Now the first thing I do is search through all the ads and make a list of what I need and where its from. For me, making a list keeps me from buying a lot of unnecessary items. If it's a large list I usually take it to Wal-Mart since they price match and kill everything in one shot. Coupons, people! I cannot stress this enough! Also, becoming familiar with standard prices for items in your area will allow you to recognize a good sale. This time there wasn't anything on sale that I couldn't get at Aldi or Meijer for cheaper so off I went.
No matter what store I'm at I always check the clearance rack - especially for meat! You can often get dented cans for 1/2 price, it may not be pretty but you aren't eating the can. I hit the mother load at Meijer, the sausage was almost half price - that's 12 protein packed meals for $.58 each!! If you freeze the food before the expiration date you are ok
Now to get it all home and to store it, right? Don't go and buy a million freezer bags, you won't need a bunch this way. A while back Ziploc came out with a product called Perfect Portions, I cannot tell you how underrated these things are! They allow you to wrap individual serving sizes of food (and prevent freezer burn) that you can store inside a large Ziploc freezer bag. Go buy these.
I broke down each package and put 2 sausages in each bag, labeling the bag so I would know what flavor I'm pulling out. I did the same with the turkey bacon, putting 4 slices in each portion protector. Now here comes the OCD in me - I track my food and there is nothing more frustrating than trying to remember what Ive repackaged in order to track correctly.
I cant tell you how much money portioning my food has saved me. Nothing goes bad and I don't waste anything because I'm able to use only what I want. I spent $50.85 on food and by taking an extra half hour to portion it out I have enough food to last me over 40 meals! I wont have to buy any meat or vegetables for close to 3 weeks. That fits in with my Spending Diet budget nicely!
My freezer is full and happy!
What tips and tricks do you use to maximize shopping on a budget?