Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Frugal Challenge Update and Stretching My Grocery Dollars

Well, I wanted to finish doing my taxes, or at least get them ready for the tax guy, but I am glad to say I am done. They will be dropped off tomorrow and I am relieved to have this job completed.

Having been sick last week, I did not get around to my regular deal hunting and coupon runs but there is always this week. The upside is I didn't spend as much as I didn't go to the grocery store and we were forced to eat out of the pantry and freezer. It is nice to have food stockpiled for just these types of needs.

I wanted to share some of my grocery budget stretchers. I used to easily spend up to $200 a week on food and toiletries for six people and four animals. I have now almost cut this in half. Some weeks are still closer to $150  but that is still a savings of $200 per month. While sick last week, I had to fill a prescription and knew I had a coupon for a $25 gift card to Albertsons for a new prescription. The meds cost me .99 and I rec'd the gift card so I made $24.01 to shop with. Look for coupons like this to markets, drugstores and Target. I am sure there are others but these are the ones I have used.

Another way I stretch my food dollars is to try and use absolutely everything up. I HATE to waste food. I will freeze almost anything to keep it from spoiling. Some examples of what you can freeze are cottage cheese that when thawed, is great to use in lasagna in place of ricotta cheese.
 I freeze cheese too, and once thawed I just grate it and use it for things where it will be melted. You can't tell any difference. Same with cream cheese and sour cream. Before they spoil, I will freeze and just use them in my mashed potatoes the next time I make them.

Fruit is another thing I will freeze when it is getting old. Bananas freeze easily in their peels and I just thaw and use in muffins or bread. Berries and grapes can be frozen and added to smoothies.

 Bread can be made into bread crumbs when it is getting old and stale. One thing we do is have French toast once a week. I use up all the old bread and heels that no one uses for sandwiches. The kids have always ate the heels this way so they are not picky. This post is getting sort of wordy so I will share my other ideas next time.


  1. These are very practical and good ideas. Thanks!

    My problem with coupons is I used to use them to buy things I wanted to try or did not need. Now I only save the coupons for stuff that is tried and true. I also buy stuff on sale, like at The Fresh Market. Although it is a high end store, some of their staples and sale items beat Publix, so you have to know prices well and read the paper.

  2. I like talking Pantry.....good ideas I didn't know all those things can be frozen. I like to stock up when the store sells by one get one, or they sell in bulk...stock up that sturdy pantry...it does come in handy and now I wouldn't be w/o one. happy day. Your blue/red room is very nice and the afghans add a warmth and coziness...

  3. I freeze a lot too. And I am a composter, so not much goes to waste.

  4. That's a lot of great ideas. We're waiting for one more 1099 to get our taxes done. Bummer. Have a great day.

  5. you know I never knew you could do that with cheese,, thats a really good idea,