Thursday, May 8, 2014

Two Things You Should Know About

It's Thursday, which is both shopping and cooking day in my house.  My morning shopping trip reminded me of two things that everyone on a limited shopping budget should know about: buying from bulk bins and price matching.

My day started with a trip to Whole Foods.  Wait, What??? Yes, indeed, there is another reason to visit Whole Foods. Buying in bulk. Now I don't mean buying huge quantities of things so that your pantry is stocked. I'm talking about being able to buy exactly the amount you need for a recipe from a bulk bin.

 Here's how it works. You decide to make couscous salad this week, but the grocery only stocks mixes or big 2lb bags of the stuff. 

You don't want a mix with lots of added salt and ingredients you can't pronounce, but you also don't want to spend $7.00 on a 2lb bag. Your recipe calls for two cups of couscous. Two cups of Israeli couscous is about 1/2lb. I know because I took my plastic measuring cup to Whole Foods with me--PRETTY PLEASE DON'T PUT YOUR MEASURING CUP IN THE BINS! (Cross contamination is BAD!) Use their plastic scoop to fill your measuring cup and then dump it into the plastic bag. Instead of forking over $7.00 for something I may not use again for weeks, I paid $1.92. There are tons of things you can buy this way: rice, flour, sugar, beans, lentils, dried fruit and nuts. I personally think that the dried fruits and nuts are over priced, but the other things can save you a ton of money! I also purchased sesame seeds to make tahini. Sesame seeds at the grocery come in tiny spice jars for about $3.99 each. I bought about 3T and spent a mere $.39.

Just so you know, my attempt at tahini was a total failure before I even started. I attempted to toast the sesame seeds. You can't forget about them for even fifteen seconds. Yum, burnt popcorn smell all over my apartment. I just made hummus sans tahini.

Next thing you should know about is price matching. The weekly grocery ads usually come out on Thursday and I look through them mostly for buy one get one free deals. I actually use both the Publix and Winn Dixie Apps on my iPhone. Then I look at my shopping list and see how I can adjust it to use some of the deals. Then I take myself to Walmart and pick up all of the Publix and Winn Dixie deals that I've worked into my meal planning. Walmart will match the advertised price of their competitors. You don't need to have the ad with you. You just need to let the cashier know that such and such items are on sale elsewhere. I always try to put the items at the end of my order so that I can just tell them that all of the items I have two of at the end are buy one get one.

This week I cashed in on baby carrots, cantaloupes, Lays potato chips, and Hormel Naturals sliced turkey breast. 

Sadly Wally World didn't have any quarts of strawberries--they only had the enormous containers. Strawberries are buy one get one at Winn Dixie. It's good for all of the other types of sales as well--but most of the time Walmart's prices are lower than the 2 for $5 or 2 for $7 deals at the regular grocery.

Quick and easy recipie: Homemade Hummus

1 can of chickpeas drained
1T lemon juice
olive oil
salt and peper
2 cloves of fresh garlic

In your blender combine chickpeas, garlic and lemon juice. Turn the blender on and slowly drizzle a combination of olive oil and water into the blender until you achieve a creamy consistency. You can use all olive oil or all water (don't do this unless you absolutely cannot spare the calories or the oil), but I like the way it comes out using a little of each! This recipe takes about 5 minutes and costs about $.75. A huge savings over $4 store bought hummus--and people will be impressed when you tell them you made it yourself!  

1 comment:

  1. love all this advice, heather! and thanks for the quick recipe! you are certainly a shopping guru!