Tip #1: If you don’t already have one, INVEST in a freezer.
This will save you so much money in the long term. I will allow you to buy more in bulk, which is always cheaper and you will always have a great selection of food ready to thaw and cook. It also allows you to freeze more leftovers, which become ready made meals for the microwave. When freezing, make sure you label your food and date it. Most food isn’t very good after about six months in the freezer, unless it is vacuum packed. I do have an old vacuum sealer, but I really don’t like it as it doesn’t work very well. The newer models are worth the investment, I just haven’t done it yet. I use ziplock freezer bags (which I also buy in bulk at SAMS) and push out as much air as possible. I also use freezer containers for liquid based food, like speghetti sauce, soups and beans, which I cook in bulk and freeze for future use. I typically reuse plastic containers and tubs from other products. This saves as I put less plastic into the landfills and continue to reuse the containers over and over. Be careful when reheating in the microwave, some of these containers are not microwave safe and will melt.
It is a good idea to freeze as single servings or servings for two. That way you won’t have to cook more than you need for any given meal.
We buy many items in bulk, which saves a bunch of money. Here are some examples of money savings when you buy in bulk.
SAVE MONEY and cut your own roasts, steaks and grind your own burger!
Do you like beef? Does the processed hamburger you buy scare you? I buy whole sirloin tips and make my own roast, sirloin burger and fajitas meat. I just purchased a whole sirloin tip (approximately 13 pounds) at SAMS Club for $23.97. They are vacuum packed and boneless. I learned how to carve it on line (check this website and PDF File for specific instructions on how to identify the different parts of the sirloin and how to cut it).
Things you will want to have on hand are:
- A very sharp knife
- Meat Grinder (I have two, one was FREE from a neighbor and one is an attachment for a Sunbeam Mixmaster that my hubby got on ebay for $10)
- Bowls for burger
- A Large Cutting Board
- Platter to hold large cuts
- Freezer Bags (Gallon and Quart)
- Food Safe Gloves
- Oilive Oil to add to burger
- A sharpie to mark the freezer bags
First I separate the three different portions of the tip according to the instructions and PDF shown above. Remove as much fat as possible from the three pieces and remove all sinew, silver skin as possible. DO NOT DISCARD THIS…put it in a large stock pot and I’ll explain later what to do with it. The PDF above will also tell you what cuts of meat you can get from each portion of the tip (top, side and bottom).
When making sirloin burger, I the vegetable disk first and then run it through a second time with the meat disk. I found using the meat disk first causes it to jam up due to the fat and muscle building up behind the disk.
Also make sure you have a very sharp knife. It is time consuming…mostly removing the silver skin and sinew, it takes me about three hours, but it is well worth it. It takes less time each time I do it as I get better at separating and cutting. I got the following cuts from the whole tip.
- Two small sirloin steaks (5-6 oz)
- Two Medium Sirloin Steaks (10-12 oz)
- Two good sized sirloin roasts (about 3 lbs each) (you can either oven roast them or pot roast them)
- Two pounds sirloin burger
- One pound of Fajita Meat
I add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the burger before freezing to add some moisture so when cooked it doesn’t become dry. You can also skip a pound of burger or the fajita meat and cut cubes for kabobs or beef stew.
Once you are finished, take all the fat and pieces you put in the stock pot and make Homemade Dog Food Additive (click for instructions)
I buy a 25 pound bag of flour at SAMS for $7.17. (That is 28.7 cents per pound)
The last 5 pound bag of flour I bought was $3.49. (That is 69.8 cents per pound)
That is a savings of 41.1 cents per pound!
For 25 pounds you SAVE $10.28!
I use ziplock gallon size freezer bags to store my flour. I double bag it to prevent those pesky mealy bugs from getting into it. I use quite a bit of flour as I make my own bread. When I open the last ziplock bag, flour goes on the shopping list for the next trip to SAMS.
Boneless Chicken Breasts
I buy a large package of boneless chicken breasts. The last one was $12.47 and there were 8 breasts in the package. The breasts are fairly large and one breast is a meal for both myself and my husband. I used the smaller breasts for chicken nuggets and strips. I freeze them in separate ziplock bags so I can take out 1 or several for a dinner if we have guests. A few weeks ago my husband went to the local grocery store to buy two breasts as we wanted to make nuggets and had run out of chicken in the freezer. Two breasts were $8.00! That was $4.00 each! Needless to say, we did not have chicken that night. Our eight breasts at SAMS were $1.56 each.
That is a savings of $2.44 per breast!
For eight breasts that is a savings of $19.52!
You can save about the same by buying center cut pork chops in bulk. Typically 9-12 pork chops will be about the same price as 4 chops at the local grocery.
If storage is a problem for your bulk purchases, try concerting a closet to a pantry. We had a closet in our hall that was never used except to store junk. We cleaned it out, added shelves and now we have a large pantry. Since our hall is right off the kitchen, it is only a few steps to the pantry for any canned or dry goods we need. You can also build or purchase a large pantry cabinet and find a spot for it. The pantry will pay for itself in no time at all with the savings you will get from buying in bulk.