Thrifty Tips to Stretch Your Food Dollars a friendly and growing community of gardeners. We feature a Garden Discussion Forum and Garden Photo Gallery. It's a fun and friendly place to talk with other gardeners, ask questions, share you knowledge, view and post photos and more! Whether you're a master gardener, or brand new to the hobby, you'll find something of interest here.


Super Moderator
Staff member
I wanted to start this thread for us to post ways to stretch your food dollars. A good way to stretch leftovers etc.

Here is a tip I do quite often. When we have left over roast we have open faced roast beef sandwiches. Usually the gravy is all gone. I keep a container of beef paste I buy from Costco and Sam's for less than $4 and it lasts for months. I use the beef paste instead of buying canned beef bouillon. Thickened with corn starch water and white pepper it makes a great gravy.
Great idea Dale.

When we buy our meat, which for my household is fishes and chicken. I try and buy the huge packs of them and then bring them home and repackage in size for two or four people...I find I save I can save up to 1$ a pound if I keep and eye out for sales.
Last edited by a moderator:
Great ideas! I buy a quantity when there's a sale on meats and re-package too.
When I cook dried beans, like lima's, butter beans or black eyed peas, I use left overs for a soup starter for another meal.
I buy more store brand things lately since the economy is getting so bad.
When Dewey and I go out to eat we share a baked potato and I bring the other one home to make potato soup. I use a chicken paste water and corn starch or flour and mash up the leftover potato and a little white pepper.
I have a large container in the freezer to put small amounts of leftover vegetables. When the container gets full Viola' a pot of veggie soup. I use a beef paste instead of meat to season the soup.
I have a large container in the freezer to put small amounts of leftover vegetables. When the container gets full Viola' a pot of veggie soup. I use a beef paste instead of meat to season the soup.

:eek: this is a great idea....I have to confess when I have not enough left for even one helpping I toss them...I have to dothis...Thanks so much:)
Is there a reason you don't use meat Dale? Exactly what is beef paste?
Great idea on saving the veggies, I also do this but keep veggies separated in small containers. There are some meals that hubby doesn't care for a certain veggie and I can take a "one serving" container from the freezer for myself.
Love this Thread Dale
I live alone and as most of you know how tough it can be cooking for 2, it's a bigger pain in the butt cooking for 1. If it wasn't for the freezer I think I would starve. I try to buy my meats in small bulk ( you know like you would buy for a family of 4 or 5) I do most of my meat and fish shopping at Sams Club because the prices are so much better. When I shop I budget myself to no more then $20 or $25 for meats. So I try to buy a meat and seafood each shoppping trip. a couple of weeks ago I bought Shell Steaks 5 to the package that coast the whole $25.00 I wraped them each in freezer paper and put them in baggies in the freezer, then the next trip I got Chop meat and a big bag of shrimp. I broke down the chopmeat into 5 burgers, a chunk for meat loaf and 2 small packs for ground beef meals. I did the same another week with Rack of lamb, 2 racks were $18.00. which will give me 4 meals. And also whole chicken that I cut up and freeze. As I work in a restuarant I only eat dinner at home a few knight a week so I have enough meals in the freezer for about $80. that will last me about 3 months. In the off months when I don't have to buy meat I stock up on dry goods and canned goods from Sams club. I also freeze any veggies I can, sure I would love to have fresh veggies at every meal but I can't eat enough before they go bad so it is in the freezer for them.

Dale I am going to have to look for that Beef Paste at Sams the time I go there. I love gravy.
Last edited:
I was just thinking about making hot beef sandwiches for Friday dinner sometime too. Another one would be hot turkey sandwich. I think that would be a special treat around here. I went to CostCo yesterday and spent quite a bit on meat and fish. But I got enough fish for at least 4 maybe 5 meals. I bought some steaks also. Those will be cut up into portions of 2.5 to 3 ounces. On Fridays, my daughter and I have steak and egg breakfasts. One of those little pieces of steak, one egg, a piece of toast, and 10 Tater Tots that were baked in the oven. I put butter on Fiona's toast, but not mine.
Gloria the beef paste comes in a pint plastic container that restaurants use instead of beef bouillon. People make au jus for dipping steaks in it as well. It's a paste that all you do is add water. It's cheap less than $4. You can get it at Sam's and Costco. Be careful with how much you use as it's loaded with sodium. I like the flavor of meat in my soup but over the years I am more interested in the veggies. The beef paste gives me the same flavor as the meat so I just use the alternative. Less fat to boot so it ought to be better for you.
Here's my helpful tip for the day. I invented this all by myself a few years ago. Here's my story. Dewey my husband, as a lot of you know, is diabetic and doesn't drink sugar sweetened tea. Had company coming over one Sunday afternoon and didn't know if they wanted sweet or unsweetened tea. I brewed the tea and put it in a quart canning jar. When they came I mixed up the tea as they liked it. That gave me the idea of brewing more than one gallon of tea at the time. So now when I boil tea bags I bre enought for 3 gallons. Making a gallon and have tea in 2 quart jars to make the other 2 gallons at a moments notice. And I most always have tea to mix up when company stops buy. Brewing more tea at the time saves time and electricity and reduces stress when company drops by and you need something to offer them to drink.
Dale, I have diabetics in the family also. This tip is good to know. I can always have which ever, sweet or unsweet tea, at a moments notice.
As you all know, Dale and I are in South Carolina and iced tea is the drink of the day for us.
Those of you with concerns about sugar should try Stevia. It is a natural sweetening herb. Wal Mart has it by their artifical sweeteners but it is all natural and safe for diabetics;)

A really cheap kitchen and bath cleaner is grain alcohol. you mix 2 TBS of grain with 1 qt of water. You can put it in a spray bottle. I use it on counter tops, toilets, sinks even mop my floors with it. A 750 ml bottle is only $10.99 and will last the average person a year.( a large savings if you have been buying commercial cleaners) That mixture is also good to wash veggies with and sterilize baby bottles, and canning jars!

I have also been clipping coupons. Not a real big in to this person but I have found that if I clip only what I normally buy, I can save about $10 per shopping trip;)
Here's something I used to fix when I was raising my kids--but fix it fairly often now-just cause I like it-lol! If I didn't have enough hot dogs for everyone or there were leftovers-I would chop them up & make hot dog hash with left over veggies. MMmmm! LOL Especially cooked in left over bacon drippings!
Probably not very "heart healthy"-----but it made a meal.
I don't have a freezer any longer so I don't have much freezer space. One thing I have been doing for a while is getting rainchecks for sale items that I will need at some point, just not at the time they happen to be on sale. The rainchecks have an advantage over coupons because they don't least at the two stores where I purchase most grocery items. If there is an item on sale that I want to stock up on, I go ahead and do just that, but I still go back by the store and pick up a raincheck for later use.
Crabber, denatured alcohol is 95% ethanol. The rest is methanol which makes the ethanol undrinkable. But you can buy a gallon of denatured alcohol for about that price. My other thought was vodka. It's about as close to pure ethanol as you can get, but the cost is going to be pretty close to the cost mentioned above. BTW, denatured alcohol is the fuel that is used in those canned heat devices that are used to keep food warm.
As mentioned in a previous post, I bought a bunch of fish the other day. The lowest cost was on the fresh fish and not the frozen filets. I should have apportioned them out before I tossed them in the freezer. But now when I thaw them, I will have to cook all the filets in the package. But I have a recipe I call 'tilapia fettuccine' that I make with shredded tilapia after I have cooked it by grilling. I shred the filets and put the product into plastic bags of about 1 pound each. One pound is enough for a 'tilapia fettuccine' casserole and those things are good. It's one of my granddaughter's favorite dishes. I have also used leftover chicken diced up instead of fish in that recipe.
Randy why don't you post the receipt for the tilapia fettuccine in the Reciept thread It sounds really tasty and I would like to try it.
Randy, I would like to try it to. I'm so tired of the same old foods. I want to try some new recipes that don't cost a fortune to make and are simple and quick to make. You can find all kinds of recipes on the web but some of the ingredients they use I have never heard of and it take to long to make them. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to