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cooking on the cheap | 1 2 3 4
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When you’re stocking up on meat and poultry, buy the big family-size packs, which are a far better deal per unit weight – as soon as you get home, divide up the meat into single portion size servings and freeze them in individual freezer-friendly ziplocks. Also, supermarkets will frequently mark down meat items for quick reduction when the sell-by date is fast approaching – these meats are still perfectly fine (otherwise, they wouldn’t be able to sell them, obviously) and are often way cheaper per unit weight than even the family-size packs.

Perishable items that you’d normally only buy as needed can also be purchased in bulk and frozen. Strawberries, during strawberry season, are way cheaper by the flat than by the pint, right? Even though you won’t be able to eat them all right away, buy a heap and freeze whatever you can’t eat – they can then be popped as is into smoothies, or thawed and used in recipes.

4 Go generic. Many times, those supermarket brand knock-offs of your favorite brand-name products are just as tasty as the expensive original. Forget about brand snobbery – it’s a good idea to at least give the no-name version a shot. If it’s no good, by all means return to buying the brand-name product – I’m a big believer in buying food you really, truly like to eat, even if it’s a little pricier than similar, but lesser, alternatives. But nine times out of time, you’ll probably find the cheapie brand serves you just fine. You’ll never know whether you’re throwing your money away unnecessarily till you give the no-name versions a taste test.

5 Buy in season. There’s a lot to be said for buying fresh produce in season – it’s easy to find at the supermarket, its flavor is at its peak, and best of all for the budget gourmet, its very, very affordable. Two weeks ago I spied avocados on sale at my local farmer’s market at the bargain rate of 5 for $1. Compare that to the $0.89 per avocado that those yummilicious fruits generally demand, and there’s no question that now’s the time to be making guacamole. Farmer’s markets are an especially good place to score good deals on beautiful, delicious (and frequently organic) fresh produce in season.


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