Allrecipes met Nicole Fisher in June 2012 at the BlogHer Food conference in Seattle. She started Nicole's Nickels in February 2009, to share the great deals she was finding with her friends and family—and then things took off! While working full-time during the day as an attorney for a non-profit organization, she blogged in the evenings and on weekends. In her own words: “I live in south/central Florida and have two cute dogs, plus an amazing husband who has a spunky six-year-old we spend a lot of time with. I help Nicole's Nickels readers find the best deals for their family. I love telling my readers about great deals, and also about the cool products I get to try. Most of all, I love giving stuff away to my readers! I hope you'll subscribe to receive my daily email updates and stay in touch!”
I have been an Allrecipes.com user for a long time now and frequently go to the site as I plan my weekly menus. Menu planning is critical for saving money! If you menu plan one to two weeks in advance you’ll find yourself at the store less and spending less money! My newspaper’s weekly grocery ad circulars come out on Wednesday and Sundays, so on Wednesday evenings I sit down and plan the week’s menus out according to what is on sale.
Tip: Look for SmartSource, a flyer that's in Sunday newspapers nationwide. And save those weekly newspaper circulars! You can grab them later to find more good savings. I also often check out sites like coupons.com, redplum.com, and many manufacturers' websites.
I’ll also look at what is in my pantry and freezer and plan from there. I make a master list and date or cross off items to keep track of what’s on hand. Grocery store sales are cyclical and rotate approximately every 12 weeks. If you have space, you can buy an item when it’s on sale and buy enough to have a 12-week supply so it lasts until the next sale on the item.
Because Allrecipes makes searching by ingredient so simple, in just minutes you can grab recipes that correspond to the weekly sales items! Simply use the Advanced Search feature on the site and type in the ingredients you want or don't want.
Here is a popular, easy Allrecipes recipe for homemade baked beans using three varieties of beans—and made even more affordable by using coupons!
Old Settlers’ Baked Beans
|A bowl of Old Settlers' Baked Beans waiting for a spoon|
1/2 pound ground beef
1/2 pound bacon, diced (06/17/2012 SmartSource coupon: $0.55/1 package Oscar Mayer Bacon, butcher thick cut; expires 08/12/2012)
1 onion, chopped
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup barbecue sauce (06/24/2012 SmartSource coupon: $0.75/2 KC Masterpiece BBQ Sauce, 28 oz. or Marinade, 16 oz.; expires 08/26/2012)
1 tablespoon prepared mustard (find a printable coupon here)
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 (16 ounce) can pork and beans, undrained (find a printable coupon here)
1 (16 ounce) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained (find a printable coupon here)
1 (16 ounce) can Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained (find a printable coupon here)
1. In a large skillet, cook beef, bacon and onion until meat is done and onion is tender. Drain any fat. Combine all remaining ingredients except beans. Add to meat mixture; mix well, and then stir in beans. Place in a greased 2-1/2-quart casserole. Cover and bake at 350 degrees F for 1 hour or until heated through.
As you can see in this recipe, you can buy beans, mustard and BBQ sauce—all by using coupons! If you make this recipe on a week when these items are already on sale and pair the sale with the coupons, you've scored a terrific deal! Produce such as onions is also frequently on sale, so it could be very easy to make this fun summer side dish at a super reduced cost!
-- Nicole Fisher writes the Nicole’sNickels blog about ways to save money easily so you can splurge elsewhere!