Wednesday, February 1, 2012

the cheapskate within

I grew up with a frugal mama who taught my siblings and me to carefully unwrap presents so that she could reuse the gift wrap. And yes, I'm talking about wrapping paper and not just gift bags. (Who doesn't reuse a gift bag or two?) Whether you're a spender or a saver, we all have things we're cheap about.

Although I'm not a savvy grocery shopper, wasting food bothers me to the core. I schedule "clean out the fridge" nights on our weekly menus and make entire meals out of the dabs of things I find there. I find uses for spoiling milk, dwindling produce, and stale bread. I grow my own lettuce--I love picking just the amount I need for a particular meal and not wasting greens that wilt before we can eat them. My new freezer feeds my inner cheapskate when it comes to avoiding and eliminating food waste.

Now that I'm looking to cut corners in new and creative ways, I'd love to hear your ideas. What are you downright cheap about?


Preppy Pink Crocodile said...

I am the same way about wasting food. I fill find some sort of use for everything!

Since couponing, I pay nothing or next to nothing for things you find in a drug store. But couponing does take a lot of time- don't let anyone lie to you about that.

Beyond that, I'd say that being flexible on brands saves big bucks. I used to stick to one brand of everything. But it turns out, most brands are very similar. So just buying what is least expensive for the most part can make a big difference. Also, weeks that I meal plan in advance I tend to spend a lot less. I need to be better at doing that every week though!

My biggest money saver is my second freezer. I buy meats when they are on super sales and freeze them to use later. Same for cheese, yogurt, veggies, and breads.

Oh my other tip is to think outside the box when shopping. For example, I've purchased paper products such as TP and paper towels much cheaper at Staples from time to time. And while drug stores are more expensive at full price, if you catch a sale and use coupons, they can actually be MUCH cheaper than a grocery or big box store.

emmy said...

I take all the bits and pieces that are too small to make a serving for anyone and add them to a bowl that is kept in the freezer. When the bowl is full I use it to make soup. That was a family favorite. For a while I was doing meals that planned for leftovers, such as pot roast that became stew the next night and baked chicken that became chicken pot pie, etc. I also tried cooking meals for the week which is a week long take on the above idea, where I bought the food and prepared it all on Saturdays and froze the uncooked dish to be thawed and cooked on the correct day. Like Preppy I buy things when they are on sale and freeze them. I also shop at 4 stores that are in the same quarter mile area of our town, choosing the things that I need from what each store has on sale, but the other upside is that there are store brands at each store that I prefer to brand names. I did all this when I had kids at home and it made a difference, now I just have to break larger packets so meats and vegetables into smaller ones that are individual size.