Easy Tips on Stretching Your Grocery Dollars

by Texas Homesteader~ 

Everyone is looking for ways to stretch their grocery budget these days. There are numerous ways to do this including using coupons to reduce prices of the things you purchase, buying generic products, etc.

But today I’m going to talk about using the food you already have in your home.

There are several different ways I make sure to make the most out of my grocery dollar budget. It's most important to use what you've already bought! #TexasHomesteader

Cook-Once, Eat-Twice

One of the main ways I save money on grocery expenditures is the cook-once-eat-twicemethod of cooking. Basically you cook an abundance of one item and freeze it for future meals. 

Let’s take meatloaf for instance. We love meatloaf and enjoy it often, but I never fire up the oven for just one meatloaf. 

I typically make 3-4 meatloaves at a time, we enjoy meatloaf for supper that night and the rest is divided into supper-time serving sizes and frozen for future meals.

There are several different ways I make sure to make the most out of my grocery dollar budget. It's most important to use what you've already bought! #TexasHomesteader

A quick homemade meal is as close as my fridge. Other than using the meatloaf as the main entrée, the servings can also be cut into meatballs to be mixed into spaghetti or crumbled to go into quesadillas or any other ground meat dish – so versatile!

Using this method I’ve only heated up the oven once and the mess in the kitchen is only cleaned up once, yet several meals of this entrée are waiting for me in the freezer.

Entrée Variety In Your Freezer

And it’s not only meatloaf in there y’all. My freezer is packed with Stuffed Peppers, and Meat Ravioli. There’s Chile Relleno Cups and more.

Subsequent pre-made entrees are simply pulled from the freezer the night before they’re needed and placed in the fridge to thaw.

Then at suppertime I just heat the entrée in the microwave and add whatever side-dish veggies we’re having.

In the summertime that usually involves a stroll to the garden to pick fresh veggies to steam.

Save money on food you've already purchased. Cook-Once, Eat-Twice method of cooking. #TexasHomesteader

A homemade supper can be on the table in 15 minutes or less and cleanup is a snap!

A Whole Bag Of Potatoes?

Main dish entrees are not the only place the freezer can save you money.

Are you having a hard passing up that great sale on potatoes because you don’t think your family can eat them all before they go bad? Go ahead and BUY THEM!

Ideas for a large bag of potatoes. There are several different ways I make the most out of my grocery dollar budget. It's most important to use what you've already bought! #TexasHomesteader

Here’s what we do: I’ve dehydrated potatoes in the past, but sometimes it’s quick & easy just to freeze them.

First I wash, trim and dice the potatoes into roughly 1/2″ chunks. We leave most of the peel intact just because we like them that way.

Then I plop them into my large stock pot. I cover the pot, turn on the heat until the water boils then turn off the heat & leave the pot covered until the potatoes are soft.

(Sometimes I cook the Potatoes In My Solar Oven. Saves cooking fuel!)

Then I drain the potatoes and mash them. I don’t add any seasoning at all until they’re ready to be consumed.

I’ll bag them into serving-sized bags and put them in the freezer until needed.

Like the entrée method above, I’ll bring a serving out of the freezer the night before they’re needed and warm them in the microwave.

Then I’ll stir in homemade yogurt that I use for lower-fat sour cream substitute as well as salt and pepper and they’re ready to eat.

You can also use the mashed potatoes in other ways such as thickening some kinds of soups, adding to homemade bread for that extra oomph, or frying up potato cakes

So many options.

Too Many Oranges

How about this? Recently we received several oranges from a family member.

We ate them fresh as often as we could of course. But it was apparent we could not consume all of these oranges before they went bad. What to do?

Out came our manual juicer and bada-bing, bada-boom –  the orange abundance was magically transformed into orange juice, RancherMan’s favorite beverage.

It only took a couple of minutes to juice all of those oranges.

Making orange juice with extra oranges. There are several different ways I make the most out of my grocery budget. It's most important to use what you've already bought! #TexasHomesteader

I poured the juice into plastic peanut butter jars which I like better than glass for short-term freezer storage.

Then I popped the jars into the freezer so we can enjoy fresh-squeezed orange juice at a later date. No  waste!

What are some ways your family saves money on groceries?


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36 thoughts on “Easy Tips on Stretching Your Grocery Dollars

  1. Leigh

    Ready-made food in the freezer is indeed a beautiful thing! So are cook once, eat many times meals. You’re speaking my language!
    Blessings, Leigh

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      I know many people successfully freeze in glass Jamie, but I’m just not willing to risk it. As much as I hate plastic, it’s the lesser of two evils to me in the freezer. PLUS we always have empty peanut butter jars so it goes along with my battle cry: “Use whatcha got!” LOL

  2. Mel

    I like to stretch a dollar till it screams, I buy all generic and stock up on sales but I find the most economical wy is to use ingredients in more than one way, example plain white sugar in the blender becomes castor sugar, almonds from our tree (or bought out if season) can be used whole or ground and swap my fresh produce for what others grow, example my lemons for their eggs. I also make all my cleaning products. I never thought of freezing mash I should do that, the mice got to my potties and I had to throw a lot out 🙁

  3. Stephanie @ Six Figures Under

    Thanks for the ideas! I am all about saving money since we are working our tails off to pay off $130K of law school student loans. We’ve paid $35K down and have just over $102K to go! Any and all frugal tips are employed at our house!

    What a great idea to freeze potatoes. We have 200+ pounds that came out of the garden a couple weeks ago. They keep okay in the basement, but they get soft and start to grow eyes eventually, but we have some freezer space. I also love that they are pre-cooked! I love saving time when dinner rolls around.

  4. Claudine

    This is a great topic…I’m always interested in how to stretch grocery dollars! Last year I bought a dehydrator and it has become one of my favorite kitchen gadgets! Last week, there was a great sale on celery, so I bought quite a bit and dehydrated it all. Soup season is upon us, and I love using celery in my soups, but before I purchased my dehydrator, I found myself throwing away most of the celery I purchased. I also use my dehydrator to make fruit leather with either discounted fruit or fruit I may have that needs to be used up.
    Two more ideas to share….. My hubby and I love waffles–so on the weekends, I will make a batch (or two) and let them cool, then put them on a cookie sheet, put them in the freezer to get hard and then put them in Ziploc baggies squeezing out as much air as possible. During the week, if we feel like waffles, I simply take them out and put them in my toaster oven frozen—just like the Eggo Waffles–except they are homemade. I have kept mine in the freezer for 3-4 weeks–if we don’t eat them before then. I also have done this with cookie dough. I will make two batches of cookies; one to bake right away and the other I roll the dough into small balls and put them on a cookie sheet to freeze solid, once frozen, I transfer them to a Ziploc. Whenever my hubby and I feel like home-cookies, I simply take a few out, put them on the cookie sheet to thaw then pop them in the toaster oven…mmm…mmmm…..mmmm warm cookies on a chilly fall/winters night.
    Thank you for sharing!

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Claudine – planned leftovers – my favorite! How clever you are. And I love how you dehydrate veggies that would otherwise go to waste. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Kelli @ The Sustainable Couple

    Stumbled across this post from the Homemade Monday’s hop! Great tips – some of these are new to me, going to try them out next time I stumble upon a surplus of groceries 🙂

  6. Nikki

    Visiting from Natural Living Mamma. Thanks for sharing your ways to stretch your dollar! I passed up a bag of potatoes recently exactly because I didn’t think we’d eat them all…

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Hi Nikki. I recently had a family member share lots of potatoes with me again and I experimented with dehydrating them. Success! I guess ya live & learn…

  7. Lori Who Needs A Cape?

    Awesome ideas, anything to make life less complicated gets 2 thumbs up in my book! Stumbled on your post over at Feeding Big!

    Our readers would also enjoy this post, stop over to our SUPER SUNDAY Link Party which is live through Tuesday evening!

    Who Needs A Cape? (Not Your Average Super Moms!)

  8. Lisa Lynn

    I love your ideas 🙂 During the winter we tend to do a lot of our cooking on our wood stove to save on electric. I butcher my old laying hens and make soup out of them. Eggs that have a crack are treats for the dog. We don’t buy bags of treats for him (except for the occasional bag of ground up rawhide strips)…instead he gets the fat or gristle we don’t eat. He’s a lot healthier without all those preservative laced treats.

    Thanks for sharing your ideas on The Creative HomeAcre Hop! So glad to have you join in this hop too!

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Great ideas Lisa Lynn. I think we’re ALL a little healthier without preservative-laced foods. Although there’s a time investment, it’s returned in financial savings and health savings as well when you provide for yourself. Thanks for your comment.

  9. laura at tenthingsfarm

    This kind of happens for us anyway, simply because we’re a small family. If I make a big pot of chili (I don’t know how to make a small one, lol) I just freeze the extra in meal-size portions. I do mashed potatoes that way too, and whenever I make lasagna, I make three 8×8 pans – one for eating and two for freezing, and I don’t cook the frozen ones until we’re ready to eat them. They are better that way. I also do this with spaghetti sauce and quick breads. It’s just as easy to make three quick breads as one, and since I take one to church every Sunday, having a few in the freezer is a nice comfort for me.

  10. Hannah

    Great ideas. Since starting to eat whole foods, my grocery budget died.. lol Thanks so much for sharing with us at Eco-Kids Tuesday! Hope to see you there again today!

  11. Alison at NOVA Frugal Family

    Those are great ideas!! When I juice the fruit to save, I also usually do a little zest and freeze that too!! I love making the broth from leftover bones. I also make big batches of enchilada sauce which I freeze to use. The other great one is to make a big batch of rice and freeze in individual servings for your family so that you can take out a bag and throw it in the microwave. It is perfect for brown rice because if you don’t plan early enough, you don’t have it ready in time for dinner. Plus it is always great to not get the pot dirty at every meal. My big money saver is freezing all of the bread that we don’t eat that gets a little crusty so that I can either make breadcrumbs or stuffing from scratch straight from the freezer 🙂 You reminded me that I really need to juice some grapefruits that I have in the fridge!! Thanks for the post!

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Allison – Great hints. I also freeze our bread but I’ve never made stuffing withe it if it got crusty. (One of my hubby’s favorites is stuffing. Hummmmm….) Thanks for the great ideas!

  12. Kathe

    Awesome and oh so timely! I was just thinking that next time I make meatloaf I need to make up the mix for 2 and use the second one for meatballs as we love meatball sandwhiches and meatballs in gravy and spaghetti and meatballs…you get my thought process lol! I found you at Fedding Big. I’d love it if you linked this and any other post you’d like up at my linky party on Tuesdays!

  13. Heather M

    My favorite way to cook and that looks like my mom’s meatloaf recipe. I need to get on the ball and get more ready made HOMEMADE meals stocked in my freezer. One of the ways we save is going to food auction. My last greatest buy was 1.5 flats of seedless grapes. Sorting through them was a little messy and tiring but I ended up with 16# of grapes, most of which were frozen for yummy snacks and smoothies.

    Thanks for linking up another great post with Fabulously Frugal Thursday. 🙂

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Oh Heather I wish we had food auctions somewhere close to us! (jealous…) Frozen grapes are the BEST snacks during the summer, as is slices of frozen cantaloup when the garden is giving you more than you can eat fresh. Thanks for your comment.

  14. 'Becca

    These are great ideas! I use variations on them. I only have the little freezer above the refrigerator, but it’s remarkable how much will fit in there. I routinely buy a 2-pound block of cheese, grate all or most of it in the food processor, and bag 1-cup portions to freeze for later–grated cheese thaws out to its original consistency, whereas if you freeze whole cheese it becomes crumbly.

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Becca, I also rely primarily on the freezer with my refrigerator. Using that small freezer can still be effective, it’s just that rotation has to be faster. But that in itself can save you money as things placed in the freezer and forgotten is still wasted money! It’s the saddest waste of money when you’ve purchased that food only to throw it away to buy more, quite the viscous cycle sometimes. Thanks for your tips!

  15. Barb @ A Life in Balance

    Lots of good tips! I need to get back into doing this. I’ve been struggling as I adjust to writing more.

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Barb, that’s why the cook-once-eat-twice method works so well for me. The once-a-month cooking method just took too much of my time but the cook-once-eat-twice method doesn’t really add any extra time and saves bundles in the future. 🙂

  16. Liz

    We have a ton of citrus trees at home, so we make good use of our citrus juicer and the canning pot after everybody’s tired of eating oranges/grapefruits/lemons. Keeps them from going bad, keeps us from having to buy juice. Also, like someone else said, broth/stock. I’ve done chicken and beef/deer stock before, but yesterday was my first time making veggie stock. I’m pretty excited about this concept (my mom had to quit reading her book to listen to me rave about my excitement of veggie stock.) 🙂

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Awesome Liz. I had previously purchased stock and I remember how excited I was when I figured out how easy it is to make, store and use. And homemade stock is good for you and good for the environment. Great job on your veggie stock!

    2. Lynn

      Liz, do you water bath can the oranges/lemons/grapefruit or freeze? I wasn’t sure if they are too acidic to water bath can those fruits. Thanks for posting, Lynn

  17. Nancy Davis

    I do some of this on a smaller scale and love doing it! Great idea to save time and money! Nancy

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      A smaller scale really works for us here too Nancy. That’s why I do the ‘cook-once-eat-twice’ method – the Once-a-month cooking was just too much time blocked from other things, although it works well for other people. I made banana bread tonight for an out-of-town guest and you guessed it – I made TWO. Hey, the mess is made and the oven’s heated up so why not?? Thanks for dropping by.

  18. Twisted Cinderella

    Great tips. I save bones and veggie scraps and freeze them. When I have enough, I cook them up and make a big pot of broth to use for future uses.

  19. Jackie

    So great, I love this! The cook/clean once, eat multiple times idea just makes so much sense. More environmentally friendly, too, because fewer resources are used, as you mentioned with the propane.

    I like to make larger portions of quick or yeast breads and freeze them, but I’ve never thought to make more than one meatloaf! Just in time as I was going to fix some soon! 🙂

  20. Bama Girl

    Love these ideas! Thanks for sharing! Blessings from Bama!

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      I remember reading about the Once-A-Month cooking method years ago and just NOT having time for that while holding down a full-time job outside the home and also raising four active children. The Cook-Once-Eat-Twice method worked well for us then, and it still works well for us even through we’re now empty nesters! Thanks for stopping by. ~TxH~


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