Everyone likes to save money, but a bit of planning ahead can save you dollars and time at the supermarket. Follow these simple suggestions from Sarah Kallio and Stacey Krastins, authors of Stocked Kitchen: One Grocery List…Endless Recipes and never toss away unused food again.
—Always check for sales, but especially on the more expensive items. Whether we are out or not, we always check to see if frozen shrimp, canned lump crabmeat, and the other items on the list are on sale. We bring them home and, when appropriate, put them right in the freezer.
—If possible, buy canned goods by the case. They stay good, almost, forever. If you have the room to store them, it’s much more economical to buy them in bulk. We love our warehouse retail chains for this!
—We recommend buying ingredients in the sizes suggested on the list. We have paid close attention, making sure sizes are usable and the least wasteful. We’ve erred on the side of opening more cans rather than having half of the cans’ contents go to waste.
—You don’t always have to keep every item on the list in stock. For instance, vanilla ice cream is used only for dessert recipes. If you are not a dessert person, you don’t always need to have this on hand. Obviously, Gorgonzola, blue, and feta cheeses have unique flavors that may not be your cup of tea. If this is the case, don’t buy them. Although other cheeses will certainly change the tasteof your recipes (isn’t that the point?), equal amounts of Parmesan or mozzarella can be generally substituted.
—Fresh basil, green onions, and the cabbage and carrot mix are probably the most perishable items when it comes to staying fresh. Basil is an excellent herb to keep growing in your kitchen, allowing you the best opportunity to always have it available. Oftentimes your grocer will have fresh basil plants for sale. For all of these items, however, if you find that you are not using them enough, buy them only every other or every third grocery store trip.
—Spices are best if used within a year. When we purchase them, we use a permanent marker and write the date on them. Because we’ve limited the number of spices you need, it is a lot easier to use them up within the year! Also, we purchase chili powder, dried minced onion, cinnamon, Italian seasoning, herbes de Provence, and cumin in large containers to save money. We use them in so many of our recipes that we find ourselves able to use them up.