Getting your money's worth

Yield: 1 servings

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HOMEMADE FROZEN MEALS - By making your own frozen food you can save time and money. When you have time, prepare extra food and freeze in portion sizes you'll need later. Pancakes, waffles, diner rolls, plate dinners, chicken pie, spaghetti sauce, and lasagna are examples of some of the convenience foods you can make yourself.

FOOD ADS AND COUPONS - Advertised specials may not be good buys compared to other food you might buy. Collect and use coupons for foods you usually purchase, and are good buys compared to other brands of food. But beware: Specials and coupon offers invite you to buy on impulse, and impulse buying can upset your budget.

COMPLETE SHOPPING LISTS - Most people write partial shopping lists and then seek inspiration as they amble through the aisles. Although this is a perfectly fine way to shop, it tends to divert one from proper planning. A complete shopping list, based on planned menus and including all the foods you need, will limit impulse buying and keep trips to the store to a minimum.

WAREHOUSE STORES - No frills stores and large supermarkets generally offer better prices. Try to go when the store is not too busy so you do not feel rushed and can shop carefully.

UNIT PRICING - Large container or small - which one? Food in large containers usually costs less than food in smaller containers, but not always. Check it out yourself by comparing unit prices that are displayed in supermarkets.

GENERIC PRODUCTS - Foods with no brand names or advertising may not be as attractive, but they are just as nutritious as brand name fods, and they are usually less expensive. Some of the generic products available include canned fruits and vegetables, breakfast cereals, pasta, rice, and peanut butter. FATS, SWEETS, AND ALCOHOL - Not. Fats, sweets, and alcohol account for 20 cents of every food dollar spent in the United States, but offer an infinitesimal amount of nutritional value. this group of foods is a good place to start cutting food dollars for the budget, and health-conscious family. They are also a good place to cut calories. Foods such as candies, soft drinks, and alcoholic beverages are not intergral parts of a healthy diet and should be eliminated from most people's diets - or at least consumed with moderation.

Money spent for diet soft drinks, coffee, and tea provides almost no nutritional return, even in calories.

FOOD RECYCLING - Soups, omelets, and casseroles are wonderful ways to recycle leftovers. Think about ways to reuse your food. One pound of left over meat bones and trimmings - which you can freeze - combined with one quart of water with chopped onions, carrots, celery, and seasoning can be simmered into an interesting soup. You can even add vegetable skins.

WASTER REDUCTION - Millions of dollars of once edible food is thrown away each day. By carefully planning what you buy and thinking about how you prepare, use and serve the food, you can save a lot of money.

By avoiding buying too much perishable food and preparing meals that can be used as leftovers, you can save on your food budget. SPICY TIP ~ You can save more that 50 percent of your costs on store herbs and spices if you buy them in bulk and store them in your own containers.

Origin: Household Hints + Formulas, by Erik Bruun Shared by: Sharon Stevens, Aug/95.

Submitted By SHARON STEVENS On 09-20-95

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