Tuesday, November 1, 2011
Cooking on a Budget - Bonus: Stockpiling and buying in bulk
Bulk: This can be done in a variety of ways. You can buy family packs of meat and then package it up smaller and freeze, or you could go in with another family and split it up evenly and you both save money. You could also go to a warehouse type of store and get dry goods and do the same kind of thing, repackage or share. A couple of tips I've learned about buying in bulk.....use it for power cooking, sometimes called once a month cooking, where you prepare the same meal multiple times to freeze and use later. With meat, especially ground beef, you can brown all of it first then package it by 1 pound or however much you will use in your recipes. This saves a lot of time when preparing a recipe especially if it's for the crock pot. Other foods that you know for sure you'll use in certain recipes can also be browned or cooked and shredded ahead of time then sealed and frozen for later use.
Stockpiling: A word of warning, stockpiling should only be done with items that you know your family will use before it can go bad! For example, just off the top of my head I can list 7 dishes where I use petite diced tomatoes and tomato sauce. A store I go to recently had an event where if you bought 10 of these you got an extra five dollars off your order. So instead of each can being $1 it was only 50 cents. Yes I bought 30! I'm already down to only 10 of each. It will definitely all be gone before winter is over, well before it's two year expiration date.
Also, go ahead and stockpile something that's a huge deal and that will last until you can get it on sale again...that way you didn't pay full price. For example, I am VERY brand loyal to a certain shaving cream as I have very sensitive skin and I have tried them all! But the brand I use is almost never on sale let alone do you see a coupon. So when I had both, you better believe I bought all that I could with the coupons. I asked my friends for their copy of the coupon or traded coupons with them. I think I ended up buying 10 cans. It's all gone now. and in that whole time I never saw it on sale or another coupon. When this last can is through, I guess I'll be paying full price *SIGH*. Maybe there will be a miracle sale again before then!
DON'T fall into the trap of something being close to free so you buy 50 of them and then can't possibly use it all. Unless it was free you will be wasting some money, unless of course you plan on donating all or some of it. And if you wiped out a store doing it, what about that person who really wanted or needed it but couldn't get it? (Yes, I also mourn the squirrels on the side of the road, I can't help it!) You should always think of others when stockpiling! It's just good manners. If you want all that's on the shelf, ask the store manager if there is more in the back, or at the very least if you do get the last one, notify someone that the shelf is empty. When I bought 30 cans of tomato products, had it cleaned out the shelf, I would have only gotten 20. Just remember, there might be someone worse off than you.
Once again, this is just a basic overview. There are a lot of other people out there with very detailed strategies to these things that might be more to your liking, especially if you have a very large family and need to do these things strategically. Let me know if you have any questions!
Until Next TIme.....