THUNDER BAY – Do you ever have too much month left at the end of the money? It is something that does not happen for too many people. Getting to a stage where you have money left at the end of the month takes both planning and discipline.
First, it takes planning your spending to live within your means. Then it takes the discipline to make sure you are not wasting money on things you may not really need.
That twice a day trip to get your double-double – Simple and easy! It is also $28 a week, which works out to a whopping $1,400 plus per year. Add in that donut or cookie and it all adds up to little pleasures that total far bigger bucks or “Loonies” than you likely thought.
One of the biggest monthly expenses, after the rent or the mortgage, for many people is the grocery bill.
Using the Internet, and coupons as well as menu planning, you can stretch your monthly grocery bill to save money and still eat a great selection of good food.
For example, using the website www.save.ca you can get coupons mailed to you free of charge for a number of products that you may already be using.
It is easy to save $10 to $15 with those coupons. If you combine your shopping with special shopping days, like 10% off Tuesday promotion at one of the local grocery stores, which comes once a month, there are extra savings too.
Online, at sites like www.smartcanucks.ca you can check for coupons, deals and give-a-ways including freebies.
With a little planning, and with doing some menu planning, you can also take advantage of weekly specials at the grocery stores. For example, if chicken is on sale, then that craving for steak might just have to wait.
The other key is to never go shopping when you are hungry. That is when you will likely fill your shopping cart with the fast snacks that you will eat as soon as you get home, if not on the way home.
Another important consideration is that if you do some of the work yourself, then you are likely to save money too. A classic example for me is hash brown potatoes. While you can purchase pre-shredded hash browns, the reality is that for the same cost, you can purchase five or even ten pounds of potatoes.
Ever look at the price for sliced apples in a grocery store? Chances are you already have a knife at home! The savings can add up quickly!
Learning to do things for yourself is a great way to stretch your food dollar.
Sometimes it is also a matter of figuring out how to make the foods that the kids like so much from their favourite fast food places, only at home. In fact, the home-made meals might even allow for some of that time you and your kids always talk about spending together.
For example, if you like fried chicken, here is a link to a home-made way to enjoy this favourite: http://www.kfcchickenrecipe.com/
The kids and likely many adults all love French fries. If you take potatoes, slice them yourself, and then put them in cold water for an hour, and then rinse them, you will find out that you can make amazing and crispy fries yourself.
You can also bake your fries, and have a healthier and safer treat. If you want to be brave, then instead of salt, try some chilli powder, paprika, garlic seasoning, or Seasoning Salt. Another great treat is to sprinkle some Montreal Steak Spice on your fries.
Here is a link to a way to make “Perfect French Fries”. http://gomestic.com/cooking/how-to-make-perfect-french-fries/
There are many of the recipes for favourites that are online as well. Check out http://www.copykat.com/ for many ideas. Make Google your recipe friend!
There are lots of ways that you can stretch your food dollar.
All it takes is getting a little creative. And heck, we are all a lot more creative than we might think we are. Besides, to be blunt, spending time in the kitchen can be a lot of fun.