle one thing and when you are comfortable with that, move on to another, Study the ads ( I do that every Wednesday on the blog if you are in Seattle) . Mark the good buys or make a list, I used to take a piece of computer paper out of the recycle bin and mark it into four sections and label each section with a store name. Cross off anything that is cheaper elsewhere, Get a good feel for what you need, what you can use to make an inexpensive meal, and pick 2 stores, 2 stores gives you the best selection of produce and the best prices on what you need, No one store will have the best prices on everything. Some stores are notorious for good buys in certain things, The best advice I can give is to know your prices on the things you buy on a regular basis, If you can’t remember, out them in a little spiral notebook to keep with you,
Analyze your typical meals and come up with a grocery list divided between, protein, perishable dairy and produce, and stock items, keep you stock items in a pantry or cupboard and stack each thing together. Then, you can tell at a glance what you are coming short of. Watch the same ads, when something is on a good sake, check your stock and fill in.
Check coupons,com once s month and keep an eye on the ads for digital coupons, sign up for rewards cards, When I get QFC digital coupons , I select everything I know I might likely buy, I am always looking for the cheapest price, and having an additional coupon show up on my sales slip is a welcome surprise.
Rotation proteins. Pick one each of a cut if the meats you eat on a regular basis, you are looking for an average of 2.00 a pound. We buy split chicken breast because it is the Best Buy for your money, usually you can find a good quality chicken for a buck or less a pound. Pork loin is getting harder, I was getting it for a Dollar to two dollars a pound. You can cut cubes, roasts and chops from a pork loin, And, the price of hamburger has gone down. I want at least 80/20 that can be de fatted. We eat beef once a week. I got a slab of meat for BOGO at sprouts a few weeks back that made it three dollars a pound, I cut it into cubes. Big slabs of meat generally means you eat more meat. We really only NEED to eat a four ounce portion, That’s about the size of an average palm of your hand. Become acquainted with the new pie chart from the usda on a balanced diet.
Meal plans save time and money. You can find some prep time and it will be even better, The mess stores during the dinner hour, the better.
To recap, take one idea at a time. Master that and move on to the next. Each one will save you money. It all ads up. We are at less than four dollars a day, Washington snap is based on 4.25 a day. We eat well and sometimes feed granddaughter. We have grown our four week stock. It works.
have a large influx of money,