Quite a few of my friends refer to me as the Queen of Cheap. By necessity and now habit, I hate to pay retail for anything and prefer free!! In our current economy, the tips and tricks I've learned over the years are most definitely coming in handy. So over the next few weeks, I'll share some of the lessons I've learned. Please feel free to add tips of your own...I'm always willing and eager to learn more!!
1. Get a crockpot!! Even the cheapest cut of meat will be delicious after 8-10 hours in a crockpot with your favorite gravy/seasonings. Bonus tip: Most crockpots have removable inserts. Assemble your meal the night before and keep in the fridge. Plug it in in the morning and dinner will be ready when you get home from work!
2. Use coupons!! Now I'm not one of those extreme couponers like on TV. I normally save about 10 to 20 percent a week. But coupons are basically manufacturers saying "Here's free money!". Wouldn't you prefer to keep that $20 in your pocket? Bonus tip: There are numerous bloggers who post store match-ups each week matching your particular grocery store's weekly ad with available coupons. That will save you even more!
3. Check for reduced meat!! Most meat sections in major grocery stores have reduced meat that is approaching the sell by date. In most instances, it can be reduced 50% or more. There is nothing wrong with this meat as long as you use it day of purchase or IMMEDIATELY freeze it. Bonus tip: Before freezing, separate large packages in to the serving size you'll need upon thawing. You want it to remain frozen until you need it!
4. Use store brands!! For canned goods in particular, these are a great bargain, sometimes 30-40% less than name brand. Those savings then make up for those items you absolutely refuse to do without the name brand. Bonus tip: Store brands are perfect for those items that are used in cooking something else...soups, vegetables, etc.
5. Watch for in-store sales!! These are unadvertised items that the store has on sale or has coupons displayed on the shelf. These frequently include buy one item, get another free. Free is good!! Bonus tip: If these are not products you would normally buy...don't get drawn in by free or discounted!! Spending money on something you can't use isn't saving!!
Have a great day, everybody!!