- HOMEMADE SOUP. Kate is a big supporter of homemade soup. She shops the close-out rack in the produce department of several of her local supermarket. She also is not afraid to ask for soup bones from the butchers in these stores, rather than pay for them. Kate keeps a plastic container in her fridge for leftovers that might work in a soup.
- SPEAKING OF THE CLOSE-OUT PRODUCE CART...If you are not squeamish about bruises and bumps on vegetables and fruit, the close-out produce cart is great for fruit salads, fruit for school lunches, veggie snacks and smoothies. Bananas, berries, even peeled oranges freeze well, as do onions, bell peppers and a host of other vegetables and fruits.
- CHEESE AND LUNCHMEAT ENDS. Linda suggests asking at the deli counter if your local supermarket sells the ends of cheese and lunchmeat (deli meat) logs. Aside from making great school lunches and afterschool snacks, both can be used in casseroles, on homemade pizzas, etc.
- THE BREAD THRIFT STORE. Shirley swears by her local bread thrift store. I say it all depends on the thrift store in question. I live near an IBC Hosstess/ Wonder Bread thrift store, and the prices are great, currently 59 cents a loaf for complete close-out, $1.09 for the fancy "nutritious" breads, and 45 cents for a Zinger or Ding Dong pack. I used to go to a Sara Lee/ Market Day thrift store, and the results were hit-or-miss on savings. There was also a Pepperidge Farm Outlet that was cheaper than Pepperidge Farm in regular stores, but not all that cheap in the long run. But it's certainly worth a look.
- LEFTOVER BREAD. Shirley turns hers into bread crumbs, dried and fresh, or bread pudding.
- SUN DISHWASHING DETERGENT. I've been saving coupons and trying to get Finish and Cascade as close as I can for free. Cascade's coupons are miniscule, at 25 cents to 50 cents in an area that doesn't double coupons consistently. Finish coupons are better at 75 cents to $1, but Finish also costs more. I was walking through the local Dollar Tree, and decided to try a box of dry Sun at $1 for a 26.5 ounce box, making the cost about 5 cents a load. IT WORKS WELL. The Sun Gel doesn't work well at all, and is very watery, but the powder does just as well as Cascade or Finish.
- RECYCLE FOIL. Foil is a lot more sturdy than plastic wrap. Foil is washable, dry-able and folds nicely to store it. I would avoid using foil that has seen previous use on frozen, raw meat, but uses such as bread, cookies, etc.- well, it's no big deal.
- DRIED BEANS. They aren't just northern, pinto and kidney! Sheila likes small red and Jacob's cattle beans. Garbanzo beans can be soaked, cooked and turned into hummus. Black beans give food a dash of exotic flavor. Boston baked, in chili, in soup, they add protein and are cheap. Yes, they take work, but not that much. If you haven't cooked dried beans in quite awhile, look on the Internet for modern, shorter cooking methods.
- BAG 'O BACON. The brand name at Walmart is Wright Seasoning Ends and Pieces. The flavor is just as good as Wright regular bacon. You might have to slice some of the slices down, and make them more regular to fit into the skillet. But if you like bacon, this is the way to save money on it while still enjoying a good brand.
- ROASTS, WHOLE CHICKENS, TURKEYS AND HAMS. Margo and I both wait for big sales on roasts, whole chickens, turkeys and hams. Big sales for turkeys, hams and certain beef and pork roasts come during Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter. Roasts that can be cut into steaks and whole chickens also go on sale before Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Labor Day. There is no reason these can't be frozen and kept all year round. Buy only what you'll use within the specs of the USDA if you are afraid your meat will spoil, and be sure you wrap it well to guard against freezer burn. You'll find big cuts of meat on sale don't mean just a Sunday roast. Leftovers make great lunch sandwiches, casseroles, hashes and snacks. Bones can be used for stocks and broths for soups and gravies.
- THE JULY SCHOOL SUPPLY STEAL. In July, stores compete for your back-to-school dollar. You might not think about buying ALL your school supplies for the year in July, but Sheila, Shirley, Becky and I all buy them then. In the case of younger children, most schools put out a supply list in May, then send it to the stores again in July, where the lists are placed on a carousel display by school and grade. Last year, Walmart offered crayons for 15 cents, 50 cent scissors and rulers, dollar compasses and calculators, 15 cent folders and notebooks. Don't think it's limited to the little ones. While older kids might not know exactly what they need for high school classes, it stands to reason that taking certain classes will require certain equipment. Walmart, Best Buy, Target and others offer programmable calculators, flash drives, memory cards, printer ink and more tech necessities (and they are today's necessities!) at deep discounts in July. Buy it in July, and the odds are good you will save at least $100 over buying it when your kid runs out.
- THE SAVING JAR. If there is an activity, charity or desire that you want as a family, consider the saving jar. Sit the kids down and talk about the reason for the jar. Set a goal and allow all hands to contribute to the jar. When the goal is reached, it's time to set a date for the activity or purchase, or to celebrate goal for charity. You'd be surprised at how even small children will scour the house and yard for coins, and it all adds up. Just be careful, if you collect on some bad habit. It could result in children who think it's fun to swear or not clean in favor of putting money in the saving jar!
Saturday, January 21, 2012
My little piece on Extreme Cheapskates triggered the imaginations of several quieter readers. I have a couple tips of my own to add. When retread parenting, every penny helps! These are little frugalities that won't hurt and could help, although on some of them might have people looking at you twice: