Sunday, January 13, 2013

Freeze Your Food Budget

I was recently asked how I grocery shop and make my food last so long. Me being the organizational freak that I am, I decided to share a few tips and tricks with you all so we can be organized together!Whether you are sleeved, single or just on a budget - these will work for you. There's nothing special or magical, just a girl with severe OCD who wanted to make cooking for one more convenient, a snap to track food and stretch my dollar further.

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.
 So as you see, once placed in the large bag I cut off the UPC's, tape them to the bag and label each one. It takes an extra 3 minutes but makes my life SO much easier! I take it a step further for fresh meat by scaling my food into 4 ounce portions before freezing - as I did here with my Aldi Ground Chicken ($2.39 a pound!

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?
Happy shopping!

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