Saturday, January 17, 2009

Food for less. Save money on the food you purchase.

I'm starting this blog because I know, next to the cost of rent, food is the 2nd most costly item for a lot of students. Let me show you how to save your money on food.

How I save money on groceries:

1.) Limit yourself from going out to eat. Some fast food chains are inexpensive, but not as healthy as cooking at home. (To save more money at fast food chains, use coupons that come in the mail. Typically, you can save 25% to 60% with these coupons.)

2.) Register at your local grocery stores. Now a lot of grocery stores offer cards (Not credit cards, but savings cards. Free to everybody.) just by signing up. Filling out the form is good also because the stores will send store sales and coupons to your mailbox. On average, I save a few dollars with my cards. But I have saved more than 50% on my food purchases when I combined my card with store sales and coupons. I also get special coupons in my email box occasionally that I can't get through any other means because I signed up for the card.

3.) Look up your local grocery stores online and through the yellow pages. Write them down, or print them if you like. Keep in mind your daily commute to school or work from home. If there's grocery stores that are on your route, that will cut down time and money for gas to go out of the way to buy groceries.

4.) Go to your grocery store's website. Bookmark all of your grocery store websites that you can. If they have deal notification offers, sign-up. When time is near to grocery shop go online and look at the store sales ads.

5.) Sometimes, stores have great sales that only come around every couple of months or longer. I have recently came along a sale for chicken breast that was on sale for $0.99 / lb. In my area, chicken breast goes for $4 / lb. So when I seen the deal I took full advantage and purchased the max allowable on the sale ad (Which was 3 pckgs). This will maximize your savings for now and long term thinking that the food will last for a long time.
Here's some grocery stores I have good experience with:

- I have been getting free bread weekly from this store because there's an survey option on the receipts, which when you do it, gives you a code to enter on the coupon to redeem for free bread. I also buy bananas here for 3lbs/$1, 1 Qt of yogurt for $2.50, and PB for $1.

    Food Lion
- I get $.99 american cheese here that's just as good or better than Craft. Good prices on frozen vegetables, fresh vegetables & fruit, and, occasionally, PB for $1.

- Good weekly specials, have to look for sales in ads, but this is where I saved 2x's $$$ for my meat. Chicken and Turkey meat.

6.) Another very important rule, that I go by, is I only buy essential food. I don't buy food that does not have some sort of nutritional value. I don't buy cereal anymore, because most cereal doesn't provide anything but filler. I choose to eat eggs, that I purchase for $0.10 each. I buy vegetables, juice on occasion, bread, etc. I drink tap water, but have a water purifier. And I like to drink a lot of hot tea.

7.) Another very important rule, save money by purchasing generic brands. I buy the same amount of PB for half the price of a name brand of the same amount of PB. Same goes with bread, cheese, juice, tuna, and just about everything has a generic brand you can buy and save more money.

8.) Next time you go to the grocery store and see a tv dinner, think about it and your healthier and less expensive alternatives. For instance, those Michelina Chicken fried rice dinners go for ~ $1, right? But if you buy a $20 lb bag of white rice, $2 bottle of soy sauce, $2 bag of mixed vegetables, $2 worth of chicken. You can fry your own rice, mixed the chicken (cooked), with vegetables and soy sauce. And have a much better dinner than the Michelina dinner. You can control the amount of soy also. That $26 worth of rice, chicken, vegetables, and soy sauce will last a lot longer and cost less for you in the long term. A 20lb bag of rice for me, if I ate rice everyday, I would last me 2~3 months.

Some Easy, Cheap, and Quick Recipes:

    • Ramen, Tuna, & Vegetables
    - Boil water, open can of tuna and drain water, if vegetables are frozen- thaw in microwave. I use tupperware to boil my ramen, but you can use a bowl or pot. Use flavor packet when boiling noodles. You can control the amount you would like to use (The packets have a lot of sodium). Once noodles are soft, drain or don't drain water with the flavor packet. Mix vegetables & tuna & noodles. You can flavor it some more. I like to use "Sri Racha" chile paste, but you can use anything. I heard people using ketchup, hot sauce, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, almost anything you like. Voila. This is one of my favorite easy meals.

    • PB&J or PB & banana
    - Bread, PB & J or PB & banana. Eat for lunch a lot. A $1.oo tub of PB lasts me 7-10 sandwiches.
    • Chicken stir-fry ramen
    - Boil ramen noodles up until just become soft. Mix stir fry mix vegetables, ramen, cooked chicken, and soy sauce in hot oiled skillet or wok(if you have one). Cook just for a couple of minutes. Voila! A very good lomein, but ramen meal. *I found when using frozen mixed vegetables for this recipe, throw frozen vegetables in hot skillet, with everything else and after a couple of minutes vegetables will be hot but still crunchy and good.
    • Spaghetti and Turkey meat sauce
    - Brown ground turkey meat, drain oil and fat. Simmer can of spaghetti sauce. Mix in ground turkey meat with sauce(I use 1lb meat to 260z can). Add seasoning if you like, like basil and oregano. Boil spaghetti. Drain spaghetti. Don't rinse spaghetti!!! This washes off important starches that help sauce stick to noodles. And mix sauce with noodles. Delicious!
    • Pollo con Arroz y frijoles negro (Chicken with black beans and rice)
    - My favorite cuban dish. Buy dry black beans. Soak them overnight in water. Boil them the next day. When soft, mix with cooked rice, diced tomatoes, chopped onions, chopped green peppers, cumin spice, and chicken bouillon cube. Serve hot. With cooked chicken, seasoned how ever you like. Some people like to marinate the chicken in adobo, or just cook with onions, whatever you like that will complement the black beans and rice.

If you have any recipes, please share them. I have many other ideas that I'll add later on.

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About Me

I am 27 years old. I live in Jacksonville, Florida. I graduated from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Cum Laude with a Bachelors of Science in Aeronautics with a minor in Safety. Now I am working towards a FAA Airframe & Powerplant certification through FSCJ. I served 6 years in the USAF. I had a chance to go all over the world and learn to be open of other ways of life. The reason why I think I am good at saving money and giving others advice is because of my travels, being in the military, good instinct, and mostly because I am a detailed-oriented and a very, very resourceful individual.