meal planning http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/8588/all en-US Sous Vide Is the Fancy Cooking Technique That Saves You Money, Too http://www.wisebread.com/sous-vide-is-the-fancy-cooking-technique-that-saves-you-money-too <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/sous-vide-is-the-fancy-cooking-technique-that-saves-you-money-too" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/sous_vide_cooking_29930096.jpg" alt="Learning about fancy sous vide cooking that saves money" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><em>Sous vide</em> is a fancy French term that means &quot;under vacuum,&quot; but don't let this new word scare you. It's actually a lot simpler than it sounds. Sous vide is a method of cooking by sealing food in airtight plastic bags, and then placing it in a water bath or temperature-controlled steam environment for longer than normal cooking times. Not only does this make delicious food, but it can also save you a lot of money and time on groceries and meal prep.</p> <h2>How Sous Vide Can Save You Time and Money</h2> <p>Although sous vide equipment will cost some money upfront, this process can save you money and time in the long run. Here are just a few ways sous vide can save you money:</p> <h3>1. Reduced Waste From Cooking Mistakes</h3> <p>I don't know about you, but I am not a pro chef. Many dinners have gone to waste from the meat being too dry or overcooked. Cooking meats sous vide makes even the difficult cuts easy to prepare. As long as you know the temperature and cook time, your meat will never be over or undercooked. For example, for a medium-rare steak, you would simply set the device to 134&deg;F. This would give you a juicy piece of steak without any dry edges or undercooked centers.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-money-saving-hacks-for-those-who-hate-cooking?ref=seealso">8 Money-Saving Hacks for Those Who Hate Cooking</a></p> <h3>2. Reduced Energy Usage</h3> <p>Not only is a sous vide machine as easy to use as a microwave, it also takes less energy to cook your food. Once the device heats your water to the set degrees, very little energy is used to maintain the temperature.</p> <h3>3. Easy Bulk Cooking</h3> <p>You can sous vide multiple cuts of meat at a time and store them in the fridge or freezer for later use. This will allow you to cook for the entire week on the weekend, saving you money from impulse fast food buys.</p> <h3>4. Cheaper Cuts Taste Better</h3> <p>Since sous vide makes meats so much juicier, you can get away with buying the cheaper cuts. You can have an amazing steak dinner with a cheap flank steak.</p> <p>While I gave a lot of examples of saving on meat cooking, sous vide can be used for a lot of different recipes. In fact, the method can help you make many gourmet-type dishes, such as hard to make custards and butter sauces.</p> <h2>How to Get Started With Sous Vide on a Budget</h2> <p>Sous vide enthusiasts can spend a few hundred dollars on higher end sous vide gadgets. Some enthusiasts argue that you need special containers or machines that circulate the water, but you can keep the process and costs simple and still enjoy sous vide dishes.</p> <p>My husband found the <a href="http://amzn.to/2cYKgcP">ANOVA Culinary Bluetooth Precision Cooker</a> when it was discounted on Amazon. This device clamps on to any pot or container and will heat the water and cook the meat at an even temperature. What is neat about this device is that you can program it through your phone, so you don't even need to be at home when you are cooking.</p> <p>We started off with a stainless silver pot we already had, but were only able to cook two bags of meat at once. You can also use your Crock-Pot or other large container. Some people have even used ice coolers.</p> <p>A&nbsp;<a href="http://amzn.to/2cnYJxO">12-quart Rubbermaid container</a> was less than $20 on Amazon, and proved a better solution since we bought a lid with it. My husband cut a hole in the lid for the sous vide machine to keep the water temperature more accurate and prevent evaporation on longer cooking sessions.</p> <p>You can use regular gallon-sized zipper food storage bags, but we decided to go with something a little sturdier (and safer to use in heat). The <a href="http://amzn.to/2cnYXVJ">FoodSaver Gallon-Sized Vacuum Bags</a> can be reused if washed well. You don't have to buy the hand-held vacuum to seal the bags either. Simply zip the bag 98% and then dunk the bag in a pot of water. The pressure of the water will push the excess air out.</p> <p>In total, we invested about $175 for the above items, which is a deal compared to how much other chefs and home cooks spend on their sous vide systems. However, Instructables has directions to <a href="http://www.instructables.com/id/Sous-vide-cooker-for-less-than-40/">make your own sous vide machine</a> for under $40.</p> <p>The way to get the most benefit from the device is to plan to use it regularly. We currently shop for discounted or clearance meat on the weekend from our local Vons, and then sous vide them and either stick the meat in the fridge or freezer, depending on the meal plan for the week.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-eneriz">Ashley Eneriz</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sous-vide-is-the-fancy-cooking-technique-that-saves-you-money-too">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/8-money-saving-hacks-for-those-who-hate-cooking">8 Money-Saving Hacks for Those Who Hate Cooking</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/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-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-cheap-and-easy-meals-that-make-even-better-leftovers">10 Cheap and Easy Meals That Make Even Better Leftovers</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-easy-ways-to-save-on-groceries-in-a-pinch">5 Easy Ways to Save on Groceries in a Pinch</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-food-strainer-my-new-old-fashioned-gadget">The Food Strainer: My New, Old-Fashioned Gadget</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink batch cooking Cooking crock-pot kitchen tools meal planning meal prep sous vide Wed, 21 Sep 2016 10:00:05 +0000 Ashley Eneriz 1793094 at http://www.wisebread.com Save Money and Eat Better With These 6 Online Meal Planners http://www.wisebread.com/save-money-and-eat-better-with-these-6-online-meal-planners <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/save-money-and-eat-better-with-these-6-online-meal-planners" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_cooking_food_18186835.jpg" alt="Woman using meal planning sites to save money" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Meal planning is a necessity to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-30-ways-to-save-money-on-groceries">save money on groceries</a>, and avoid the fast food drive-thru. However, if you are anything like me, the idea of sitting down each week to plan your meals does not sound exciting. These six meal planning sites take the time and guesswork out of making grocery lists and deciding what to make each week.</p> <h2>1. 5 Dinners 1 Hour</h2> <p>I am a big fan of <a href="http://5dinners1hour.com/">5 Dinners 1 Hour</a>. The site offers a variety of plans, including classic, clean eating, paleo, and gluten-free. With this site, the meals are already planned out for you, and the goal is to assemble five dinners in one hour at the start of your week. Each month is a new menu, and you can reuse past menus, as well.</p> <p>This meal plan is very organized. The printable shopping list is convenient, and each meal has a designated letter, so if you don't want a certain meal, you will easily know which items to cross off the shopping list. It takes me about two hours to shop and complete meal prep, but of course this is with two little ones nearby.</p> <p>Most of the meals have been delicious, while others were bland. However, it has been convenient to have all of the week's dinners in the fridge and ready to go at the start of the week. Some meals are marked as freezable, so I always double up on those so I can build up my freezer stash without much more effort on my part.</p> <h2>2. Plan to Eat</h2> <p><a href="https://www.plantoeat.com/">Plan to Eat</a> cuts the time it takes to establish a grocery list and meal plan. You integrate your favorite recipes either by hand, by file, or through your favorite online recipes. The site will take a meal your find via search or link and transform it into a shopping list and meal plan.</p> <p>(See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-time-and-money-with-a-monthly-assembly-or-bulk-cooking-weekend?ref=seealso">Save Time and Money With Batch Cooking</a>)</p> <p>Plan to Eat also allows you to plan every meal &mdash; not just dinner. This is helpful for those who want to know what exactly they will need throughout the week for groceries. Another nifty thing about this site is that you can keep a freezer inventory on the side, and plan <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-awesome-easy-to-freeze-meals">meals from the freezer</a>.</p> <h2>3. Once a Month Meals</h2> <p>I love making a batch of freezer meals, because it means only cleaning up one big mess per month. <a href="https://onceamonthmeals.com/">Once a Month Meals</a> used to be free when I started using the site many years ago. They now charge a subscription fee, but they have also updated their site to include multiple menu plans and better technology to incorporate and change your monthly meal planning.</p> <p>The site does a great job of adding variety and organizing everything needed to assemble meals, but it is a huge undertaking. When I have done this site's plans in the past, it has taken me a whole day to shop and assemble meals.</p> <h2>4. Dinner Daily</h2> <p><a href="https://thedinnerdaily.com/">Dinner Daily</a> plans come with five select dinners each week, along with a shopping list and links to printable coupons to save money on that week's grocery haul. Most of the meals selected take 20-35 minutes to make, which is great when you are short on time. Dinner Daily has quite a few plans, but no specialty-diet plans, such as paleo, gluten-free, or dairy-free.</p> <h2>5. eMeals</h2> <p><a href="https://emeals.com/">eMeals</a> has the biggest variety of menu types and is recommended by finance guru, Dave Ramsey. The site offers plans from paleo, slow cooking, diabetic-friendly, low carb, vegetarian, and more. You are not stuck with one menu type, and you can change based on your preference. I appreciate that the plans come in two formats: family-size or servings for two. Even though we are a family of four, the two littles don't eat enough to count, so it's nice not to waste food.</p> <h2>6. The Fresh 20</h2> <p><a href="http://www.thefresh20.com/">The Fresh 20</a> is a unique meal planning site that creates plans based off 20 ingredients per week (plus pantry staples). The goal of this site is to help reduce food waste and help others eat healthier. However, this site does not allow you to change plans and does not have as much flexibility and customization as the other sites listed.</p> <p>All of the meal plans come with menu samples or <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-psychology-of-free-and-its-power-over-you">free trials</a>, so be sure to try a few out to see what works best for you. The best meal planning site is one that you'll actually use.</p> <p><em>Which meal planning sites have you tried? Share with us!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-eneriz">Ashley Eneriz</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-money-and-eat-better-with-these-6-online-meal-planners">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/save-a-surprising-amount-by-quitting-these-4-bad-habits">Save a Surprising Amount by Quitting These 4 Bad Habits</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-easy-ways-to-save-on-groceries-in-a-pinch">5 Easy Ways to Save on Groceries in a Pinch</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/10-healthy-ways-to-have-ice-cream-for-breakfast">10 Healthy Ways to Have Ice Cream for Breakfast</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/15-ways-to-save-money-when-getting-your-drink-on">15 Ways to Save Money When Getting Your Drink On</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/five-more-tips-for-eating-in-restaurants-and-sticking-to-a-budget">Five More Tips For Eating In Restaurants And Sticking To A Budget</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Food and Drink eat better eat healthy Fast Food healthy eating meal planning meal planning sites saving money Tue, 13 Sep 2016 09:30:42 +0000 Ashley Eneriz 1791532 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Money-Saving Hacks for Those Who Hate Cooking http://www.wisebread.com/8-money-saving-hacks-for-those-who-hate-cooking <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-money-saving-hacks-for-those-who-hate-cooking" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_making_pizza_63266135_0.jpg" alt="Couple who hate cooking learning money-saving hacks" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Cooking at home is one of the top ways to keep your budget in check. While cooking and eating at home is a wonderful idea, it is also a daunting one for those who hate to cook (and those who hate to clean up afterward). Worry no more. These hacks will save you money on eating out, while also saving you time and cleanup anxiety.</p> <h2>1. Befriend the Crock-Pot</h2> <p>Crock-Pots are popular with older generations of moms of multiple kids, but what about everyone else? Whether you are single, a family of two, or a family of many, a <a href="http://amzn.to/2bKkRSW">Crock-Pot</a> can be the perfect timesaving tool. Use <a href="http://amzn.to/2bKl4pr">Crock-Pot liners</a>, and you won't even have to scrub your cooking dish afterward.</p> <p>Crock-Pot cooking doesn't have to be complicated or bland. Pinterest is full of recipes (and so is <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-great-cheap-and-easy-crock-pot-recipes?ref=internal">Wise Bread</a>). Look for Crock-Pot dump ideas that you can assemble and freeze ahead of time. I regularly do this after I find meat on sale, and I am able to assemble 10 Crock-Pot dump meals in only 30 minutes.</p> <p>One easy and tasty option to get you started is to combine boneless, skinless chicken thighs with one package of cream cheese and one jar (16 oz.) of your favorite salsa. Cook on low for three to four hours. Shred the chicken and stir, and you have creamy chicken ready to eat for tacos, pasta, or just on its own.</p> <h2>2. Cook Once, Eat Twice (or Thrice)</h2> <p>Making a lasagna is time consuming. It can take almost 30 minutes to make a pan. However, if you make two or three pans of lasagna, surprisingly the time effort is not multiplied. The extra lasagna can be frozen and used at a later date, for up to three to six months.</p> <p>You can use this method for enchiladas, many casserole recipes, and more. This method doesn't have to be used just for main dishes. It can also be used for side dishes, such as rice and beans.</p> <h2>3. Embrace Convenient Groceries</h2> <p>There is no shame in buying frozen vegetables, canned beans, and pre-marinated meat. In fact, they make your job a lot easier. Buying items such as pre-chopped onions, microwaveable steamed vegetables, frozen brown rice, pre-made dough, and ready-to-cook meat costs more at the grocery store. However, paying a little more for the convenience will save you a lot more at the drive-thru window.</p> <p>Make sure you are buying convenient groceries that are still healthy instead of processed, cheap food. For example, frozen brown rice where rice is the only ingredient is a better choice than purchasing Rice-a-Roni.</p> <h2>4. Simple Meals Are Best</h2> <p>Ditch the fancy recipes and cookbooks. Your meals don't need to take a lot of time or have a lot of ingredients. Think of your meal in terms of protein + carb + vegetable. With this simple recipe, you can have a healthy and filling dinner in five to 10 minutes.</p> <p>See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-quick-dinners-for-lazy-cooks?ref=seealso">8 Quick Dinners for Lazy Cooks</a></p> <h2>5. Grill All Your Meat for the Week</h2> <p>My husband loves to grill, so I will take advantage of this by having him grill a week's worth of meat in one go. For him, this takes about 30&ndash;45 minutes. For me, it takes only a few minutes to season or pour a marinade over each meat. The meat can then be used in salads, soups, tacos, pizza, sandwiches, and more for the rest of the week.</p> <h2>6. Get Over the Leftover Mentality</h2> <p>I've heard so many people complain about eating leftovers, even to the point of avoiding them altogether. Eating leftovers doesn't mean you have to eat mushy casserole repeats each night. Instead, repurpose a meal into something new and simple. For example, if you eat chicken breasts one night for dinner, try taking the extra chicken and turn it into fajitas or barbecue chicken sandwiches. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-meals-that-make-terrific-leftovers?ref=seealso">11 Meals That Make Terrific Leftovers</a>)</p> <p>Many times getting over the ick factor of eating leftovers is just a mental game you need to conquer. The food still tastes good the next day. Even better, eating leftovers will save you money and time.</p> <h2>7. Don't Forget Other Helpful Kitchen Tools</h2> <p>The Crock-Pot gets a lot of praise in the kitchen, but don't forget to utilize a rice cooker, pressure cooker, and bread maker. A <a href="http://amzn.to/2bKoDvE">rice cooker</a> that can cook rice and steam vegetables at the same time does all the work for you while you prepare the meat. <a href="http://amzn.to/2beBoxo">Pressure cookers</a> are a pricier investment, but they can make tender meat and meals in very little time. Finally, a <a href="http://amzn.to/2bfpe7k">bread maker</a>, which is easy to find inexpensively second-hand, can be used to mix dough quickly for homemade pizza and rolls/biscuits (and of course bread).</p> <h2>8. Make Meal Prep Time Enjoyable</h2> <p>Whether you are cooking one meal or tackling freezer meals for the month, start off with an empty dishwasher. This will allow you to quickly clean as you go.</p> <p>Make sure to have all of the items you need out and ready to use. Combine tasks to save time. For example, open all of the cans at once or chop all of your vegetables together.</p> <p>Finally, listen to something fun. I love to listen to audiobooks while meal prepping, but you can also watch your favorite show on a laptop, listen to upbeat music, or watch YouTube videos.</p> <p>In the end, cooking and eating at home will save you money over purchasing fast food frequently. Even if you hate cooking, you can still enjoy the cost-saving benefits of eating at home without spending too much time in front of the oven or washing dishes.</p> <p><em>What are your favorite quick recipes to make when you don't feel like cooking?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-eneriz">Ashley Eneriz</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-money-saving-hacks-for-those-who-hate-cooking">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/sous-vide-is-the-fancy-cooking-technique-that-saves-you-money-too">Sous Vide Is the Fancy Cooking Technique That Saves You Money, Too</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-alternative-ways-to-cook-outside">8 Alternative Ways to Cook Outside</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-easy-ways-to-save-on-groceries-in-a-pinch">5 Easy Ways to Save on Groceries in a Pinch</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-9-easiest-food-budget-wins">The 9 Easiest Food Budget Wins</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-cheap-and-easy-meals-that-make-even-better-leftovers">10 Cheap and Easy Meals That Make Even Better Leftovers</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks Food and Drink batch cooking Cooking crock-pot dinners family meals food prep Grilling meal planning meal prep planning ahead Mon, 29 Aug 2016 10:30:07 +0000 Ashley Eneriz 1778734 at http://www.wisebread.com 16 Simple Kitchen Skills Every Frugal Person Should Master http://www.wisebread.com/16-simple-kitchen-skills-every-frugal-person-should-master <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/16-simple-kitchen-skills-every-frugal-person-should-master" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_cooking_000088771691.jpg" alt="Frugal woman mastering simple kitchen skills " title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Would you rather eat out than cook? You aren't alone. In fact, owing greatly to the availability of fast food, frozen food, and convenience food, fewer people are preparing meals at home regularly. Another factor is the decline of home economics classes at the high school level, where many basics were taught to both sexes. All of that eating out takes a toll, though, on your budget and your health. Learning to cook can also be relaxing and enjoyable. Ready to give it a try? Here are 16 simple kitchen skills that every frugal person should, and easily can, learn.</p> <h2>1. Make Coffee</h2> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/0FRDQM19WfE" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></p> <p>How much are you spending each week at Starbucks? Ouch, right? Why not <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-starbucks-drinks-you-can-easily-make-yourself" target="_blank">be your own barista</a>? If you own a <a href="http://amzn.to/1VRcFm0">French press</a> (I paid less than $20 for mine), you can make your coffee concoctions right at home. I love a <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0FRDQM19WfE">good latte</a>. Some people are intimidated by the frothy milk, but there is no need to be. It's just aerating the milk, and you don't need fancy equipment. Your &quot;froth&quot; goal is to just double its volume. That can be done in the French press, too, or by using a whisk. Add your favorite <a href="http://amzn.to/1VRd08s">Torani syrup</a>, if desired, and you're set.</p> <h2>2. Roast a Chicken</h2> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/MOtuBSOcVCs" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></p> <p>One of the pleasures of being a home cook is the aroma of a roasting chicken on a Sunday afternoon &mdash; especially one that contains fresh lemon and herbs. <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MOtuBSOcVCs">Roast chicken</a> ensures you'll have delicious leftovers for several days (or you can freeze the leftovers). You don't even need a fancy roasting pan; a large, shallow <a href="http://amzn.to/1qG9zWF">casserole dish</a> will work.</p> <h2>3. Boil an Egg</h2> <p>Every time Easter rolls around, I am surprised by the number of articles online, or in the newspapers, explaining how to <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mtt43zDzXSY">hard-boil eggs</a>. Egg hunts aside, hard-boiled eggs are a very handy thing to have around for a quick high-protein snack, an egg-salad sandwich, deviled eggs, etc.</p> <h2>4. Cook Rice</h2> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/-TaeYSiIbbw" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></p> <p>I'm one of the few people I know who doesn't own a rice cooker. No need! It's really easy to <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-TaeYSiIbbw">make perfect rice</a> on your stovetop, and so long as you use your timer, it's pretty darn foolproof. I always make a big batch, because I think it's nice to have leftovers in the refrigerator for fried rice, a cold rice salad, or to toss into a tortilla with beans and cheese.</p> <h2>5. Cut Up an Avocado</h2> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/3HnqTz-0MvI" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></p> <p>Avocados are so enormously popular right now (watch for Sharwil avocados, now being imported from the Big Island of Hawaii). Full of healthy fat and vitamins, B6, E and C, we just can't get enough of them. How do you <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3HnqTz-0MvI">cut up avocados</a> without making a mess? If you're a beginner, the chef in this video has an excellent safety tip for cutting out the pit, using a towel.</p> <h2>6. Know Which Knife to Use for Which Job</h2> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/pKgGlpe45T0" width="420" height="315" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></p> <p>Ever use a paring knife to cut meat? How about a serrated edge for cheese? Doesn't work very well, does it? Choosing <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pKgGlpe45T0&amp;nohtml5=False">the right knife</a> for the right kitchen job, as well as knowing how to use that knife, will not only keep you safe, but is also more efficient.</p> <h2>7. Use Sharp Knives</h2> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/SBn1i9YqN1k" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></p> <p>Most kitchen accidents occur from use of a dull knife. This is due to the fact that a dull knife requires more pressure to do the job, increasing the odds of slipping and cutting yourself. Is <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SBn1i9YqN1k">sharpening knives</a> something that you can do, yourself? Sure! As you become more comfortable with cooking, you'll learn to appreciate working with sharp knives.</p> <h2>8. Bake a Potato</h2> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/XeDsOAW7JC4" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></p> <p>I prefer a potato <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XeDsOAW7JC4">baked in the oven</a>, but you can also do them in the microwave. However, they won't have that nice, crispy potato skin. Few foods are as economical as potatoes, and you can easily make a meal out of one. Try adding chili, sour cream, and onions, or how about steamed broccoli and cheese? Key point: Don't forget to prick the potato with a fork to allow steam to escape.</p> <h2>9. Use Separate Cutting Boards</h2> <p>To minimize risk of cross-contamination, and making yourself sick, use different <a href="http://amzn.to/1SLhCYz">cutting boards</a> for meats and vegetables. Wash thoroughly after use. If a board starts getting grooves in it from your knives, replace it.</p> <h2>10. Brown Meat</h2> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/MRRDRk23gRA" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></p> <p>Why do you need to <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MRRDRk23gRA">brown meat</a>? Browning meat, or chicken, adds color and flavor, as well as gives it a better texture. If your recipe calls for browned meat, don't skip that step. It's mildly messy, and you need to be careful you don't burn yourself. However, the results make this step well worth the effort.</p> <h2>11. Peel/Chop Garlic</h2> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/rdAbdY7fUcY" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></p> <p>As you begin to do more cooking, you will want to learn how to <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rdAbdY7fUcY">peel and chop up garlic</a>. This isn't difficult, and it will give your food so much flavor! One bulb of garlic will go a long way. Store in a cool, dark place (but not in your refrigerator). If you prefer, you can put it in a little jar, and cover with olive oil.</p> <h2>12. Grow Herbs</h2> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/RfJSIlL0PZI" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></p> <p>Even if you have no outdoor space, you can still <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RfJSIlL0PZI&amp;nohtml5=False">grow herbs</a> inside. Herbs greatly enhance your food &mdash; think of dill in potatoes, tarragon with chicken, or sage in stuffing. You can make a quick pesto if you have fresh basil around, or liven up a tomato sauce with some fresh oregano.</p> <h2>13. Make an Omelet</h2> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/OQyRuOEKfVk" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></p> <p>Not only inexpensive to make, <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OQyRuOEKfVk">homemade omelets</a> are really versatile. Think ham, cheese, and tomatoes at breakfast; herbs and a little shaved parmesan at lunch, or a &quot;filled&quot; omelet for dinner. They take a little practice, but even when they don't come out looking omelet-y, they're still delicious.</p> <h2>14. Make Chicken Broth</h2> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/X6jOzA2MTfI" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></p> <p>After making <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X6jOzA2MTfI&amp;nohtml5=False">chicken broth</a>, I let it cool, and then pour into Ziploc quart bags, and freeze flat to stack (don't forget to label with the date). I use broth just about as fast as I can make it, using it in soups, sauces, or in place of water (try in rice). The bonus is the cooked chicken, which you can also use right away in meals, or freeze.</p> <h2>15. Frost a Cake</h2> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/fQKCitgCRuQ" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></p> <p>Not much of a baker, my cakes always had a humorous &quot;made this for you myself&quot; look. I finally sat and watched an amateur cake decorator <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fQKCitgCRuQ&amp;nohtml5=False">frost a cake</a>, and what a difference that made. Getting rid of the crumbs was my favorite tip, followed by cutting the cake into the right shape.</p> <h2>16. Plan Your Menu</h2> <p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/EENpjugzBU8" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p>You'll save yourself a lot of time and money if you learn to plan menus. It doesn't need to be complicated &mdash; all you need is pencil and paper. Getting the hang of cooking once and eating twice is a real treat, particularly during a busy week. Learn to watch grocery ads for sales; plan around those and save more money.</p> <p>Lastly, if you have gone to the trouble of making your own meal, why not enjoy it in style? Here is how to <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EENpjugzBU8">set the table</a>.</p> <p><em>What frugal kitchen skills do you find essential?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/marla-walters">Marla Walters</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/16-simple-kitchen-skills-every-frugal-person-should-master">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-cheap-and-easy-meals-that-make-even-better-leftovers">10 Cheap and Easy Meals That Make Even Better Leftovers</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-money-saving-hacks-for-those-who-hate-cooking">8 Money-Saving Hacks for Those Who Hate Cooking</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/sous-vide-is-the-fancy-cooking-technique-that-saves-you-money-too">Sous Vide Is the Fancy Cooking Technique That Saves You Money, Too</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-perfectly-respectable-uses-for-instant-mashed-potatoes">5 Perfectly Respectable Uses for Instant Mashed Potatoes</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/tasty-treats-to-make-with-mulberries">Tasty Treats to Make With Mulberries</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink basics Cooking culinary kitchen skills meal planning recipes Thu, 28 Apr 2016 10:30:04 +0000 Marla Walters 1696225 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Stop the Takeout Meal Cycle and Save http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-stop-the-takeout-meal-cycle-and-save <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-stop-the-takeout-meal-cycle-and-save" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_eating_pizza_000021985984.jpg" alt="Woman learning how to stop the takeout meal cycle and save" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Whether you're trying to lean your budget or your waistline this year, eating too many meals out is a common offender. In fact, CNN recently reported that the average dinner at a non-chain restaurant comes in at a staggering&nbsp;<a href="http://www.cnn.com/2016/01/20/health/non-chain-restaurants-calories-fast-food/">1,200 calories</a>. While prices can range wildly depending on the eatery, the solution for better physical and financial health may be as simple as cooking more meals at home.</p> <p>My family decided to embark on a challenge and stop dining out last month. We survived and have a stack of cash to show for it. Yes! We estimate we saved around $75 (conservatively) each week by skipping takeout and getting better with our meal planning. About $50 of this money, probably more, came from shunning restaurants and $25 is what we shaved off each week's grocery bill, all while making enough food for hearty breakfasts, lunches, and dinners &mdash; seven days each week.</p> <p>Your results with this type of challenge will vary depending on how much you eat out, the cost of living in your area, and your creativity with using leftovers. Regardless, here are some tips that can help anyone to stop the takeout cycle today and save big. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/try-these-6-money-saving-challenges-now?ref=seealso">Try These 6 Money-Saving Challenges Now</a>)</p> <h2>Examine Your Habits</h2> <p>Get honest with yourself about your eating and restaurant habits. When we wrote it out, we realized we were grabbing takeout pizza on Friday night, scouting out brunch or lunch on Saturday or Sunday, and sneaking in at least another meal out every week. I say we were spending $50, but I'm sure the amount was closer to $75 at the rate we were going.</p> <p>Beyond that, we had a huge problem with food waste. I found myself tossing rotten fruits and veggies before our weekly grocery trip. We had expired cartons of yogurt nearly full and long-forgotten bags of whatever else going stale. The weirdest part? Our grocery bill was higher than ever. In better days, we tried to stick to around $80 to $100 for a family of three, but we were climbing at least $25 higher than that amount, all while feeling like we never had ideas for dinner. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-fruits-and-veggies-that-stay-fresh-a-month-or-longer?ref=seealso">10 Fruits and Veggies That Stay Fresh a Month or Longer</a>)</p> <p>After facing the hard truth, it became crystal clear that we needed to put more effort into planning and preparing our meals to save money and create less waste.</p> <h2>Embrace the Plan</h2> <p>Meal planning has been the key to our success, and it hasn't taken much effort. Every week before shopping, I take stock of what we have in the fridge, freezer, and pantry. It sounds like a big job, but it probably takes five or 10 minutes. I figure out what meals we can make with those items first. Some of the ideas come from memory. Other times, I use sites like&nbsp;<a href="http://www.supercook.com/#/recipes">Supercook</a> to help with my creativity.</p> <p>Feeling intimidated? It helps to stick to basic breakfasts (oatmeal, fruit, yogurt, cereal, etc.), easy lunches (sandwiches, salads, and other things that can be made in bulk), and use tools like a slow cooker to make simmering satisfying dinners a breeze. We even do some&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-time-and-money-with-a-monthly-assembly-or-bulk-cooking-weekend">bulk cooking</a> to help when we're in a pinch. Example: I made a huge batch of freezer veggie burgers that we can grab on busy nights.</p> <h2>Shop Smart</h2> <p>After I account for all the leftover foods, I look up recipes or write down old favorites for the other nights in the week. What results is an awesomely organized grocery list. At the store, we only buy what we need, nothing additional. That's how food waste is made! And I'll tell you what, there's nothing more satisfying than ending the week with a near-empty fridge.</p> <p>We also found when we changed what day of the week we shop, we felt less compelled to grab takeout. For us, this meant heading to the store on Friday nights so our cabinets were packed with lots of exciting foods for the weekend. We had been shopping on Mondays, and with little in our reserves &mdash; that's when we'd venture out to takeout town. Now, making our meals and enjoying food together has even become one of our favorite sources of frugal entertainment.</p> <h2>Start Small</h2> <p>Does cooking absolutely everything at home sound too overwhelming? I admit, I have a high tolerance for being in the kitchen. If you don't &mdash; start small. You can get great results by replacing just one of your meals out each week. Maybe you can start by packing a lunch instead of buying out. Replacing your morning coffee and muffin habit with a homemade variety. Look for any and all opportunities and add on from there.</p> <p>If I had to choose just one, I would have started with our pizza takeout night. Making pizza at home doesn't take much skill. A plain pie at the place down the street costs around $14. To make dough ($1 for flour, yeast, and water) and top with sauce ($0.99 a jar) and cheese ($2.99 for a two-cup bag)? Well, that's more like $5 if you stick to the basics. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-you-make-restaurant-quality-pizza-at-home?ref=seealso">This Is How You Make Restaurant-Quality Pizza at Home</a>)</p> <h2>Resist Temptation</h2> <p>There were some tricky moments we encountered along the way. For example, our friends came down to visit and asked us if we wanted to buzz out to get some dinner with them randomly one afternoon. I felt paralyzed and slightly embarrassed, but I told them the truth: We'd love to get together, I shared, but we have some big budget goals this year, and eating out doesn't fit into the puzzle right now. Plus, we had already started cooking dinner.</p> <p>Guess what? It was no biggie. They came over to our place, we hung out for several hours, and they even told us our Crock-Pot dinner smelled amazing. For us, temptation usually comes when we're lazy about planning or when we get social pressure. We know this now. Your own triggers might be different. Be aware of them. Be honest about your goals. And get cooking.</p> <p><em>Did you break your takeout cyclc? What worked for you?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-stop-the-takeout-meal-cycle-and-save">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-9-easiest-food-budget-wins">The 9 Easiest Food Budget Wins</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/this-simple-shopping-list-strategy-from-5-meal-plan-will-save-you-big">This Simple Shopping List Strategy From $5 Meal Plan Will Save You Big</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-easy-ways-to-save-on-groceries-in-a-pinch">5 Easy Ways to Save on Groceries in a Pinch</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/13-ways-you-can-cut-grocery-expenses-today">13 Ways You Can Cut Grocery Expenses Today</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-best-5-credit-cards-for-groceries">The 5 Best Credit Cards for Groceries</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink Shopping eating out Fast Food food waste groceries meal planning restaurants Takeout Mon, 29 Feb 2016 11:00:11 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1659930 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Cheap and Easy Meals That Make Even Better Leftovers http://www.wisebread.com/10-cheap-and-easy-meals-that-make-even-better-leftovers <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-cheap-and-easy-meals-that-make-even-better-leftovers" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000068458311_Large.jpg" alt="a cheap and easy meal that will make even better leftovers" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It's true, some things just get better with age. This is true even with some foods &mdash; just a <em>little</em> age, mind you. Some flavors improve when they've had time to meld, mellow out, or become more concentrated. Here are 10 dishes that not only get tastier, but can serve double-duty as an additional meal the next day.</p> <h2>1. Chili</h2> <p>My favorite recipe contains garlic, oregano, onions, Tabasco, green peppers, and jalapenos. On day one, it's a fairly spicy concoction, but upon reheating, it has been delightfully tamed. Chili also holds up well in the freezer and defrosts pretty quickly. Serve it up again for lunch or dinner with some grated cheese, sour cream, and tortilla chips.</p> <h2>2. Meatloaf</h2> <p>Always great with a pile of mashed potatoes and some dilled carrots, meatloaf is so much better the next day in a sandwich with mayo, cheddar cheese, and dill pickles. If you can score some rye bread for that hot mess, all the better.</p> <h2>3. Pizza</h2> <p>If you buy a frozen pizza, or go the take-and-bake route, pizza and salad is a darned inexpensive meal. I never get anything except the large size because it can serve double duty: dinner <em>and</em> breakfast. My husband's trick is to heat a leftover slice in a little olive oil on the stove, so that the bottom re-crisps. Then, he makes an over-easy egg (firm, but still slightly runny). The egg goes on the top of the pizza. The flavors in Italian food are more pronounced, it seems, when reheated. I'm not sure he cares about that. He's a dude happily eating <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-actually-enjoy-leftover-pizza">pizza for breakfast</a> instead of granola.</p> <h2>4. Mushroom Burgers</h2> <p>These <a href="http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/mushroom-burgers">mushroom burgers</a> are one of my favorite vegetarian recipes. Not only are they inexpensive to make, but I actually prefer them to a meat hamburger. Don't skip the dried thyme, which imparts great flavor. I also add a little dried sage. This combo will remind you of Thanksgiving.</p> <p>Even though these days it's usually just my husband and I for dinner, I always make four patties. Why? Breakfast! Go Hawaiian-style with them and re-heat the &quot;burger.&quot; Plop it over some brown rice, and add an egg on top. As the Hawaiians say, &quot;So<em> ono</em>!&quot;</p> <h2>5. Lasagna</h2> <p>If you are going to make a lasagna (or <em>lasagne</em>, whichever way you prefer to spell it), well, go for it and make a big 9x13 pan of it. Why? Lasagna always always gets better after spending the night in the refrigerator. Mine are usually a little sloppy coming out of the oven, even when I let them rest. However, on day two or three, something magical happens and it firms up. The flavors are also more prominent. This can be a second or third dinner, or you can cut into smaller squares for lunches. Lasagna is also a good candidate for the freezer.</p> <h2>6. Stew</h2> <p>Stew meat is really cheap, and there is a reason for that &mdash; it comes from a tough cut (usually chuck or bottom round). Save even more money by just buying a package of meat and cutting it up yourself, rather than buying packages of precut &quot;stew meat.&quot; Don't worry about toughness, though. The act of cooking it slowly breaks the fibers down and tenderizes it. If you pair your meat with some pearl onions, garlic, red wine, and bacon, you'll be happy for days to come. It also freezes well.</p> <h2>7. The Sunday Roast, on Monday</h2> <p>Cooking a roast is a big effort, but the leftovers are great, and you will have enough for sandwiches, and maybe even another dinner. But wait! There is a breakfast bonus. Chop it up, add cooked potatoes, sauteed peppers, and onions, and bake into hash. Voila! Add a fried egg on top for a little extra treat.</p> <h2>8. Chicken Soup</h2> <p>For a variety of reasons, chicken soup is just better down the road. My mother's theory was that bay leaves gave soup extra flavor. She also was a fan of bouquet garni. I think the chicken fat and salt helps, too. I freeze mine in double gallon Ziplocks &mdash; you don't want to chance leakage &mdash; and don't forget to label. When you get a cold, remembering you have homemade chicken soup in the freezer will make you instantly feel better.</p> <h2>9. Thrice-Baked Potatoes</h2> <p>Not too many foods are as inexpensive as potatoes &mdash; or as versatile. Baked potatoes are fine, but twice-baked (containing cheese, green onion, maybe some broccoli or spinach) are terrific. And they are even better at breakfast, and especially on cold days. Bake a whole potato, stuff each half, and enjoy half with dinner and half another time. I tote my &quot;second half&quot; to the office, where I can microwave it.</p> <h2>10. Curry</h2> <p>Curry is often so spicy that I want a glass of milk to drink with it. So hot, but so good! Let it spend the night in the refrigerator, though, and it will mellow out. But it won't become boring, as the flavors seem to concentrate. I like mine with chicken, carrots, and pumpkin. Usually served with lots of rice, there is always enough for a second meal. It's inexpensive comfort food.</p> <p><em>Did we miss any delicious leftover gems? Let us know 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/marla-walters">Marla Walters</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-cheap-and-easy-meals-that-make-even-better-leftovers">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/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-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-money-saving-hacks-for-those-who-hate-cooking">8 Money-Saving Hacks for Those Who Hate Cooking</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/sous-vide-is-the-fancy-cooking-technique-that-saves-you-money-too">Sous Vide Is the Fancy Cooking Technique That Saves You Money, Too</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-perfectly-respectable-uses-for-instant-mashed-potatoes">5 Perfectly Respectable Uses for Instant Mashed Potatoes</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/9-ways-to-actually-enjoy-leftover-pizza">9 Ways to Actually Enjoy Leftover Pizza</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink cheap dinners Cooking easy meals leftovers meal planning recipes Tue, 23 Feb 2016 11:00:11 +0000 Marla Walters 1658639 at http://www.wisebread.com The 9 Easiest Food Budget Wins http://www.wisebread.com/the-9-easiest-food-budget-wins <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-9-easiest-food-budget-wins" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/happy_couple_cooking_000065817113.jpg" alt="Couple finding easiest food budget wins" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>What I spend on food makes up a large part of my monthly budget, so it's great if I can save a little when I can. The problem is, the most frugal methods of cutting down your food budget &mdash; meal planning, couponing, bulk buying, bulk cooking &mdash; are difficult to sustain given a busy lifestyle and, to be frank, lack of interest. Honestly, I'd much rather be binge-watching Netflix than couponing or meal-planning, and I don't have enough storage space to stockpile a lot of bulk items.</p> <p>I've found that it's much easier for me to trim the budget here and there by using a few tricks. I can go crazy spending on restaurant meals, but limiting the number of times we dine out has helped our food budget tremendously. Many of these tips center around preparing meals easily and cheaply, without spending money at a restaurant.</p> <h2>1. Have Go-To Meals in the Pantry</h2> <p>How often do you get home at 6 p.m., only to realize you have no idea what to make for dinner, and you have no groceries in the fridge? When caught unawares, it's often easier to eat out or order in, but unfortunately, unplanned restaurant meals can add up quickly. Prevent last-minute splurges by keeping your pantry stocked with quick, easy-to-prepare, non-perishable, and cheap ingredients. Make sure you have at least three or four pantry-friendly meals you can call on in a pinch. Supplement this with frozen vegetables and a few frozen entrees like ravioli, meatballs, or salmon burgers.</p> <p>For example:</p> <ul> <li>Canned tuna + frozen spinach + spaghetti = tuna pasta<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Dried red split lentils + chicken broth + canned tomatoes = lentil soup<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Rice + canned beans + salsa = Mexican rice bowl (add a fried egg on top!)<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Marinara sauce + frozen meatballs + frozen pineapple = Hawaiian meatballs<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Dried ramen or soba + dried seaweed + frozen edamame = veggie noodle bowl</li> </ul> <h2>2. Make a Shopping List</h2> <p>Making a shopping list doesn't have to be intimidating &mdash; we're not talking about planning your meals for the whole week. It's more about preventing that moment when you get home from the grocery store only to realize you forgot the ingredient you went there for in the first place. Instead of shopping by the seat of your pants, make a list. In fact, make a list throughout the week, by writing down ingredients that you are running out of or know you'll need. Use the last egg? Put eggs on the list. Use the last can of salsa? Put salsa on the list. That way, you won't need to make a special trip to the store when you find yourself without important staples.</p> <h2>3. Reduce Food Waste</h2> <p>Most of us lose a lot of money through food waste. Something looks good at the store, and it sits forgotten in the bottom of the crisper drawer for the next two weeks. Here are a few easy ways to cut down on food waste:</p> <ul> <li>Look in the fridge before you go to the store. Take note of what you already have and what needs to be used up.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Make a shopping list!<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Use up leftovers for lunch the next day.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Only buy as much as you need. That giant bulk-size bag of chips might be a good value, but not if the chips go stale before you can eat them.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Make sure you can see at a glance what you have in the fridge &mdash; this might mean organizing or cleaning out your fridge.</li> </ul> <h2>4. Pack Your Lunch</h2> <p>Spending the extra time to prepare a lunch the night before work (or the morning of) can seem like a chore, but there are a few ways to make packing a lunch easier:</p> <ul> <li>Keep groceries at work. My husband recently started doing this and has cut down on eating out from five meals a week to one or two. He keeps a bag of bagels or wraps at the office, and stores packages of deli meat, sliced cheese, baby carrots, and hummus in the office fridge. He's definitely saving money, and can use his lunch break to go for a run or a swim instead of standing in line to order food.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Plan to cook a little more at dinner the night before, so you'll have leftovers to bring to work the next day.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Portion out easy-to-grab containers of sliced vegetables, hummus, fruit, and other lunch components at the beginning of the week to make the lunch-packing process faster and easier.</li> </ul> <h2>5. Have a Snack Before Shopping</h2> <p>It can be dangerous to shop on an empty stomach &mdash; everything looks so appetizing. Stop yourself from giving in to the temptation by having a nutritious and filling snack before you go to the store. Plus, you'll need energy to wrangle all those great deals you'll be finding!</p> <h2>6. Stock Up on Staples</h2> <p>When you see non-perishable staples that you know you'll use on sale, be sure to stock up. If pasta is on sale for 79 cents a package, buy as much as you think you'll use before it expires. Same goes for canned beans, canned tomatoes, and pasta sauce. Sometimes meat goes on sale &mdash; you can freeze a bunch for use later (though don't buy more than you'll use in a couple months). The key to stocking up, however, is to only buy what you know you will use. Don't fall into the trap of hoarding food just because it's cheap. You'll only end up wasting more food and money.</p> <h2>7. Cook What's Seasonal and Cheap</h2> <p>Instead of buying groceries based on a recipe you want to try, look for recipes based around what's seasonal and inexpensive at the grocery store. This is especially easy if you have a smartphone. I often check to see what meats and vegetables are on sale, then quickly browse the Internet to see what dishes I can make with them and if I need to pick up any extra ingredients.</p> <h2>8. Buy Cheaper Cuts of Meat</h2> <p>Learn to cook the cheaper (and often tougher) cuts of meat. A pork shoulder roast is one of the cheapest meats that you can buy, and can make a pot of pulled pork (or my favorite, kalua pork) in the slow cooker that will last you three or four days. Instead of going for the more expensive chicken breasts, try cooking with inexpensive chicken thighs. And instead of roasting a tender rack of lamb ribs, barbecue a few crosscut lamb leg steaks. Optimize a rotisserie chicken by eating the drumsticks and thighs for one meal, and using the breasts for another dish (we frequently do chicken and dumplings), as well as making soup with the bones.</p> <h2>9. Eat Less Meat</h2> <p>Meat or fish is usually the most expensive part of the meals I cook at home. Try designating one day (or more) for a meatless meal. Instead substitute vegetarian dishes, like chickpea curry, pasta primavera, or vegetarian pizza. Eggs can be bought very inexpensively &mdash; try making a veggie and egg scramble for dinner, a quiche or frittata, or an egg and potato salad.</p> <p><em>How do you keep your food budget low? Do you have any favorite tips or tricks?</em></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/the-9-easiest-food-budget-wins">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-easy-ways-to-save-on-groceries-in-a-pinch">5 Easy Ways to Save on Groceries in a Pinch</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-stop-the-takeout-meal-cycle-and-save">How to Stop the Takeout Meal Cycle and Save</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/13-ways-you-can-cut-grocery-expenses-today">13 Ways You Can Cut Grocery Expenses Today</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-off-season-foods-that-are-destroying-your-grocery-budget">5 Off-Season Foods That Are Destroying Your Grocery Budget</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-i-grocery-shop-0">How I Grocery Shop</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Food and Drink Shopping dinners food costs food waste groceries lunches meal planning seasonal Mon, 22 Feb 2016 11:00:12 +0000 Camilla Cheung 1659840 at http://www.wisebread.com Ask the Readers: Do You Meal Plan? http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-do-you-meal-plan <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/ask-the-readers-do-you-meal-plan" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_cutting_veggies_000058499462.jpg" alt="Woman meal planning by cutting vegetables" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><em>Editor's Note: Congratulations to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-do-you-meal-plan#comment-788283">Michelle</a>, Susan, and Kristin for winning this week's contest!</em></p> <p>Meal planning offers a lot to the frugal household. It provides a guide for your grocery shopping, it allows you to avoid wasting food, and it's a way to make sure you have healthy meals at home &mdash; or a suitable alternative when you need it.</p> <p><strong>Do you meal plan?</strong> What are your favorite go-to meals? What tips do you have for someone who is new to meal planning?</p> <p>Tell us whether you meal plan and we'll enter you in a drawing to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!</p> <h2>Win 1 of 3 $20 Amazon Gift Cards</h2> <p>We're doing three giveaways &mdash; here's how you can win!</p> <h3>Mandatory Entry:</h3> <ul> <li>Post your answer in the comments below. One commenter will be randomly selected to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!</li> </ul> <h3>For Extra Entries:</h3> <ul> <li>You can tweet about our giveaway for an extra entry. Also, our Facebook fans can get an extra entry too! Use our Rafflecopter widget for your chance to win one of the other two Amazon Gift Cards:</li> </ul> <p><a id="rcwidget_d51nzasr" data-template="" data-theme="classic" data-raflid="79857dfa229" rel="nofollow" class="rcptr" href="http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/79857dfa229/">a Rafflecopter giveaway</a> </p> <script src="https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js"></script></p> <p>If you're inspired to write a whole blog post OR you have a photo on flickr to share, please link to it in the comments or tweet it.</p> <h4>Giveaway Rules:</h4> <ul> <li>Contest ends Monday, February 8th at 11:59 p.m. Pacific. Winners will be announced after February 8th on the original post. Winners will also be contacted via email.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>You can enter all three drawings &mdash; once by leaving a comment, once by liking our Facebook update, and once by tweeting.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered, or associated with Facebook.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>You must be 18 and US resident to enter. Void where prohibited.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Good Luck!</strong>&nbsp;</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Tell us whether you meal plan and we&#039;ll enter you in a drawing to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card! </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-jacobs">Ashley Jacobs</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-do-you-meal-plan">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/8-money-saving-hacks-for-those-who-hate-cooking">8 Money-Saving Hacks for Those Who Hate Cooking</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/sous-vide-is-the-fancy-cooking-technique-that-saves-you-money-too">Sous Vide Is the Fancy Cooking Technique That Saves You Money, Too</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-money-and-eat-better-with-these-6-online-meal-planners">Save Money and Eat Better With These 6 Online Meal Planners</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-9-easiest-food-budget-wins">The 9 Easiest Food Budget Wins</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/ask-the-readers-200-giveaway-what-is-your-top-question-about-personal-finance">Ask the Readers $200 Giveaway: What is Your Top Question About Personal Finance?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink Giveaways Ask the Readers meal planning Tue, 02 Feb 2016 16:00:19 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 1647151 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Pantry Tricks That Save You Big http://www.wisebread.com/9-pantry-tricks-that-save-you-big <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-pantry-tricks-that-save-you-big" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_holding_groceries_000043134348.jpg" alt="Woman learning pantry tricks that will save her big" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We all want to save wherever we can, and the pantry is a place where small steps can make a considerable difference. Learn how to cut back and cash in with these nine pantry tricks that will save you big.</p> <h2>1. Start Stacking</h2> <p>Raised or stacked storage (like bleachers in a gymnasium) will let you see more of your canned and jarred items simultaneously, so you instantly know what you have at your disposal. Often, these storage devices are expandable &mdash; like this&nbsp;<a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001E2864K/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B001E2864K&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=AI57KKQFTODP23T4">three-tier spice organizer</a> &mdash; to accommodate spaces of varying widths.</p> <h2>2. Buy in Bulk and Portion at Home</h2> <p>If you have a lot of mouths to feed, or you consume large quantities of a particular food item, you'll save money by buying in bulk. When you get home, you can divvy up the portions into your own containers without paying the extra &quot;convenience&quot; costs that are passed on to you for pre-packaged items. This practice also helps you reduce runs to the store to refill, which, in turn, saves you time and gas money.</p> <h2>3. Store Food in Clear Containers</h2> <p>By putting goods like cereal and pasta in airtight, see-through containers, you're helping yourself out two-fold. One, you'll be able to see right away what you need more of, and what you don't (therefore reducing your grocery bill). Two, the food will stay fresher longer than if left to sit in rolled-up bags in the original boxes.</p> <h2>4. Use the FIFO Method</h2> <p>Don't know what the FIFO method of storing is? Simple &mdash; first in, first out. In other words, you should be removing/consuming pantry items in the order you put them in, instead of eating newer items first. That way, you don't waste food by letting items expire.</p> <h2>5. Emphasize Healthy Staples</h2> <p>Instead of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-hardest-working-foods-in-your-pantry">filling your pantry</a> with a hodge-podge of things you'll &quot;probably&quot; eat, focus on things you know you'll eat &mdash; like healthy, all-meal ingredients that are part of your everyday diet.</p> <p>&quot;Keep healthy staples, such as oatmeal, brown rice/whole grains, and dry beans &mdash; stored in airtight BPA- free containers to ensure they last longer &mdash; as well as canned tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, and low sodium bouillon or broth as recipe starters,&quot; advises registered dietitian Kristie LeBeau. &quot;You can cook large batches of beans, soups, grains, and oatmeal for a quick, low-cost, healthy meal.&quot;</p> <h2>6. Stock Up on Seasonally Packaged Items After the Holiday</h2> <p>If you're a snacker, you'll save a bundle if you scour the aisles after a big snacking holiday like Halloween, Christmas, or Easter. Most popular snack brands release goods in holiday packaging, which is drastically reduced &mdash; sometimes to the tune of 75% &mdash; just days after the holiday. These items have just as long a shelf life as the regular packaged items but at a fraction of the cost. Don't go overboard, of course, but a few bags of discounted chips, cookies, and crackers is never a bad idea.</p> <h2>7. Keep an Eye on What You're Eating &mdash; And What You're Not</h2> <p>One of my worst habits when I was younger was going to the supermarket blind. By that I mean I would shop for pantry items that I wasn't sure I had or not, because I didn't check before I left the house. I was buying these items over and over, when, in reality, I still had plenty at home. You may be doing the same thing. I suggest taking inventory of what you have before making your shopping trips to cut back on duplicate items.</p> <p>This is also a good time to take a look at what you're eating more and less of. Take that feedback and adjust your shopping habits accordingly. Stop buying what you're not eating.</p> <h2>8. Shop for Non-Perishables Less Frequently</h2> <p>I changed my diet to include primarily fresh, healthy foods so much, that I've whittled down my pantry from a large closet in the hall to just three cabinets in the kitchen. You've heard time and again that all that processed junk isn't good for you &mdash; and it isn't &mdash; so maybe now's a good time to clean the pantry. Keep the essentials, donate the excess, and start eating a little cleaner.</p> <h2>9. Plan Meals at the Beginning of the Week</h2> <p>If your pantry seems to be fattening instead of slimming, you need to use more of what you already have. An easy way to do that is to plan your meals. On Sunday, decide what you'll make for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for the week, and try to integrate some of your pantry items into that menu. Not only will you save time by having a plan of attack when you're hungry (which helps ward off last-minute take-out meals), but you'll reduce your stockpile of overflowing pantry items without spending any extra money.</p> <p><em>Do you have more pantry tricks that have saved you big? I'd love to hear your tips. Let me know in the comments below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-pantry-tricks-that-save-you-big">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-9-easiest-food-budget-wins">The 9 Easiest Food Budget Wins</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-organize-your-pantry-and-save-cash">How to Organize Your Pantry and Save Cash</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/avoid-dinner-stress-pay-someone-to-plan-your-meals">Avoid Dinner Stress: Pay Someone to Plan Your Meals</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-10-hardest-working-foods-in-your-pantry">The 10 Most Versatile Foods in Your Pantry</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-easy-ways-to-save-on-groceries-in-a-pinch">5 Easy Ways to Save on Groceries in a Pinch</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink Home Organization cupboards food storage groceries meal planning pantry Wed, 09 Dec 2015 16:00:25 +0000 Mikey Rox 1618563 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: The Keys to Successful Meal Planning http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-the-keys-to-successful-meal-planning <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-the-keys-to-successful-meal-planning" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_cooking_dinner_000050364290.jpg" alt="Couple learning keys to successful meal planning" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some great articles on how to stick with meal planning, tips for negotiating a better salary, and ways to save money at Trader Joe&rsquo;s.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://www.everybodylovesyourmoney.com/2015/10/19/4-keys-to-sticking-with-a-meal-plan.html">4 Keys to Sticking with a Meal Plan</a> &mdash; Meal planning is one of the best ways to save money and eat healthy, but it can be difficult to keep up if you're new to it. So keep things simple: prepare the meals that you like and use your crockpot for easy dinners. [Everybody Loves Your Money]</p> <p><a href="http://www.biblemoneymatters.com/tips-for-negotiating-a-better-salary-and-benefits/">Tips For Negotiating A Better Salary (And Benefits)</a> &mdash; It's important to be able to show the value you bring to the company. Note your accomplishments and give them concrete value, like time saved, money made, etc. [Bible Money Matters]</p> <p><a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/How-Save-Money-Trader-Joe-35589009">9 Ways to Save Major Money at Trader Joe's</a> &mdash; Little-known fact: Trader Joe's accepts manufacturer coupons for name-brand items! [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="http://www.csmonitor.com/Business/Saving-Money/2015/1020/Four-Ways-To-Avoid-Monthly-Bank-Fees">Four Ways To Avoid Monthly Bank Fees</a> &mdash; Most banks and credit unions will waive your fees if you satisfy certain requirements, like enrolling for direct deposit or maintaining a minimum balance. [The Monitor]</p> <p><a href="http://www.dumblittleman.com/2015/10/reaching-goal-heres-10-common-fears-may-derail.html">Reaching a Goal? Here&rsquo;s 10 Common Fears that May Derail You</a> &mdash; You may be afraid of changes that will throw you into new situations and experiences, but taking positive action can alleviate that fear. [Dumb Little Man]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://afewshortcuts.com/2015/10/10-things-to-do-with-over-ripe-bananas/">10 Things to Do With Over Ripe Bananas</a> &mdash; Don't waste your over-ripe bananas! Use them in delcious and healthy Peanut Butter Banana Breakfast Cookies, or blend them up for a yummy smoothie or milkshake. [A Few Short Cuts]</p> <p><a href="http://untemplater.com/business/career-business/6-unconventional-careers-with-good-pay-and-no-cubes/">6 Unconventional Careers With Good Pay And No Cubes</a> &mdash; If you're good at bringing order to chaos, consider becoming a professional organizer! [Untemplater]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/10-halloween-candies-that-are-safe-for-trick-or-treaters">10 Halloween Candies That Are Safe for Trick-or-Treaters</a> &mdash; Many popular treats contain wheat, peanuts, tree nuts, milk, or eggs, but there are tasty options for kids who are allergic to these ingredients. [Parenting Squad]</p> <p><a href="http://www.marcandangel.com/2015/10/18/8-ways-to-be-emotionally-strong-in-your-relationships/">8 Ways to Be Emotionally Strong in Your Relationships</a> &mdash; You can tap into your emotional strength by creating something &mdash; anything! You gain more insight into your own abilities and passions. [Marc &amp; Angel Hack Life]</p> <p><a href="http://www.cleverdude.com/content/how-to-build-a-budget-friendly-work-wardrobe/">How to Build a Budget Friendly Work Wardrobe</a> &mdash; Buy quality pieces &mdash; even better if you buy them on sale! Stores like TJ Maxx and Ross offer brand-name, quality clothes and accessories and much lower prices. [Clever Dude]</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amy-lu">Amy Lu</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-the-keys-to-successful-meal-planning">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/8-money-saving-hacks-for-those-who-hate-cooking">8 Money-Saving Hacks for Those Who Hate Cooking</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/sous-vide-is-the-fancy-cooking-technique-that-saves-you-money-too">Sous Vide Is the Fancy Cooking Technique That Saves You Money, Too</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-9-easiest-food-budget-wins">The 9 Easiest Food Budget Wins</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-money-and-eat-better-with-these-6-online-meal-planners">Save Money and Eat Better With These 6 Online Meal Planners</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/16-simple-kitchen-skills-every-frugal-person-should-master">16 Simple Kitchen Skills Every Frugal Person Should Master</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink best money tips meal planning Wed, 21 Oct 2015 19:15:36 +0000 Amy Lu 1597151 at http://www.wisebread.com This Simple Shopping List Strategy From $5 Meal Plan Will Save You Big http://www.wisebread.com/this-simple-shopping-list-strategy-from-5-meal-plan-will-save-you-big <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/this-simple-shopping-list-strategy-from-5-meal-plan-will-save-you-big" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_holding_groceries_000049544868.jpg" alt="Woman using shopping list with $5 meal plan to save big" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><em>Erin Chase is the founder of </em><a href="http://5dollarmealplan.com/join-today-v2/?ap_id=wisebread"><em>$5 Meal Plan</em></a><em>, a weekly meal plan and shopping list service that will help you save time and money on your food bill this week.</em></p> <p>For many people, meal planning is one of <em>those</em> items on our weekly to-do list that sometimes gets done and sometimes (maybe most of the time) doesn't.</p> <p>But proper meal planning can make a huge difference in our <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-easy-ways-to-save-on-groceries-in-a-pinch">grocery budget</a>. Not to mention, the peace of mind in knowing &quot;What's for dinner tonight?&quot; instead of stressing over missing ingredients or wandering the grocery store for inspiration.</p> <p>After years of experience, I've honed my routine to the basics. Here's how I set up a weekly meal plan that's going to lead to full and satisfied tummies, as well as shopping list for budget-friendly ingredients that won't drain my bank account.</p> <h2>1. Start With the Store Ads</h2> <p>Start by laying out the circulars for your local stores and going through them with a marker. Clearly mark all the ingredients that are on sale. Circle the items you purchase regularly, and make note of how many you should pick up if you are stocking up. You'll use these sale ingredients as the base of your meal plan.</p> <h2>2. Write Out Meal Ideas</h2> <p>Once you have your list of sale ingredients, begin to think about how you can use them in meals. What meals can you make with these ingredients and how can you stretch them?</p> <h2>3. Family Input</h2> <p>Ask family members about their favorite meals and keep a list in your meal plan binder or folder. Reference it as you are looking through the sale ingredients and writing out your meal plan.</p> <h2>4. Double Check the Pantry</h2> <p>Do a quick scan of your cabinets to make sure you don't miss adding an item onto your list, and to cross off any pantry staples that you already have on hand. Always compare the ingredients you need to the supplies you have on hand. This is particularly helpful if you have leftovers that you can work into the recipes. Save where you can and you will find that your waste will shrink to nothing.</p> <h2>5. Rearrange Your list</h2> <p>If you're Type A or hyper-organized like me, you'll want to write your list in the order that you'll go through the store. For me, it's produce, meats, snacks, cereals, pantry staples, dairy/eggs, and frozen. This will help you stay focused in the store and save you time too! It might help you avoid impulse buys during a backtrack through the store.</p> <h2>6. Stuck Like Glue</h2> <p>No, not the country song. I'm talking about your shopping list. If you have things that are distracting you like chocolate, fresh coffee, or a new apron to add to the collection, forget about it! Stick to your list!</p> <h2>7. Reap the Rewards</h2> <p>Finally, come back home and follow the plan that you're written out and enjoy dinner with your family throughout the week!</p> <p>You will eventually get to where the meal ideas come easily and naturally to you, based on what's on sale and what your family enjoys. You will become a pro in no time flat!</p> <p>And if you have no intention, time, or brain space for becoming a meal planning pro, we are happy to shoulder the burden for you! We can help you cross &quot;Write a meal plan&quot; off your weekly to-do list by delivering a meal plan to your inbox every week through The $5 Meal Plan. If you think that having meal plans sent to you every week is the answer to your dinner hour woes and you want to give the plans a try, we'd love for you to <a href="http://5dollarmealplan.com/join-today-v2/?ap_id=wisebread">sign up for The $5 Meal Plan</a>.</p> <p><em>How do you do meal planning?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/erin-chase">Erin Chase</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-simple-shopping-list-strategy-from-5-meal-plan-will-save-you-big">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-easy-ways-to-save-on-groceries-in-a-pinch">5 Easy Ways to Save on Groceries in a Pinch</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-9-easiest-food-budget-wins">The 9 Easiest Food Budget Wins</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/easy-ways-to-save-on-7-everyday-buys">Easy Ways to Save on 7 Everyday Buys</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-foods-that-are-actually-cheaper-at-whole-foods">6 Foods That Are Actually Cheaper At Whole Foods</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-stop-the-takeout-meal-cycle-and-save">How to Stop the Takeout Meal Cycle and Save</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink Shopping budgeting expenses groceries meal planning saving money Tue, 16 Jun 2015 17:00:26 +0000 Erin Chase 1456856 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Easy Ways to Save on Groceries in a Pinch http://www.wisebread.com/5-easy-ways-to-save-on-groceries-in-a-pinch <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-easy-ways-to-save-on-groceries-in-a-pinch" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_holding_groceries_000026443745.jpg" alt="Crafty woman saving money on groceries in a pinch" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Do you need to cut your budget &mdash; and fast? Stuff like blown tires, broken furnaces, and other unexpected expenses have to come from somewhere, and so many of our regular monthly expenses are fixed bills we can't do much to budge.</p> <p>So here are some ways you can dramatically cut your grocery bill in a pinch to redirect some of your hard earned dollars elsewhere. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-eat-well-on-just-20-a-week-with-meal-plans?ref=seealso">How to Eat Well on Just $20 a Week</a>)</p> <h2>1. Dig Deep</h2> <p>Before heading to the store, dig into all your cabinets and drawers to assess what you have in stock. Pasta and rice can be dressed up to make delicious meals with few ingredients added &mdash; here are some <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-new-ways-to-spice-up-rice">recipes for inspiration</a>. A simple <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/50-ways-to-use-canned-salmon">can of salmon</a> can be transformed into a salad, sandwich, or soup. You may even discover some foods hiding around that are nearing their expiration dates. If you're stuck, try tools like <a href="http://www.supercook.com/">Supercook</a>, which allow you to look up recipes by searching the ingredients you already have at home.</p> <h2>2. Go Vegetarian</h2> <p>Some of the most expensive items in your cart? Meat and seafood. If you're up for it, try eating a vegetable-based diet for a period of time. It's likely your cheapest meal alternative. You don't need to worry about protein since you'll find plenty in inexpensive sources like eggs, tofu, nuts, etc. And if you think you can cut dairy, that's more savings. There are millions of people thriving on vegan diets around the globe. Who knows! You might even lose a few pounds. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/35-slow-cooker-recipes-for-busy-or-lazy-vegetarians?ref=seealso">35 Slow Cooker Recipes for Busy Vegetarians</a>)</p> <h2>3. Plan Accordingly</h2> <p>It sounds counterintuitive, but meal planning might be costing you money. Variety can be tricky and require lots of expensive ingredients if you aren't careful. Though you want to keep a good balance of nutrients in your diet, try choosing a few cheap, satisfying meals that might sustain you all week long. We keep our breakfasts and lunches very simple: Usually oatmeal with banana and homemade hummus sandwiches with chopped raw veggies. For dinner, consider sticking to meals that use similar ingredients but have different flavors or textures. Pizza and pasta make a good duo, as do taco salad and quesadillas, for example. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/35-grocery-items-you-should-make-at-home-and-5-to-buy?ref=seealso">35 Grocery Items You Should Make at Home</a>)</p> <h2>4. Substitute Similar</h2> <p>Have your heart set on certain recipes? Try <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-recipe-substitutions-that-save-money-and-prevent-food-waste">substituting ingredients</a> that you might already have at home versus buying new. There are a number of foods that can easily swap in similar ratios to get tasty results. The best part is that you'll not just save money this way, you'll also eliminate food waste and learn some new culinary tricks.</p> <h2>5. Track and Plan Ahead</h2> <p>I often shop at Wegmans. Something that's really helped save me money is using the <a href="http://www.wegmans.com/mobile">Wegmans app</a> to plan my trip in advance. I make an organized list on my phone &mdash; including the prices at my store that get tallied up at the end. That way, if I stick to the list, I know exactly how much I'll be spending (provided I don't grab something random off the shelf). A growing number of stores offer similar apps &mdash; like <a href="http://www.safeway.com/ShopStores/Get-Connected-Mobile-Apps.page">Safeway</a>, <a href="http://www.kroger.com/topic/mobile-app">Kroger</a>, and <a href="http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/apps">Whole Foods</a> &mdash; giving you the power to write lists or even snag coupons.</p> <p><em>Have you had to cut food costs fast? Tell us how you did it in comments.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-easy-ways-to-save-on-groceries-in-a-pinch">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-9-easiest-food-budget-wins">The 9 Easiest Food Budget Wins</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/this-simple-shopping-list-strategy-from-5-meal-plan-will-save-you-big">This Simple Shopping List Strategy From $5 Meal Plan Will Save You Big</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-12-best-frozen-food-values">The 12 Best Frozen Food Values</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/8-money-saving-hacks-for-those-who-hate-cooking">8 Money-Saving Hacks for Those Who Hate Cooking</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/20-easy-ways-to-stretch-your-grocery-dollars">20 Easy Ways to Stretch Your Grocery Dollars</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink Shopping Cooking dinners groceries meal planning saving money Thu, 23 Apr 2015 11:00:10 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1393781 at http://www.wisebread.com 13 Ways You Can Cut Grocery Expenses Today http://www.wisebread.com/13-ways-you-can-cut-grocery-expenses-today <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/13-ways-you-can-cut-grocery-expenses-today" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/grocery-shopping-126532715-small.jpg" alt="grocery shopping" title="grocery shopping" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Since December 2013, the <a href="http://www.investingdaily.com/19990/food-disruptions-continue-2/">&quot;spot foodstuff&quot; index price is up about 20%</a>. Ouch! For those of us who aren't commodities investors, that will translate to about a 3.5% increase in the price of food over the year &mdash; double the rate of last year's increase. Even vegetarians will feel the pinch due to the ongoing <a href="http://americasmarkets.usatoday.com/2014/04/16/california-drought-to-cause-fruit-and-veggie-sticker-shock/">California drought</a>.</p> <p>So what can you do to maximize your food budget? Here are 13 suggestions. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/22-supermarket-tricks-you-havent-heard-yet?ref=seealso">22 Supermarket Tricks You Haven't Tried Yet</a>)</p> <h2>1. Don't Even Go to the Store, Yet</h2> <p>Take an inventory, first. Do you have things to use up in the refrigerator? Should you <a href="http://www.foodsafety.gov/keep/charts/storagetimes.html">defrost </a>something from the freezer? If you have a garden or orchard, you might need to pick and use up fruits and vegetables. Maybe stale bread needs to become croutons or avocados, guacamole. Have you checked dates on your canned goods, lately? Might be time to use some and rotate your pantry. So, first, avoid possible <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/youre-wasting-13-of-the-food-you-buy-heres-how-to-stop">food waste</a> by checking to see what you have and can use.</p> <h2>2. What's Truly on Sale?</h2> <p>I scan the front page and the back page of my grocery store ads, because the best sale items are found there. Sometimes, items in the center of the ad aren't even on sale, believe it or not. You may assume that because there is a picture of name-brand bologna in the ad that it's on special, but I am looking at small print that says, &quot;4.99 Every Day!&quot; If you have the time or patience, keep a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-one-tool-that-assures-you-never-pay-too-much-for-groceries">price book</a>.</p> <h2>3. Clip Coupons?</h2> <p>Maybe. I only use coupons when they save me money on a product I actually use. Often, a store brand product is cheaper than the name brand product, even with use of the coupon. Not sure? Try using a grocery price <a href="http://calcnexus.com/grocery-calculator.php">calculator</a>. If you want to use an app from your mobile phone, will your store be able to use that technology? Will they match another store's price? Let's remember, though, time is money. If you are spending a lot of time hunting down <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-why-i-don-t-clip-coupons">coupons</a>, could that time have been spent in a more profitable way? I get a charge out of saving money on items I use, but try not to spend a lot of time clipping.</p> <h2>4. The &quot;Oops, We're Out of&hellip;&quot; List</h2> <p>Try putting paper (and a pen) on the refrigerator, or by the phone. Whenever you run out of something, jot it down. When you go to execute No. 5, below, add these items to your shopping list and start the process over.</p> <h2>5. Plan Menus and Make Your Shopping List</h2> <p>This doesn't need to be elaborate. From your inventory you can now plan how to use food up and also determine what you want to buy for the week.</p> <p>I just jot down what I plan to cook for dinner each night. It's a good way to make sure you don't have to make a second trip to the store. If we are having hamburgers, well, then I know I need meat, buns, lettuce, tomatoes, condiments, and a side, like potatoes for french fries. Making a list is also helpful because if it's written down, you won't forget and have to make yet another trip to the store. The list will also keep you from straying into &quot;fun&quot; stuff.</p> <h2>6. Have a Snack Before You Shop</h2> <p>There is <a href="http://greatist.com/health/grocery-shopping-while-hungry-050813">science</a> behind this. I know the worst time for me is right after work, when I am tired and hungry. We've all gone to the store for a gallon of milk and walked out thinking, &quot;How did I just spend fifty bucks?&quot; I find that if I eat a greek yogurt or a handful of almonds and some string cheese, I'll stick to that list.</p> <h2>7. Stay Out of the Aisles</h2> <p>Wouldn't it be nice to just hit one section of the store to buy your vegetables, grains, meat, and dairy? Well, if stores were set up that way, they couldn't lure you into the birthday cards, snack foods, paper goods, or toiletries.</p> <p>Take note of your store's setup so that you can avoid the pitfalls of buying items you should be buying at a discount store. Most of what I need is found around the perimeter. If I venture into the middle, I may be tempted to buy things I really do not need. I don't even cut through the middle aisles, where temptation lurks (in the form of potato chips, glossy magazines, or ice cream).</p> <h2>8. Buy in Bulk?</h2> <p>What items are tremendously cheaper at discount stores like Costco or Sam's Club? Toilet paper, paper towels, aluminum foil, tissues, toothpaste, hard liquor, rice, and meat. Be wary of buying items like two giant packs of cereal, or the large cases of soup. Unless you really, really love the product, you may end up being sick of it before you use it up. What else should you buy? Here are the ten <a href="http://www.tennessean.com/story/money/business/2014/04/20/24-7-wallst-fastest-rising-food-prices/7882819/">fastest-rising food prices</a> for items you may want.</p> <h2>9. Cut Up Your Own Poultry and Meat</h2> <p>This is a great way to save money. In my area, whole chickens go on sale for 99 cents a pound and that is when I buy a few, cut them up, freeze some, and even make stock. You just need a good knife, some kitchen shears, and this great instructional <a href="http://lifehacker.com/the-best-way-to-cut-up-a-whole-chicken-473200749">video</a>. Like stew? Try buying a shoulder and cutting up your own <a href="http://lifehacker.com/5988627/cut-your-own-stew-meat-for-better-quality-and-consistency">stew meat</a>, too.</p> <h2>10. Look Down</h2> <p>The cheapest cereal is not going to be found at the level of your kid. It's usually on the bottom shelf. Its packaging is also unwieldy, and usually in a large plastic bag instead of a handy box. However, if you re-package the cereal into smaller Ziplocs, jars, or tubs, you can save about 40% over the cost of brand-name cereals.</p> <h2>11. Save Every Six to Eight Weeks</h2> <p>Try this experiment. Remove your favorite grocery store's sale ad and save it. In six (or possibly eight) weeks, check it against the new ad. Hey, look! The same stuff is on sale! Buy what you need, and know that you can likely get more at the sale price again in six to eight weeks. You might make a tickler in your phone or computer to remind yourself to buy those items again, i.e., &quot;Buy another case of tomato sauce.&quot;</p> <h2>12. When Should I Shop?</h2> <p>Would you believe <a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/news/best-worst-times-days-grocery-140000430.html">Wednesday mornings</a>? Well, for most of us, that's not practical (and I feel more like shopping on the weekends, but the best markdowns aren't happening then). However, if you find yourself free on a Wednesday, you might consider doing your grocery shopping instead of sleeping in. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-and-worst-times-to-go-grocery-shopping?ref=seealso">The Best and Worst Times to Go Grocery Shopping</a>)</p> <h2>13. Make Your Own Mixes</h2> <p>Trying to avoid packaged, processed foods, and save money, too? Make your own mixes, like this <a href="http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/master-holiday-cookie-mix">Master Cookie Mix</a>, this <a href="http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/836967">rice mix,</a> <a href="http://chickensintheroad.com/cooking/homemade-hamburger-helper/">Hamburger Helper</a>, or even <a href="http://www.thekitchn.com/good-question-how-can-i-make-h-74020">ramen</a>.</p> <p><em>How do you save money at the grocery store? Please share in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/marla-walters">Marla Walters</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-ways-you-can-cut-grocery-expenses-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/the-9-easiest-food-budget-wins">The 9 Easiest Food Budget Wins</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/save-big-at-these-4-discount-supermarkets">Save Big at These 4 Discount Supermarkets</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-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-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-easy-ways-to-stretch-your-grocery-dollars">20 Easy Ways to Stretch Your Grocery Dollars</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-off-season-foods-that-are-destroying-your-grocery-budget">5 Off-Season Foods That Are Destroying Your Grocery Budget</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink Shopping food costs groceries grocery shopping meal planning shopping Thu, 07 Aug 2014 15:00:05 +0000 Marla Walters 1177367 at http://www.wisebread.com Bulk Buying Basics: What to Buy, How to Store, and Money Saving Tips http://www.wisebread.com/bulk-buying-basics-what-to-buy-how-to-store-and-money-saving-tips <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/bulk-buying-basics-what-to-buy-how-to-store-and-money-saving-tips" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/bulk-78818754.jpg" alt="bulk buying" title="bulk buying" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When you think about buying foods or other items in bulk, you might picture an underground bunker in some remote area with enough supplies to survive a zombie apocalypse. Bulk buying is no joke, however. If you have the space, stocking up can be an excellent, budget-friendly way to fill your shelves with foods and other items routinely needed in your daily life. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-organize-your-pantry-and-save-cash?ref=seealso">Organize Your Pantry and Save Cash</a>)</p> <p>As you can imagine, bulk buying is an art. It requires careful planning to achieve the best savings and lower risk for spoilage. When done right, this method of shopping can yield big returns on the investment of both time <em>and</em> money.</p> <h2>Bulk Benefits</h2> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/bulk-91253311-ggnoads.jpg" style="width: 605px; height: 303px;" /></p> <p>If you&#39;ve ever scanned the unit prices on your favorite grocery items, you&#39;ve likely noticed that those in larger packaging/quantity <em>typically</em> cost less per unit than their smaller counterparts. In much the same way, those items in the bulk bins &mdash; sans packaging &mdash; are even less expensive in comparison. If you cook or use certain items more often than not, it&#39;s in your best interest to buy and buy big to yield the biggest savings. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-delicious-and-dollar-wise-winter-staples?ref=seealso">15 Dollar-Wise Winter Staples</a>)</p> <p>Here are a few more benefits:</p> <ul> <li>Less packaging means less waste and is, therefore, a smarter environmental choice.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Buying more at once saves on time and also gas and other related expenses.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Without conforming to pre-measured, packaged amounts of food, you are free to choose how much you need for yourself or your family. This scalability is smart for a number of reasons.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Bulk buying also leads to healthier food choices. Many ingredients in those bins are whole foods, which are fantastic choices nutritionally.</li> </ul> <h2>What and Where to Buy</h2> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/bulk-177276037-ggnoads.jpg" style="width: 605px; height: 303px;" /></p> <p>Bulk foods and other goods can be found at your local grocery store, health specialty shops/cooperatives, online, and through bulk buying clubs (not to be confused with big box buying stores). If you haven&#39;t ventured into the bulk section in your store before, it&#39;s well worth a jaunt to see what&#39;s in all those tubs. Many of your favorite basic ingredients are well represented here. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-frugal-items-for-your-organic-vegan-grocery-list?ref=seealso">25 Frugal Items for Your Organic Grocery List</a>)</p> <h3>Pantry Items</h3> <ul> <li>Rice: white, brown, and just about every other variety</li> <li>Lentils</li> <li>Quinoa</li> <li>Oats: instant, rolled, steel-cut</li> <li>Nuts: cashews, almonds, walnuts, peanuts, etc.</li> <li>Nut butters</li> <li>Spices: from cinnamon to curry, nutmeg to smoked paprika</li> <li>Pasta, including couscous</li> <li>Dried fruits: apples, papayas, banana chips, dates, raisins, etc.</li> <li>Dried mushrooms</li> <li>Dried seaweed</li> <li>Sugars: white, brown, coconut, etc.</li> <li>Flours: white, wheat, rye, gluten-free, etc.</li> <li>Seeds: pumpkin, sunflower, poppy, sesame, etc.</li> <li>Confectioneries: chocolate chips, among others</li> <li>Coffee and tea</li> <li>Cereal</li> <li>Maple syrup</li> <li>Oils: olive, canola, vegetable, sesame</li> <li>Vinegar: apple cider, white, etc.</li> <li>Honey</li> <li>Tomatoes: whole, diced, sauces, etc.</li> <li>Beans: kidney, black, chickpeas, etc.</li> <li>Soup stocks and broths</li> <li>Condiments: ketchup, mustard, hot sauce</li> </ul> <p>Note: You can also buy seasonable fruits and vegetables in bulk and then can, freeze, or otherwise preserve them for later consumption. Similarly, you can get great deals on frozen fruits and vegetables. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-use-frozen-mixed-vegetables?ref=seealso">25 Ways to Use Frozen Vegetables</a>)</p> <h3>Non-Food Items</h3> <ul> <li>Aluminum foil</li> <li>Plastic wrap</li> <li>Sandwich bags</li> <li>Shampoo and conditioner</li> <li>Soaps, toothpaste, mouthwash, deodorant</li> <li>Laundry detergent</li> <li>Toilet paper</li> <li>Paper towels</li> <li>Batteries</li> </ul> <p>...basically anything and everything you use on a daily basis that is either shelf stable (or lends well to preserving) can be purchased in bulk. We&#39;d love to hear what types of items you stock on a regular basis, so be sure to leave a comment below!</p> <p>Oh, and beware of big box stores, which are popular spots to find many of these items &mdash; they typically involve more packaging. As well, I did an informal price survey at my local joint, and I wasn&#39;t impressed with my findings. And if you haven&#39;t heard of those bulk buying clubs I mentioned above, ask around your local farmers market &mdash; or <a href="http://www.smallfootprintfamily.com/how-to-start-a-food-buying-club">start one</a> of your own.</p> <h2>How to Store</h2> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/bulk-97496270-ggnoads.jpg" style="width: 605px; height: 303px;" /></p> <p>If you live in a tiny apartment or are otherwise short on space, you might be wondering about how to house all these items. I live in a modest home and we&#39;ve found a few creative solutions, including setting up a special pantry shelf in our basement, storing smaller quantities in clear Ball jars on some open kitchen shelving, and stocking frozen items in an upright freezer. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-freezers?ref=seealso">5 Best Freezers</a>)</p> <h3>Containers</h3> <p>Place items in safe containers. If you order items online or buy them at the store and they come in paper bags, consider switching over to either plastic or glass storage. This will eliminate the chance that the bag could tear or be tampered with (cats, dogs, mice, the neighbor kids). (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-places-to-find-free-or-cheap-mason-jars?ref=seealso">Where to Find Free or Cheap Mason Jars</a>)</p> <ul> <li>Utilize all the options for sound storage. Containers come in all shapes and sizes, but be sure that whatever you use is airtight and uncompromised. The key with storing bulk foods is keeping them as fresh as possible. Protect your investment.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Look beyond your favorite retailers for deals on storage containers. You can find great deals at discount dollar stores, online, or even at garage sales.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Use a funnel to swiftly and cleanly transfer goods from larger to smaller containers.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Use old measuring cups and spoons (tablespoons are particularly handy!) as scoops.</li> </ul> <h3>Space</h3> <p>Consider installing a dedicated shelving unit in your kitchen or another room in your house specifically for housing bulk food items. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-ways-to-live-large-in-a-small-space?ref=seealso">How to Live Large in a Small Space</a>)</p> <ul> <li>Designate one of the kitchen cupboards the &quot;bulk cupboard&quot; and store all your goods in there. Alternatively, create open shelving for storage of clear containers for an easy, grab-n-go experience.</li> <li>Use unique spaces, like under the bed or in the hallway closet, as creative storage when in a pinch. You can even create a <a href="http://www.finewoodworking.com/item/29345/stair-pantry">stairway pantry</a> with all that unused wall space!</li> <li>Find new uses for old items, like over-the-door shelving for shoes. If it holds stuff, it might be just what you need to organize your bulk empire.</li> <li>If you&#39;re lucky enough to have a pantry, clear it out and organize with bulk in mind. Containers should be in clear view, easy to reach, and out of harm&#39;s way (off the floor, away from where pets and toddlers can reach, etc.).</li> </ul> <h2>Other Bulky Considerations</h2> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/bulk-179221888-ggnoads.jpg" style="width: 605px; height: 303px;" /></p> <p>Now that you&#39;ve got the basics, here a few more tips to make it all go a little smoother.</p> <h3>Make a Plan (and Stick to It!)</h3> <p>It can be tempting to go overboard when presented with seemingly endless bulk buying options. Keep in mind that the only way you save is if you actually use up what you&#39;ve bought or it doesn&#39;t go to waste do to spoilage. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-recipe-substitutions-that-save-money-and-prevent-food-waste?ref=seealso">Recipe Substitutions That Prevent Food Waste</a>)</p> <h3>Bring Your Own (Reusable) Containers for Shopping</h3> <p>Many establishments charge for bulk jars (not so much bags). And while you&#39;re at it, be sure to mark the tare weight (that&#39;s the weight of the container) on your containers, so you&#39;re all set with that information come weigh-time.</p> <h3>Freeze It</h3> <p>To eliminate any possible pests, it&#39;s a good practice to freeze foods (especially grains, beans) for a day or two. I don&#39;t always follow this rule myself, but someone told me it keeps foods fresher, longer.</p> <h3>Mark Ingredients With Name and Date</h3> <p>All those grains can get confusing without packaging. Be sure to use a permanent marker and some labels/masking tape to stay organized and fresh.</p> <h3>Write Up Cooking Instructions and Stow in the Container</h3> <p>Along these same lines, you will likely forget how to cook black rice versus Israeli couscous &mdash; we write instructions on note cards stored in plastic baggies and toss them in with the ingredients for easy reference.</p> <h3>Create a Master List</h3> <p>A danger in buying a lot of something is forgetting you have it. To avoid spoilage or duplicate purchases a simple inventory list can be a lifesaver.</p> <h3>Plan Meals and Cook In</h3> <p>When buying in bulk, it&#39;s important to dedicate a certain amount of time into figuring out which recipes/meals they will eventually turn into. With so much fresh, healthy food on hand, you might want to cook more often rather than going out, further escalating the potential savings. All it takes is a little foresight (and a few good cookbooks). (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-eat-every-day-a-month-of-frugal-meals?ref=seealso">A Month of Frugal Meals</a>)</p> <h3>Evaluate and Tweak as Necessary</h3> <p>It&#39;s good to keep those receipts and track your investment wisely. What items did you use up quickly? What ones did you forget? Were any ingredients unusually costly? Is there another place you might want to check out? Continually refining your process will help it work better each shopping trip.</p> <p><em>Are you a bulk buyer? What works for you?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/bulk-buying-basics-what-to-buy-how-to-store-and-money-saving-tips">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/10-things-you-didnt-know-you-could-buy-in-bulk">10 Things You Didn&#039;t Know You Could Buy in Bulk</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/11-dollar-store-buys-that-are-almost-too-good-to-believe">11 Dollar Store Buys That Are Almost Too Good to Believe</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-9-easiest-food-budget-wins">The 9 Easiest Food Budget Wins</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-get-even-more-freebies-in-exchange-for-a-review">How to Get Even More Freebies in Exchange for a Review</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-10-best-couponing-apps">The 10 Best Couponing Apps</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Organization Shopping Bulk buying discounts meal planning Mon, 30 Dec 2013 19:47:23 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1285 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: How to Meal Plan and Save Cash http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-how-to-meal-plan-and-save-cash <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-how-to-meal-plan-and-save-cash" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/cooking-5296837-small.jpg" alt="cooking" title="cooking" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread&#39;s <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some stellar articles on how to meal plan and save, money-saving tips for the holidays, and Christmas gifts you can&#39;t buy at the mall.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://www.getrichslowly.org/blog/2013/12/02/how-to-meal-plan-and-save-some-cash/">How to meal plan and save some cash</a> &mdash; When planning your meals on your own, set aside a certain time each week to plan your menu. [Get Rich Slowly]</p> <p><a href="http://www.fivecentnickel.com/2013/12/02/money-saving-tips-for-the-holidays/">Money-saving tips for the holidays</a> &mdash; Comparison shopping and buying in bulk can help you save during the holidays. [Five Cent Nickel]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/27-creative-christmas-gifts-you-cant-buy-at-the-mall">27 Creative Christmas Gifts You Can&#39;t Buy at the Mall</a> &mdash; This holiday season, consider giving homemade treats or a handwritten recipe book. [Parenting Squad]</p> <p><a href="http://www.threethriftyguys.com/2013/12/reasons-why-now-is-the-time-to-shop-the-thrift-stores/">Reasons Why Now is the Time to Shop the Thrift Stores</a> &mdash; Now is a great time to shop at thrift stores because the holidays are a prime time for people to donate their unused or old items. [Three Thrifty Guys]</p> <p><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Holiday-Finance-Career-Tips-6421346">7 Savvy Tasks to Do in December</a> &mdash; In December, take the time to plan for upcoming expenses. [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://www.moneysavingenthusiast.com/2013/12/02/holiday-gift-ideas/">5 Holiday Gift Ideas for Those Who Are Hard to Shop For</a> &mdash; Not sure what to get a certain person in your life for the holidays? Try giving them the gift of learning a new language! [Money Saving Enthusiast]</p> <p><a href="http://lenpenzo.com/blog/id23147-what-everyone-should-know-before-depositing-money-in-a-bank.html">What Everyone Should Know Before Depositing Their Money In a Bank</a> &mdash; Before you deposit your money in a bank, keep in mind that banks aren&#39;t liable for any deposits that aren&#39;t reimbursed by the FDIC. [Len Penzo dot Com]</p> <p><a href="http://www.freemoneyfinance.com/2013/12/financials-of-real-estate-investment-2.html">Financials of Real Estate Investment #2</a> &mdash; When investing in real estate, be prepared for future expenses and immediate change expenses. [Free Money Finance]</p> <p><a href="http://www.dailyworth.com/posts/2277-how-to-stay-safe-traveling">How to Stay Safe Traveling</a> &mdash; To stay safe while traveling, pick up a pay-as-you-go mobile hotspot. [Daily Worth]</p> <p><a href="https://www.mint.com/blog/housing/3-home-heating-mistakes-that-can-cost-you-a-fortune-1213/">3 Home Heating Mistakes That Can Cost You a Fortune</a> &mdash; Did you know that keeping your room warm at night may not just cost you more money but it may cause you to have trouble sleeping? [MintLife Blog]</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-jacobs">Ashley Jacobs</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-how-to-meal-plan-and-save-cash">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/how-to-eat-well-on-just-20-a-week-with-meal-plans">How to Eat Well on Just $20 a Week (With Meal Plans!)</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-money-saving-hacks-for-those-who-hate-cooking">8 Money-Saving Hacks for Those Who Hate Cooking</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-money-and-eat-better-with-these-6-online-meal-planners">Save Money and Eat Better With These 6 Online Meal Planners</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-9-easiest-food-budget-wins">The 9 Easiest Food Budget Wins</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/16-simple-kitchen-skills-every-frugal-person-should-master">16 Simple Kitchen Skills Every Frugal Person Should Master</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink best money tips meal plan meal planning saving Fri, 06 Dec 2013 10:48:07 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 1098945 at http://www.wisebread.com