While many of you already may know about this resource, I wanted to remind you that it’s here whenever you need it – you’ll find a permanent link in the sidebar!
I’m often asked for the best way to save money on produce and meat each week. One way to save consistently is pretty simple – STICK TO THE SALES. Not just any sales, of course, but the best “loss leader” prices on fresh foods (loss leaders are those front-page items advertised to lead you into the store).
When I find boneless, skinless chicken breast for $1.49-$1.69 per pound, I buy 10 or 20 pounds, portion and prepare it for meals, and freeze for future use. When lean ground beef is $1.99 per pound, we buy 10 pounds, mix burgers and meatballs and freeze. If you’re not excited about buying larger amounts and freezing them, don’t worry. Simply sit down at the beginning of the week and take a look at the best prices around town – then plan your weekly menu around those items.
By purchasing when prices are lowest, you’re saving the most you possibly can on these items. If you can plan your meals around the best sales at your store (or stores), you’ll avoid a last-minute trip for dinner ingredients (as well as the extra expense).
When you focus on sale fruits and vegetables, you can dig your family back out of the produce routine you may have unknowingly fallen into. Heather commented, “After a few weeks I noticed that I was coming home with a much bigger variety of fresh fruits & vegetables. By checking the sale list, I realized we could have fresh kiwi or kale for the same price as the boring apples & baby carrots I previously kept bringing home.”
How do you know a “best price” when you see one?
Based on an excellent suggestion by Amy on the Facebook Fan Page, you’ll now find a working list of best prices for meats and produce in the metro Detroit area. It’s titled the “Metro Detroit Fresh Food Price Chart” (and it hangs out under “Helpful Info” in the right sidebar of the blog). I’ve included basic items that are usually advertised on sale and listed 3 prices for each – an average regular price, an average sale price and a BEST PRICE (which I’ve tracked with the store name and date of the most recent lowest price – you’ll notice that produce is always priced lowest when it’s in-season). While this list is nothing fancy, it should help you to recognize a good price when you see one!
How can you stretch savings when you find a great sale price?
- Shop early and late in the week. If you buy perishable fruits and vegetables during the first day or two of the sale, then again at the end of the sale, you’ll be able to use that produce for your family for almost 2 weeks!
- Wash, chop and freeze. Berries can be frozen on a tray, then packaged in containers or plastic bags. Vegetables like celery, peppers and onions can be chopped and frozen for later use in soups and casseroles.
- Plan your menu with sale prices in mind. Consider using a free website like Supercook to assist you – type in the ingredients you have (and those on sale) and view recipes for meals you can make easily!
I hope that the Fresh Food Price Chart is a helpful tool for you – and I’m eager to hear if you’ve been using it!