Monday, March 30, 2009

Don't throw that away!

Being on a budget (UGH!) you learn to look at things differently. And I am looking at things very differently.

Before we were on a budget, I could open the fridge and see container after container of leftover food. And on trash day, container after container would be dumped in the trash. No lie, one week there was 13 containers to be thrown away. Not good.

Now I look at how can this be used again viewpoint. We used to not eat the two pieces of bread at each end of the loaf. Chuck didn't care for the heel and the one next to it was too stale, so 4 slices got thrown away with every loaf. Not anymore. Those pieces work good for toast. No complaints either, hmm, makes me wonder.

Well, I made sauce the other day with sausage in it. Turns out a pound of Italian sausage was too much for the amount of sauce I had. Ok, cool it off, bag it up, freeze it for another meal.

I had made way too much meat sauce for dinner one night. Generally I would put it in the fridge, forget about it and end up throwing it out. Not this time, cool it off, bag it up and freeze it. And I needed it for dinner one night. Perfect

I made meatballs for dinner one night last week. I only had enough meat for about 1 meal of meatballs. Most likely with spaghetti or sub sandwiches. Well, Chuck and I headed out and went to Save-a-lot and found French Bread. That works, and for $1.29 it was cheaper than buying rolls that will sit in the cabinet and get moldy. So, we had dinner one night, and turns out that Chuck and PJ had dinner the next night. Eric and I were too sick to even think about eating. French bread, meatballs and whatever cheese they could find, and dinner.

I am learning as I am going along. I hate being on a budget, but I don't buy more than what we need. Eric gets about 6 slices of roast beef for lunch, I bought provolone for cheesesteaks the other day, 6 slices of that is so much cheaper than the 18 slices in the dairy. And I already had the cheese for the week, so why buy too much.

I find myself more at UGO (United Grocery Outlet) or Save-a-lot shopping. There are some things that are sacred and we have to buy name brand. But there are some things that store brand will work just fine. I compare prices everywhere and even buy the Sunday paper at the $1 store, I save .35 each week on that.

But more than anything I find myself looking at the dinners that I make. Making sure if there are leftovers that either the boys take it for their lunch or we have it for our lunch some time over the next few days. I notice that I don't over buy on things. Unless they are buy one get one free.

I make a list every week and stick to it like glue. So, in the long run groceries cost about $75 a week. Nothing gets thrown away anymore either.

Watching every penny is not easy, but it is worth it.