Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Be$t Value Food$

Grocery purchases comprise about 7% of my  income so I am always looking to stretch my food dollars.  With the recent news that food prices are expected to rise 25% (and with no foreseeable raise in our incomes) the need to be smart is even more crucial.  

Some of the most obvious ways to save are in coupon-ing, both paper and digital which are loaded on your loyalty shopping card or smart phones.  Don't forget that many stores allow you to combine MANUFACTURER coupons with STORE coupons to increase your savings.  You can check with your favorite stores to understand their policies as I find that the associates at check out don't always know the rules of their place of employment when it comes to coupon-ing.  

Buy on sale.  I stock up when my favorite marinara sauce is $1.25 a jar instead of $1.66.  Just a week ago I bought 10 cans of chicken broth, leftovers from the holidays but with a use by date of 2015.  I also bought brown and confectionery sugar for $0.25 a 2 pound bag.  DEALS!

But what foods are the most economical to feed a hungry family?  Pair these foods with the strategies above for a bigger savings.  

While grains breads and pastas take longer to digest so you'll feel full longer and they have more nutrients.  Look for labels that indicate "100% whole grain or 100% whole wheat".  

Beans and lentils are high protein foods and are typically less than $2.00 a pound.  A steaming pot of bean soup is a satisfying meal after a long day.  I prepare soups over the weekend and they are ready to reheat one night during the week.  I then store the "leftovers" in a gallon zip-lock bag (lay flat to freeze and they stack nicely in the freezer) for a meal later in the winter.  My family doesn't really enjoy the same meal more than once or twice in the same week.  

Believe it or not, frozen seafood like shrimp and fish is a good value.  Canned tuna in water makes a convenient low cost lunch.  

Frozen fruits and vegetables can offset the cost of out of season fruits.  Frozen fruits are processed at their peak of ripeness and freshness which saves the nutritional value.  Choose veggies without sauces for the best value,

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