Everyone loves items on reduced! Especially grocery items. Checkers usually has quite a few items on 50% less, and sometimes even more, on most days. I’m sure you’ve seen them at Checkers and may have even bought some items (if not, have a look at my blog post Reduced to Clear Items at Checkers to find out more). These items do sell quite fast though, which is no surprise.
The reduced to clear items are unpredictable in that you never know what you’re going to find when you get to the store so these are not really items you can count on or use to plan your dinners ahead of time. I often end up finding some bargains close to month-end which gives me a bit of wiggle room, as I’m still figuring out our meals for the month ahead at that time.
If I’m at the shops halfway through the month, or even just a week after payday, then it’s a bit different. I’ve already bought food for the month, and planned our meals so what do I do then? I often just walk past the shelves with the reduced to clear items, and leave it at that, but sometimes I’m also tempted to buy an item or two, especially if it’s something we don’t generally buy at full price.
Even then, I still have to figure out how to incorporate the reduced to clear items into our monthly meal plan. It simply means that I have to substitute one or two meals off our plan, which I’ve not only planned for already but have bought food for those meals as well. In that case, I’ll normally substitute for one or two ready-cooked meals, which are already in the freezer, and I know can still be utilised early on the following month.
Before I make the purchase though, I will also have to consider my budget and see if we can spend more on food. If we can, then I’ll go ahead and ‘splurge’. I know it’s not really ‘splurging’ but that’s what it feels like to me knowing full well that our grocery shop for the month is done and we have enough food at home.
Another thing for me to consider is whether or not I need to buy any additional grocery items to make a meal or two out of the reduced to clear items. If it’s a ready-made meal on its own, then great, I don’t need to think any further! But if not, then I have to think about what I actually have at home, and if I can put a meal together without any additional purchases.
To give you an example. I was at Checkers earlier this week and I found the following items, priced at 50% less:
4 Pitta breads at R10.00
Deli slices at R11.00
Hummus at R10.00
Pizza bases at R24.00
I thought about all of this for a while and decided that we can actually get several meals out of those reduced to clear items, and that I didn’t need to buy any additional items! So this is how I incorporated the above into our meal plan for this month:
We had leftover roast chicken from the other night which we were going to polish off soon anyway, so I made us some humus and roast chicken pitas. I added lots of lettuce, tomato, cucumber and spring onions to the mix, all of which we already had in the fridge. We had enough for two main meals out of this, and we also finished the roast chicken so there was no waste at all.
We then made pizzas on another day, and again we had enough for two main meals, plus leftovers to take to work the following day. I used some of my homemade tomato sauce as well as the deli slices as topping. I then added some mushrooms and grated cheese, which we had in the fridge as well. I topped the pizzas, straight out of the oven, with some fresh basil from our garden and slices of ripe avos (these were on special at Apple Tree Food Market – 8 avocados for just R15.99). We really enjoyed the pizza, especially with the thin, rustic base which was very different from the usual homemade pizzas we make.
All in all, I was quite pleased with how I managed to incorporate the reduced to clear items into our monthly meal plan. We finished our leftover roast chicken plus we had all the ingredients we needed for pizza. The leftover humus and deli slices we used for sandwiches later on in the week, so that was yet another meal. There was no waste, and there were no additional expenses. I spent just over R50.00 and we had 5 meals plus. The meals we would have had I simply kept back in the freezer to be used at a later stage.
Another thing to consider when buying the reduced to clear items is the fact that these are more than likely just one or two days away from their expiry date! Most of the time, it won’t be foods that you can freeze but will have to consume them within a day or so. My solution to this has always been to buy just enough for a couple of meals which can be eaten before they reach their expiry date.
Do you ever buy the reduced to clear items at Checkers, or elsewhere? If so, how do you incorporate these into your monthly meal plan? I’d love to hear from you! Leave me a comment below!
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