This is the fifth in this series
I eat very basic plain food so I can get away without having all these artificial additives in my food more about that later. I do buy canned food and packaged goods but only the one I want and are good for my health. If I donít understand what in the product from reading ingredient list, I am likely to leave it on the shelf.
On occasions I will find a very good buy in the marked down bin of item that I could make from a recipe found in cookbook or on the internet, I then may buy it to try out then find a way in making that item myself, I do keep the packaging or label for a reference then set out to find similar recipes or methods to make that item. You have to remember that we in Australia do not have any coupons like you have in America so the price you see on the supermarket shelf is the price are going to pay unless itís marked down or on special in some way.
Single household shopper may not need 10 cans or packets of the same to get these specials deals so we will need to look for other ways or places that sell in singles a can or packet at that price. The other day I saw an offer of Mars candy bars 18 share packs in store the shelf price $2.79, near it was a table with these same Mars candy bar share packs with $4.00 on it didnít make sense so I asked the staff about it, it was buy 2 packets @ $4.00 or single pack @ $2.79. They are doing this quite a lot lately with other lines.
Only you can workout what food you like and get in your local area you live in.
Here in Australia we can get most things but if they are imported name brand as listed in American or British recipes they can be far too expensive on limit food budget. The answer is in substitution of local or cheaper items from your own area. So look at whatís cheaper in your area and learn to like and cook with these kinds of foods.
I do buy canned tomatoes as I have worked out that when fresh are expensive then I can use the cans for cooking. I try to grow some cherry tomatoes to use in fresh salad and use canned tomatoes for cooking. Only buy when on special at the cheapest price you can find. For a single household just buy 6 - 10 at a time unless you are making soup out of them. I bought 50 cans of tomatoes a few years ago now I still have 7 cans left to use. Far too many!
As for frozen goods I only buy the basic vegetables single packets of spinach, peas, beans & corn and a store brand mixed a vegetable that is diced for quick use, if money is real tight then mixed vegetables and peas and use whatís cheapest in fresh only and make do with these. As for the others frozen good on if the special is 50% off or bigger packet for the same price and then on special I may buy some at times.
I do buy jams buying only the ones I will use in a can and decant it into jars. As for honey I buy 3kg containers of my favorite when I can then decant this overtime the last lot took 3 years to use up but then honey will keep for 7000 years if sealed well.
Bottle sauces, spices & herbs, vinegars these will brighten up your dishes. Look into buying one or two seasonings starting with salt & pepper in each shopping trip so budgeting for these over time will build a good supply up.
Bottle Sauces over time buying a few that match your foods that you eat and in your recipes that you are using. There are some recipes around that will give list of what you need for this. Look into make your own sauces too! I will buy some fancy sauces for some dishes so that I know how they taste like but then look for a more basic version or these if they are in the bargain bins then will buy them again if cheap enough.
With spices & herbs I will buy a little bigger size than the supermarket size and give some of it away to friends if they use it! I have found that buying it in Asian or ethnic specialty grocery store I can buy it for around same price but almost 3 times a much. So check your supermarket out in their normal spice & herb area then ethnic specialty area for a price check & sizes then out outside for other specialty grocery store or deli.
See what you like in the way of pasta, rice, grains that you use to bulk out your meals. Just buy the variety you will use not every variety named in cookbooks. I use basmati rice and buy this on special in 2 to 5 kg bags. Forget buying in small bags unless you are just trying out to see whether you like it or not. Keep rice & pasta in the refrigerator if you have room there. But well sealed, I keep them there but the open container is out on the bench to use. Rice has a bay leaf in it.
Vinegars are a must have in the kitchen but only buy what will use in your kitchen use and in small amounts unless you are making chutney and pickles. Check your recipes for what ones you need and then buy them over time.
Cereals can be handy but expensive so I stick to just one, rolled oats or oatmeal and in the summer I may make up a muesli
I use powdered skim milk (nonfat milk) for all my dairy needs. I will buy if I find some UHT milk on special then I will buy 2 cartons to have on hand for visitors and use up myself when it come nears the use by date.
Over the years I have been able to make a stockpile of extra foods mainly when GFC was on and now working my way though this, to reduce it down to a more normal level to buy when Iím are opening the one to use or 4-6 spare. I will not be affected if there is another recession any time soon.
My main aim now where possible use & buy on basic items that you can make food from scratch, thatís most food lines sold in supermarkets today. Somewhere on the internet you will find that recipe you will need or just look at the ingredient list on the can or package for clues of what should be in it.
Forget all the humbo jumbo of flavor enhancers, preservatives, emulsifiers, vegetables gums etc, do you want things to last that long. If they are natural and can be bought easily you could use them at a pinch.
This is a short run down of somethingís I am doing to shop without coupons.
Some other ideas can be found in this ebook Save on Grocery Shopping on this link
Eating Well on $1 A Day
$120 food challenge for family per fortnight
50 tips for grocery shopping
Shopping for one, my way on canned or package goods
This is the fifth in this series