Frugal food-i-tude

groceryshoppingIt’s always a challenge to save money at the grocery store.  Saving money on your family’s food needs has as much about your attitude as it does about getting lower prices through coupons and sales.

Food is fuel

A self-professed foodie, I get caught in this trap routinely. While taste is an important component of your eating, it is not the only one. Nutrition is well.

If you start looking at your grocery cart, the impulse buys are driven by a momentary temptation. You’ve had the conversation with yourself- that is driven by your stomach more than your wallet. Recognize what is going on- and give in to that voice once in a while- but not always.

Chicken out

Does your family prefer boneless chicken breasts or thighs (which admittedly are much easier to work with)?

Ever wonder why boneless pieces are far more expensive? You are paying for the labour of de-boning a chicken- which is actually pretty easy (YouTube has loads of examples). You know that convenience foods are more expensive, but that is a convenience that you may have not considered.

You are better off to invest in a good boning knife and take on that task yourself.

Swap meat out

Make a commitment to swap meat out once a week, and you will see a dramatic dip in your grocery bills over time.

Meat is the big cost centre, and there are numerous (and delicious) ways to fill that need. Think pastas or legumes (a big slow cooker filled with homemade beans is a huge hit in my house).

Waste not

It goes without saying that wasting food is wasting money. But waste has different levels. Are you using up every scrap? This happens often when you buy specific ingredients for a dish.

For example, I made a lovely lentil soup this week that called for cilantro, which comes in a gigantic bunch.

What to do with the rest? I often make a Black Bean salad (which is literally a can of black beans, drained and rinsed and an equal amount of frozen corn, thawed). You then add a couple of tbsp. of chopped cilantro, a chopped red onion, about 5 or 6 tbsp. of balsamic vinegar and a tbsp. of sugar. There is lunch for a couple of days.

Another idea to use up odds and ends is to start incorporating frittatas in your meal plan. The versatile frittata is the great-fridge-cleaner-outer.