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by the author of The Ultimate Guide to Frugal Living and Lifestyles of the Flat Broke and Resilient
These days, if I can score cheap groceries, I’m practically jumping for joy in the middle of the Piggly Wiggly. (People stare when you do that. #AskMeHowIKnow)
Where are these elusive “cheap groceries,” you ask? They’re in the humble “last day of sale” aisle. These marked-down foods can be the Frugalite’s best friend.
But…they come with a caveat. You have to manage them immediately, or you risk wasting all the money you just spent on them.
Last week, I went to the store on a Thursday afternoon. I got four prime rib burgers from the meat counter for $1.50. I got a bag of organic lemons as well as a head of sad-looking-but-still-edible cauliflower for a buck each. I got 3 pounds of mushrooms for $2. I also got some pre-chopped sweet potato and diced onion for less than a dollar. Everything got immediately used or put back so that it wouldn’t go bad.
Here are some ways to make the most out of last day of sale groceries.
Make dinner from them.
First things first, make yourself a yummy dinner with the deals you just got. I usually use the nicest cut of meat and make something delicious with it. Everyone thinks it’s a treat, and they have no idea you just basically stole it. I used my prime rib burgers and mushrooms to make tasty burgers with sauteed mushrooms and gravy. I added some mashed potatoes and roasted veggies, and I was a dinner-time she-ro.
You can also make a meal you aren’t going to eat right away just to get things cooked up ASAP. Make a soup or stew with your last day of sale goodies and then store it in the freezer to pull out on a busy day.
Roast those veggies.
There isn’t much I love more than roasted vegetables. Cut away anything that looks less than appetizing. I like to toss them in olive oil, season them with my homemade seasoning salt, and drizzle them with a teeny tiny bit of honey.
I use roasted veggies in lots of different ways. First, there are just plain old roasted veggies – they’re a wonderful side. But I use them after that too. You can reheat them in the oven for the best texture, or you can use them cold in salads.
From my recent grocery expedition, I roasted those sweet potatoes along with some garlic, onion, and cauliflower. I had them the night I went shopping, and then I used the leftovers for a tasty “bowl.” I love, love, love veggie and chicken bowls. This one had brown rice, roasted veggies, and diced chicken, and I drizzled the entire thing with Thai peanut dressing. Absolutely divine.
You can also puree your roasted veggies for a decadent and flavorful soup.
Did you end up with a crap-ton of bananas or zucchini? Whip out the baking supplies and make yourself some tasty bread. You can eat them right away or let them cool, then stick them straight into the freezer for later. I’ve also made a memorable impromptu pie from a bag of iffy pears and a carton of berries.
A lot of things are fine to go straight into the freezer. I stash away any last-day-of-sale meat that I’m not cooking that day straight into the freezer. Make sure the packaging is still okay – you might need to rewrap it with plastic wrap or a big ziplock. It would be a shame to bring it home and save it, only to end up throwing it out later due to freezer burn.
Some produce can also go into the freezer. I used the little snack zipper top bags to divvy up my diced onion. Most herbs can go straight into the freezer, and fruit for smoothies or baking can too.
My dehydrator has been humming along non-stop since my trip to the store, dealing with all those mushrooms and the lemons. I’ll add the lemons to herbal tea blends. I powdered the lemon peel and the mushrooms for tasty seasonings. (They don’t take up much space this way, but you still get the nutritional oomph from it.)
Other things that dehydrate well are fruits, greens, root vegetable slices, and peppers. Did you know that you can also dehydrate bread? Yep, you sure can. Add your own seasonings to it and stash it away for your own stuffing mix, or zap it in the food processor to make your own panko-style bread crumbs.
If you enjoy canning, consider using this method for putting back some of your goodies. I’ve made pressure canned soup, and I’ve water-bath canned homemade jams and apple sauce from the last day of sale aisle.
What about you?
What is your best last day of sale find ever? How do you use or preserve last-day-of-sale purchases? Is this something you do to stretch your food dollars? Let’s talk about it in the comments.
Daisy Luther is a coffee-swigging, adventure-seeking, globe-trotting blogger. She is the founder and publisher of three websites. 1) The Organic Prepper, which is about current events, preparedness, self-reliance, and the pursuit of liberty; 2) The Frugalite, a website with thrifty tips and solutions to help people get a handle on their personal finances without feeling deprived; and 3) PreppersDailyNews.com, an aggregate site where you can find links to all the most important news for those who wish to be prepared. Her work is widely republished across alternative media and she has appeared in many interviews.
Daisy is the best-selling author of 5 traditionally published books, 12 self-published books, and runs a small digital publishing company with PDF guides, printables, and courses at SelfRelianceand Survival.com You can find her on Facebook, Pinterest, Gab, MeWe, Parler, Instagram, and Twitter.