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For Better Living
Sandra Cain

Save Money at the Grocery Store


            We are all feeling the pinch when it comes to rising food and fuel costs.  One way you can save time as well as money is to shop less frequently. Less trips means less gas and less of a chance of impulse buys of things you really don’t need. You will also save some time by shopping less frequently.


A good shopping list is your number one tool to help stretch food dollars and save money at the grocery store. You must plan ahead to have a good list, and plan to stick to the list.


Be sure to plan ahead. Add items to your list as they run low, so you won't have to make extra trips to the store. Extra trips can ruin your food budget due to all the temptations in the store.
Eat before you go food shopping. Never go grocery shopping when you are hungry. If you are hungry in the grocery store, you are likely to buy more than you planned. Hungry shoppers buy too much and usually make poor food choices.


If possible, shop alone. If you must take children with you or even another adult, be sure that they have eaten before you go shopping. Also, make them your shopping partners by allowing them to make some selections within preset limits. This can also be a good time to teach children to read food labels I order to make healthy choices.


            Always read the grocery ads. Many times just what you need will be on sale, or a substitute item is on sale. If you can buy and use the extra before it spoils, this would be a good time to stock up.


            Use unit prices. The unit price is the price for one "measure" of the item. For example it may be the price per pound or the price per ounce. Many stores will have the unit price labels on the shelf just below the item. Make careful comparisons. You will find that sometimes, the larger container will have the best price per unit, and sometimes the smaller container will have the best price.


            Compare store brands or no-name brands with the well – known national brands. The store brands are almost always cheaper than the name brands.


            Use coupons if it really helps save money for something that you need to buy. Even with a coupon, sometimes the national brand is still more expensive than the store brand.  Be sure to stop by The Bladen Journal to check out their coupons and drop off your extras. 
            When comparing some food items, you need to compare the cost per serving or the cost per meal. For example, some meats have a lot of bones. So even though it may be the lowest cost per pound, it is not the best buy because so much of it cannot be eaten.


            Use the food label especially the nutrition facts panel. The food label makes it easier to compare different foods and make healthier food choices.


            Always consider food safety when shopping for food. Buy the refrigerated and frozen items last so that they can keep at a safe temperature until you reach home. If the weather is very hot or if you cannot go home immediately, take a cooler with ice in your car, so foods can be kept at a safe temperature.


            To avoid cross contamination, place any meat that may drip away from other foods. Some grocery stores have plastic bags available in the meat section for this purpose. 


            Watch out for those items that are known as impulse items. Stick to your shopping list and limit or avoid those extras like sodas, alcohol, sweets, and chips. Such items are usually high in cost, high in calories, and low in nutritional value.
Source:  Florida Cooperative Extension
Tangy Chicken
4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
3 teaspoons olive or canola oil, divided
½ small onion, chopped
¾ cup canned unsweetened pineapple tidbits, drained
2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon ketchup
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 small tomato, chopped
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
In a large nonstick skillet, cook chicken in 1 teaspoon oil for 5 – 10 minutes or until no longer pink. Remove and keep warm. In the same skillet, sauté onion in remaining oil until tender. Add the pineapple, soy sauce, ketchup and brown sugar. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes.
Add the tomato. Simmer 5 minutes longer. Return chicken to the skillet. Sprinkle with parsley. Cook for 2 – 3 minutes, or until heated through. Serve over rice, if desired. Yield: 4 servings.

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