In the Land of No Double Coupons: Skimp on Meat (Part 1)

Guest post by Clair Boone from Mummy Deals

In a land far, far away lives a group of people. While they’ve heard the stories of how others are getting free food by a practice known as “double couponing”, they’re not sure how it works. They’ve seen the phrase “Do Not Double” on select coupons but if asked to explain, they aren’t exactly sure they could.

Their budgets are stretched, their creativity is exhausted and when these “doublers” talk about their small grocery bill, the people in the land faraway roll their eyes and smile.

Welcome, folks, to the Land of No Double Coupons.

Whether it’s because I live right outside a big city or because the grocery store choices are too vast and therefore nobody needs to double, I’m not sure. But one thing is for sure: Nobody’s doubling around here, 35 minutes outside of Chicago.

A few months ago I participated in a focus group with Crystal and when asked the question, “What would you say if a big grocery store discontinued the double coupon program?” I didn’t hesitate and responded, “I’d say: Welcome to my world!”

Over the years I’ve learned to be creative with the budget, skimp and save. Even without doubles, our family of 3 lives on a weekly grocery budget of $50 including toiletries and diapers. For those of you in the same boat, here’s some food for thought:

1. Skimp on Meat

I have a man who loves meat and lots of it. Although my hubby would rather eat steak for every meal, it’s expensive and not healthy every night! I’ve learned how to skimp on meat without making it look like I’m doing so by stretching the meal. In other words, I add other cheap yet healthy ingredients and take out some of the meat.

  • I’ve been known to add rice or beans to a pan of taco meat to stretch it. I’m not a fan of beans but I know how good they are for me and disguising them in meat cuts down the cost and gets in some of the goodness.
  • Many people use Italian sausage for a whole variety of meals and yet by buying it as that, it’s more expensive than if you buy it as a whole sausage, take the casing off and cut it down.
  • Instead of defrosting a chicken breast/pork chop per person, if it’s going into a casserole I’ll add a little less and then just add more vegetables or side dishes.
  • Meatless Days are great to keep the budget in line and plain spaghetti with whole wheat noodles and homemade spaghetti sauce will bring a family of 4 way under $4 for the whole meal, even with salad!

A lot of these tips are depression era tips that I’ve learned from a group of older ladies at a Bible Study I attend. Back then, skimping on food and yet trying to be healthy was a way of life.

To be continued tomorrow…

She bought diapers for 20 cents a pack prompting her friends to ask her to start www.mummydeals.org to teach others how to save money.  She loves to use her couponing powers to buy things and donate them.  Originally from England Clair Boone is wife to an amazing man, Mum to a toddler and lives near Chicago.

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Comments

  1. Amanda H. says

    No doubles here either. I live in WI and the price of milk and meat is higher here than when we lived in WA! I don’t buy meat nearly as much as I used to. Before we would have at least 2 meals a week that contained hamburger, now it is less than once a week! The upside is that I have lost weight, haha!

  2. Dawn says

    One of the best ways I’ve found to skimp on meat is to make lots of homemade soups. Put in tons of veggies, beans, or pasta with a small amount of shredded chicken or other meat. Healthier, and no one notices how little meat is actually in there!

  3. says

    Rolled oats have been my secret ingredient for a long time. Not only in boxed baked goods, but in taco meat and meatloaf and other burger dishes. They soak up some of the grease and take on the flavor of the burger. No one ever notices the difference!

  4. Christine says

    I live where no one doubles either now. The funny thing was back 18 years ago I worked at Homeland in Amarillo and they doubled to a dollar. Since I lived at home at the time and didn’t grocery shop much I didn’t realize how great that was. My mom who didn’t use coupons very often. Boy, do I wish I had that back now. The money I could save. I keep praying for an Publix or Kogers or anything now.

  5. Carrie says

    I live in Western Michigan – no doubles here either! :(

    I actually live near 3 Meijer stores (all within 15 minutes of my house) and they don’t double. Apparently, they must only double in other states?

    Wow, what I could do if we did have doubles around here!

  6. Jen says

    I am not sure exactly where you live in Il, but we live in Algonquin…. and LOVE Caputos!!!! They have one in Palatine and another in Des Plaines… the sales they have on meat and fruit is unbeatable! and they take coupons too!

  7. Ann says

    I am sooo lucky to live in an area where 2 major chains double up to a dollar 2 times a week, on Wednesdays and Saturdays. One store limits the amount of doubles and one store lets you use unlimited doubles! I have been able to get so many free or really cheap items that my family is amazed. I put all the items out on our kitchen island and have my husband and the kids guess my grand total!

  8. bekarene says

    Skimping on meat is my new favorite way to save too! In fact I just made a delicious Texas chili and replaced a lot of the meat with a variety of beans. It was easy and adds a nice boost of fiber and other nutrients. If you’re interested in trying this strategy, I would suggest egg dishes (quiche, omlettes, frittata) and pasta with lots of cheesy goodness to start with, especially if your family is aghast at the idea of eating less meat. If you want to be adventurous, you can also start experimenting with Indian and Middle Eastern inspired cusine (curries, falafel, etc.). Even just eating gooey grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup for a casual dinner will cut down on your grocery bill. Plus, it’s yummy! Even my Nebraska-raised, meat loving husband really enjoys eating meatless or reduced-meat meals now. Try it!!