- I buy beef and chicken bouillon granules instead of canned broth. Last night I went to Ralphs to price their canned broths and bouillon. Ralphs brand chicken and beef broth were on sale for $0.79 (regularly $0.99) for a 14 ounce can (5.6 cents per ounce on sale). The bouillon cubes were $3.49 for 3.25 ounces, which makes 25 cups of broth (1.7 cents per ounce of broth). The bouillon granules were on sale for $4.49 (regularly $6.49) for 15.9 oz, or enough to make 113 cups of broth (0.5 cents per ounce of broth on sale). Keep in mind this was at Ralphs; I can get it much cheaper at Sam's Club.
- I buy yeast at Sam's Club (or Costco). Even if you don't bake your own bread on a regular basis, it may be worth it to buy a large container at Sam's Club or Costco. Here's why: At Wal-Mart, you can buy a 4 ounce jar of yeast for $4.24 ($1.06 per ounce) or three 1/4 ounce envelopes of yeast for $1.24 ($1.65 per ounce). At Sam's Club, I buy 2 pounds of yeast for $4.38 ($0.14 per ounce). Even if I don't use all 2 pounds, I'm still saving money, because I definitely use more than one 4-oz jar. The great thing is that it comes in two 1-lb bags, so you can split the cost with a friend and you'll only be spending $2.19 for a pound of yeast. After I open the bag, I put it in a zip-top bag and keep it in the refrigerator. While yeast comes with an expiration date on it, I've found that it stays good even after that date, so I keep it even after it "expires."
- I don't buy presifted flour. Usually when a recipe calls for sifted flour, it's because you'll get a more accurate volume measurement after it's been sifted. When flour has been sifted and then packaged, it will resettle and need to be sifted by you, just as regular unsifted flour would.
- Buy dried beans instead of canned.
- Get the non oil-packed sundried tomatoes and pack them yourself. My sister buys the dried tomatoes in the bulk bins at Winco and packs them in a jar with olive oil, garlic cloves, oregano, and basil.
- Use your crockpot. The long and slow cooking process can turn cheap, tough cuts of meat into delicious and tender meals.
- Avoid convenience foods and plan ahead: Most pre-made foods can be made from scratch at home relatively easily, but with the pre-made foods, you're paying an exorbitant amount simply for the convenience of not having to do it yourself. For example, Trader Joe's recently advertised hard-boiled eggs. In their ad, they point out that hard boiled eggs are not difficult to make, but take time and require you to plan ahead. So their solution is to sell hard boiled eggs by the half dozen for $2.69. I won't even spend that much on a dozen eggs, let alone a half dozen eggs. Save yourself some money and plan ahead! Of course, for some things, it may be worth your time to buy the more convenient form. It all depends on how valuable your time is to you.
- Instead of buying chili and taco seasoning packets, I buy large containers (or in bulk at Winco if I happen to be near one). Ralphs had 1.48 ounce Lawry's Chili seasoning packets on sale for $1.50 (regularly $1.79) each, or 99 cents per ounce on sale. Sam's Club sells 20 ounce containers of Chili Powder for $4.28, or 21 cents per ounce. Taco seasoning would be similar.
- I buy fresh meat and freeze it myself. There are certain types of meat I try to keep on hand at all times. Boneless skinless chicken breasts is one of them. I can buy frozen chicken breasts, which is super convenient, because all I have to do is stick the bag in the freezer and pull out some pieces when I need them, but it is usually over my $2 per pound limit on meat. I usually wait for boneless skinless chicken breasts to go on sale, then I stock up and wrap each breast individually or in groups of two in cling wrap. Once they're wrapped, you can either wrap them in foil (what my sister does) or stick them in a zip-top freezer bag (what I do). I have had problems with the cling wrapped chicken bundles sticking to each other with my method, so you may want to experiment and see what works for you.
|The chicken breasts wrapped in packs of two.|
|All of the individual packs placed in a labeled zip-top bag.|