- January, 17 2014
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“31 Days to Save ”: A crash course in grocery savings!
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I’ve discovered some of my best savings secrets just by asking questions where-ever I go. I once asked at Macy’s in New York, “Are there any discounts or coupons I should be aware of?” She initially said no, but in our conversation, she asked where I was from. In the end, I found out that an out of town visitor gets an additional 11% discount! If I had been afraid to ask, I never would have known! That one question on that one day has saved me lots of money wherever I go! And by the way, that visitor pass works on clearance items too! And I’ve gotten them at Lord & Taylor, and others.
This applies to shopping for groceries too! Make a habit of getting to know the nice people at YOUR supermarket and don’t be afraid to ask money saving questions. I once asked my deli manager if he had any special deals. He was so excited and told me, “Wait right here.” He returned with an armload of name brand lunch meat saying, “I just brought all this in the back to put the half off clearance stickers on them.” I couldn’t even take all that he offered me. But I got all I wanted for half off, just because I asked!
In this video, I share a few more ways that asking questions has helped me save loads of money on groceries:
Acknowledge that you did your daily reading by leaving a comment on Facebook thread for Day 19. Share your experience about asking questions in the supermarket, and how getting to know your butcher, baker, and others has saved you money!
Optional additional reading:
As a continuation on yesterday’s “Lovin Those Legumes,” here’s an excerpt from Chapter 9 of “Shop Smart, Save More” with one of our family’s favorite recipes!
A bowl of wisdom
During those horrible coin rolling years with no money, my son Joe came home from school and really wanted to make a recipe that his teacher gave him. My first thought was panic. What if I had none of the ingredients in my stockpile? What if it required some expensive items to make? When I saw it, I was so relieved. It was a lentil soup. It was “Esau’s Pottage”, and it’s based on a Biblical tale about Esau and his birthright as firstborn son of twins over his brother Jacob. That birthright came with riches, land, cattle and more. But because he was very hungry on a hunting expedition with Jacob, Esau gave up his birthright for a bowl of Jacob’s soup. Not a very smart decision, and one made in haste without much thought to the future.
This dish has become one of our family traditions. So many times throughout Joe’s life, when he wanted to do something “less than wise,” I would ask him if he wanted to give up his birthright for a bowl of soup. Boy was that story handy during the teenage years! We ate the soup often, enjoyed the flavor, economy, nutrition, and wisdom of “Esau’s Pottage” every time.
A few tips on how to make it:
•You can skip the lamb for a meatless soup: Now I have to admit, we were too broke to buy the lamb when Joe originally brought me the recipe back in 1994. So I skipped it and never told. I’ve left the lamb in the recipe below, as that’s the way it’s supposed to be made. But for “Meatless Monday”, you should try skipping the lamb, and see if you love it as much as we do.
•Don’t be afraid to try substitutions in any soup. Over the years, I have made lots of substitutions, adapting this recipe to my stockpile, and it has always been good. Last night, since it was a last minute idea, I didn’t have carrots or celery, only 2 big onions. So to make up for the flavor of the onions and celery, I added some all-purpose salt free seasoning from my stockpile (it has dried onion and celery seed). As usual, I did not have any lamb (goes against our traditional family pottage anyway). Instead of water, I used organic chicken broth from my stockpile for added flavor. I also added red and yellow peppers, because I had them, and they were pretty, and decided to grate one large yellow squash into it. Even with all those substitutions, “Esau’s Pottage” was delicious!
•When I have fresh tomatoes, I usually plunge them in boiling water to peel them. But rather than bring another pot to a boil, I wash them and throw them in whole with my sautéing onions. Once the skins begin to split, I pull them out with a slotted spoon. Then I can easily slip the skins off. Instead of cutting them on a cutting board, which gets messy, I hold each peeled tomato over the pot, and puncture it with my thumb, so it won’t explode tomato juice everywhere when I squeeze and shred the “meat” with my fingers. I hang on to the hard stump near the stem and discard it. This is a fast way to prepare tomatoes for soups or sauces.
There are lots of recipes for this soup out there, but this is our favorite, straight from Joe’s teacher in 4th grade.
Source: Adapted from The Bible Cookbook by Marian Maeve O’Brien.
½ cup olive oil (have it in my stockpile)
6 onions, diced
1 lb. lamb, cubed
2 stalks celery
1 green pepper
2 cups tomatoes (or use canned from stockpile)
1 lb. lentils
2–3 cups water (I start with 3 cups, and usually add 2-3 more while cooking)
1 tsp. salt
¼ tsp. black pepper
Heat the oil; add the onions and saute until tender but not brown. Add the cubed meat (it should be as lean as possible) and let simmer while washing and dicing the vegetables. Add the vegetables and lentils to the meat with 2 cups of water, and simmer gently until lentils are tender. It will take about 1½ hours. Add salt and pepper when the lentils are cooked. Shake the pot occasionally or add another cup of water to prevent sticking. Makes 6–8 servings
(End of excerpt from “Shop Smart, Save More” by Teri Gault with Sheryl Berk)
To show your commitment to 31 days, go back and comment on Facebook thread for Day 19. Share your experience about asking questions in the supermarket, and how getting to know your butcher, baker, and others has saved you money! http://www.facebook.com/TheGroceryGame
See you tomorrow more savings in 2012, and…
PLEASE, don’t pay full price for anything!
http://www.TheGroceryGame.com/ – Most members save enough in the 4 week free trial to buy a deep freezer!