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Keep the Groceries Low

Do you over spend on groceries, eating out, or both? Feel that the belt needs to tighten up b/c the money isn’t coming in as it used to? Or the dollar doesn’t stretch as far as it used to?
It’s not your imagination, grocery shopping is more expensive now days than it has been within the last few years. The economy and fewer crops contribute to this and it doesn’t help that salary raises are harder to come by now days.
So here is my contribution to help you lower your grocery bill: 
  • Make a menu- Having an idea of what you’ll be eating the next week or two makes it easier to have a list ready for grocery shopping. Take into account breakfast, lunch, AND dinner. Also, leave out any day you may be eating out. Don't buy more than you eat.
  • Have multiple uses- If you are buying an item you don’t use often, find another recipe that will use that ingredient. Ex. 1 tablespoon of sesame seed oil is used in stir-fry, so what do you do with the rest? Make hummus with a can of chickpeas instead of buying an entire jar of tahini.
  • Look at the sale paper or use coupons- Veggies, fruits and meats go on sale all the time. Substitute a sale item for something that you would have bought for full price. Last week, I was going to buy sweet potatoes for a soup, and found that the butternut squash was cheaper and still worked well. Coupons only work well if you buy items you already plan on getting.
  • Buy in bulk- It’s cheaper per pound. Buying a whole chicken at 85 cents a pound is cheaper than buying chicken breasts at $2.50 per pound.  Buying a family pack of meat can be anywhere from 20 cents to a dollar per pound less than a small pack, and you just have to split it and store in the freezer.
  • Buy items in season- Some things are double or triple the price if it’s out of season.  It gives variety to the menu also. I tried kale for the first time this week for 98 cents a bunch, and it was so good.
  • Make one meatless dinner a week- Beans are a great, filling protein substitute and cost less per serving. Also, eggs make a great Spanish Tortilla.
  • Do not stray from your grocery list or go shopping on an empty stomach- Both will cause that grocery bill to go up quick. You can stand to wait until the next week for that item and find a substitute in the pantry; 90 percent of the time there’s something.
  • Do not buy more than you’ll eat just because it’s on sale- It goes along the lines of rule #2. Sometimes things may sound like a good buy and it ends up in the trash or sitting in the back of the pantry for 10 years. 
  • Frozen is less than fresh- Frozen veggies have the same and have read that sometimes more nutritional value. For a dollar I get 6 servings of frozen green beans, when a pound of fresh green beans costs $1.69 and you still have to cut the ends.
  • All in all, time is money- Weight the benefits of dried and cooked; 1pound of dry beans is a dollar, but you have to soak overnight and cook for an hour or 2. A can of beans is $1.20, but its heat up and eat within 15 minutes. Same with rice.
Our household went from two salaries to one, and I went from spending $400 in monthly groceries to $250. Using 1, 2 or all 10 of these tips will guaranty savings. Just try it.


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So, if you haven't gotten your Thanksgiving Turkey and put it to defrost, it may be a little late.  I have an idea, though....make a Pernil or Pork Butt (not a ham, but actually the shoulder of the pig).  If you really want pork, but can't afford the pricey ham this is the way to go.  At home I'd get one for 60 cents/pound, and here they happen to have it for a week at my favorite discount grocery store at $1.50 a pound.  I snatched it up even though it wasn't in my normal grocery budget.  Now, this week when the budget is really tough with Thanksgiving around the corner, with a 10 pound pork butt, I managed to get 3 meals from it (maybe it'll be 4 by the weekend).
Pork is almost a staple in our household and it definitely was while growing up.  I have to say, Puertoricans know how to roast pork.  I will never forget the trip I took to Puerto Rico, and the day we had in the mountains where they had a whole pig roasting on a giant pit.  Then my dad and his best fri…