Saving on Groceries – Thinking by the Serving

Compared to $13 a pound, half price boneless strip steak at $6.50 a pound seems like a huge bargain. But when you divide by 4 quarter-pound servings the cost per serving is $1.75. Then it’s no longer a bargain. $1.75 is a lot when compared to a serving of chicken that costs half as much without even being on sale. A serving of two eggs is only $0.33 when bought at $2.00 a dozen.

Meat at 5 servings per pound costs one-fifth less than it does at 4 servings per pound. At 6 servings per pound it’s even less costly. A couple of tasty vegetable dishes and a flavorful serving of rice, beans or potatoes can be the main part of the meal. A small portion of meat can be an accent. Or, with a dish like chili or stew a small amount of meat can add flavor while the other ingredients provide the bulk of the meal. If your family likes mushrooms, I’ve found that adding mushrooms to things like spaghetti sauce or stew enhances the meaty texture of the dish.

At my Walmart a pound of sharp cheddar cheese costs about $5. Because I use about ⅛ of a pound as a serving, it’s 63 cents a serving. For meats I generally want at least ¼ pound. So a serving of cheese usually costs me no more than a serving of most meats, in actual practice. Thinking by the serving led me to change my habit of relying on meat and poultry and thus to reduce my grocery spending by more than 30%.

Recently I looked at apples. It so happened that day that with sale prices all the different kinds of apples were $1.99 a pound. I bought a bag of small apples instead of the same weight of large apples. That way I got more individual servings of apple for the same per-pound rate.



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