Thursday, February 16, 2012

Thrifty Living Series “Saving on Groceries”

This is something we all want to do whether we shop for a big family or for only one or two!

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(I love my canisters!)

One thing we’ve found as a retired couple living in a smaller house, there are many items that we don’t buy in bulk any longer. That was a good option for our family when we had a house full of kids but it is not practical now. We have limited storage and we live only 10 minutes from Walmart and our grocery store, Publix. I bought groceries yesterday and here’s an example of my purchases….3 potatoes, 1 onion, 1 pepper, 1 tomato, 1 avocado, a small bunch of broccoli, a handful of green beans, 4 bananas, 3 apples, a head of Romaine lettuce…etc. Just enough for the week…or less! We can always stop at the store in a few days for more fresh veggies and fruit. If we buy too much, it spoils before we can eat it and that is wasteful!

So we don’t buy bags of potatoes or onions….or even apples or oranges. We buy fresh and eat it while it has the most vitamins and flavor.

One thing nice about Publix, is the online weekly ads and coupons that you can print out. You might check your own grocery store and see if it has this available. Walmart has the best prices overall but the sales at Publix are better. And we only buy our meat at Publix or Fresh Market.

I used coupons a lot more when my 4 sons were all at home. Now I don’t find as many that we can use. But it’s worth looking online for products like coffee and paper products.

Another thing we do that works for us is to cook our favorite big meals and freeze portions. We always freeze spaghetti sauce and chili and these packages sure come in handy when you need a quick meal. Even when you’re cooking for only 1 or 2….always make your favorite recipes. I love to bake and I might freeze some but I also like to share with my friends and neighbors. Baking 2 loaves of fresh bread is just as easy as one….and what a nice gift it makes for someone!

Now the BIG TIP I have for saving on groceries involves what to do with that fresh produce when you get home with it! I rinse everything off and put it in a colander or lay it out on paper towels. When it is dry I put it in Green bags! I’m a BIG believer in Green bags! I could be their spokesperson!

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I’ve been using them for years and have bought boxes for family members! They WORK! (I put a paper towel around the item and it keeps the moisture at a minimum and that’s what causes things to spoil in the fridge.)

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They really do keep fruit and veggies fresh longer! You can buy them from Amazon or even many retail stores.

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It’s worth it to eat well! The food we eat is what gives us the energy to work and play and nutritious food keeps us healthy! In the long run that is the most important thing to keep in mind when you shop!

Please join all of the other Thrifty living ladies…or “Frugal Five” for their posts on this subject!

Brenda of Cozy Little House

Claudia of Mockingbird Hill Cottage

Elaine of Sunny, Simple Life

Jen of Muddy Boot Dreams

What are some of your money saving ideas for groceries? I would love to do a whole post on all of the great ideas you give me each week! Thanks so much for participating!

UPDATE…I had an anonymous comment come through that asked if we have some canned goods and staples stocked up. I guess I take it for granted that everyone knows to have a well stocked pantry. We have a large pantry in our kitchen so we have plenty of space for non perishables…canned goods such as soup, tomato sauces, beans, etc. And we keep a few extra 5 gallon bottles of Spring water in reserve, too.

Eat right…to stay healthy!

52 comments:

Claudia said...

We also do not buy in bulk. I can't remember the last time I bought a bag of potatoes! We just buy what we need. I hate wasting food. Thanks, Diane for your tips!

xo
Claudia

laurie said...

wonderful thrifty living tips!

I love the way ther vase matches the photos on your wall in the first photo, wow thats a great match,

Lee Hill Primitives said...

Thanks for sharing! I will try the green bags.

Anonymous said...

I hear what you're saying and I get your limitations of space etc. I just worry about things that might leave you hungry one day. If the power goes out for a day or two[ or longer] , what would you eat? If one of you got sick or injured, how convenient would a trip to the store be? I find it supremely comforting to have on hand food and water to sustain my family in case of unusual circumstances. It gives me a feeling of security. Canned goods and extra staple items don't have to crowd your space, be inventive in your storage ideas. I pray you'll never have an emergency situation, I also pray that you'll be prepared when it does come. Amanda

c. Joy said...

Thanks for the information on the GREEN BAGS. I've seen the commercials and wondered, now I'll give them a try. How big is your house? I don't remember seeing that. Do you stock up on paper products or things you know won't go 'bad?' Yes, the closer retirement gets the more I follow. Thanks for your friendly knowledge.

Della said...

I will have to give the green bags a try. I shop for 5 adults, and try to only go to the store once a week. Sometimes my produce does go bad before I use it. Onions last a long time in the fridge, I always use them before they ruin, but the more delicate fruits and veggies do spoil pretty quickly. Thanks for the tip!

colleens craft shed said...

I will have to try out those green bags. I take care of elderly gentleman and I think it would be wonderful for him. Thanks for the tip.
Colleen

Nancy's Notes said...

I'll see if I can find those green bags! Like you, we don't buy in large quantities anymore. Love your tips, they are great.

Happy@Home said...

I've seen the green bags advertised and wondered whether they would be worth it. Now I know :). I plan to try them as we buy a great deal of fresh produce and I hate to waste food.
We have recently started going to Aldi's. The prices there are really good. When we get their sale paper we make a list of what we need and stop in. It's right on the way to work for us. I wouldn't go there to do a complete grocery shop, but we have found the produce to be a great value.

Marina said...

Even though it's only three of us now in the house, I still have to buy in bulk: otherwise I can't get good produce. So one week I have green beans with every meal, and freeze some too. Next week it's a mushroom week, and so on. It's easier in the summer when farmers market is open. Apples, cabbage and potatoes we buy in bulk always: we eat a lot of it. Apples are our snack through the day, and our TV food too: we have a big ball of apples before us when we watch TV. We are a cabbage family, and we go through pounds of cabbage every week. Plus I make sauerkraut, this itself is made out of 80-100lb of the cabbage. We love it, what can I say, Rabbit family!

Sandy said...

I love Publix !! And I have used the green bags and liked them, they do work. A friend gave me them and I need to buy more. (o:

Ginger Zuck said...

Great tips Diane. I do a lot of the same things. I'm at our Kroger 3 or 4 times a week. I've often wondered about those bags. Good to know they work. I miss Publix so, they are the class act of all grocery store, but we don't have them.:( I only have Kroger or Walmart. I usually always shop at Kroger because they give me gas points and I just filled up my vehicle this week with .40 cents per gallon off!! Yay... I do use the digital coupons and it does work.

Shelley said...

Some very good advice I surly need to follow....thanks for sharing. I have seen those green bags and haven't tried them yet...I think next time I see them I am bringing some home with me to try :) Blessings

marty (A Stroll Thru Life) said...

Great tips, we always buy and eat fresh also, plus I do have a FULL pantry. Hugs, Marty

Cozy Little House said...

I shall have to find these green bags. Because what I have to run to the store most for is fresh fruit. I eat fresh fruit a lot. And this morning, as I had to throw some moldy strawberries (my most expensive produce item, but oh, how I love it on my cereal!) I cringed as I had to throw it away. These are great ideas. Different strategies for us one and two member households.
Brenda

Freckled Hen said...

I think I'm the opposite of most of your followers...I buy everything in bulk! My daughter's friend recently asked why we have so many bananas (I usually buy three bunches at a time). Grocery shopping is often overwhelming, you are so organized and neat!

Muddy Boot Dreams said...

Great tips, and I have used those green bags, guess I will have to go back and try them again. I do know they work...it's just, well you know. LOL.

Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams

Linda @ A La Carte said...

I find with just the two of us that fresh veggie and fruit can go bad quickly. So I buy small amount also. I will try green bags for sure. Thanks for the great tip! hugs, Linda

artistamyjo said...

Great post,sounds like we shop the same. I'll look for those green bags.
Hugs

Elaine @ Sunny Simple Life said...

Those bags are a great idea. For now we cook so much that we use everything before it spoils but someday this won't be so.

Kasia said...

Totally agree with you when it comes to food! I do alot of my fruit/veg buying in local farmers markets, its local and less chemicals of teh food! :)

Hugs,

LindyLouMac in Italy said...

We shop very differently now there are just two of us, also shopping for food in Italy is still often considered a daily task.

It's All Connected said...

Okay, I'm looking for the green bags. I've seen them but couldn't decide if they were a gimmick. Fresh produce, in winter, is an issue for me and I have difficulty keeping a variety fresh. Thanks! ~ Maureen

Jemm said...

I have to buy in bulk right now. With 2 kids and the closest wal-mart being an hour away stocking up is essential for us. Did you know your first line rhymes? Cute :)

Sam I Am...... said...

Great ideas all of which I pretty much already do except for the bags! Actually, I even have some of those but I tucked them away and stopped using them! Thanks for the reminder! What was I thinking! LOL!
Have a great day.

Trace4J said...

love those green bags too.
thanks for reminding me about them.
hugs
Trace

www.grannytracescrapsandsquares.com

ImSoVintage said...

thanks for the green bags tip I will definitely have to try them. You are featured on my blog today.
Hugs,
Laura
http://imsovintage.blogspot.com/2012/02/five-for-one.html

Joanne said...

I have often wondered about those green bags and now thanks to you I know that they work. Thank you!
Blessings, Joanne

Brenda said...

We are a small family of 3 with our other daughter grown and living on her own.
We purchased a freezer for our summer garden produce, so I do buy some things in bulk, and now have room to make several meals at a time to stick in there.
I enjoy cooking from scratch, so you won't find pre-packaged items in my pantry. I think canned tomatoes/sauce are about the only canned products we use. Everything else would be beans and grains.
I believe one can be frugal and eat healthy at the same time. Just takes some tweaking!

Prims and Annies said...

Hi Diane,
There's only two of us and I go to the grocery store once a month..except things like milk. I spend too much money if I go every week. I buy can veggies in the gallon can...we love green beans..and they are pretty much calorie free. I repackage and freeze. I buy all the bread for the month...it goes in the freezer..we take out just enough for the day..bagels too..and it is just as fresh as the day we bought it. We have a garden so we have fresh tomatoes, squash, zucchini, bell pepper, butternut squash, okra, eggplant, and whatever we decide to grow..in the freezer..which last a year. I like to cook in bulk and freeze portions. If you have ever grown zucchini, you know they can grow 6 or 7 inches it seems like overnight. I make zucchini bread..I have had up to 24 mini loaves in the freezer at one time. This also is good for a year..also is a nice homemade gift. I have a Wilton pan that is 4 mini loaves in one pan My husband takes his lunch to work, which is leftovers from the night before. I was spending a ton of money on packaged snacks and frozen meals. Instead of him buying chips from the snack machine..I buy the big bag and repackage...the best part is that he gets more than those packs in the machine. We have our own well and use the Brita water pitcher, remember to have well water tested annually to make sure there's no bacteria. When I buy meat, I repackage it and freeze..I use wax paper in between slices so that I can pry it apart easily and take only what I plan to cook. We buy our meat from a locally owned market that processes the meat they sell...nothing shipped in..the taste is so much better than grocery store.
Every piece of produce (lettuce, broccoli, etc goes in a vinegar bath..I have a salad spinner into which I pour about 1/4 cup white vinegar..add about 1 1/2 quarts water...all the salad ingredients go in the vinegar bath for about 5 minutes then spin out the water. This really makes a difference in the taste...give it a try. After all this produce sits out all day..probably for days and I would not want to know what has been in contact with it. Also I wash melons..a brush and a little dishwashing liquid..when you cut a melon and don't wash it...there go the germs..right into the melon. Citrus...the same thing..brush with a little dishwashing liquid. I bleach my brushes at least once a week..a little bleach in a bowl and let the brushes soak a few minutes. Last...If it states prewashed on produce...it still goes through the vinegar bath to kill whatever is on it.

I also have a comment on staying well. About 1 1/2 years ago I researched peroxide and read to pour or soak..I pour it over my toothbrush every time before I use it. Do not wet it with water first..after brushing rinse with water. You will not notice that the peroxide is there unless you have super sensitive taste buds. There are tons of germs hiding in toothbrushes. I have not been sick .. I usually have colds/sinus twice a year..but I have been well for over 1 1/2 years. Also you get a little whitening action by using over time. On my last dentist visit, I was told that peroxide was good for the prevention of recessed gums..something that if you are over 60 you most likely have...another one of the joys of getting older.
These are some of the things we do around our house to save money and I enjoy reading what everyone else does..there's always something new to learn.

Smiles and Huggs,
Maxie

Vee said...

Your point about buying in bulk is well taken, especially with regard to fresh foods. (I am guilty of wasting too much.) I've never heard of green bags...thank you for that tip!

Kaybe said...

Great tips especially the bags. I stayed away from them because I just thought they were another Ronco-amatic gimmick. My sil is a champion couponer. She is going to take the women of the family shopping ala extreme couponing & show us her stuff. (Oh will the blog material never end lol)

The Boston Lady said...

I had not heard of the green bags and will look for them. We are just two as well (for the most part), but we do buy some things in bulk because they are cheaper - toilet paper, paper towels, coffee, meat and poultry (that can be frozen in smaller portions and thawed as needed), some beverages. Enjoying this series. Ann

marty (A Stroll Thru Life) said...

Thanks so much for your visit and gracious comment. You asked about the light fixture in our bathroom, yes it gives off tons of light. I have the kind that the globes hang down in all of our baths and they work fantastically. Directs the light down and out into the room instead of up to the ceiling. I really like them. The hall bath light holds 3 bulb and the ones in the master hold 4 bulbs. That's a lot of light. Hugs, marty

Ricki Jill Treleaven said...

You have sold me on green bags! I need to try them. Our Publix here is so expensive because they have no competition! Their sales are pretty good, and I buy some household goods there, but I buy my produce and meat at The Fresh Market, and I never buy too much because I don't want it to spoil. Plus they are cheaper on average than Publix! Between two major highways where we live there are 42 banks and only two grocery stores...it's crazy!!!

Enjoying this series, my friend.

xo,
Ricki Jill

Donna said...

We only buy in bulk when it makes sense for us, since it is just the two of us. We hit the sales, for sure! We make it a game, LOL. Hubby always gets the senior discount at Krogers on Wednesday. We don't get that much at Wal-Mart anymore. The prices are not as good as the sale prices at Krogers and the meat/dairy/veggies are not fresh. We're looking forward to getting a Publix in the next year. It'll just be about 5 miles away!

Angie Berry said...

Hi Diane! Thanks for stopping by my blog. I came over here to meet you. =]

We have three kids at home so we are still buying in bulk. My goodness, I can't imagine having 4 boys at home, 2 are bad enough, haha!

Thanks for all the great tips!

Carla said...

Looks like there may be a run on the green bags! I've looked at them several times but not bought them because I too thought it was a gimmick. I will try them. As a single person, I have to be very careful about the veggies I buy because they go to waste faster than I can go through them sometimes. Well, except celery. It never goes bad and I run out of it a lot but I'm afraid to buy 2 bunches. when i get the green bags, i'll get an extra celery to test with.

nancy huggins said...

There is only 2 of us but we shop once a month except for milk. I just cook big meals and then freeze portions for another meal or 2. I buy all my meat at the local grocery store and buy what is on sale. I do buy a lot of other items at WM and we also shop for quite a few things at $ tree. Now if I don't feel in the mood to cook a big dinner...I just open the freezer and pop in microwave..love it

Shanti Johnson said...

TY 4 this Diane!!!! I'm going to try green ! Hubby buys only organic & it seems that produce goes even faster!
U rock!
Shanti

Scarlett Clay said...

I've never heard of these, what a great tip, thanks!

Ali said...

I've heard of those green bags, though they are called something else here in England. I know a number of Americans who are big stockpilers. Non-perishables obviously, and as you say, you need the room for it. I think some of them are End of Days types. Others just love a bargain.

Happy Friday!

Ali

Sherry@Back2Vintage said...

I'll have to look for GreenBags. I've never heard of them and they sound like a great way to prolong the freshness of fruits and veggies. Thanks for the tip!!!

Sheila said...

Thanks for the Green Bags tip. I'd love to have a fridge that looked as organized as yours!

Elizabeth said...

Great tips! I just received the Valentine card I mailed you returned, marked no such number, I used the return address on your card,don't know what happened.
Elizabeth

GardenofDaisies said...

Diane, we buy as we go too. Things spoil if I buy to much. Like you i'm fairly close to my grocery store and farmers market, so I can get what I need anytime I need it. We keep enough in the house to last for a few days in case of emergency.
Be sure to stop by my blog, I've got a giveaway going on.

Anne said...

We're the same way, Diane, since its just the two of us (and the three birds...) but i'd never tried the green bags. Will have to check them out! We tend to shop almost every day also, picking out what we want for dinner that night.

Betsy said...

Same way here. Green bags are great, I use them. We have a hometown store close by, so I rather get what I need more often since I am passing by there almost every day.
Great post.
Betsy

Diane Writes said...

I agree name mate! Eat right, stay healthy but above anything else, be happy :)

Cameron said...

You know, reading your post reminded me that I have plastic containers that do the same thing as those green bags.....and I've only used them once! I need to get those suckers out again :)

JG said...

Nice post! I do use coupons and purchase staples in bulk at Costco. A Pantry? It's stocked. :)
~Judy

Tammy said...

I have always wondered about those green bags. I'll have to try them out. Our Target store has started adding groceries and they've had some real deals lately. There's one in the same plaza as our grocery store, so we've started running through Target's grocery section before we go over to the grocery store.