More Green For Less Green

Living more eco-friendly for less money


Food Shopping– Part 2

  1. Learning to cut down a grocery budget is a gradual thing. Cut your budget by reasonable amount each month (say $20) and get used to your buying power at that amount before lowering it more. You have to grow into eating smaller and/or cheaper for it to stick.

  2. Pick an expensive thing you buy and try to half your consumption for the month. For me it was breakfast bars. I used to eat a Zone Bar every day at $1 a day and that added up. So, I switched to breakfast bars at $3ish per box and stayed with that for several years before I recently rethought that. Sure, $3 a box isn't expensive in the scheme of life, but I knew I could do better. My new tactic is to make a big batch of oatmeal-wheat muffins every few weeks. I freeze all that I won't eat in a week. I can add make them nutritious than a commercial product and they have no preservatives.

  3. We don't have a separate freezer or pantry, but we try to really use the space we have. Remove things from their packaging as much as possible to fit more in. Also, as yard sale season comes up, look for some organizer that you could fit on top of your fridge or in a coat closet. Those two areas have expanded our storing ability.

  4. Eat seasonally. Produce goes on super sale at certain times of the year. Stock up then! We eat tons of asparagus in the spring (best price ever, $1 a pound in spring of 07). We eat lots of cranberry items in the fall. Anyone can freeze their surplus, with the proper equipment you could can or dehydrate your surplus if you are into that. (We dehydrate with a $5 rummage sale dehydrator. I have canning supplies that I received as a gift, but have never gotten around to using those.)

  5. Love your slow-cooker. Tough cuts of meat are cheaper and after a day in the crock pot they are tender and flavorful. That would be one way to get cheaper organic meat (though you may have to call the grocery store and talk to their butcher to get stuff set aside if they don't normally put it out). If you have a Betty Crocker cookbook (the red plaid), or can get one at the library, it will explain the different cuts of meat and how to cook them to the appropriate tenderness.

  6. Milk and cooking: Use powdered milk when cooking instead of liquid milk. It is much cheaper. Unless the dish is milk-heavy (like pudding) the taste won't be impacted. You can also buy powdered buttermilk. If you can't find dry buttermilk, you can use your liquid milk to make buttermilk. Wikipedia gives these recipes: For recipes, a substitute for buttermilk can be made by adding 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar or 1 3/4 teaspoons cream of tartar to each cup of regular milk. The soured milk should be allowed to sit for ten minutes before being used. A low-fat substitute can be made by mixing equal parts of skim milk and low-fat yogurt or sour cream.

  7. Know what you have. I got sick of buying duplicate spices (man, those little bottles are expensive), so I made a list of what we have. It is so great when I want to make a recipe to just look on the list (hung inside the cabinet) and be able to see instantly if we have the right ingredients.

  8. If we know that we have something (like right now we have tons of flavored orzo from the discontinued product shelf) then we build a meal around that. Anything that calls for normal pasta gets served with orzo instead.

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