If you haven’t noticed the rising cost of food, you are either a billionaire, the media, or living under a rock. Living here in NY, we have seen huge increases. And it is not the 5% that the media and the government keep talking about either. It is 25-50% depending on what you purchase. We have all seen it no matter what food you buy. We are going to continue to see it especially if the new spending bill passes the Senate. Every time the government spends money that adds to the debt, your prices will rise.
Don’t think that people making a lot of money will be the ones paying for it. We will pay for the increases in the products we purchase. Walmart, Amazon, and all of your supermarkets will pass their increased costs on to you, the consumer. They are not going to pay it. You are!
So what can you do to keep your costs down? Here are many of the things that we do to help our bottom line on food purchases.
We do not waste food. Never, ever! We eat every morsel that we buy. All leftovers are eaten either as a next night meal or made into a different meal. If we have a meal or two and we have just a smidgen of meat or vegetable leftover, we put it in a freezer bag and freeze it. We keep adding the little smidgen’s to the bag until it is full. Then we pull it out of the freezer and make a soup, stew or casserole with it. Then we eat that dish every night until it is gone.
We also have leftover nights where we will pull some from the week from the fridge and have a smorgasbord for dinner. That is rare though since I cook portion amounts.
We always cook the portions of protein that our bodies need. No matter what meat we have, I cook 4 oz. for each of us for dinner. That is all the protein you need each day. There are days that we will eat bacon or sausage for brunch too so those days we get 6 oz. of protein. But I limit it to 6 oz. a day on those occasions.
Fresh produce is another item that we never waste. We use it up in salads, slow cook it up with a roast, or pan roast it with any meat. If we have carrots, onions or celery that are getting old, I dice or slice them up and freeze them to pull out when we need those items for a meal. I first, lay them flat on a cookie sheet and freeze them. Then I put them in a freezer bag to pull out whatever amount I need for a meal. Matter of fact, I will be doing that today. I got 2 – 5 lb. bags of whole carrots on a B1G1F sale for dirt cheap. We are not eating them up fast enough. So I will prepare them and get them in the freezer today before they spoil.
If you have apples that are starting to get soft, make apple pie filling to can or freeze. Keep your apples in a cool place so that they last for months. We keep apples in our cold garage inside of a cooler to keep any critters out. They last for a very long time. I also keep onions and potatoes in the garage. I keep a thermometer out there to make sure they don’t freeze. If the temp is getting close to freezing I put them in the basement until the temperature goes back up. If you don’t have a garage or basement, keep them in a pantry if you keep your winter temps down in your home. Otherwise, as a last resort and if you have the space, put them in the refrigerator rather than have them spoil.
When we shop, we buy mostly on sale items. If I see that BS chicken breasts are on sale for $1.99 a lb. or less, I will buy 3 packages and can or freeze them. If I see a roast on sale for $ 4.99 a lb. I will buy a couple and do the same. These days, we are pretty much sticking to buying roasts, pork chops, chicken or hamburger because everything else is too expensive. The only exception is fish which I will pay more for but only when it is on sale.
I also have purchased cans of Keystone All Natural meats. They come from an Amish family company and the cost of them sometimes beats the price of fresh. We have tried all of them: pork, turkey, chicken, ground hamburger and their beef. They are all delicious and they are all just the meat and salt in the can. Each can has 28 oz. in it. So we get quite a few meals out of one can. They also have a very long shelf life. If you are interested in them, purchase just one can and try it. You want to make sure that your family likes it before you stockpile them.
When I buy canned tomatoes, beans, etc. when they are on sale, I buy more than one. Back in the 1970’s, when our budget was really tight and prices were sky rocketing, I would buy the 1 that we needed and 2 more for the pantry. That way I didn’t have to pay full price the next time I needed a can. That really holds true today. If you see a can that is on sale and use it all the time, buy a case if you can afford it. Prices will never be lower than today. They just keep going up. So a stockpile is better than money in the bank!
When nuts go on sale, we buy at least 3 cans. We eat nuts for snacks and to put in salads.
There are certain things I will not buy right now because I deem the prices way too high. They are soda( no nutrition), coffee unless it is Cafe Bustelo, filet mignon and other steaks, lamb chops, most snacks and candy come to mind at the moment. I know there are many others.
I will substitute other items for the high priced ones. We drink water or iced tea instead of soda. I drink tea instead of coffee. We eat the cheaper meats instead of the more expensive ones. We eat a handful of nuts or a fruit instead of chips and other snacks. We are not eating candy.
When I go shopping, I check out cheaper options. If produce is too high, I will buy frozen veggies if the price per pound is cheaper. If canned is cheaper than those two options and it is going in a soup of casserole, I will buy that. I rinse the salt off any canned veggies since we stick to a low salt diet. I do the same with the Keystone meats.
Make your food from scratch. Most of the time it is cheaper. If you have an Aldi, shop there. Their produce and their meat sales are so much cheaper than my other stores. I love my Aldi’s. I think Winco in the western part of the country is probably the alternative to Aldi.
If you like fresh veggies, always buy in season. Right now, the different squashes and cabbage are cheaper than other veggies. They also keep a long time. Apples and potatoes are also in season. Can in season veggies to that you can eat them cheaply all year round. We had lots of tomatoes from our own garden this year. We ate many fresh but we also canned a lot of them to eat this winter.
I also keep canned mushrooms, dehydrated mushrooms, and fresh mushrooms when they are on sale in our home. I buy whichever is on sale to keep a good supply. My favorite is the dehydrated because they are the cheapest at my Amish store and they are easy to use.
If you have an Amish store within 2 hours of you, you might consider shopping there. We go once every month or 2 and it is well worth the trip. Their bulk prices are so much cheaper than even the warehouse clubs. I buy oatmeal, spices, the mushrooms, seeds, fruits, 100% pure maple syrup, veggies, meats, and a few bakery products from them.
If you have the freezer space and can buy a cow from a local farmer each fall, you will save a lot of money per pound.
There are many other ways like keeping a price book to always know the lowest price. I find this to be very difficult these days with prices constantly changing. But it also gives you an idea of how fast prices are rising.
I am sure that many of you have tips to keep the costs down that I have not mentioned. Please feel free to leave them in the comments so that someone else can benefit from them.