Sunday, July 19, 2009

Cut $$$ From Your Grocery Bill

Last month, I shared tips on how to save money from your general merchandise bill (making your own dish soap, making your own laundry detergent).

This month, I decided to tackle the not-so-pleasant task of really looking at what Jason and I buy and how we can slash some Benjamins from our grocery bill.

Jason and I have lived together for almost four years, and we have come a long way. We've learned a lot of tips along the way (such as: don't eat what you're not going to be (seems simple...)).

You should probably start this task by looking at what you spend a lot of money on. For example, pasta sauce. We spend about $2 per pasta sauce jar, and we only ever use half of it. The other half always sits in the fridge, and after a week (after which we have usually not ate any more of it), we throw it away.

Sure, we could tell ourselves that we'll just change our habits and make pasta twice a week. But instead of lying to ourselves, we should just find a better way.

One tip is to buy tomato paste and make your own sauce. The great part about this is if you buy a large can, you can freeze the leftover paste in an ice cube tray, put the frozen cubes in a bag, and then you have tomato paste that you're not wasting.

Sam's Club has Hunt's Tomato Paste for about $5. You get 12 6 oz. cans. I have not compared prices with regular retailers so that might even be the best price!

Below is a link I found to a recipe you could make from tomato paste:
http://www.cooks.com/rec/view/0,1615,148188-249198,00.html


So really, saving money is all about not wasting food, right? Jason and I always buy a loaf of bread when we grocery shop (ever two weeks). Depending on what kind of bread we buy, we could spend $1 to $5 per loaf of bread. But there is not one time we have ever used a loaf of bread. In fact, it's rare to use a quarter of the loaf before, surprise, surprise, the loaf is moldy.

Now, we break up the loaf into four equal parts. We take three of those parts and wrap each of the three parts in Saran wrap (we wrap the bread four times to ensure there is no freezer burn) and put the new loaves in the freezer. That way, we have enough bread for four weeks, instead of bread for one week (since good bread usually is only good for one week).

We're still figuring out how to best use our resources. Money is a common resource, but so often abused. It's so important to make each dollar count, and these tips are just two ways to make your dollar stretch further.