It can be cheaper to buy food at stores other than the grocery store. You can shop ethnic markets, bread stores, dollar stores, pharmacies such as Walgreens, warehouse clubs or discount grocery stores such as Aldi. For state-by-state listings of salvage grocery stores, visit www.frugalvillage.com/forums/discount-stores/97055-salvage-grocery-list-state.html.
The first reader offers another way to find lower-cost food items:
Amazon for groceries: I have ordered peanut butter, sugar, syrup, cereal, mac-and-cheese and more on Amazon.com for cheaper than I can get them at the grocery store. The prices fluctuate, but Amazon has deals each week just like the grocery stores. You have to buy in bulk, but the per-item price will frequently be cheaper than local. You can get the best deals by choosing the "Subscribe and Save" option, which lowers your price by 15 percent and gives you free shipping.
"Waste not, want not" in action: I like to make my own veggie broth and can it. Any time I am chopping up veggies, I keep all the little end pieces and scraps that normally would be thrown away. I add them to a gallon food-storage bag in the freezer and when the bag gets full, it's time to make broth. I mix in a few herbs and such, a leek for added flavor and a whole onion (skin on) for that pretty golden color. I put it all in a huge stockpot and let it simmer most of the day. Once it's done, I strain it through a flour-sack towel and can the broth. But I still don't throw out all those spent vegetables. I put them through my food processor in batches and then freeze the resulting veggie purée in small food storage bags. I add a bag to soups, stews and casseroles to thicken them up. Works like a charm, made from something that most people would think of as trash. Food is never trash.
Older apples: There is no such thing as a bad apple. Just grate them and freeze them to make apple bread or apple muffins in the winter. I freeze the exact amount the apple bread calls for: 1 cup. Then I just pull it out in the winter and make some bread. It gets fairly soft, but it doesn't matter because it's in the bread!
Cooking for two: I often cook in large quantities, even though it's just hubby and me. We eat it that night, a serving goes in the fridge to reheat a couple of days later and the rest goes in the freezer. My goal (and it works most of the time) is to alternate cooking one night and eating leftovers the next, so there is always a variety of leftovers to put together and reheat and I am not spending every night cooking. One helpful tip so leftovers don't go to waste: Put them in clear containers on the same designated shelf in the fridge, with the oldest in the front and the newest in the back.
• Sara Noel owns Frugal Village (frugalvillage.com), a website that offers practical, money-saving strategies for everyday living. Send tips, comments or questions to Sara Noel, c/o Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St. Kansas City, MO, 64106, or email@example.com.