cheap groceries http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/431/all en-US 25 Things You Shouldn't Buy at the Grocery Store http://www.wisebread.com/25-things-you-shouldnt-buy-at-the-grocery-store <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/25-things-you-shouldnt-buy-at-the-grocery-store" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/produce_shopper.jpg" alt="Woman shopping for produce" title="Woman shopping for produce" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We've all done it &mdash; grabbed a candy bar or gossip magazine while waiting in the checkout line at the grocery store. Without realizing it, we've just thrown our meticulous shopping out the window for the sake of convenience and a last-minute treat. Such quick spending decisions can add up over time. </p> <p>There are plenty of purchases at the grocery store that can be avoided with a little forethought. They can be found cheaper elsewhere, which I admit is a hassle if you want to finish your shopping trip at one store and get it over with. But with some planning and the strength to avoid last-minute shopping for things you forgot, you can save money by buying these 25 things elsewhere. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-overpriced-grocery-items-to-skip">8 Overpriced Grocery Items to Skip</a>)</p> <h2>1. Magazines</h2> <p>Let's start with the common item that catches your eye while waiting in line. The headlines and photos are meant to grab your attention, and while a quick glance through may be worth a minute or two, don't give in and buy them. You'll pay the full cover price at the grocery store, and even if they give a 10% discount, it's still a ripoff. If you're only going to read that particular magazine once, go to the library, borrow an issue from a friend, or go to the magazine's website to read a few articles. If you want every issue (or even just a few) it's a lot cheaper to subscribe.</p> <h2>2. Organic Fruits and Vegetables</h2> <p>Compare supermarket prices of organic and non-organic fruits and vegetables, and all of the organic ones will likely be higher &mdash; much higher. If it's in-season (apples in the fall, watermelon in summer), find your local farmers market. You should find cheaper prices there for organic fruit and vegs that should taste a lot better than something trucked to your store.</p> <h2>3. Batteries</h2> <p>You can save 70% by buying in bulk at Costco, or better yet, buy rechargeable batteries for a higher upfront cost that will save you a lot of cash over the year. Department stores such as CVS often have much better sales on rechargeable batteries than grocery stores do.</p> <h2>4. Cakes</h2> <p>This goes for many things that are pre-made at a grocery store, but cakes are one of the top ones. You're paying for a baker's time and expertise in making a cake for you. For a lot less money, you can make one at home. Then again, your time may be worth enough that it makes sense to pay someone to bake the cake for you.</p> <h2>5. Cut-Up Stew Meat</h2> <p>This is another instance where paying for convenience doesn't make sense. Stew meat is comprised of some of the cheapest cuts of meat, so paying for it to be cut up into chunks just adds profit back to something that should be inexpensive to begin with. Grab a knife when you get home. If you can't do that, then buy a big piece of meat at the grocey store and ask the butcher to cut it up for you for free.</p> <h2>6. Pre-Cut Vegetables</h2> <p>You're not saving as much time as you think you are by buying pre-cut vegetables. Get to know your meal by washing and cutting veggies yourself, and don't pay a supermarket employee to do it for you. Same goes for fruit. You can slice a watermelon at home for free.</p> <h2>7. Anything Cooked or Made at the Store</h2> <p>Like buying cakes, buying friend chicken or going to the deli department and paying someone to make you a sandwich carries a hefty price for the convenience of not doing it yourself. That may be worth it to you. But if you want to save money, do it at home. Think ahead and buy everything you need to make sandwiches for the week, and make them at home for at least half the cost of what the store charges.</p> <h2>8. Canned Goods Not on Sale</h2> <p>Grocery stores mark up canned goods a lot &mdash; 50% is common &mdash; because they're often staples that people use a lot. Canned soup, for example, is a big seller in the fall and winter, and eventually a sale will lower the price. When you see a sale for something you buy often, stock up.</p> <h2>9. Deli Cheese</h2> <p>Many things in the deli section are more expensive than they are elsewhere in the grocery store, so it's a good area to avoid. Fancy cheeses can be found in the dairy section for a lot less money.</p> <h2>10. Spices</h2> <p>Name-brand spices especially are more expensive at a grocery store than at a natural food store. Instead of paying a few dollars for a spice you use regularly, you'll pay pennies at a health food store.</p> <h2>11. Fruit With a Short Shelf Life</h2> <p>Berries are notorious for getting moldy within a few days of purchase, and grocery stores charge more for such fruit because they have to cover their cost for the spoiled fruit that doesn't sell and they have to throw away. Either buy it fresh at the farmers market, where it's more likely to be freshly picked and won't go bad as quickly, or pay up and eat it soon.</p> <h2>12. Bottled Water</h2> <p>You probably already know that bottled water is a waste of money and that free tap water at home is just as safe. But if you're going to buy bottled water, buy it in bulk at Costco or another discount store, or at least buy generic brands that cost less. While water is a staple of life, bottled water at a grocery store is overpriced and should be avoided.</p> <h2>13. Cereal</h2> <p>The markup is too high to make a box of cereal worthwhile. Either wait for a sale or buy a two-pack box at a warehouse store. I'm not trying to say that bulk stores are the answer to all of your grocery-shopping problems, but this is another area where they make a lot of financial sense.</p> <h2>14. Detergent</h2> <p>Warehouse stores beat supermarkets in this area too, and online stores such as Target have better prices. If it's something you use a lot of, you might as well stock up.</p> <h2>15. Toothbrushes</h2> <p>If you can't get these free from your dentist, get another dentist. A regular pharmacy should be able to sell you a toothbrush or dental floss for a cheaper price than a grocery store can.</p> <h2>16. Greeting Cards</h2> <p>I have yet to see these sold at anything but full price at a grocery store. $2.99 for a paper card with printed thoughts from someone else? No thanks. Buy them in bulk online, make one yourself, or even better, have your kid make cards and pay them half of what you'd pay a grocery store. </p> <h2>17. Party Supplies</h2> <p>Candles, birthday hats, and paper plates are some of the party supplies that supermarkets stock for shoppers' convenience. Go to a dollar store or party supply store for lower prices.</p> <h2>18. Light Bulbs</h2> <p>Like any hardware item you'll find in a grocery store, it's probably a lot cheaper at a hardware store that specializes in such things. Again, you're paying for the convenience of having many things on your shopping list for sale at a grocery store, but don't let a darkened light bulb at home make you buy one immediately.</p> <h2>19. Bakeware</h2> <p>This is another item that's at the grocery store for your convenience, but the high price of a baking pan, cooking utensils, or similar kitchen products is often so high that you're better off shopping elsewhere. Baking cookies may be a spur-of-the-moment decision, but a good baking sheet should be a staple of every home.</p> <h2>20. Cosmetics</h2> <p>Like toothbrushes and other such products, most skin-care items can be bought cheaper at a drugstore.</p> <h2>21. Swiffer Cloths</h2> <p>These popular dusters are great for cleaning, but the replacement cloths can be bought a lot cheaper at a dollar store. Or tie an old rag to the device and sweep away.</p> <h2>22. Beer</h2> <p>Like many things at a grocery store, unless beer is on sale, skip it and go to a discount liquor store. You'll find the same brands at cheaper prices.</p> <h2>23. Diapers</h2> <p>Not that they go together with beer, but unless they're on sale, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-places-to-get-cheaper-diapers">diapers can be found cheaper</a> at department stores.</p> <h2>24. Rotisserie Chicken</h2> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-things-to-do-with-rotisserie-chicken">Rotisserie chickens</a> look good under the hot bulbs at the supermarket, but you'll likely find them cheaper at warehouse stores. And you'll get a bigger bird for your money elsewhere &mdash; giving you more leftovers to enjoy.</p> <h2>25. Milk</h2> <p>Yes, it's a staple at most houses and is needed so often that a quick trip to the grocery store is worth it as far as saving time. But a gallon of milk is usually half the cost at a warehouse store, so if you don't mind the crowds and are there for other purchases, grab some cheaper milk.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/aaron-crowe">Aaron Crowe</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-things-you-shouldnt-buy-at-the-grocery-store">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-theres-no-reason-not-to-buy-store-brand-baby-formula">Why there&#039;s no reason NOT to buy store brand baby formula.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/buy-your-groceries-european-style">Buy Your Groceries European-Style</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-frugal-rules-you-must-follow-when-shopping-at-costco">5 Frugal Rules You Must Follow When Shopping at Costco</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/canned-vs-dried-beans-which-are-cheaper">Canned vs. Dried Beans: Which Are Cheaper?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/it-was-on-sale-now-how-do-i-cook-it">It Was on Sale…Now How Do I Cook It?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink cheap groceries target warehouse stores Wed, 10 Oct 2012 10:36:44 +0000 Aaron Crowe 954918 at http://www.wisebread.com Deep Discounts on Schedule: The Best Days to Shop http://www.wisebread.com/deep-discounts-on-schedule-the-best-days-to-shop <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/deep-discounts-on-schedule-the-best-days-to-shop" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/people_shopping_bags.jpg" alt="People with shopping bags" title="People with shopping bags" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="177" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I grocery shop every Saturday afternoon. I do it because it&rsquo;s convenient, and I don&rsquo;t mind the crowds. As it turns out, I&rsquo;ve been getting it all wrong. Recent data suggests I may save more if I shop on Sunday instead. In fact, there&rsquo;s a best time of the week to almost everything. So if you&rsquo;re heading out to shop this week &mdash; or shopping online &mdash; read on to find out which days are most likely to provide rock-bottom prices.</p> <h3>Monday: Computers, Electronics, and Cars</h3> <p>If you&rsquo;re in the market for a new computer, TV, camera, or video game, shop on Monday. This is especially true if you&rsquo;re buying these items online, as Monday is also the best overall day to click your way to the best deals. According to <a href="http://www.extrabux.com/blog/2011/11/cheapest-days-of-the-week-to-shop-online/">Extrabux.com</a>, many electronics items sell for less on Monday because after a weekend of shopping at the mall, many workers head back to their desks to look for lower prices online, forcing retailers to present their best deals in an attempt to win them over. Many electronics rebates are also applied on Mondays, and these savings are passed on to consumers. The average price for a computer, for example, hits a low of $1,210.24 on Mondays, rising to a peak of $1,256.27 on Fridays, when fewer consumers tend to be shopping.</p> <p>According to <a href="http://www.edmunds.com/car-buying/when-to-buy-your-next-car.html">Edmunds.com</a>, Monday is also the best day of the week to buy a car because dealerships are more willing to negotiate. Whether they&rsquo;ve had poor sales over the weekend or are looking to keep a strong weekend run going, the start of a new week is when buyers are likely to have the most negotiating power, which often means driving away with a better deal.</p> <h3>Tuesday: Airline Tickets</h3> <p>Although airline pricing tends to fluctuate enough to drive frequent flyers crazy, it does move in a predictable pattern that suggests that Tuesday or Wednesday is the best time to buy. This is because many seat sales, which often bring the price down by 10 to 15%, are launched on Monday night, according to the <a href="http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704062604576105953506930800.html">Wall Street Journal</a>, leaving consumers to fight for a discounted ticket on Tuesday morning. By Tuesday afternoon, competitors are working to match seat sale prices, making Wednesday a good bet for cheaper flights as well.</p> <h3>Wednesday: Jewelry</h3> <p>If it&rsquo;s bling you&rsquo;re in the market for, online jewelry prices are ever-so-slightly lower on Wednesdays. This may be because women are more likely to shop in the middle of week, and, as we saw in electronics, a higher number of searches tends to drive down prices. According to Extrabux, average jewelry prices hit a low of $218.26 on Wednesdays, and peaked on Saturdays at $220.49.</p> <h3>Thursday: Clothes</h3> <p>In my own shopping experience, I&rsquo;ve discovered that Thursdays are a good time to shop for clothes, particularly if you&rsquo;re headed to an off-price discount retailer such as Ross or T.J. Maxx. This is because both online and brick-and-mortar retailers are more likely to get new merchandise on this day &mdash; and because this is typically the day when weekend sales begin. However, as stores continue to compete for customers, many are expanding weekend sales into Wednesday, which could affect this trend, according to <a href="http://www.smartmoney.com/spend/deal-of-the-day/best-days-of-the-week-for-discounts-1320270169168/">SmartMoney</a>.</p> <h3>Saturday: Books</h3> <p>If hitting up a local book store is your ideal way to spend a Saturday, you&rsquo;re in luck &mdash; you're likely to see better deals on Saturday, says Extrabux. Although the price of books tends to fluctuate pretty widely, it hits a definite low on Saturday, averaging $12.72, compared to late-week highs of $14.33. Books are probably cheaper on Saturday for the same reason you may be more likely to hang out at Barnes &amp; Noble &mdash; there&rsquo;s time to read.</p> <h3>Sunday: Things for Your Home</h3> <p>Just like online shopping tends to happen from a cubicle on Monday, things for the home tend to be top of mind on Sundays, driving their prices down. Major appliances, for one, are cheaper on Sunday. If you&rsquo;ve ever shopped for a new fridge or stove, you probably know what a major undertaking it can be. This may be why people might be more likely to shop for these items on a Sunday, when they have time to spend the day comparing prices, whether at the stores or online. This drives prices down as stores fight for their business, according to Ebux.com. In fact, the prices for major appliances were inversely correlated with Google searches for such items, which rose as prices dropped.</p> <p>Sunday is also a good day to buy groceries and personal care items. Manufacturers&rsquo; coupons for such items tend to kick in on Sundays, and can often be combined with deals from a store&rsquo;s weekly flyer, according to MSN Money. If you already collect coupons and watch for sales, doing your shopping on Sunday might help you knock off a few extra dollars.</p> <p>When it comes to shopping, there&rsquo;s a best day of the week to buy just about everything. Although the discounts are sometimes relatively small, frugal shoppers know these can add up to big savings. I think I&rsquo;ll give shopping on Sunday a try. After all, when it comes to find really low prices, timing is everything!</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tara-struyk">Tara Struyk</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/deep-discounts-on-schedule-the-best-days-to-shop">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/buy-your-groceries-european-style">Buy Your Groceries European-Style</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-power-banks">The 5 Best Power Banks</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-frugal-rules-you-must-follow-when-shopping-at-costco">5 Frugal Rules You Must Follow When Shopping at Costco</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-find-the-sweet-spot-when-buying-electronics">How to find the sweet spot when buying electronics</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-companies-with-the-best-employee-discounts">8 Companies With the Best Employee Discounts</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping cheap airfare cheap computer cheap groceries Discount deals electronics Thu, 01 Dec 2011 11:36:27 +0000 Tara Struyk 802590 at http://www.wisebread.com It Was on Sale…Now How Do I Cook It? http://www.wisebread.com/it-was-on-sale-now-how-do-i-cook-it <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/it-was-on-sale-now-how-do-i-cook-it" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/grocery store.jpg" alt="Produce shop" title="Produce shop" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="170" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>One of my favorite ways to save money on groceries is to shop based on what&rsquo;s on sale in the meat and produce section. Although this requires a little more creativity, I find that I end up buying a wide variety of healthy foods for cheap. Instead of shopping for ingredients based on a new recipe (have you noticed ingredients are never on sale when you need them?), cook based on what&rsquo;s on sale.</p> <p>Unfortunately, it&rsquo;s not always easy to cook unfamiliar produce and cuts of meat. To help those of us who are trying to eat well on a budget, here are a few simple ways to cook food items that often go on sale. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-produce-workers-guide-to-choosing-fruits-and-vegetables">The Produce Worker's Guide to Choosing Fruits and&nbsp;Vegetables</a>)</p> <h2>Broccoli and Cauliflower</h2> <p>Broccoli crowns go on sale often throughout the year, and this healthy cruciferous vegetable is not only full of vitamins, but it helps prevent cancer too. For a simple salad, blanch the florets of two crowns in boiling water for 30 seconds, shock them in cold water, and then dress them with sliced almonds and a vinaigrette made with 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar, 2 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp sesame oil, salt, and 1 tsp sugar.</p> <p>Cauliflower is also very good for you and is almost as versatile as broccoli. I like to toss boiled broccoli or cauliflower with pasta, cooked chicken, and a few tablespoons of jarred pesto sauce for a quick meal. Cauliflower is also delicious in <a href="http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2009/01/dinner-tonight-cauliflower-gratin-recipe.html">gratins</a> and casseroles.</p> <h2>Cabbage</h2> <p>A staple of budget diets the world over, cabbage is nutritious and cheap, but may not seem to be the easiest vegetable to use. Actually, cabbage is very easy to cook; the hardest part is cutting it up. Try cooking it over high heat in a <a href="http://orangette.blogspot.com/2009/01/best-we-can-hope-for.html">cabbage stir-fry</a> with soy sauce and hot sauce. Or shred it for coleslaw or to top tacos (which is much more authentic than using shredded lettuce). <a href="http://foodrepublik.com/braised-red-cabbage/">Shredded red cabbage</a> makes a delicious side dish when slowly braised with red wine, vinegar, and sugar.</p> <h2>Fruit</h2> <p>Aside from eating fruit whole, there are a variety of ways to use up inexpensive sale fruit in cooking. When peaches are in season, buy a case of them and make a few <a href="http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Peach-Cobbler-102277">peach cobblers</a>. Plums are delicious in <a href="http://foodrepublik.com/upside-down-plum-cake/">plum cakes</a>, and extra bananas can be used up in <a href="http://www.bettycrocker.com/recipes/banana-bread/51427396-6764-4b0a-a73a-78c683c703d2">banana bread</a>, smoothies, or super-simple <a href="http://www.thekitchn.com/thekitchn/stay-cool/how-to-make-creamy-ice-cream-with-just-one-ingredient-093414">banana ice cream</a>. Grapes, pears, strawberries, and figs are delicious when cut up into salads. Fruit can also be used up easily in pies and tarts. Try a <a href="http://www.kitchendaily.com/recipe/rustic-pear-tart-642/">rustic free-form pear tart</a>, a classic <a href="http://dinersjournal.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/10/02/the-wonders-of-tarte-tatin/">apple tarte tatin</a>, or a decadent <a href="http://smittenkitchen.com/2008/06/sweet-cherry-pie/">cherry pie</a>. Serve up melons in their rinds, scooped into balls and doused with rum, or wrap melons in prosciutto for a classic appetizer.</p> <p>Try using fruit mixed with savory ingredients to make sophisticated canapes. A whole-wheat cracker topped with goat cheese, a basil leaf, and a sweet peach slice is unexpected and delicious. A cracker topped with Brie, thinly sliced apples, and a drizzle of honey is just as good.</p> <h2>Potatoes</h2> <p>Bags of potatoes often go on sale, but make sure they haven&rsquo;t gone green before buying. Store them in a cool dark place to prevent them from sprouting before you can eat them. They&rsquo;re comforting, filling, and believe it or not, they are also a <a href="http://www.healthytheory.com/the-potato-may-be-the-new-superfood">healthy low-fat food</a>, as long as you don&rsquo;t add tons of butter and fat. Try them in a <a href="http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Jacquess-French-Potato-Salad-358334">potato salad with a vinaigrette dressing</a>, or have a seasoned baked potato with a dollop of plain yogurt. Be sure to eat the skins too if they&rsquo;re tender enough &mdash; they are packed with vitamins and fiber. Sweet potatoes are also cheap and can be cooked the same way.</p> <h2>Squash</h2> <p>Spaghetti, acorn, and butternut squash are almost always on sale in the fall and are a great way to feed a whole family on a small budget. Squash are healthy, filling, and versatile. To cook squash with a minimum of fuss, prick the squash all over with the tip of a sharp knife, and then place it whole on a baking sheet. Bake it in a pre-heated oven at 375&deg;F for an hour or more, until squash is very tender when pierced with a knife.</p> <p>Once the squash is cooked, you can cut it apart and simply serve with salt and pepper and a little butter. In the case of butternut squash, you can mash it or make it into a <a href="http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ellie-krieger/curried-butternut-squash-soup-recipe/index.html">flavorful soup</a> seasoned with a pinch of curry powder. Spaghetti squash can be served with marinara sauce as a pasta substitute, and I love pieces of acorn squash topped with brown sugar and butter and re-baked until glazed.</p> <p>Squashes like zucchini and summer squash are cheap all through the summer and are delicious grated into<a href="http://smittenkitchen.com/2011/08/zucchini-fritters/"> zucchini pancakes</a> or zucchini bread, shaved into ribbons for <a href="http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Ribboned-Zucchini-Salad-109755">zucchini salad</a>, or stir-fried with strips of meat.</p> <h2>Beef</h2> <p>In general, the big chunks of meat go on sale more often than smaller, neatly cut-up pieces. So avoid the pre-cut stir-fry strips and go for a piece of flank steak instead, freezing what you don&rsquo;t need for later (flank or sirloin steak makes a great <a href="http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2009/11/jadens-beef-with-broccoli/">beef and broccoli stir-fry</a>). Roasts tend to go on sale often, especially during grilling season when steaks are more popular, which gives you a chance to stock up on rump roast or round roast, which are perfect for<a href="http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/roast_beef/"> roast beef</a>. When it comes to stew meat, although pre-cut stew meat is inexpensive, it&rsquo;s usually made up of bits and pieces of several cuts of beef, which will take on inconsistent textures when cooked. Instead, buy an inexpensive piece of beef chuck when it&rsquo;s on sale and have your butcher cut it up for free. Then make a <a href="http://foodrepublik.com/bourgignon-esque-beef-stew/">simple beef stew</a> and serve it on top of potatoes or egg noodles for a hearty meal.</p> <h2>Chicken Legs and Thighs</h2> <p>These less-popular cuts of chicken often go on sale, and they are delicious when prepared well. Unlike breast meat, thigh and leg meat stays moist when roasted and is almost impossible to overcook. Bake them with apples for <a href="http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/chicken_normandy/">Chicken Normandy</a>, or add paprika, vinegar, and soy sauce for a simple <a href="http://appetiteforchina.com/recipes/filipino-chicken-adobo/">chicken adobo</a>. Marinate chicken legs in BBQ sauce and grill them for a fast meal.</p> <p>Whole chicken is often on sale, and you can make the entire chicken last for several meals. <a href="http://foodrepublik.com/herb-and-lemon-roasted-chicken/">Roast the chicken</a> with a stuffing of lemons and onion, and after you&rsquo;ve eaten all the roast chicken you can hold, use the leftovers for chicken salad and chicken noodle soup.</p> <h2>Fish</h2> <p>Tilapia and pollock are cheap white fish options that often go on sale. Sole and mahi-mahi are also relatively affordable (go for mahi-mahi from the U.S. Atlantic that has been pole-and-line or troll caught), as are cod and haddock. For white fish, I usually dredge the seasoned fillets in flour, pan-fry them, and make a pan sauce out of melted butter, lemon juice, and parsley. When I can find salmon on sale I like to grill a large salmon fillet with a <a href="http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/indonesian-grilled-swordfish-recipe/index.html">gingery marinade</a>.&nbsp; Often you can find frozen fish on sale that is pretty good quality, but make sure it has not been thawed and refrozen.</p> <h2>Pork</h2> <p>Although it may be hard to think beyond pork chops, many other cuts are cheap and just as delicious. Pork shoulder (picnic roast and Boston butt) benefits from slow cooking in a stew or in a crock pot and makes a great <a href="http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/slow-cooker-pulled-pork/detail.aspx">pulled pork</a>. Pork loins and tenderloins are inexpensive but are easy to cook and can feed several people &mdash; a friend of mine roasts <a href="http://www.food.com/recipe/easy-crock-pot-pork-tenderloin-roast-53599">pork loin</a> slowly with a couple of cans of mushroom soup thrown over top for an easy meal. Ground pork is a cheap substitute for beef in pasta sauce or chili and makes a mean <a href="http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/lucques-pork-burger-10000000637691/">pork burger</a>.</p> <h2>Canned Goods</h2> <p>Canned food periodically goes on sale, and when it does, stock up on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/canned-vs-dried-beans-which-are-cheaper">beans</a>, tuna, diced tomatoes, and soups. A can of garbanzo beans can make a salad a balanced meal by adding protein and extra fiber. Toss a can of beans into a pot of chili, or mix with enchilada filling to make meat stretch further. Creamy soups can be mixed with pasta for an easy dish like <a href="http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/easy-tuna-casserole/detail.aspx">tuna casserole</a>. Diced tomatoes are the foundation for a variety of dishes, and in a pinch, can be tossed with pasta, salt, and pepper for an inexpensive pantry meal.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/camilla-cheung">Camilla Cheung</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/it-was-on-sale-now-how-do-i-cook-it">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/moments-in-the-garden-of-eatin">Moments in the &quot;Garden of Eatin&quot;</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fresh-fruits-and-vegetables-by-the-month">Fresh Fruits and Vegetables, By the Month</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-things-you-shouldnt-buy-at-the-grocery-store">25 Things You Shouldn&#039;t Buy at the Grocery Store</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-frugal-rules-you-must-follow-when-shopping-at-costco">5 Frugal Rules You Must Follow When Shopping at Costco</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-produce-workers-guide-to-choosing-fruits-and-vegetables">The Produce Worker&#039;s Guide to Choosing Fruits and Vegetables</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink affordable cooking budget grocery cheap groceries produce Tue, 13 Sep 2011 10:24:26 +0000 Camilla Cheung 698103 at http://www.wisebread.com 25 Frugal Food Changes You Can Make Today http://www.wisebread.com/25-frugal-food-changes-you-can-make-today <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/25-frugal-food-changes-you-can-make-today" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/frugal_food_changes.jpg" alt="Vegetables at the farmers market" title="Vegetables at the farmers market" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We've all heard about the rapidly rising cost of food lately. From corn to soy to dairy, our wallets are getting hit harder than usual during those weekly trips to the grocery store. So what's a dedicated frugalista to do to avoid busting her budget during these tough economic times? Why, I'm so glad you asked! I've come up with a list of 25 easy changes you can make today to keep your food budget down and your savings account up. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-healthy-changes-you-can-make-today">25 Healthy Changes You Can Make Today</a>)</p> <h2>Make Your Own</h2> <p>Make-at-home versions of virtually anything are less expensive than pre-packaged, store-bought goods. The trick is to practice making your own food so it becomes quick and easy over time. Here are my favorite DIY alternatives to store-bought goods.</p> <h3>1. Salad Dressing</h3> <p>I actually prefer salad dressing made at home. My favorite standby is three parts extra virgin olive oil and one part red wine vinegar with various spices and garlic mixed in. Or, make your own favorite dressing or vinaigrette with the help of <a href="http://allrecipes.com/Recipes/salad/dressings-and-vinaigrettes/main.aspx">Allrecipes</a>.</p> <h3>2. Bread Crumbs</h3> <p>Bread crumbs are easy to make and are a great way to use stale bread or crusts left behind by picky eaters. Simply pop the bread into a food processor, blender, or (my favorite &ldquo;As Seen on TV&rdquo; product) the Magic Bullet. Bread crumbs are handy for making meatloaf and meatballs, or dredging chicken or fish in before frying.</p> <h3>3. Croutons</h3> <p>Like bread crumbs, croutons are an excellent way to use stale bread. In my little two-person household, we rarely use a whole loaf of bread in a week. The excess (when I&rsquo;m not in need of bread crumbs), is cut into one-inch squares, topped with olive oil and spices, and placed in a 300&deg;F oven for about 30 minutes (stir them about halfway through). Store in an air-tight container. Bonus &mdash; try making rosemary and butter croutons. De-licious! (For even more uses, see <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/17-uses-for-stale-bread">17 Uses for Stale Bread</a>.)</p> <h3>4. Tortilla Chips</h3> <p>Use extra flour tortillas to make tasty <a href="http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/baked-tortilla-chips/detail.aspx">baked chips</a>. Put your own spin on the chips by adding dried cilantro, cumin, or red pepper. Or, as an alternative, use left-over pita pockets to make pita chips.</p> <h3>5. Soup Stock</h3> <p>Soup stock is a perfect base to homemade soup (see #25 for ways to save by making soup), and you can make it out of the bones of just about any animal (chicken, fish, veal, turkey) and <em>mirepoix</em> &mdash; onions, carrots, celery, and sometimes other vegetables. Learn how to make <a href="http://www.foodnetwork.com/search/delegate.do?fnSearchString=stock&amp;fnSearchType=site">different types of stock</a> with these recipes from the Food Network. Just freeze bones and/or vegetables until you&rsquo;ve accumulated all the ingredients, and you&rsquo;re set. I love making stock on a Sunday afternoon while doing other chores around the house.</p> <h3>6. Granola</h3> <p>Buying granola in stores is generally pretty pricey, but fortunately, you can make your own for breakfast and quick snacks. The <a href="http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/kathleen-daelemans/crunchy-granola-recipe/index.html">easiest recipe</a> I&rsquo;ve found so far involves only five ingredients &mdash; rolled oats, brown sugar, salt, vanilla, and nuts &mdash; although you can add in dried fruit and other items too.</p> <h3>7. Grind Your Own Coffee</h3> <p>This one is possibly the easiest change to make of all the frugal changes on the list. Ground coffee can be marked up to 30% more than whole bean versions, making it worth your while to grind your own coffee at home. (Not to mention the superior taste afforded by grinding your own beans.) I simply pop the coffee beans in my Magic Bullet (when not using it to make bread crumbs, of course) and grind away. For those of you without a grinder or Magic Bullet, consider investing in a basic blade grinder. It should run you less than $15 at any major grocery store chain.</p> <h3>8. Start a Garden</h3> <p>Make your own vegetables and herbs by growing them in a backyard garden. Start with the vegetables and herbs you use the most &mdash; in my case, just one tomato plant, green pepper plant, and some herbs will do for this year. If you&rsquo;ve never tried out your green thumb, get started with some advice from the <a href="http://www.garden.org/">National Garden Association</a>.</p> <h2>Healthy Alternatives</h2> <p>Some dietary changes are good for your wallet. Some are good for your health. And then there are those delightful few that are good for both. Here are my favorite frugal and healthy food changes you can make today.</p> <h3>9. Go Meat Free</h3> <p>No, I&rsquo;m not suggesting you become a vegetarian permanently if you&rsquo;re not one already (although you could also save money if you choose to go that route). I am recommending that you try incorporating one meat-free dinner a week into your routine. What I&rsquo;m suggesting is nothing new &mdash; the Meatless Monday campaign was started in the U.S. in 2003 and by April of 2011, the American Meat Institute found that 18% of Americans regularly participate in Meatless Monday. Not only can it be argued that eating a vegetarian dinner once per week is healthy for individuals and healthy for the planet; it can also help save on groceries, since meat is one of the most expensive proteins you can buy.</p> <h3>10. Try One New Protein You've Never Tried Before</h3> <p>While you&rsquo;re at it, why not incorporate other sources of protein into your diet on a regular basis? According to the <a href="http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/meatless-meals/my00752">Mayo Clinic</a>, people who eat a more plant-centered diet normally eat fewer calories and less fat, weigh less, and have lower cholesterol levels. They also save money, since protein sources like eggs, tofu, and beans cost less per-ounce than meat.</p> <h3>11. Eat What&rsquo;s in Season</h3> <p>Eating fruits and vegetables during their natural growing season saves you money because those peaches you love don&rsquo;t have to be transported halfway around the world! Not only that, but they are more packed with vitamins and nutrients (also due to less required travel and storage time) and they taste better, too. Check out this handy list of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fresh-fruits-and-vegetables-by-the-month">fresh fruits and vegetables by the month</a>.</p> <h3>12. Cut Back on Processed Foods and Snacks</h3> <p>Those 100-calorie snack packs sure are convenient, but that convenience will cost you. For the most nutritious (and cost-effective) snacks, cut up fruits and veggies at the beginning of each week, divide into single portions, and store. If you just don&rsquo;t want to sacrifice your daily Goldfish, buy a large package and divide into sandwich baggies to save over 30% of the cost on the single-serving packages.</p> <p><img width="605" vspace="1" hspace="1" height="439" border="1" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u898/Grocery%20Shopping.jpg" alt="Grocery Store" /></p> <h2>Grocery Shopping Tips</h2> <p>The key to making frugal food changes at the grocery store is to plan, plan, plan! Unless you absolutely have to, you should avoid last-minute trips to the store at all costs. For when you have the luxury of time, here&rsquo;s how I would use it to help minimize your food costs.</p> <h3>13. Shop with a List (and on a Full Stomach)</h3> <p>Sure, we&rsquo;ve all heard this one before, but it bears repeating &mdash; shopping with a list helps you to avoid impulse buys, and so does shopping when you&rsquo;re not a voracious bear. I plan a week of meals before going to the store and prepare my list (and stomach) accordingly.</p> <h3>14. Store Food Correctly to Help It Last Longer</h3> <p>Minimize food waste by storing your food correctly, whether it be in the freezer or fridge. Lifehacker has an excellent <a href="http://lifehacker.com/5814958/how-to-store-food-properly-in-the-freezer-and-fridge">guide to storing food</a> to get you started.</p> <h3>15. Shop the Sales</h3> <p>OK, people can get a bit obsessed with learning stores&rsquo; sales cycles and matching them up with coupons, but if you&rsquo;re like me, you don&rsquo;t have the time (or motivation). Instead, I make my grocery list and then choose the sale version of whatever I need. If you happen to see a pretty outrageous sales price, consider buying enough of that item to last you about three months (if possible) &mdash; that&rsquo;s the general sales cycle for the majority of grocery store products.</p> <h3>16. Buy Store Brands</h3> <p>There is some debate as to whether shoppers save more money by buying brand-name items with a coupon or by buying store brands. The verdict is clear on store brands vs. name brands, however &mdash; as <a href="http://www.freemoneyfinance.com/2009/09/save-almost-1200-a-year-using-store-brands.html">FreeMoneyFinance</a> points out in several posts, you can always save a bundle by going with generic.</p> <h3>17. Shop With Coupons</h3> <p>&hellip;but only if you&rsquo;re buying things you needed anyway. None of that <em>Extreme Couponing</em> nonsense where you have to store toilet paper in the bedroom, please.</p> <h3>18. Don&rsquo;t Waste Money on &ldquo;Deals&rdquo;</h3> <p>If you save money on an item, but nobody wants to eat it, are you <em>really </em>saving money? This one seems to be a no-brainer, but it took me a while to catch on. Case in point &mdash; my fiancé does not like bread that is not pre-sliced. He says unsliced bakery loaves fall apart when he tries to slice them up for sandwiches. So even though it&rsquo;s a bit more expensive, I buy the pre-sliced loaves of bakery bread. Lesson learned.</p> <h3>19. Shop in Your Own Pantry</h3> <p>Is your pantry and fridge full of random items that you need to use up, but you aren&rsquo;t quite sure how? Use a site like <a href="http://www.recipepuppy.com/">RecipePuppy</a> to plan meals based on what you already have at home.</p> <h2>Make Your Grocery Dollars Go Further</h2> <p>Use economies of scale to stretch your grocery dollars today. Only two people in your household? No problem! These tips apply no matter how many mouths you have to feed.</p> <h3>20. Buy Meat on Sale</h3> <p>OK, this goes with tip #14 (Shop the Sales) too, but it applies doubly for meat. Meat is one of the most expensive grocery items, per ounce, that you buy each week. If at all possible, buy your meat on sale. In fact, I plan my whole week&rsquo;s meals based on what meat is on sale that week. The best day I have found to shop is, unsurprisingly, the day the specials in store circulars start (Thursday in my particular area).</p> <h3>21. Make Two Batches at Once</h3> <p>In my little household, we save money by making two or more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-five-day-freeze-batch-cooking-for-the-rest-of-us">batches of meals</a> at once and freezing the extras. Lasagnas, soups, stews, and enchiladas are just a few of the easy-to-freeze meals I make in bulk.</p> <h3>22. Don&rsquo;t Let Food Spoil</h3> <p>If you have some fruits or vegetables that are <em>thisclose</em> to spoiled, but have absolutely no way to use them up before they go bad, go ahead and slice them up anyway. Then, just pop them in the freezer until you need them. I always seem to have those last few stalks of celery that are beginning to droop in my crisper drawer &mdash; rather than throwing them out, I cut them into slices and freeze until I have all the ingredients to make chicken stock (see tip #5!). I also freeze extra fruit for smoothies and pies and dice surplus onion for, well, anything.</p> <h3>23. Brown Bag Your Lunch</h3> <p>I always re-purpose the previous night&rsquo;s dinner for lunch the next day. For example, after enjoying some spaghetti and meatballs, I&rsquo;ll set aside a few extra meatballs and sauce for a delicious meatball sub at work tomorrow.</p> <h3>24. Substitute Frozen, Canned, or Dried</h3> <p>Using one of these alternatives to fresh food generally provides the same nutrients at a lower cost. Furthermore, you can usually save any excess after using what you need, thereby minimizing waste. If you&rsquo;re feeling adventurous, you can also save money by buying fresh food in bulk and <a href="http://www.uga.edu/nchfp/">canning your own fruits and vegetables</a>.</p> <h3>25. Make Soup. Lots of Soup</h3> <p>Soup is one of the most versatile dishes in the world: it can be cream-based or broth-based, vegetarian or full of meat, and it can accommodate just about any vegetable known to man. It is also, happily, quite cost-effective. I love making soup on the weekends from leftovers throughout the week: chicken and wild rice, turkey, and potatoes with ham are a few of my favorite leftover soup specials.<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-frugal-changes-you-can-make-today"><br /> </a></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/janey-osterlind">Janey Osterlind</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-frugal-food-changes-you-can-make-today">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-frugal-rules-you-must-follow-when-shopping-at-costco">5 Frugal Rules You Must Follow When Shopping at Costco</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-foods-with-the-most-bang-for-your-buck">10 Foods With the Most Bang for Your Buck</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-6-healthiest-grocery-stores">The 6 Healthiest Grocery Stores</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/buy-your-groceries-european-style">Buy Your Groceries European-Style</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-other-grocery-stores-should-steal-from-trader-joes">5 Things Other Grocery Stores Should Steal from Trader Joe&#039;s</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink Shopping 25 changes cheap groceries cheap recipes food waste healthy food Mon, 11 Jul 2011 10:36:51 +0000 Janey Osterlind 603954 at http://www.wisebread.com Make-Ahead Food: 10 Things to Cook on a Sunday http://www.wisebread.com/make-ahead-food-10-things-to-cook-on-a-sunday <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/make-ahead-food-10-things-to-cook-on-a-sunday" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000004500140Small.jpg" alt="Woman tasting batter in her kitchen" title="Woman tasting batter in her kitchen" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="200" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Making food ahead of time so you can eat well and save money during busy workweeks is a great idea. But often when I read articles about make-ahead food, the focus is on ways to stock your freezer with heat-and-eat casseroles, soups, and other meals. This is wonderful, but sometimes, the most useful, frugal, and healthy make-ahead foods aren't frozen dinners, but ready-to-go meal components sitting in your fridge or pantry. The following 10 items are all easy to make on a Sunday (or whenever you have a day off during the week), and last for about five days (or more) in the pantry or fridge. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-five-day-freeze-batch-cooking-for-the-rest-of-us">The Five-Day Freeze: Batch Cooking for the Rest of Us</a>)</p> <h2>1. Beans</h2> <p>While the merits of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/canned-vs-dried-beans-which-are-cheaper">canned versus dried beans</a> are hotly debated, there's no doubt that pound-for-pound, dried beans are both cheaper and lower in sodium. The problem with dried beans, though, is that they can take an hour on the stovetop to soften up. Cook a pot of beans on Sunday, and use them throughout the week in salads, Mexican dishes like tacos or burritos, soups, and so on.</p> <h2>2. Bread</h2> <p>With mixing, kneading, rising, and finally baking, most yeast breads require at least three hours to make (although most of that time is hands-off). What better day than Sunday to bake a loaf of bread while you attend to other projects around the house?</p> <h2>3. Granola</h2> <p>Store-bought granola is often expensive and can be surprisingly calorie-packed. Instead, I make a batch of granola every weekend by mixing old-fashioned oats, cinnamon, chopped nuts, and maple syrup, and toasting it at 400&deg;F in the oven until it just starts to brown. Then I eat it with fruit and yogurt for breakfast throughout the week. This stuff will keep for even longer than a week in a sealed container, and granola also makes a great gift.</p> <h2>4. Pancake Batter</h2> <p>Pancakes don't just have to be a weekend breakfast. A batch of pancake batter keeps well in the fridge, and all you have to do in the morning is drop it on the griddle. When I was still working in an office, I took this one step further and brought my just-cooked <a href="http://www.dana-farber.org/Health-Library/Pumpkin-Buckwheat-Pancakes.aspx">pumpkin-buckwheat pancakes</a> into work. Enjoying pancakes at my desk while reading my morning emails definitely made the start of the work day much more awesome.</p> <h2>5. Chopped Vegetables</h2> <p>Whether you're using them for snacks or salads, pre-chopping your vegetables is a great way to make sure you have healthy things to eat when you want them. You can even separate them into serving-size-portioned Tupperware so you can just throw them into your lunch bag.</p> <h2>6. Hummus and Dips</h2> <p>Great with pita and vegetables or as a sandwich spread, hummus is super easy to make (this <a href="http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/israeli-hummus-with-paprika-and-whole-chickpeas-cocktails-2009">hummus recipe</a> from Zahav in Philadelphia is one of my favorites). Have it on hand &mdash; or other dips and spreads such as fresh salsa, olive tapenade, pesto, or balsamic bean dip &mdash; to liven up otherwise mediocre snacks and meals.</p> <h2>7. Muffins</h2> <p>A great grab-and-go food, muffins are awesome for a quick breakfast or as afternoon snacks. You can bake a batch on Sunday for the week, or make <a href="http://www.melskitchencafe.com/2010/09/healthy-and-delicious-refrigerator-bran-muffins.html">fridge muffin batter</a>. This stuff keeps in the fridge for around a month, and when you want a muffin, all you need to do spoon a little bit of the batter into a muffin cup and toss it in the oven.</p> <h2>8. Cookies</h2> <p>If you're packing lunches for young ones (or, really, for yourself), it's always nice to include a sweet treat. One of the reasons I love making my own sweets is that I can use ingredients like whole-wheat white flour, lower the sugar content (I find that using 3/4 of the sugar a recipe calls for is rarely noticeable), and make other alterations to provide myself with healthier, but still satisfying desserts.</p> <h2>9. Multi-Purpose Protein</h2> <p>Everybody who's lived in a house where the Sunday <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/one-pot-roast-a-week-of-cheap-and-delicious-lunches">pot roast</a> becomes Monday's beef stew, Tuesday's chop suey, and so on knows that having ready-to-go protein makes for quick-and-easy meals. You can marinate and cook some chicken or tofu on Sunday that can be easily tossed in a salad or paired with sides, or follow the classic model and cook a roast, turkey, ham, or seitan dish that will leave you lots of leftovers.</p> <h2>10. Side Salads</h2> <p>Having already prepared side salads can make lunch and dinner oh-so-easy. Whether it's bean salad, pasta salad, potato salad, cole slaw, or just a nice mix of vegetables, pairing a side salad with a bit of quick protein makes for a super-fast and satisfying meal.</p> <p><em>Do you prepare food on Sunday for the rest of the week? If so, what? Share your thoughts in the comments.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/meg-favreau">Meg Favreau</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-ahead-food-10-things-to-cook-on-a-sunday">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-things-you-shouldnt-buy-at-the-grocery-store">25 Things You Shouldn&#039;t Buy at the Grocery Store</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/buy-your-groceries-european-style">Buy Your Groceries European-Style</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-frugal-rules-you-must-follow-when-shopping-at-costco">5 Frugal Rules You Must Follow When Shopping at Costco</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-time-and-money-with-a-monthly-assembly-or-bulk-cooking-weekend">Save Time and Money With a Monthly Assembly (or Bulk) Cooking Weekend</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-homemade-baking-mixes-that-save-money-and-time">10 Homemade Baking Mixes That Save Money and Time</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink bulk cooking cheap groceries make ahead food Wed, 15 Jun 2011 10:36:27 +0000 Meg Favreau 578133 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Things Other Grocery Stores Should Steal from Trader Joe's http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-other-grocery-stores-should-steal-from-trader-joes <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-things-other-grocery-stores-should-steal-from-trader-joes" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/4216588945_6a720453c4_zc.jpg" alt="Trader Joes" title="Trader Joes" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Often pieces like this have a disclaimer at the end: <em>I do not own shares in...</em>, <em>I am not employed by...</em>; you get the idea. I have no vested interest in <a href="http://www.traderjoes.com/index.asp">Trader Joe's</a> other than that I'd like to see them expand so that I can find one wherever I go in the states.&nbsp;</p> <p>If you don't shop at Trader Joe's, give it a shot. If you do, you should know what I'm talking about. If you're a competitor of Trader Joe's (every other grocery store chain out there), then listen up. You've got some learning and some work to do, or your customers are going to &quot;trade&quot; you for the competition. Here are five things to copy:</p> <h3>1. Prices That Can't Be Beat</h3> <p>I shop at Trader Joe's and Meijer. I only shop at Meijer (a Midwestern, Wal-Mart-style, we-sell-everything type store) for the stuff that Trader Joe's can't carry in its tiny locations. Trader Joe's mostly has Trader Joe's generic label brands. However, you'll find a few other brands that you can also find elsewhere, including at Meijer and Kroger. And for these brands, I've often found identical items to be 25-30% cheaper at Trader Joe's. And TJ's&nbsp;generic items are significantly cheaper than generics at other stores. How do they do it? I don't know. I definitely <a href="http://20somethingfinance.com/saving-money-on-food-groceries-without-sacrifice/">save money on groceries</a> at TJ's. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/organic-groceries-on-a-budget">Organic Groceries on a Budget</a>)</p> <h3>2. Unique, Quality Products</h3> <p>I have never felt like I've bought something of poor quality at Trader Joe's. Occasionally the store's produce is not the freshest (I still do a lot of my produce shopping at Whole Foods), but everything else seems to be at peak quality. Cheap and high-quality at the same time? Unheard of. There are so many new foods that I've tried at Trader Joe's that I simply can't find elsewhere and would have never tried otherwise.</p> <h3>3. Healthy Foods</h3> <p>Much of Trader Joe's selection is organic and comparatively healthy compared to what you'll find in other grocery stores. Yes, the store does have ice cream, sodas, and chips &mdash; but we all have to give in to our guilty pleasures now and then. You can find antibiotic and growth-hormone-free meat and milk, and ingredient lists on items often lack high-fructose corn syrup, food dyes, and other unworldly foreign crap. I still look at the ingredient lists, but I'm fairly confident that if I grabbed something on the run and didn't look until I got home, I would not be displeased with the ingredients.</p> <p>In any other major grocery store chain (excluding Whole Foods), nine times out of ten, whatever I grab is going to be loaded with unhealthy ingredients. It's nice not to have to worry about that for a change. <a href="http://20somethingfinance.com/saving-on-groceries-organic-free-range-vegetarian/">Healthy food</a> is one of Trader Joe's cornerstones.</p> <h3>4. Convenience</h3> <p>I alluded to this a little bit, but TJ's stores are comparatively tiny. No, they don't carry motor oil, toys, or 50 types of facial tissues. But you know what? I'm just fine with that! After a busy week at work, the last thing I want to do is have to choose between 30 brands of laundry detergent. I also don't want to have to walk a quarter-mile to the back of the store if I forgot something when I get to the checkout. My grocery trips to TJ's last under 20 minutes a piece. At Kroger or Meijer's, they used to last an hour or more.</p> <p>It's also hard to get lost. I know where everything is, and I rarely have to ask.</p> <h3>5. Enthusiastic Staff</h3> <p>The staff at Trader Joe's seem to like working there (or at least they fake it pretty well). You can tell that the staff has the same kind of enthusiasm for the product as the customers do. The only other retail chain that I can say that about is <a href="http://20somethingfinance.com/rei-review-why-the-lifetime-rei-membership-was-worth-the-money/">REI</a>.</p> <h3>The Downsides of Trader Joe's?</h3> <p>In addition to the produce that isn't always the freshest, you need to hit TJ's at the right time (usually early in the morning), or the inventory on baked goods and produce is typically ravaged. I also wish that I could <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-reasons-why-buying-groceries-online-is-great">order stuff online</a>. Other than that, I have no legitimate complaints.</p> <p>I applaud you, Trader Joe's, for making my grocery shopping experience pleasant.</p> <p><em>What about Trader Joe's or your most frequented grocery store do you love and hate?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ge-miller">G.E. Miller</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-other-grocery-stores-should-steal-from-trader-joes">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-6-healthiest-grocery-stores">The 6 Healthiest Grocery Stores</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/trader-joes-vs-costco-whats-a-better-place-to-shop">Trader Joes vs. Costco: What&#039;s a Better Place to Shop?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/buy-your-groceries-european-style">Buy Your Groceries European-Style</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-foods-with-the-most-bang-for-your-buck">10 Foods With the Most Bang for Your Buck</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-frugal-food-changes-you-can-make-today">25 Frugal Food Changes You Can Make Today</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink Shopping cheap groceries grocery stores healthy eating trader joes Tue, 08 Feb 2011 13:36:10 +0000 G.E. Miller 488285 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Frugal Rules You Must Follow When Shopping at Costco http://www.wisebread.com/5-frugal-rules-you-must-follow-when-shopping-at-costco <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-frugal-rules-you-must-follow-when-shopping-at-costco" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/2559177539_494b233df2_z.jpg" alt="man at costco" title="man at costco" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Everything is cheaper at <a href="http://costco.com">Costco</a>, right? Not so fast! For a frugalist, Costco and its warehouse membership club brethren can be very appealing. So much so, in fact, that&nbsp;<a href="http://retailindustry.about.com/od/topusretailcompanies/a/us_2010_largest_retailers_world.htm">Costco has become the fourth largest retailer in the U.S. and eighth in the world</a>. After all, who doesn't see the bargain provided in buying a 50-pack of veggie burgers or a 120 oz. jar of spaghetti sauce?</p> <p>Costco can provide some cost-saving values, but it can also be a money pit <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-wasting-or-saving-money-with-a-warehouse-club-membership">if you are not careful</a>. Here are five rules to adhere to when shopping at the wholesale retail giant.</p> <h3>1. Make a List of Everything That You Typically Need From the Grocer</h3> <p>Do this before you ever set foot in a Costco. Costco has a way of luring you into buying things that you normally don't buy. If something does not make your list, there's a good chance that you should not buy it at Costco. At the same time, you won't find 75% of the stuff you might typically buy elsewhere, so don't rely on Costco for your entire grocery buying experience. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-things-that-are-worth-buying-at-costco" title="9 Things That Are Worth Buying at Costco">9 Things That Are Worth Buying at Costco</a>)</p> <h3>2. Compare Apples to Apples</h3> <p>For units of identical size, figure out the <em>per unit </em>price of the things that you normally buy and what their typical weight per unit is. Usually you'll have to buy packs of six, eight, or more units of something that you'd buy one of elsewhere. This makes comparing easy if you just do some simple math.</p> <p>What's harder is comparing identical items that come in different size units. Find out the price per ounce of the item from Costco and compare it to the price per ounce of the same thing elsewhere. Go with the retailer that's cheaper, except when you'd have to buy more of a perishable item than you could ever use by the time the <a href="http://20somethingfinance.com/sell-by-date-use-by-date-best-before-date-food-shelf-life/">use by date</a> passes.</p> <h3>3. Use the Costco Credit Card</h3> <p>If you're looking for savings at Costco, it only makes sense to get the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-new-costco-anywhere-visa-card-by-citi-is-good-news-for-costco-shoppers">Costco Anywhere Visa</a> card. You'll earn 4% cash back on eligible gas, 3% on dining and travel, 2% on Costco and Costco.com purchases, and 1% on other purchases. If you use your Costco credit card for your regular monthly spending, you'll easily earn enough cash back rewards to pay for a Costco shopping trip.</p> <h3>4. Try the Samples...If You Dare</h3> <p>Costco typically offers up several sample stations. Usually, the food and drink at these stations is not the healthiest. As in most grocery stores, it's offered up by friendly older women, and it's hard to say no to them when they ask you how many bags of cheddar popcorn you need. So if you grab a sample, get the heck out of there...fast.</p> <h3>5. Make Planned Trips Every <em>Other</em> Month or More</h3> <p>If you are buying things in bulk that get you a nice discount, you usually don't need to re-stock them for a few months. There's nothing wrong with that! Resist the urge to go back more frequently when you really don't need to, because you most likely will get tempted by electronics or some of the other cool things you probably don't need.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ge-miller">G.E. Miller</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-frugal-rules-you-must-follow-when-shopping-at-costco">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-and-worst-times-to-go-grocery-shopping">The Best and Worst Times to Go Grocery Shopping</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-sneaky-ways-wholesale-clubs-get-you-to-you-spend-more">8 Sneaky Ways Wholesale Clubs Get You to You Spend More</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/buy-your-groceries-european-style">Buy Your Groceries European-Style</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-grocery-shop-for-five-on-100-a-week">How to Grocery Shop for Five on $100 a Week</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-6-healthiest-grocery-stores">The 6 Healthiest Grocery Stores</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink Shopping cheap groceries costco credit cards grocery shopping wholesale clubs Sun, 14 Nov 2010 17:00:10 +0000 G.E. Miller 297201 at http://www.wisebread.com Canned vs. Dried Beans: Which Are Cheaper? http://www.wisebread.com/canned-vs-dried-beans-which-are-cheaper <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/canned-vs-dried-beans-which-are-cheaper" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/5087361924_32152b8c5c_z.jpg" alt="dried beans" title="dried beans" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When it comes to cutting your grocery bill, switching from prepared foods to their dried counterparts can often save you a good chunk of change. Looking for a good place to start? It's all about the beans!</p> <h3>Which is Cheaper: Dried or Canned Beans?</h3> <p>Dried beans average at least half to two-thirds of the price of reconstituted (canned) beans. If you're able to purchase in bulk, you're often able to save much more. A recent search at a local grocer yielded a 16 oz. bag of dried black beans for $1.47, while a 15.5 oz. can of black beans cost $0.74.</p> <p>You're probably thinking, &quot;Wait a minute, the canned beans sound like a better deal!&quot; Not so fast! One 16 oz. bag of beans tends to yield the same amount of beans as three cans. So in this example, you're saving approximately 50% on your beans.</p> <p>If you purchased three cans of beans per week and made the switch to dried beans, you'd save approximately $25 per year. It may not sound like much, but when you consider that it is only one item out of possibly hundreds that you purchase over the course of a year, it all adds up. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/organic-groceries-on-a-budget" title="Organic Groceries on a Budget">Organic Groceries on a Budget</a>)</p> <h3>Other Benefits to Dried Beans</h3> <ul> <li>Dried beans often store better than canned, and if kept in a cool, dark place, keep good for up to a year or more. If you open a package or buy in bulk, make sure to place them in an airtight container.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>They take up less space. Dried beans fill one-third of the space and don't come in a rigid can form.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>You're helping to reduce your carbon footprint by avoiding the purchase of aluminum cans and the extra storage weight and volume that come from canned beans.</li> </ul> <h3>How to Cook Dried Beans</h3> <p>Recipes vary by bean variety, but here are some general rules. Keep in mind that one cup of dried beans will yield two cups of cooked beans.</p> <p><strong>Step 1: Soaking</strong></p> <p>There are two ways that you can soak dried beans:</p> <ol> <li>Overnight: Rinse your beans, place in a container with double the water, and let soak for eight hours or more.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Quick Soak: Rinse the beans, place in a pot with double the water, and cook on medium for five minutes. Then cover the pot, turn off the heat, and let the beans soak for an hour.</li> </ol> <p><strong>Step 2: Cooking the Beans</strong></p> <ol> <li>Drain the beans from the water they were soaked in and put into a pot.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Cover with fresh water (about two inches above the beans).<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cover with lid partially and cook until tender (usually takes at least an hour).</li> </ol> <h3>Time Saving Bean-Cooking Tip</h3> <p>If you want to avoid the time involved in cooking, simply cook up large batches and then <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-awesome-easy-to-freeze-meals" title="5 Awesome Easy to Freeze Meals">freeze</a> the beans. When you want to use them later, all you need to do is defrost, and you're ready to go.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ge-miller">G.E. Miller</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/canned-vs-dried-beans-which-are-cheaper">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-salvage-a-burnt-meal">10 Ways to Salvage a Burnt Meal</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-coolest-things-that-come-in-a-can">The 10 Coolest Things That Come in a Can</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/16-simple-kitchen-skills-every-frugal-person-should-master">16 Simple Kitchen Skills Every Frugal Person Should Master</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cooking-for-beginners-10-recipes-for-kitchen-newbies">Cooking for Beginners: 10 Recipes for Kitchen Newbies</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-things-you-shouldnt-buy-at-the-grocery-store">25 Things You Shouldn&#039;t Buy at the Grocery Store</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink beans canned goods cheap groceries Cooking Fri, 05 Nov 2010 12:00:10 +0000 G.E. Miller 274942 at http://www.wisebread.com Moments in the "Garden of Eatin" http://www.wisebread.com/moments-in-the-garden-of-eatin <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/moments-in-the-garden-of-eatin" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000007543218XSmall.jpg" alt="Basket of fresh vegetables" title="Basket of fresh vegetables" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I know what I&rsquo;m doing differently this summer.</p> <p>No, it doesn&rsquo;t involve the length of my shorts or a different vacation destination. Instead it's something that I can do, every day and every week &mdash; at least in the wake of Memorial Day and up through Labor Day &mdash; and try to perhaps incorporate year around: eating better for much cheaper.</p> <p>In the past couple of years, I&rsquo;ve had a few culinary and nutritional <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-gettin-baptized-in-the-watahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh-epiphany">epiphanies</a>, but this past week, just before Memorial Day, the come-to-the-light moments were palpable, tangible.</p> <p><strong>Moment 1: I sat down as a guest at a house with enough room for a garden with my first born son and ate a fresh spinach and lettuce garden salad &mdash; literally from the backyard.</strong> It had just been walked into the kitchen and washed. As the fresh green vegetables pimp-smacked my taste buds into a preservative-free realm of sublimity, the four year old Leffall man-child pointed out the obvious: &ldquo;This tastes different, Daddy.&rdquo;</p> <p>Yes son, it does and not only that, it tastes better and it&rsquo;s better for us.</p> <p>If you know me or you&rsquo;ve read my posts on this site, you&rsquo;ll know I&rsquo;m not the &ldquo;shockable&rdquo; type. I believe in daily irony and find myself smirking at most things good or bad, but imagine my delight, experiencing something I hadn&rsquo;t experienced in more than 20 years since Grandma&rsquo;s garden in East Texas &mdash; an organic experience without the buzzword.</p> <p>Yes, a fresh food experience &mdash; no pesticides, no transportation wear and tear, no artificial light, no plastic bags, no huge line at the grocery store, no skeptical eye. Suddenly I&rsquo;d been transported to another time and at once enlightened about what I&rsquo;ve been missing and doing wrong &mdash; even when eating right &mdash; for the past two decades.</p> <p><strong>Moment 2: A day later, I saw a segment on the Today show about the <a href="http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/13737389/page/2/">Dirty Dozen</a>.</strong> Apparently the U.S. Department of Agriculture says apples, cherries, peaches, bears, raspberries, strawberries, potatoes and even my beloved spinach, are all on a list of 12 fruits and vegetables that should, if possible, be purchased organically because of (throaty gasp) higher levels of pesticide residue than others. Whaaaaa?!</p> <p><strong>Moment 3: Two days after that was a farmer's market visit.</strong> I discovered that <a href="http://www.goinglocal-info.com/my_weblog/community-sponsored-agriculture.html">Community Supported Agriculture</a> (CSA) accounts for the farmer's market summer season, between Memorial Day and Labor Day. More on that in a minute but first a primer on my farmers market experiences.</p> <p>My previous dalliances at farmer's markets were always in large urban centers, gawking at all the sunflowers and yes sun dresses, young people carrying Yoga mats and sampling wares from farms 2 to 8 hours away being hawked by mostly wholesalers with retail savvy and retailers of small outlying health food stores passing themselves off as farmers with farm fresh products.</p> <p>As always, it was good to get outside, but similarly almost always a less than organic experience at these farmer's markets to say the least. And I always seemed to be out of cash, and it was a hassle to leave the market and go to the ATM and then come back.</p> <p>But at this particular farmer's market last week, I talked to an actual farmer who hipped me to the concept of a CSA prepaid account and card. I could simply put $400 on a card and through 20 weeks of produce in the summer season, I would be spending $20 a week on fresh fruits and vegetables cultivated with homegrown seeds and organic pesticides extracted from flowers. If I didn&rsquo;t want to do the $400, I could even get $50 gift cards and max those out, sparingly and gradually. I could even order ahead, get the amount deducted from my card and show up for express check out.</p> <p>Soooooooooo&hellip;by the time you read this, I will have enjoyed some organic bok choy garnishing a local whitefish over a bed of wild rice. That head of bok choy was less than two bucks. In the store &mdash; and I checked &mdash; it&rsquo;s five simoleons and I have no idea where it came from or what it went through, to boot.</p> <p>The USDA estimates that Americans spends more than 30 percent of their monthly household budgets on food, with a national grocery bill of more than $2 trillion annually.</p> <p>Based on that data, it&rsquo;s likely that in the aggregate, over the average Memorial Day weekend alone, many families typically spend between $100 to $400 just for that holiday weekend on chips, hot dogs, and other wonderful American starches &mdash; not least because of the fact that demand spikes on weekends like that.</p> <p>Yet $400 for the whole summer could get you fresh stuff &mdash; such as an organic ginger, lemon and cayenne pepper seltzer concoction that I picked up &mdash; and get the experience of tasting before you buy, talking to the person that grew it, saving some money and living better in the process. Whaaaaaa?!</p> <p>I'm thankful and glad for these recent moments. Yeah, I definitely know what I'm doing differently this summer.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jabulani-leffall">Jabulani Leffall</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/moments-in-the-garden-of-eatin">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-farmers-markets-frugal-or-a-luxury">Are Farmer&#039;s Markets Frugal or a Luxury?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/it-was-on-sale-now-how-do-i-cook-it">It Was on Sale…Now How Do I Cook It?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fresh-fruits-and-vegetables-by-the-month">Fresh Fruits and Vegetables, By the Month</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/buy-your-groceries-european-style">Buy Your Groceries European-Style</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-things-you-shouldnt-buy-at-the-grocery-store">25 Things You Shouldn&#039;t Buy at the Grocery Store</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink cheap groceries farmer's market organic produce produce Sat, 29 May 2010 17:00:03 +0000 Jabulani Leffall 105839 at http://www.wisebread.com Buy Your Groceries European-Style http://www.wisebread.com/buy-your-groceries-european-style <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/buy-your-groceries-european-style" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/groceries-cold-meats-fruit.jpg" alt="Groceries Cold Meats Fruit" title="Groceries Cold Meats Fruit" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="214" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Make a grocery list and stick to it? That's a piece of advice that'll cost you a lot of money. The theory, I guess, is that you're so terribly prone to impulse buying that you can't be trusted to wander free in a grocery store. The reality, though, is that you can save a lot of money if you can make yourself trustworthy.</p> <p>I was actually taught to make a shopping list in school. I think it was part of the health curriculum &mdash; the same unit where we learned the four food groups. It came as part of a whole scheme that involved checking the grocery store ads, basing a menu around what was cheap, and then creating a shopping list for the week. It's an adequate shopping strategy, not so unreasonable for someone who works full time and can barely fit in a once-a-week trip to the grocery store. But it means that you're both <strong>paying more</strong> and <strong>missing out on the freshest, best-looking food</strong>.</p> <p>I think of the alternative as &quot;European-style&quot; shopping, although it was perfectly ordinary in the United States as well, back in the days when people shopped at grocery stores, back before the invention of the supermarket. It still works fine, though, even in a supermarket.</p> <p>When I'm buying groceries for the household, I shop almost every day. Instead of planning a menu in advance, I go to the store and look around to see what looks good. That way, I can get whatever's fresh and cheap.</p> <p>Meat in particular gets marked down as it approaches its sell-by date. You can't do much with that sort of deal if you only shop once a week, because you won't want to be cooking meat a week after its sell-by date. However, since I'm going to cook it that same day, I'm perfectly happy buying something on its sell-by date &mdash; at which point it's often been marked down to a fraction of its regular price.</p> <p>I rarely find such great deals in produce, but whatever's local and in-season is usually cheap, and there's no substitute for browsing in person for finding what looks best.</p> <p>So, that's what I do. I may make a list to remind me of any regular items that I need to get, but then I look to see what looks good and what's cheap. Since I know I have a pantry full of staples, I'm confident that I can make a meal out of whatever I find. (I talk about those skills in <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/frugalize-any-recipe">Frugalize Any Recipe</a> and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/teach-yourself-to-cook">Teach Yourself to Cook</a>.)</p> <p>It may seem like a lot of effort to go shopping every day, but it's actually a quick and easy trip. Since I'm only getting a few items, it doesn't take very long and I can do it on foot.</p> <p>It's easy to do &mdash; in fact, you can even combine buying cheap and fresh food with weekly shopping (although you wouldn't want to stock up on meat close to its sell-by date). All you have to do is trust yourself to go for good deals on real food instead of making impulse buys of stuff you shouldn't be eating anyway &mdash; and then be worthy of that trust.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/philip-brewer">Philip Brewer</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/buy-your-groceries-european-style">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-5-credit-cards-for-groceries">The 5 Best Credit Cards for Groceries</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/breaking-the-bread-code-how-to-get-the-freshest-loaf">Breaking the Bread Code: How to Get the Freshest Loaf</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-big-at-these-4-discount-supermarkets">Save Big at These 4 Discount Supermarkets</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-and-worst-times-to-go-grocery-shopping">The Best and Worst Times to Go Grocery Shopping</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-frugal-food-changes-you-can-make-today">25 Frugal Food Changes You Can Make Today</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink Shopping cheap groceries groceries shopping lists Mon, 22 Mar 2010 13:00:02 +0000 Philip Brewer 5949 at http://www.wisebread.com You're a Chump if you Pay Full Price for That http://www.wisebread.com/youre-a-chump-if-you-pay-full-price-for-that <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/youre-a-chump-if-you-pay-full-price-for-that" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/28689448_2ac826bb3a.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="375" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Couponing and bargain shopping are not for everyone. It takes some time to clip the coupons, organize them, and keep track of sales at all of your favorite stores. But since I've gotten into it, I realized I was missing out on some very simple deals. A number of retailers and manufacturers run perpetual sales or coupon deals on products such that you would be a chump to pay full price for them.</p> <p>I know I was a chump for many years, paying full retail price when I could have gotten the same thing for as much as 50% off. Here's a short list of items I've come across in my rounds that I never need to pay full price for:</p> <p>Couponing and bargain shopping are not for everyone. It takes some time to clip the coupons, organize them, and keep track of sales at all of your favorite stores. But since I've gotten into it, I realized I was missing out on some very simple deals. A number of retailers and manufacturers run perpetual sales or coupon deals on products such that you would be a chump to pay full price for them.</p> <p>I know I was a chump for many years, paying full retail price when I could have gotten the same thing for as much as 50% off. Here's a short list of items I've come across in my rounds that I never need to pay full price for:</p> <ul> <li><strong>Vitamins and supplements</strong> under brand names such as <strong>Nature Made</strong>, <strong>Nature's Bounty</strong>, <strong>Sundown</strong>, and store brands like Meijer regularly go on sale as &quot;buy one, get one free&quot; or BOGO. You can either stock up on your favorite brand when it's on sale, or simply buy whatever is the best deal when you need it. A big bottle of fish oil capsules typically runs $12-$15 at regular price, so without the BOGO deal, you are paying quite a lot for your supplement.</li> <li>There is almost always a sale, deal, or coupon promotion going on for <strong>name brand batteries</strong> such as <strong>Energizer</strong>, <strong>Duracell</strong>, and <strong>Rayovac</strong>. I never buy batteries unless I can get at least a dollar off with a coupon, preferably combined with a sale price, such as $5.29 for an 8-pack of AA's. I really was a chump all those times when I paid the full $9 price for the same product.</li> <li><strong>Tide laundry detergent</strong> goes on sale on a regular cycle. You can't always find a coupon for it, but it's obvious that Procter and Gamble are not expecting you to pay $12 for a 40 load bottle. We like Tide, so I wait for it to go on sale for $5.99, and use a coupon if I have one.</li> <li><strong>Brand name cold</strong> <strong>remedies</strong> and other over-the-counter medicines like <strong>Tylenol</strong> and <strong>Robitussin</strong> have coupon promotions running all the time. Sometimes the coupon is <em>right on the outside of the package</em>, but the cashier doesn't always peel it off and scan it, so make sure you get your credit for it. Generics are usually a better deal, even after coupons, but if you save some of those coupons that are floating around and use them with a sale, you can get the name-brand cheaper than the generic.</li> <li>Unless you have a sensitivity or other reason to be brand loyal, you can almost always get your <strong>contact lens solution</strong> on sale or free. Right, free. Since I've been looking, I've found a couple of free-after-rebate deals on contact lens solution. Even if you can't find an amazingly great deal like that, you can usually find a sale for $2 or $3 off. If you are brand loyal, wait for your favorite brand to go on sale, then buy a 3-4 month supply.</li> </ul> <p>This is just a small selection of the numerous products that are overpriced so that they can become &quot;bargains.&quot; Once you start looking for these deals, you'll have your own list. In addition to individual products that you can almost always buy for less than full retail price, there are a number of store promotions and other easy deals you should be aware of.</p> <ul> <li>Anything from <strong>JoAnn Fabrics</strong> is at least 40% off. Every single week, JoAnn's publishes a coupon for 40% off any regularly priced item. Additionally, they have weekly sales, rotating through most of their stock. JoAnn (whoever she is) doesn't expect you to pay those high retail prices. You can get 40% off any time, unless it's one of those weeks where they have 50% off. If you can get more than one copy of the circular, you can get more than one coupon, and those are good for separate items in the same transaction. Or, if the cashier balks, have him or her ring you up separately. We have two JoAnn's stores here, and one of them stocks the circular at the front of the store, so you can pull out as many coupons as you want (I take my scissors with me to the store). The other store does not, although they are bigger and stocked better. If i need to go to the big store, I stop and get extra coupons at the small store first. It kills me to think of all the times I paid full retail price for a fabric or other item from the store, not realizing that I could have used a 40% off coupon. I am even a former JoAnn's employee, and I didn't know that. (Although at the time, about fifteen years ago, I don't recall ever seeing coupons come through at the register.)</li> <li>I don't usually shop at<strong> Michael's</strong>, but I've noticed that they have the same ongoing 40% off coupon deal that JoAnn's does. So you should be able to get anything at Michael's for 40% off. I actually went shopping there recently without my coupon, and was kicking my own butt all the way home, because I could have saved at least $10 if I had brought it.</li> <li>Similarly, <strong>Linens and Things</strong> and <strong>Bed, Bath, and Beyond</strong> run perpetual 20% of coupon promotions. These coupons are usually good for sale and clearance priced merchandise, although there is a list of brand names at the bottom that it does not apply to. So almost anything you buy at these stores, you can get an additional 20% off.</li> <li><strong>Lowe's</strong> and <strong>Home Depot</strong> don't run coupon promotions all the time, but a couple of times a year, they send out coupons such as $10 off $50 or 10% off. I have also heard (though I haven't tried this) that Lowe's honors competitor's coupons. So even though you can't always count on getting a deal at these stores, if you have a project you are planning, it may be worthwhile to wait for a coupon to turn up. If it comes in your Sunday paper, run out and buy several more papers. Then you can use the coupon for several items. For example, when we were buying paint for our house, we scraped together several coupons, and divided the purchase so we would be able to use them all. Those coupons can really add up to a lot when you are working on a big project.</li> <li>Likewise, <strong>Cabela's</strong> often has coupons for a dollar amount off of your purchase above a certain price. If you are planning a major purchase of outdoor recreation or hunting equipment, don't pay full price at Cabela's. (You'll notice that the prices are on the high side anyway.) We got new coupons in the mail from Cabela's nearly every day for a while leading up to Christmas.</li> <li><strong>Free Money!</strong> Many stores print out special coupons with your receipt. It's shocking how many people throw these coupons away, or forget to take them. Every time I use the self-checkout lane at Kroger, I find a coupon someone forgot to take with their purchase. Last time, the coupon was &quot;$3 off your next order.&quot; I used the coupon immediately for my own purchase. People, this is free money. I'm sorry to say this, but if you leave those coupons behind, or throw them out with your receipt, you really are a chump. Put it in your wallet next to your other money, and use it next time you shop at the same store. In my area, these special coupons (called catalinas by expert couponers) are available at Kroger and Meijer stores. So keep your catalinas, and be on the lookout for ones left behind by other shoppers.</li> </ul> <p>These are just some of the easy deals that I've become aware of. It doesn't take a lot of effort to save money on these things. Once you start looking around, you'll make your own list. Many retailers and manufacturers are using these tactics to get people excited about buying a product for what they think is an amazing price. And some people will actually pay the inflated price, not knowing that they can get it for half the price next week. All of this maneuvering makes me a little bit tired, and I've come to really appreciate the &quot;every day low price&quot; policy of stores like Trader Joe's. However, Trader Joe's doesn't have everything, so it's a good idea to get familiar with the pricing strategies for products you buy frequently. Of course, once you get used to saving money on these &quot;easy&quot; deals, you may decide you don't want to pay full price for anything. Thus, a couponer is born.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/catherine-shaffer">Catherine Shaffer</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/youre-a-chump-if-you-pay-full-price-for-that">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-13"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-stores-with-the-best-price-matching">10 Stores With the Best Price Matching</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-find-the-best-back-to-school-sales">How to Find the Best Back to School Sales</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/buy-your-groceries-european-style">Buy Your Groceries European-Style</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-retailers-with-the-absolute-best-customer-service">7 Retailers With the Absolute Best Customer Service</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-secrets-of-amazons-pricing-strategy-will-help-you-find-the-best-buys">These Secrets of Amazon&#039;s Pricing Strategy Will Help You Find the Best Buys</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping bargain shopping cheap groceries crafts retail Sat, 29 Dec 2007 19:56:29 +0000 Catherine Shaffer 1556 at http://www.wisebread.com Losing the store brand stigma. http://www.wisebread.com/losing-the-store-brand-stigma <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/losing-the-store-brand-stigma" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000066068919_XXXLarge.jpg" alt="woman grocery shopping" title="woman grocery shopping" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When I was a young lad, I would cringe when my mother unpacked the groceries. We didn&rsquo;t have much money and that meant scrimping and saving any way we could. So, out went the name brands and in came the store brands, or &quot;generics&quot; as they are sometimes known. I can still remember the plain white cans with black army-surplus type covering the label. Baked beans, carrots, tomato soup, dog food, you name it &mdash; we got it store brand. And I swear, as a child I knew they tasted awful. They really did.</p> <p>Then I grew up. I went to college, struggled on little-to-no money and made do with store brands daily. They weren&rsquo;t so bad. And now, I find them preferable to the big names like Heinz, General Mills, Proctor &amp; Gamble, and Campbells. Why? Well, quite simply, because they taste almost exactly the same (if not identical) and on average cost around 25-30% less than the big name brands. Sometimes, it&rsquo;s almost 50%. Quite a margin for that can of soup or box of dish soap.</p> <p>Now, the first reaction I get from people when I say this is usually this one: &quot;There&rsquo;s a reason they&rsquo;re cheaper&hellip;they&rsquo;re made from inferior ingredients or products.&rdquo; Hmmm, really? I checked it out to confirm my suspicions, and I can sum up the major difference between store brands and name brands in one word &mdash; advertising.</p> <p>When was the last time you saw a big budget ad campaign for Archer Farms, or Great Value? It never happens. It&rsquo;s not that stores like Target and Wal-Mart are tight with their ad budgets. It&rsquo;s simply because they don&rsquo;t need to advertise store brands. The products sell themselves. If you need tomato soup, Campbells and Heinz have already spent the big bucks telling you all about the rich, creamy taste of their soups, and how wonderful they are on a cold winter&rsquo;s day. So, what difference does it make if you get that same experience from a store brand?</p> <p>Even more surprising is how well store brands fare in blind tests and consumer reports. Whether it's Ziploc bags, foil, or cooked ham, consumers are finding out that when it comes down to it, there&rsquo;s very little difference except to your wallet. Even the labels and packaging of store brand products have evolved into something not just &quot;okay&quot; but sometimes downright elegant (Target in particular, with Archer Farms and Market Pantry, does a great job).</p> <p>Another question I often get asked when I champion store brands is &ldquo;Well who makes them then?&rdquo; Some are made by companies that specialize in generic products for stores. But an awful lot are made by National Brand companies. That&rsquo;s right, the same folks responsible for that aluminum foil you trust, or the canned tuna you put in your salads, is making the same product for the grocery store. They slap on a different label and you pay a lot less for what is basically the same product. Here are some companies you know well that also produce store brands:</p> <p><strong>Alcoa</strong><br /> KNOWN FOR: Reynolds Wrap aluminum foil <br /> STORE BRAND PRODUCTS: Foil, wrap, plastic bags, disposable storage containers </p> <p><strong>Bausch &amp; Lomb </strong><br /> KNOWN FOR: Contact lenses and eye medicines<br /> STORE BRAND PRODUCTS: Eye-care products, nonprescription nasal remedies </p> <p><strong>Birds Eye </strong><br /> KNOWN FOR: Frozen veggies<br /> STORE BRAND PRODUCTS: Frozen veg, canned soup, chili, pie filling </p> <p><strong>Chicken of the Sea </strong><br /> KNOWN FOR: Canned tuna (unless you&rsquo;re Jessica Simpson)<br /> STORE BRAND PRODUCTS: Canned tuna, salmon, specialty seafood, fruit and vegetables, pet food </p> <p><strong>Del Monte</strong> <br /> KNOWN FOR: Canned fruit and veg<br /> STORE BRAND PRODUCTS: Canned soup, broth, gravy </p> <p><strong>McCormick </strong><br /> KNOWN FOR: Spices, seasonings, extracts <br /> STORE BRAND PRODUCTS: Spices, seasonings, extracts, salad dressings, dips</p> <p>I could keep going, but you get the picture. You may wonder why so many major labels are producing store brands. If you think about it, they&rsquo;re cannibalizing on their own sales. Trouble is, this is a case of play ball or lose out. Manufacturers everywhere know that store brands are growing and growing in popularity. If they don&rsquo;t help supply them, they&rsquo;re still going to lose sales to the generic products. Better to be involved for a lower profit margin than no profit at all. </p> <p>But what does this all mean to you? Well, it&rsquo;s only good news. Store brands taste and perform better than ever, often outperforming well-established national brands. Their impact is forcing major labels to reduce their pricing to remain competitive. And at the end of the day, you&rsquo;re filling your house with groceries at a much lower cost, for no noticeable difference in quality. If you can get over the &quot;shame&quot; of buying store brand, you&rsquo;ll find yourself laughing all the way to the bank.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/losing-the-store-brand-stigma">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-having-good-taste-saves-you-money">5 Ways Having Good Taste Saves You Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-millennials-can-learn-about-saving-money-from-gen-x">5 Things Millennials Can Learn About Saving Money From Gen-X</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-money-saving-hacks-every-college-student-should-try">8 Money-Saving Hacks Every College Student Should Try</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-use-google-alerts-to-save-money">6 Ways to Use Google Alerts to Save Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-new-toys-to-teach-kids-about-money">How to Use New Toys to Teach Kids About Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping cheap groceries generic saving money store brand Thu, 11 Jan 2007 16:49:43 +0000 Paul Michael 181 at http://www.wisebread.com