Okay, these slots are going to be tips and advice on saving money. Usually I'll just share something that I've come across in my life...Pretty simple right?
Biggest money saving tip? MEAL PLAN! You'll see me do a lot of this on the blog. It's so easy!
Step One Inventory all food that isn't strictly storage. Make a list of all meats (especially meats), fruits/vegetables (canned, fresh, frozen), and other items (pasta, rice, etc...) Got it? Move on to step two.
Step Two Pull out the sales papers. Find the best sales in your area. For us (a military family) that means weighing prices against the commissary. For you, this may mean paying attention at all sorts of different stores. Okay, part two of this step? Make a list of the BEST deals. Occasionally our HEB will have chicken breasts at $1 for a pound. Only mark the great deals. If you pause and think, "Well...it's okay..." Don't mark it! Alright, still with me?
Step Three Grab a calendar. Make sure you have one with plenty of room to write. Personally, I love the Meal Planner from Springpad.
Step Four Start planning! I try to stagger my meats. (pork, chicken, beef) And I try not to use the same meal in back to back weeks. Start by listing out possible meals and crossing off items as you "use" them. Get creative! I love to use AllRecipes and Supercook for this part. Some of the best meals have come from my grabbing a recipe and saying "lets try THIS." If you have cookbooks you should pull those out as well. Once you have it all listed out start dropping it into days. This is where Springpad comes in handy. It will save your recipes as you list them so that next time you just have to go "I need a pork recipe....oh, we liked that one" and drop it in the day.
And you're done! Now, you can buy meat in advance, freeze it, and pull it out as needed. I try to pull something out to thaw the day before it's on the menu. Also, it's easy to see what you need to grab for "quick shopping" during the week because it's all listed out for you. This keeps you from going to the store with a half list in mind and forgetting something...leadin to the inevitable return trip where you'll probably grab something you "want" in addition to the list.