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Stretching the Food Dollar

Stretching the Food Dollar

Making a dollar go far these days seems more like of a challenge than ever before, and it’s no different when it comes to getting affordable meals on the table.

Stretching the Food Dollar

Many of the quickest and simplest foods to cook, like steaks and chops, are often the most expensive, and convenience items like jarred sauces can quickly add up.  The good news is that a few simple strategies for smart shopping, storing and cooking can translate into big savings.

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It Pays to Plan

The most effective way to save money on meals is to plan ahead.  This allows you to buy in economical quantities and helps ensure the food you buy will get used and not wasted.  It can also save time in the kitchen.  One simple idea that saves time and money is to get a head start on weekday meals by making a large entrée or doubling a recipe on a Sunday night that can be used to create another dinner during the week.  Double a meat loaf recipe or many of the poultry recipes, and—depending on how many people you’re feeding—you’ll have two dinners squared away and/or a lunch or two to boot! 

Cooking with an eye on your wallet may mean limiting certain costly convenience products, but it doesn’t mean you can’t get dinner on the table fast.  In between, why not prepare your favorite restaurant dishes at home?  Recipes shrimp scampi and French dip sandwiches that can easily be created at home for a lot less than what they’d cost at a restaurant.

Shop Smart

Before you set out for the supermarket, take an inventory of what you have on hand so you don’t duplicate, especially if you’re shopping for perishables.  It’s easy to forget that fresh parsley that’s at the back of your crisper drawer, still perfectly usable.  Before you make a shopping list, plan your weekly meals.  Then make a detailed list that will meet the needs of your meal plans, and don’t’ forget to account for leftovers. 

Once at the store, stick to your list, avoiding impulse purchases that can really add up.  If you can, shop solo during off-peak hours and allow time to browse.  This will help you avoid the distractions that may prompt you to grab something off the shelf in order to get out fast, even if it wasn’t on your list.

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