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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Pricey Eats

If you've been to the grocery store anytime in the last, oh, 2 years, you know that prices of many foods are going up and up.  Here are some tips for making the most of your money when it comes to feeding your family.
  • Use coupons.  Yes, clipping coupons can be a little time-consuming, but it saves money.  Many stores will double your coupons and save even more money for you.  I don't know if it's coincidence or not, but we find that many times, the items we have coupons for are also on sale.  Ka-ching!
  • Use a store's savings card.  Many stores have cards for frequent customers that save a lot of money.
  • Buy store brand items vs. big-name brands.  This isn't always the best thing to do, but think about what the item is and how it'll be used.  For example, I think that a store brand can of corn is probably inferior to a brand name.  So if I'm going to use it as a side dish, I'll probably buy the brand name.  But if I'm going to be putting the corn in a soup or stew or something like that, the store brand will be just fine.  And costs quite a bit less.
  • Buy locally.  Veggies and fruits are costly partly because of the costs of shipping.  If you buy from local farms, you'll not only get fresher and more healthy, you'll be helping our local economy.
  • Buy what you need.  Americans waste a huge amount of food each year.  You know you do it.  You see some snow peas on sale and you think, "Hmm.  Maybe I'll make a stir-fry this week."  Then the peas get buried at the bottom of your crisper until you find them--dried up and unusable--a couple of weeks later.  So not only do you not get your stir-fry, but you are throwing money away.  That's one of the "hidden" benefits to a personal chef service.  I buy only what I need to make the dishes you want, so there's no waste of food or money.
  • Eat more veggies.  Meats are the most costly of the foods we buy.  So cut back on the meats and come up with vegetable-based dishes.  It gives you a chance to eat healthier and to try out some different cuisines and spices that you might not otherwise.
  • Spend your money on good stuff.  In an article from the Burlington (VT) Free Press, experts and chefs make the suggestion that you buy higher quality items (meats, for example)--spending more on 1 or 2 items--but eat less of it during the week.  (There are some other good tips in that article, too.)
  • Grow a garden.  It takes work, but growing your own fresh veggies is not only rewarding and delicious, but can save you loads of money. 
Everything seems to be more expensive these days.  Feeding your family is no place to skimp, but there are ways to make your bucks go further.  If you'd like to talk more about how my services can help you from wasting food that you thought you'd make, give me a call or an email!

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