It also helps if you know how to make some simple yet filling meals often and then buy the key ingredients when they're on sale. Most grocery stores rotate their sales items, so if you get in the habit of paying attention, you can stock up on the things you use most at the lowest prices.
For example: about 2 months ago, our local grocery had an sale on their higher end store-brand items. If you purchased 4 items from the mix-and-match list, you saved $4. I took a quick walk around the store to see exactly what was on the sale. One of the best 'deals' from the sale was their pasta. It made the packages $0.69 each. So choosing in groups of 4's, I purchased 16LB of pasta, in lots of different shapes, for only $11.04.
One of my other most-watched sales is the price of cheese. We enjoy having pizza often, but it isn't realistic for us to order pizza for delivery. So we make our own. If I can find shredded Mozzarella cheese on sale for $3LB, I can make our family 2 large pizzas for under $5. (By the way, Kroger has cheese on sale this week for $3LB- through next Wednesday in central Indiana.)
|The one on the left is just cheese, the one on the right is deluxe...the girls don't like olives -LOL!|
So how do we work our Under $5 magic?
First: assemble your ingredients. Many of these are 'parts' of a container that we have for some other meal. (So no, you can't start from scratch and buy it all for $5, but you can come close by buying enough for 4 pizzas for about $10.)
For Two large pizzas:
Crust ingredients (double the recipe below) $0.45
Cheese for 2 pizzas $3/LB
Sauce (use 10 TBSP of whatever spaghetti sauce you already have in the fridge or pantry) $0.10
Olives ($1/can at ALDI) $0.10
Kroger brand frozen 3 pepper & onion blend (1/3 bag) $0.40
Enough Parmesan cheese to lightly cover the sauce $0.30
Total cost $4.35
If you want, throw in a little extra ground beef you saved from last night's spaghetti...it makes it right about $5 for 2 pizzas.
Second: learn to make your own crust. This is super simple. You can choose any recipe you like...ours is from the Betty Crocker Cookbook.
Pizza Crust: (double it if you're making two!)
3/4 cup hot water (tap hot, not boiling)
1/2 teaspoon rapid rise yeast
2 cups (+/-) flour.
Mix the hot water with the yeast, then slowly stir in the flour. If it's a little too sticky, add a TBSP or two more flour. Knead lightly in the bowl, spray the outside of the dough ball with oil (we use olive oil, but make use of whatever is already in your cabinet) then cover with a clean towel and let rise in a warm room for 45 minutes. When the pizzas are made, bake for 12-15 minutes in a 425 degree oven. We like our cheese golden brown.
*Note, if you don't want to keep all that shredded mozzarella you just bought on sale in your refrigerator, put it in the freezer until the day before you plan to use it. If you buy the already-shredded cheese (as opposed to blocks) it thaws quickly, and works just as well as if you bought it yesterday.
While it may not be every week, I'll continue throughout the next year to share ideas on frugal living under the tag "Frugal Friday"... even if I post it on a Wednesday!
Hope you'll come back often!
I did a guest post at my friend Marcy's blog www.benandme.com back in September. It was The 5 P's of Grocery Savings. You can read it here.