Monday, October 17, 2011

Cooking on a Budget - Part Four

At The Grocery Store

Grocery stores are just like any other retail store; they are designed to keep you in there for awhile and for you to spend as much as possible.  They make things look really good to pass up, but once you are aware of the "tricks" they use, you'll be able to pass them by.

Many stores offer rewards plans like a savings card, digital coupons, money off gas based on how much you buy in a month, punch cards that can be redeemed for particular items, etc.  Get to know your store and what rewards programs they have and use as many as possible.  And be sure to fill out all of the information when signing up for a rewards card.  Most stores will mail you coupons based on what you buy the most.

Know the layout of your store.  The more you wander, the more your apt to put into your cart.  If you cannot find something quickly, ask an employee....that also goes for an empty shelf.  They may not be out, they just might not have restocked yet.

Ask for help at the meat counter.  Most stores will cut larger pieces of meat for you or repackage things at no extra cost.  The butchers can also give you idea on how to prepare certain cuts of meat.  That way you can purchase something cheaper that you might not have simply based on that fact that you're not sure what to do with it.  I like to get the large pork loins on sale and then have them cut into smaller roasts and pork chops.  It's also great to get whole chickens on sale then have the butcher cut them into 8 serving pieces.  Bone in pieces are more tender and juicy when cooked "low and slow".

Always check your receipt.  This might shock you, but computers can make mistakes....or things might scan twice, or your coupon might not have doubled.  If you see a problem, go straight to customer service.  They can give you your money back, you'll not hold up the line and they can fix any computer errors right then.

Try to shop only once a week.  Get the ads and the coupons from your newspaper and think of your recipes.  Plan your meals for the week, and also plan snacks such as baby carrots and dip.  Buy only those things...unless it's a great stockpiling deal (that's for another day!) But basically stick to your list and don't fall for beautiful displays and big signs.  Remember to divide the price by the ounces to see what is really a deal!

Until Next Time.....

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