To see part 1 of this series, go here.

This week I implemented two important strategies to save money at the grocery store.  For one meal this week, I was planning on using the sloppy joes I had in the freezer that I made during freezer cooking two weeks ago.  I needed buns.  I was also planning to serve french fries and spinach.  I saved on this meal in two different ways.

1.)  Buy a multi-purpose food.  When I looked at the hamburger buns, they were all around $2.99 an 8 pack, which is much more than I was willing to spend.  However, English muffins were on sale for $1.49 for 6.  I bought those instead.  We toasted them up last night for dinner and used them as our buns for sloppy joes, and they were good.  Plus, the leftover English muffins can be used at breakfast.  (It would be cheaper still to make my own buns, but I haven’t found a recipe that doesn’t contain dairy.  If anyone knows of one, I would love for you to share it!)

Consider buying foods that serve multiple purposes.  Instead of buns, why not English muffins?  When looking for breakfast food, use oatmeal instead of cereal.  While cereal is generally used only in that form (with the exception of cereals like Rice Krispies and Chex), oatmeal can be used as oatmeal, or it can be used in muffins, cookies, granola bars, etc.  This ingredient stretches much further than cereals, and it usually carries a lower price tag.

2.)  Make your own.   A bag of frozen fries runs about $2.50 if I can find it on sale.  I managed to find a 5 lb. bag of potatoes on sale for .99, so I made my own fries.  I already shared this on Facebook, but for those of you who missed it, this is how I make them:  I take 4 of the potatoes, scrub them and slice them in sticks.  Then, I drizzle them with vegetable oil and sprinkle them with seasoning.  I generally use garlic or onion powder and Italian seasoning.  Mix all the ingredients (I do it right on the baking sheet), arrange in a single layer and bake at 450 for 18-20 minutes. 

Making my own french fries doesn’t take that much more time then dumping them out of a bag.  However, because I know there will sometimes be those kind of nights, I made up a huge batch of these fries and packed them in separate bags in the freezer.  For my meal, all I had to do is dump them onto the pan and reheat them.  The substantial cost savings (not to mention nutritional value) was worth the extra bit of time I had to spend.

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