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Freeze Food Spending

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Are you looking for ways to save on meals? From grocery shopping strategies, restaurant tips, and food preservation; we have compiled lots of ways to keep you on budget and help you waste less!

Grocery Shopping- There are several ways to cut spending at the grocery store. You can try these shopping strategies to get more for your money:
• Compare unit price- Take note of the price per pound or ounce for a particular food.
• Check out what's on sale- Weekly ads can notify you when items you might use are offered for a below retail price.
• Clip coupons- Coupons can save you up to $25 a month on groceries. For extra coupon savings, download your preferred stores app and receive notifications when the items you like have available coupons.
• Shop multiple stores- Prices vary from store to store, so you can save by shopping at two or three.
• Shop local- Farmers markets are a great way to save money, buy fresh food, and, well, meet the farmers. By taking out the middle man, you save money on items like fresh produce.
• Plan your trips to the store- If you shop for groceries once a week with a list, you'll most likely spend less time and money, because you have a plan. And remember, NEVER go grocery shopping hungry!
• Buy non-perishables in bulk- If you have the storage space, it's worth getting a 12-pack of toilet paper instead of a 4-pack. But be careful with perishables. If you buy a large quantity of meat, such as hamburger or chicken, divide it into portions and freeze them (we will talk more about freezing foods in a minute).
Eating Out- Going out to eat doesn’t have to be a budget buster. However, if money is tight, it should be limited. Whether it’s a family gathering, date night, or you just really need a break from cooking; you can try these tips to enjoy the night out without fearing the bill :
• Order an appetizer and salad, then split an entrée with a friend or family member.
• Order very little or no alcohol. Alcohol is usually marked up 40% in restaurants.
• Watch for weekly specials.
• Like them on their social media pages to take advantage of discounts and coupons.
Food Freezing- No one likes throwing away food, especially if you’re trying to save money. But what do you do with those fresh string beans you got on sale that may not get eaten before they go bad? Freeze them. Follow these handy tips and you’ll be able you to enjoy your favorite foods for months.
• Vegetables- It’s best to freeze veggies when they’re fresh. Blanch them first. This stops the enzymes that cause vegetables to lose their flavor, color, and nutritional value. Blanching time is crucial, but it also varies depending on the vegetable, so check the National Center of Home Food Preservation’s website for blanching times http://nchfp.uga.edu/how/freeze/blanching.html. After the recommended time, dunk the vegetables in ice water for the same amount of time, and then drain them thoroughly. Finally pack them into freezer bags or freezer safe plastic containers and be sure to mark each container clearly with the name of the item and date. When you’re ready to cook your veggies, throw them in the pot while they’re still frozen.

• Fruit- Very ripe fruit is perfect for smoothies. First wash them. If they're bananas, remove them from their peels. Then chop them up, bag them, and put them in the freezer. You can leave grapes whole before freezing and use them later as ice cubes in your favorite drinks.

• Meat- You can freeze meat in the store wrapper for a month or two, but if you're going to keep it longer, add a second wrapping to maintain quality and prevent freezer burn. You can use airtight heavy-duty freezer foil, freezer paper or place the package inside a freezer bag. If food does get freezer burn, it is still safe to eat, though it may be dry in spots.

• Dairy- Milk, hard cheese and egg whites (not the yolks) freeze well. Store milk in plastic jugs, not glass or paper. Cheese should be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap. Egg whites can be poured into a freezer bag -- just make sure to note how many eggs you used.

• Herbs- Make simple herb butters by combining fresh herbs with softened butter and crushed garlic. Wrap them in plastic wrap and pop them in the freezer. You can also make flavored oil cubes by tearing your favorite fresh herbs into ice cube trays and filling each compartment with olive or canola oil before freezing. They can go straight into the pan when you’re ready to use them.
It’s very important to clearly mark the date and description of each item so you don’t have a freezer full of mysteries. Most vegetables can be stored for 8 to 12 months, fruits for 6 to 9 months, and dairy products and leftover meals are safe for up to 3 months.
Try one or all of these tips and see your food budget stretch to its max! If this blog was helpful for you, share it on social media!

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