Money Matters Monday: Buying in bulk & Meal prep (part 1) ~

This is a very simple way to save some money, as you can buy ingredients in bulk and they keep in dry storage for quite a while.

Especially if stored properly. I like to transfer sugar, flour,noodles, rice etc to air tight containers,and/or glass jars, as they take up significantly less room (which may not seem so but it’s true) and keeps your kitchen cleaner and creepy crawlies out. It also gives an excuse to bust out the handy dandy label maker!

Then you just replenish ingredients when you get low. A 10 pound bag of sugar should last at least two months if used correctly.

I’m sure you might be saying “I don’t have enough time.” “I can’t bake to save my life.” BLAH BLAH BLAH … there are many quick and easy recipes all over the internet and you can find cook books and magazines all over the shelves full of easy to follow instructions and 5 minute, usually healthy meals.

Most bread doughs can be frozen (after the first rise) for quite a while. But read the recipe fully. Some breads have two rise times, others only have one. Because it’s meant to save you time in the future, let it rise the first time, roll it in different sized balls and store it in the freezer, take out the dough then let it thaw and rise, and bake according to instructions.

This is cheaper than buying even the pre-made pre-frozen rolls- in the long run. It just take a couple hours of meal prep at the beginning of week or even month if you freeze everything.

The only things I refuse to make ahead of time- rice, oatmeal*, sandwiches, and most forms of egg cooking**.

*Oatmeal: I never prepare this until I am going to eat it- but since I rarely buy the insta- packets, I will put some in airtight containers, with a bit of brown sugar, cinnamon, etc, then add the milk in the morning and zap in the microwave. You can also add finely chopped fruits to it if you want and store them in the fridge, popping it in the fridge.

The exceptions to the eggs are tea eggs or boiled eggs~ I do this ever 3 or 4 days, never ever more as eggs start to get weird and rubbery and some how shrink if left longer.

You can also premake and freeze quick breads, like pancakes, zucchini bread, banana bread. Etc. You can also prepare batters and store them in the fridge for up to 3 days, bringing them to room temp *unless otherwise stated by recipe*. Then baking it. I do not recommend freezing these batters, but there’s no rule stating that you can not. They are just more of a pain to thaw and make after being frozen.

Here are some links to some of my favorite places to find cheap and easy meals:

Budget Bytes

All Recipes

Betty Crocker- Dump Dinners

And of course a simple Google search.

Some things I buy every couple months in bulk and rarely spend more than 50 on, depends on how fast each find out, usually they don’t all rim out at the time ever so it can be split up i always try to use coupons for these items (I will talk about these next week!)~

*10 lbs sugar

*20 pounds flour- I do keep all purpose flour for those in my house who can have it, but i also buy the gluten free flour, rice flour. Almond, etc. Thankfully they last forever sooo it doesnt cost a lot.

* 8 oz ACTIVE dry yeast ~ typically most expensive thing

*9 packets (3 strips) rapid rise yeast( I don’t use this one as often unless I’m in a hurry- can also be found in a 8oz jar)

*8oz baking soda/ powder~ these actually last a very long time typically replaced ever 4 or 5 months

*All types of noodles, usually 2 lbs of each. – I don’t eat a lot of pasta, and very little if I do, so this lasts me quite a while- I do have to buy ths gluten free types so It is DOES cost me more that I’d like to admit in the end.

*20 pounds rice white rice, 10 lbs jasmine, and brown rice.- also lasts more than my standard every couple months. I typically mix the 5lbs jasmine with 10 pounds white, and 5 lbs of the brown rice. So as to have a variety of options For rice.

* Sea salt- I prefer how this tastes on and in everything. – also use Himalayan pink salt often. I personally don’t use iodized salt, sea salt is a bit expensive, especially this brand, but worth it, again, it also lasts a while so worth the extra dollar or two~ but for those who use table salt, or are not picky, Morton salt, is fairly priced ^,^- For those ‘heart healthy/ cholesterol conscious’ Morton also has non- salt, salt…which tastes like salt.. But I’m not sure is actually safe.. I’m sure other salt makers carry it too, but again. Morton for the price.

This concludes our money saving technique for this week.

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