Instead of “what do I want for dinner?” don’t you mean, “what’s on sale?” I buy food based on sales, not what I feel like eating. Now, there are certain staples like bread, milk, lettuce, and tomatoes that I buy on a regular basis, regardless of price. Fortunately, my bread is only $0.89, and it’s good for twenty lunches. A gallon of milk usually lasts over a month, and it ranges between $0.99 and $2.59, depending on the sale. I freeze it in small containers to use a little at a time so it doesn’t expire. The other staples also have nice prices.
Every week, before I go to the grocery store (or stores), I look at the circulars to see what’s on sale and what coupons are available. For two stores, I also look at the digital coupons and download some to my shopper’s cards. I especially love combining sales with coupons. I make my grocery list based on prices, and I stick to the list.
It’s okay when there’s nothing on sale that I want because I have items stocked up in my house. When something is the right price, I buy it in bulk. Both my pantry and freezer have multiples of the same products. I have a variety of meals and snacks available at all times. I look in my pantry or imagine what’s in my freezer, and then I see what I feel like eating based on what I already have in stock. One of my staples (peanut butter) goes on sale or has coupons only a few times a year, and I buy it in bulk too. So far, it hasn’t expired since I eat it at lunch every day.
Sometimes, I’m just missing one thing to complete a meal. When sour cream is on sale or I have a coupon, that means I’m eating taco soup for the week. I already have the rest of the ingredients in my pantry. In fact, that’s what I’ve been eating this week. Yum!
So, the next time something you like is on sale or you have a coupon, think about how many you can buy without worrying if they will expire. Obviously, canned goods (including my chicken) last in the pantry for a long time. Snacks and rice/pasta sides (that I sometimes turn into main dishes by adding a protein) also last a long time in the pantry. I have frozen bacon, sausage, beef, and fish. When I know I’m cooking bacon, sausage, or beef, I’ll place it in the fridge in the morning to let it thaw during the day. When ground beef is the right price, I’ll buy several pounds. Then, I use several 1-pound containers to freeze it since most of my recipes call for only one pound. I also make several quarter-pound patties and individually wrap them in plastic wrap.
Is there something in your pantry or freezer that you want for dinner?
Happy deal shopping!
Updates: I switched to store brand peanut butter at my favorite grocery store (which mostly only carries its own brand), and the other stores stopped having good sales on brand name peanut butter. I stopped making taco soup because it was too expensive compared to my other meals. I stopped buying ground beef because it became too expensive, and it was too time consuming to cook. I also stopped buying frozen fish due to price.