Welcome to a Week in the Life. Each week or so I will be sharing a round-up of all the different ways I saved our family money or time. Or both. The purpose of this series is to highlight the fact that there are SO many different methods you can use to lower your overall budget that don’t involve mad-crazy coupon shopping.
Jumping on a discount coupon
Winco Foods released a high value $10 off $50 purchase coupon last week with a super short expiration date. We didn’t NEED much, but with the holidays coming up, I knew I could pick up some stuff for the coming months and easily spend $50. Winco has unbelievably low prices anyway, so adding $10 off on top of that saved me a ton of money.
I tried to pick up items that won’t spoil too soon so we can stretch our pantry dollars a little further this fall and winter. I picked up canned pumpkin, several hot sauces that my husband likes, boxed tea, mustard, several pounds of squash that will last awhile and more. I ended up spending just $41 after the coupon on items I would have purchased anyway!
Buying in bulk
Again at Winco Foods. They have an AMAZING bulk foods section that I frequent on every trip. Their prices are hard to beat and they have a huge selection including raw nuts, dried fruit, flours, baking supplies, seeds, rice, beans and much more.
Even if an item isn’t necessarily cheaper in the bulk bin, I often save money by buying just the amount I need of a certain item for a recipe. For example, I needed a very small amount of white chocolate chips for some truffles I was making so I decided to pick them up in bulk. The price per ounce wasn’t necessarily cheaper, but this prevented me from having a bag of chips sitting in the pantry that I won’t use and would probably just end up eating in a weak moment.
Some of my favorite items to pick up are their organic coconut flour, tapioca flour, spices (they have TONS), dates and dried fruit for Larabars, raw nuts, sunflower seeds and even pig ears for our dog.
If you are wondering how their prices compare, check out my Pantry/Household Stock-Up Price List. I compare several of Winco’s bulk prices to Costco’s prices per ounce/pound.
Buying in Bulk: Part 2
There’s buying from the bulk bins and there’s buying in bulk quantities. When there is a great sale on meat at the grocery store or Zaycon Foods rolls into town with giant boxes of boneless chicken breasts or bacon, we jump. I try really hard not to buy on a whim when I’m at the store. I know what good stock-up prices are, but I often get tempted by a more expensive cut of meat.
Knowing that I have a freezer full of meat at home prevents me from spending unnecessary money at the store and helps keep our meal planning on track. We also rarely pick up take-out because there is always something quick to prepare at home. Although sometimes, I realllllllllllly want to.
Homemade chicken stock
I picked up several whole fryer chickens for a screaming deal at a recent grand opening sale at Yoke’s Fresh Markets in our area. I roasted two of the chickens following this Simple Roast Chicken method and then threw the bones, fat and innards into the crock pot. Loosely following Ina Garten’s homemade stock recipe, I throw in random vegetables and spices that I have on hand, cover with water and set to low for 8-10 hours.
Once the stock is done, I remove all the solids and let it cool. I then scoop the fat off the top and freeze in individual containers. I promise you, there is absolutely no canned or boxed broth or stock that can compare to homemade. Using this in soups as a base makes a world of difference.
For about $8, we had enough delicious chicken for dinner and lunch the next day, plus about 5-6 cups of stock. So thrifty!
What is your favorite item to pick up in the bulk foods section and at what store?
Are you a bulk meat buyer or do you buy what sounds good that week?
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