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Tips for the Frugal Cook

Whether you're looking for ideas to save with a cheap Thanksgiving dinner, budget
Christmas menu
, or simply trying to find ways to cut down on expenses with make
ahead meals
there are tons of ways to save on groceries everyday of the year...

Food takes a big bite out of everyone's budget.

Whether you are a young college student, a parent raising a family, a single person balancing bills and lifestyle or happily retired on a fixed income... finding ways to cut supermarket spending is always a priority.

The good news is that you are not alone. There are plenty of folks who have come up with great ways to eat well on a small budget and many are willing to share their secrets with you.

tomatoBUDGET REMINDER: Buy cheaper and fresher fruits and vegetables in season:

Winter: cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, lemons, oranges, tangerines
Spring: artichokes, asparagus, spring peas, lettuce, rhubarb, pineapple, cherries
watermelon, strawberries, blueberries, peaches, plums, lettuce, corn, tomatoes, cucumbers
apples, pomegranates, pumpkins, sweet potatoes

Just up ahead, check out this expert list of tips that will make any frugal cook happy. Save money and time with these basic tips for shopping, creating make-ahead meals, and making do with what you've got!

1. When you make mashed potatoes, make an extra big batch and freeze leftovers in muffin cups. Once they are frozen transfer to a zipper bag. Just get out as many as you need and heat up in the microwave.

2. Use leftover beef stew to make beef pot pie. Just put it into a shallow baking dish and place a pastry crust on top.

3. If your recipe says use an 11 x 7 x 2 inch pan and you don't have one, you can use your 9-inch square baking pan instead and you won't even have to adjust the baking time.

4. When you find chicken on sale, before you put it in the freezer, divide it up in freezer bags and coat it with seasoning mix. Then it's so easy to just remove as many pieces as you need to thaw and bake.

5. When comparing prices at your grocery store: it may be cheaper to use squares of semi-sweet baking chocolate than chocolate chips, when your recipe calls for melted chips.

6. For a thrifty dip for fresh fruit, add a little brown sugar and some cinnamon to vanilla yogurt.

7. Write your grocery list on the back of a used envelope. Your coupons go inside the envelope and every thing's handy!

8. Save your bacon grease to make a treat for your feathered friends this winter. Mix some birdseed in and put it in a shallow dish, maybe a leftover plastic meat tray, and place it in a handy place (for the birds) outside.

9. Adding a few grains of rice to your salt shaker will absorb moisture and reduce those clumps.

10. Buy your fresh fruits and vegetables when they are in season and they will be cheaper.

About the Author...
Cyndi Roberts

More about preparing cheap meals around the Web:

A Frugal Mom's 25 Favorite Easy Ways to Save Money

15 Frugal Meals for a Small Grocery Budget


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