Before we moved away from Calgary and left or comfy jobs I wasn’t that concerned about the prices we spent on food. As long as it was good for us that was the main thing. I wouldn’t throw our money away or anything, I just wasn’t that concerned. Now we have less money to spend I’ve been finding some unique ways of saving money, unique for me anyway.
Find stores that have discount racks and ask someone when they are filled so you can plan to be there to get the best freshest old stuff. We make our own bread most of the time. Martin wrote “Baking Bread – Is it worth the effort?” For those times when we have forgot to put on a loaf and the little ones really want grilled cheese we have what I call “freezer loaves” in the, you guessed it, freezer. I found a drug store, of all places, that carries some food items, kind of like corner store type stuff, but good quality. They often have marked down stickers on their bread at $.50, $1 or $2 off. The other day the bread was on sale for $2.50 with a $2 off sticker. What a score, although I almost had to have a fist fight with another lady over it. She was at the bread section first but I had found it first, and hey I have three little kids to feed. “Totally justified” I had to tell myself and proceeded to the checkout.
Most stores will have a discount shelf, usually at the back of the store, near the doors to the back storage area. Most stores just have old shampoo, bubble gum and dog bisquits that have strange smells and flavours that someone somewhere decided might sell, nope. Other stores also have big racks in their bakery and produce departments. As well as a section in the dairy and meat for close dated items. Sometimes you are taking a gamble, I have had some pretty bad smelling meat I had to though away. Most of the time it’s fine and I just put it straight in the freezer when I get home anyway, fresh or not.
We cook from scratch as much as we can. As long as you aren’t eating Porterhouse Steak and Lobster everynight you should be saving money over buying those ready made foods such as pizzas and noodle dishes, that you find in the fleezer section. Plus they are full of sodium, they are not good for you or your kids. And what is with these frozen sandwiches? Really, who can’t make a sandwich? We have cut down on the amount of red meat we are eating, and just eat chicken, seafood and vegetarian. Not only is it cheaper, it’s better for you. Although a good quality whole chicken or fish these days is expensive. Other seafood can be expensive also but shop around and you can find some pretty good prices. I have decided not to eat Basa(Mekong Catfish) anymore, we are eating local fish when possible.
Portions is something we are also cutting back on too. We are eating more fruits and vegetables, grains, less meat and trying to consume less calories. Health Canada’s new Canada’s Food Guide online is now interactive and customizable. You can make your own guide at My Food Guide.
My advise, for what it’s worth, is to find as many deals as you can(though flyers, coupons and daily specials), grow some of your own food and shop around. There are great deals out there you just have to learn a little about your local stores and how they handle close dated items.
And please, try to have fun.