What do I mean?
Well we all know popsicles are at every turn in the summer time, and hot chocolate during the winter, but nearly everything you use or buy has a "season". Many thing are at their cheapest several week to a month BEFORE the peak NEED for the item, "Why?" you ask, well when are we willing to pay the most for something? when we NEED it, right?
Lets look at some items to keep our eyes out for for the next few weeks so we can be all stocked and ready to go, having paid the best prices(aka best savings) and not be left scrambling before Thanksgiving or a Christmas gathering! :-)
Since we are looking at a couple BIG family holidays coming up traditionally filled with too much food, lots of snacking, and baked deserts...... guess what we will be looking for soon, so should look into finding sales NOW?! Yup Baking products primarily, but also Turkey and Ham!
Butter ... normally around $3lb for the store brands .... with some watching and/or coupon deals, we should be able to stock up for $1.50lb or less!Butter Freezes GREAT with no real big changes when thawed, so don't be afraid to buy enough to last the baking season and even enough to last a year if you have the space!
Butter can actually be canned VERY easily! Just put your butter in a pot on the stove, over the lowest heat you can melt it all down letting it get clear, skim off bubbles or impurities, then carefully spoon into canning jars(smaller are best for future use), be careful not to drip, clean any drips that happen as they will effect the seal, while the butter is still very hot, screw on the lids tightly, they will seal from the cooling process and you can store it on you shelf. UNsalted is preferable if canning.
Flour ... normally $3-4 for a 5lb bag(maybe a little less for store brands?) with sales from now until about December 1st, you can find it around $1.50, maybe less( I was able to stock up a few years ago about $.50 a bag!)
When buying a stock of flour, you should plan on freezing the bags at least for a few days each, to kill off any whatever that could potentially be in it(you should do this if you buy 1 bag as well ;-) ) You can store the flour in air tight containers for longer shelf life! You can buy 1 gallon storage canisters at Dollar Tree!
Baking Soda ... This is cheap all year round but you can get a 1lb box pretty easily around $.25-30 ea!
Baking Soda has a million uses, I"m quite sure that is literal! Do a Google search! :-) This stays good for a VERY long time as is so don't be afraid to stock up enough to cook, clean, deodorize and more with! :-) I don't think you can really have too much baking soda on hand.
Salt... Again, not an expensive item anyway, but another good one to have "too much" of on hand somewhere. Along with baking and adding flavor to food it has lots of other uses as well!
Having issues with fleas in the summer, sprinkle it heavily over furniture and carpets over night, or longer, its actually cuts up the fleas!
Make your own salt scrub!
Melt an icy walkway in a pinch!
If worst came to worst, we get a big Maine blizzard knocking out power for days, if you are about to lose your meat stock, you can put the meat in a bucket covered in loads of salt, it will preserve it!(wouldn't hurt to print out a set of instructions now just in case ;-) )
Oats ... Grab the canisters, they last for FOREVER, seriously research says un-opened they can sit on a shelf for 30yrs and still be fine!
Throw some in the blender, powder the oats, put it in the tub to ease itching(chicken pox? poison ivy?) sprinkle in your hair, let sit a few minutes, brush it out for a waterless shampoo(great during power outage! it soaks up and removes oils)
Good heart breakfast, breads, or cookies
Cooking oils ... Pick your favorite, or try a few! This is a great time to stock up, and as long as it stays sealed, oils can be stored a couple years easily, so grab a year worth if you find a HOT deal!
Other uses besides cooking ... mix a little olive oil with some of that salt to make the salt scrub, pour a little in a nice warm tub for a wonderfully moisturizing and nourishing bath!
*If the kiddos bring home some dreaded little friends in their hair, pour in some oil, wrap the head and let it sit as long as possible(it suffocates the visitors ;-) then comb out, using olive oil does double duty of giving some extra nutrients and moisture to the hair too :-)
*Warm it up and put in your hair for a luxurious hot oil treatment! :-)
Squash and Pumpkins ... clean them up, dry them up and store in a cool dark place for some inexpensive meals and desserts most or all winter long!
Cranberries ... My goal is $.50 lb, we'll see how close I manage!
Dehydrate these for a year round snack, great addition to cereal, granola, granola bars, breads and the list goes on!
If you do not have a dehydrator, you can slice the berries in half, then lay on a cookie sheet put them in the oven with just the light on, or on the lowest temp possible(if that is over 180 you may have to turn it on to heat then off a while, little more work but worth it) .... when they look like raisins, take them out, let them cool and put into ziplock bags with the air squeezed out or glass jars or the like.... YUMMY!!!
Cranberry sauce ... I LOVE this on turkey sandwiches all year round! Aim for about $.75 or less a can this time of year!(use to say $.50 but prices are on the rise :( )
Instant mashed potato ... $.50 a box
Stuffing ... $.50 a box
Turkey, if you can grab a few at less than $.50 lb. Do it! Get them twice as big as you think you need!
Once you've cooked you Thanksgiving/Christmas dinner,
slice some meat off for those mandatory left over sandwiches we all THE FIRST TIME ....
peel off a lot of the meat into freezer bags, in sizes your family might use in meals like pot pie, stew or other meal with smaller bits of meat.....
Now throw the rest of the turkey onto your crockpot or large pot and let simmer for a couple hours until the last of the meat is falling off....
cook up a yummy HUGE stew,( do double or more what your family needs for a meal!) Eat your stew for dinner, then either can or freeze the remaining stew for future meals!
You have now gotten probably 6 or more dinners from 1 Turkey, WITHOUT your family getting sick of turkey left overs! :-)
Ham .... Pretty much the same deal as the Turkey!
There are plenty of other deals to be had, but these are the great ones to try stocking up on for the whole year, so you won't need to pay too much in a few months :-) Stay tuned for some recipes for things you can make SUPER simple at home and save SERIOUS money if you have these basic baking supplies on hand at all times! Saltines, flour tortillas, pancakes and biscuits to name a few....!
Do you have others? Possibly tips on storing these basics? recipes that are easy to make with these basic ingredients?