As grocery costs rise, most of us are looking for ways to cut back and save a few cents.The way I cook and the way we eat are probably totally different from the way you cook and eat but these are just examples. I don’t plan on cutting back on the quality of what we eat but I do think more about making sure we get the best buy and that nothing goes to waste. We rarely go out so our “eating” budget it probably less than average.
Buying in larger quantities is a good way to save some.
Take rice for example:
- Great Value Long Grain/1 lb. = 4.5 cents/ounce
- Great Value Long Grain/80 oz = 3.2 cents/ounce
- Mahatma Long Grain/2 lb. = 7.7 cents/ounce
- Mahatma Long Grain/5 lb. = 5.8 cents/ounce
- Members Mark (Sam’s Club) Long Grain/25 pounds – 2.4 cents/ounce
We use a lot of black pepper. I will go through more than one 5 pound container of black peper in a year.
- McCormick 3 oz. /$1.21/oz.
- Great Value 6 oz./66.3 cents/oz.
- McCormick 12 oz./88 cents/oz.
- Members Mark 5 lb./40 cents/oz.
If you will never in your lifetime use 5 pounds of black pepper, it isn’t a bargain. You can divide it up, put it in pint or quart jars (or used pickle jars to save more money) and share it with friends. In fact, once I open these big containers, I divide it up into quart or pint jars, whatever I have handy, and vacuum seal it til I need it.
Is saving 25 cents per ounce on black pepper going to make a difference in anyone’s budget? Probably not but overall, it adds up.
The insulation is still hanging down because we still have dehumidifiers running underneath where the wood floors are damaged. That can probably be put back up now and the dehumidifiers turned off but we’re still hoping the boards lay flat.
We spent a bit of time this morning filling up buckets. We buy flour in 50 pound bags from the Mennonite grocery and rice in 25 pound bags from Sam’s. It isn’t 100% about the cost – it’s about the convenience and knowing that whatever I decide to cook, I’m probably going to have what I need and not being concerned about not being able to get the flour I want or the rice we need when we go to the store.
We use the 5 or 6 gallon food grade buckets and gamma seal lids for storing food. They’re not terribly expensive but they do cost some. Some of these buckets and lids I’ve been using for 20 years so the cost is worth it. Sometimes you’re able to get food grade buckets that gamma seal lids will fit from bakeries and other places – sometimes for free and sometimes for small charges.
Most any food needs to be stored in an area where it doesn’t get terribly hot. White rice stored in a dry, cool place should keep for years. I prefer to use brown rice for Rita’s food but I use white rice if that’s all we have.
While we can’t do much about the price of food, we can do the match, look for the better buys but first, before stocking up, be absolutely sure you will use it all if buying in bulk, and be sure you have a good place to store it. If you do buy in bulk, make lists or spreadsheets or use an app. Keep up with what you have, rotate using the oldest first.
Another thing I love to do with foods is plan ahead so we have leftovers. If I’m cooking rice for dinner, cook extra. I never mind leftover rice. I put the cold rice in bowl, add a tablespoon or two of water, cover the bowl and microwave it for a minute. See . . I do use my microwave every now and then. To me, leftover rice heated up tastes just as good as fresh rice. I also love making fried rice from rice that’s been in the fridge and is cold when it goes into the wok (or Dutch Oven). I don’t like rice pudding . . I grew up in Louisiana where rice is served with gravy or gumbo.
In the end, we all have to do what’s best for our own families but sometimes knowing the options helps us make better decisions.