Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Thrifty Tip #1

Now that the holiday season is upon us, I thought I'd share some of the money saving strategies that I use each year:
  • Buy cranberries when they are on sale for a $1 a bag and freeze them. You can even freeze them right in the bag they come in and they last for months and even years. Seriously. This is how I make cranberry bread in July and it is cheaper and tastier than buying previously frozen cranberries.
  • Stock up on butter. Starting around Thanksgiving, butter starts to go on sale. I don't know about you, but butter around here runs about $4 to $5 a pound. Around the holidays I've been seen it for $1.50. Often it has a long, far away expiration date. We used "holiday butter" almost to June last year. You can also freeze it.
  • Stock up on bricks of cream cheese. Again, it frequently has a sell by date of about 6 months away. Like butter, it goes on sale cheaply (regular price: $2.50 for an 8 oz. brick, sale price: 80 cents) and more is sold during the holiday season so you get distant sell by dates and fresh stock.
  • Buy extra turkey and freeze it. It's no harder to roast a small turkey than a chicken and you can't beat prices like 30 cents a pound.
  • Often things like chocolate chips, flour, sugar, vanilla, and spices can be found very cheaply as well. We have a cabinet where we keep all of the flour/sugar that we buy when it is on sale for $1 for 5 lbs and it keeps forever.
  • I also like to buy seasonal versions of anything. Not only are they on sale, they are normally fresher than the stock that you normally find on the shelves because they were made especially for the holiday.
Maybe this seems a little nutty, but the savings really do add up. Food prices are getting higher daily, it seems and when you do a lot of cooking and baking, the cost of all of those ingredients starts to add up.

These deals may not save enough money to buy diamonds the first year. But every little bit ads up!