Friday, September 9, 2016

Investment Cooking And Stocking Up

    'Cooking the books,' right?

What it means is simple:  buying or gathering what's in season (or on sale) now -- for use later on.

And boy, can you save money.

Our peaches, bought at $13 for a box (about 18 pounds, or roughly 1/3 of a bushel) two weeks ago, are already up to $1.50 a pound in the stores -- and that's on sale. Hmmm... how much did we save?
      72 cents/lb for our box vs 1.50/lb:  $13 vs $27. 
                                                         (or $53, once they go back up their usual $2.95/lb)

Even at sale prices, we've already more than doubled our money-power!

I did even better with my recent onion purchase.  A 50-pound bag for $5: .10/lb.  Here in Colorado, onions are at least .99/lb, and often more. Gee, $5 vs $50 -- how many of your investments pay ten times over the initial cost? Even if some of the onions go bad (and they won't, in a cool basement closet), I'm still making out like a bandit.

You can stretch your money this way every day of the year, provided you pay attention to what's in season and/or on sale that time of year.

Fresh fruit   (peaches are almost done here in Colorado, but apples are coming in - buy from a farmer, warehouse or fresh-air market for best prices)
Pumpkins, post-Halloween    (good for pies and soup, easily frozen. Our chickens will kill for a pumpkin.)
Soda, chips and other outdoor/picnic goods, post-Memorial and Labor Day  (napkins and paper plates, too) Look for these around Superbowl in late January, as well.
Candy and other sweets, post-any holiday  (use the colors to your advantage -- red and green Christmas kisses can be separated as red -- for Valentine's Day -- and green -- for St. Patrick's.)

       As for chocolates -- what else do you have to do, except eat them...

You can even follow this principle if you pay full price, provided you make full use of every scrap of food you buy. It's especially effective for protein -- which is getting increasingly expensive these days.
    *Get a roast chicken, then make broth from the bones and freeze it. Many recipes call for this -- and now you've got some handy. Or add leftover vegetables, plus a handful of the chicken, and you've got a second meal. Cost: nothing.
         Works for beef and pork, too. (I had to restrain myself from mentioning this to a girl ahead of me in line at the checkout counter. She was obviously on a limited income, yet a can of beef broth was in her cart.)

    *Serve less the first time around. Chop or simmer the extra meat, and you've got enough, mixed with veggies, for a stirfry or pasta. As little as a cup of burger can make all the difference in beans or a Mexican dish.

Once again, if you can squeeze 2 or even 3 meals out of an expensive item, you've doubled or tripled its buying power. This is easiest to see in meat, but you can do it in all sorts of ways.
             And once again, the money saved adds up.

Can you spare $5 a week? Even that small amount will buy cans of fruit or vegetables -- something that's often on sale this time of year. Once they move out, then canned soup generally moves in.
      Ice cream. Ice cream bars. (On sale big-time right now.)
     Or meat that normally goes for much more. Especially steak.
     Hot dogs.  A Labor Day favorite to put on sale...and perfect for 'pigs in the blanket' (recipe coming soon) on a cold fall day. (You can even do them fancy-pants style -- but they're also good just wrapped in a corn tortilla and baked until crunchy.)

Not me - I don't even like blankets!

    Buy a can of tomatoes now at 50 cents -- and you've just saved 100% when it goes back up to a buck off-sale, and you need some for chili or sauce. A consistent return on your money. How  rare is that in stocks!

Stash the money saved in a sugarbowl (if you want to follow your foreparents' lead)...or at least keep notes. You'll be amazed at how much it adds up in the long run.

There's another plus in this equation:  Now you can afford to be generous.

*Share a bag of those sale items with someone else.  Bring a bowl of your 'leftovers' soup to someone with the flu, or leave a loaf of banana bread on your neighbor's doorstep. (Made with clearance bananas, naturally).You still come out ahead financially, which is great. But even better, you've helped someone who badly needed the food -- or encouragement.

Now I'm off to buy beans...on sale right now at $20 a fifty-pound bag. I'd expect to pay $1/pound; even this store normally stocks them at .79/lb.  And they keep literally for years. (If the world ends, come on over to our house for bean soup. We've got 'em.)

     Hmmm... $20 vs $50.00, or $39.50?

     Now that's my kind of savings.

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