Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Stocking up at Caselot sales

Many stores are in the middle of case lots sales or will be having them in the next few weeks. Caselots sales are a great time to stock your pantry. By keeping some basic ingredients on hand you can save money by reducing trips to the store. So before you toss in the kitchen towel and opt to go out to eat… learn to keep a well-stocked pantry.

It’s a good idea to have ingredients for some of your favorite family meals on hand at all time. This CREATES handout is a great help for knowing what foods are good to have on hand. It also has some quick meal ideas using those items.

Honestly you will know best what you need to keep on hand. Start by thinking about your favorite meals. Family favorites, quick meals you get the idea, stuff you make all the time. 

Some stores will have a list of items on sale you can use as a shopping list like this one from MACEY'S. Check with your favorite store during their caselot and see if they have one. 

Most stores will honor the same price for individual items. You don't have to buy a case. 

Are there ingredients that you find yourself purchasing every time you grocery shop? This would be a great starting point. Are those item pantry items or refrigerator items. Pantry items you can purchase in larger quantities and they will have a sustained shelf life. Refrigerator items like produce, milk or cheese still need to be purchased as they are used.

Staples consist of ingredients that are kept on hand usually inexpensive, basic and have a long shelf life. Things like…

Dry goods- flour, sugar, oats, rice, baking powder, baking soda, cornstarch, dry beans, lentils and pasta

Oils, vinegars and sauces -vegetable or canola oil, olive oil, Vinegars: apple cider, white and balsamic, sauces: honey, mustard, BBQ, mayonnaise, soy sauce, worcestershire sauce, ketchup

Herbs and spices: Here are some good basics, salt, pepper, basil, oregano, thyme, cumin, crushed red pepper, paprika, cinnamon, curry chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, and a good soup base or bullion

What shelf stable items do you use? For example in my home we use canned tomatoes in many varieties, diced, sauce, paste etc. Pasta of all kinds of shapes, spaghetti, elbow mac, penne, rotini, shells.

What vegetables do you like to have available? I keep a supply of green beans, sweet kernel corn, green chilies. I also keep a variety of canned beans available for soups, casseroles and sides. Beans are an inexpensive protein source and good to have available.

What about canned fruits? How about applesauce, peaches, pears, pineapple or mandarin oranges to toss into a delicious spinach salad? Canned fruits are good to have on hand, just make sure they are not packed in heavy syrup. This is usually a good time to purchase apple juice too.

Meats…. I don’t love canned meat, although it is good in a pinch. I do, however, like to purchase meat items on sale and keep them in my freezer. This can be done in a couple different ways. There are times I purchase larger quantities for less and repackage them into portions I would use for preparing a meal. I even vary the repackage size. For example, a smaller amount of chicken breast if I would only need it for making soup, or a larger package if I wanted to do a marinated grilled chicken on the BBQ where each person would have their own piece of chicken. Ground beef I repackage and label for different meals. Tacos I know I would need more than with pasta sauce and even more if I wanted to make a meatloaf. (Who can even afford meatloaf these days with beef at $4.00 a pound) ****As a side note, I add a can or two of black, pinto or small red beans to my taco meat to make it stretch.*****

Meats can also be cooked first and then packaged for meals. I will often cook 5-6 pounds of ground beef with onion and garlic and then keep it ready to use for a night when I don’t have much time to spend cooking. Slow cooking chicken in a crock pot and then shredding it and storing in 2 cup portions makes it ready for soups, skillets or casseroles.

Case lot sales can be a budget breaker if you were to purchase everything at once. They come around about every 6 months.  Plan to start collecting a little bit every six months. Little by little you will begin to stock the items you use the most. It will save you time and money. In classes I often  joke that I wish I had a  grocery store in my basement so that I always have what I neededm,It’s not a joke, I really do want that.

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