Getting groceries on a fixed income

May 7, 2008 7:29:02 PM PDT
There has been a lot recently about the rising cost of food. Everybody is feeling the crunch, and many are buying less than they used to. But the soaring costs are especially tough on people who survive on food stamps. Because while the price of food has gone up, the value of food stamps has not.

Eyewitness News reporter Michelle Charlesworth went shopping with a grocery bill guru. She has more.

Alexa Johnson is a foodie. She works for Fairway in Red Hook. We teamed her up with Kathy Scantlebury, who gets by on $100 in food stamps per month.

"You have to make things meet," Scantlebury said. "You have to."

So, tip one: Shop thinking leftovers.

"We need to start using some of those traditional learning techniques that our grandmothers taught our mothers about how to shop and how to utilize food by planning not just one meal at a time, but planning one meal with leftovers for lunch," Johnson said.

And for two more days. An example?

"You can go from your classic meatloaf one night, then you can chop it up and turn it into chili the next night," Johnson said. "You can also go ahead and turn it into spaghetti sauce if you've got any leftover."

The next tip: Use coupons and look at flyers.

Third idea: Cut things up yourself. That includes fruits and vegetables. And also, buy the whole bird.

"This is a classic whole chicken, it's $1.69 a pound," Johnson said.

The price of just chicken breasts can be triple.

Next, buy fruits and vegetables in big packages, frozen.

Kathy wanted a small name-brand package of broccoli on sale, but the big bag is eight times the quantity for just three times the money.

So you can use it as a side dish, in omelets, salads or stir fry.

Plus, here's the thing. If you buy a lot of fresh broccoli or fresh blueberries or things like that, and don't use all of it, it can go moldy. So now, we're talking about throwing things away.

And the final tip: Put down the expensive sugary cereal.

"Look around, shop around, get your coupons," Scantlebury said.

It's time to shop more like grandma used to.